Bill Plympton’s Master Class
On Sunday, November 8 at the Ruth Caplin Theatre, students and community members were treated to an unforgettable arts experience that consisted of one man, one easel, and endless possibilities. That day, the Virginia Film Festival hosted legendary Indie animator/illustrator Bill Plympton for a Master Class, combining stories, sage advice, and a selection of clips from his remarkable career. Much to the crowd’s delight, the session also included plenty of the magical marker strokes that have long made him the go-to animator for the biggest names and companies in the business – including Disney and Pixar.
Bill Plympton is a two-time Academy Award and Palm d’Or nominee and one of the only people to have ever illustrated every frame of a feature-length animation. He urged attendees that they too can make a living as an independent animator without being part of the “Hollywood machine” by doing good work wherever they are and selling it online. He shared clips including his Oscar-nominated Guard Dog as well as How to Kiss and gave the audience a peek into his process with an early version of one of the “couch gags” he has drawn for The Simpsons. “More people see those than see all my films ever,” the Oregon-born Plympton shared. One lucky attendee received his own “Plymptoon” caricature, and everyone in attendance received their own original drawing. VFF audiences also got a chance to see his latest film Cheatin’, followed by a conversation moderated by legendary film critic and historian Leonard Maltin.