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Visit MoCCA - Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art - in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 6/13/2010 - www.Littleviews.com ]

MoCCA's front door in New York City)>>  The art of illustration (sometimes called "cartoon" art because it is often based on line drawings) is featured in New York at The Society of Illustrators and at MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art).

Just because the word "comic" and "cartoon" are included in MoCCA's full name, the work on exhibit is creative, well-rendered, and thoughtful. While "comics" often refer to humorous drawings or funny, illustrated stories, subjects depicted through cartoon art can range from beautiful to deranged.

Historically, the word "cartoon" refers to the "fine art" of drawing, such as mastered by Leonardo da Vinci. Today, it references a type of drawing that has strong outlines, whether the subject of those drawings is humorous or not.

The art of creating cartoons, then, is not "drawing for kids," but rather, it is the art of creating descriptive illustrations based on line drawings. And, if you enjoy looking at illustrations, as well as contemplating stories told through this art form, MoCCA is the place to visit. . . if you love newspaper cartoons, political cartoons, comic books, graphic novels, and animations, viewing MoCCA's collection of original art work will definitely put a smile on your face!

MoCCA resembles an art gallery and it owns more work than can be displayed at eye level. Housed on the 4th floor of an office building at 594 Broadway, Suite 401, between Houston and Prince, volunteers hang the museum's collection from just above its baseboards to just under its ceiling. A tiny sticker on its fuchsia-colored front door announces its presence.

MoCCA Supports Living Artists - a lot of them!

Rather than show you MoCCA's gallery space (you'll need to visit the museum to see that), this article provides a glimpse of the types of art it supports through the works on display during its 2010 MoCCA Art Festival, which was held in April at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City.

If you draw (or love looking at drawings), a MoCCA festival provides a fascinating visit. Since 2002, MoCCA has showcased more than 2,000 living artists in an environment that introduces them to editors, publishers, and the appreciative buying public.

Examples of Art Showcased During a MoCCA Festival

MoCCA knows how to pack a lot of art into a small space. Its booths are jammed with pictures seen on illustrated books, magazines, posters, woodcuts, prints, banners, puppets, toys, pins, stickers, magnets, stencils, t-shirts, and even jewelry crafted from illustrations.

Illustration styles are widely varied. This batik rooster (above), for example, stands in contrast to simple line drawings. It was created by Christopher Cardinal for the book Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush. For more information on Mr. Cardinal, visit his website at www.ChristopherCardinale.com

Many of the exhibitors represented art collectives, where several artists join together to produce illustrations used for books, posters, t-shirts and more. The table above represents work produced by Taffy Hips Magazine.

The wide variety of art seen above, which includes drawings, paintings, cutouts, and silk screens, was produced by Peter Lazarski and Mike Turzanski of "Dungeons and Dragqueens" - Imaginary Monstors.

The above table, which was filled with stickers, cards, pins, and publications, contains the work of Hot Pot, a magical zine created by three, self-described deranged sisters . . .

Children and adults alike can relate to "cartoon" imagery. Consider Willow Dawson's beautiful work for the book No Girls Allowed. See more of her stunning illustrations on www.WillowDawson.com.

The above display of button-pins represent a wide-variety of artistic styles produced by a Brooklyn-based artist collective, where most of its members are associated with the Pratt Institute (students, alumni, faculty, etc.).

Jane Wu, a member of this group, is the Editor-in-Chief of two of its publications, Static Fish, and HATCH. For more information:

Although many works seen throughout the exhibit were reproduced by traditional printing processes (including desktop inkjet and laser printers), consider the skill it took to create and publish the linoleum block prints called "Harlot Money" (above). A brief background of the artist can be found on her BlogSpot, which at this time is a work in progress.

To the left of the photo above, you'll see the mascot logo for Spy Guy from Ultraist Studios. Read through its website to learn about how its art is created, from very rough pencil sketches to crisp, published illustrations. The information is fascinating, especially for art students and illustrator-wannabees. (I'm sorry, but I unable to identify the exhibitors to the right.)

Trees and Hills Comics Group brings together cartoonists from Vermont, New Hampshire, and West Massachusetts who produce a wide variety of kids stuff. Notice the imaginative masks they produce, which are seen on the right.

I included Sons of Cain by Charles Fetherolf as an example of graceful art forms. According to his website, the artist was born holding a pencil, which eventually lead to a bachelors degree in fine arts. Now, he self-publishes his own work through the Giant Earth Press.

Illustrations for children's books are every bit as sophisticated as those for adults! Consider Only Child by Greg Fenton. At the MoCCA, visitors were able to buy the books prints for framing as well as the book, itself.

Find Artistic Inspiration at MoCCA

If you are an artist, writer, student, or parent of children who aspire to the arts, I hope this introduction to MoCCA will help inspire you. Many of the artists associated with MoCCA are self-taught, while others graduated from art schools, some of which focus exclusively on cartooning and writing for illustrated stories.

Visit MoCCA's website at www.MoCCANY.org for information about the organization itself and its special events. Consider attending its classes, which include such topics as "How to Write Comics and Graphic Novels," "Anatomy for Cartoonists Workshop," and "Story telling for Comics Artists."

    594 Broadway, Suite 401
    (Between Houston and Prince)
    New York, NY 10012

    Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 5PM
    General Admission: $5 (larger donations gratefully accepted!)
    Children 12 and under: Free Admission
    Group rates available, please call ahead!

Cartoon Studies (formal and informal)

Many art schools and colleges offer specialized programs in cartooning that include drawing, animation, and writing for illustrated story telling. Independent studies can be satisfied by taking online courses (Google or Bing the phrases "learn cartooning" - "draw cartoons" - "write graphic novels" - or - "write comic books"), as well as by reading books on the subject (use those same phrases to search book sites, such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble at BN.com).

Many very famous cartoonists learned the craft by reading and copying published cartoons. Jules Feiffer and Robert Crumb, for example, learned by copying cartoons (and in Crumb's case, by copying great works of art) before developing their individual styles. Walt Disney's famous images for his studio's first realistic animation, Sleeping Beauty, were developed by outlining (keylining) thousands of photographs.

Throughout history, in fact, copying other people's work, plus copying sketch books, projected images of live subjects, and photography has been an honorable and efficient way to learn drawing techniques. Even the young Pablo Picasso did it! You might be surprised to learn that one of the original purposes of the Louvre Museum in France was to provide local artists with samples of great art from which to learn. While its galleries were filled with internationally famous paintings, its corridors were once filled with artists copying them, not tourists. Keep in mind that in order to draw like an "old master," one needs to figure out just exactly how that old master drew.

A handy guide, called How to Start to Think About Learning to Draw Comics: a Guidebook to the Center for Cartoon Studies is available from The Center for Cartoon Studies, located in White River Junction, Vermont. For more information, email writeon9000@cartoonstudies.org.

Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 6/13/2010. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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