Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quality Art

Bill Watterson cared about the art he created as he drew and wrote Calvin and Hobbes.  Some might call his views extreme, but no one can question his commitment to quality.  Here are some of his thoughts-

"I love my work, and I am grateful for the incredible forum I have to express my thoughts.  People give me their attention for a few seconds every day, and i take that as an honor and a responsibility.  I try to give readers the best strip I'm capable of doing.  I look at cartoon as an art, as a form of personal expression.  That's why I don't hire assistants, why I write and draw every line myself, why I draw and paint special art for each of my books, and why I refuse to dilute or corrupt the strip's message with merchandising.  I want to draw a cartoons, not supervise a factory."
His thoughts on the cartooning industry could easily be applied to other fields as well-

"Once a lot of money and jobs are riding on the status quo, it gets harder to push the experiments and new directions that keep a strip vital." 
Did you ever wonder why you couldn't buy a stuffed version of Hobbes or Calvin pajamas?  Here is Watterson's reasoning-

"I'm convinced that licensing would sell out the soul of Calvin and Hobbes.  The world of a comic strip is much more fragile than most people realize.  Once you've given up integrity, that's it.  I want to make sure that never happens.  Instead of asking what's wrong with rampant commercialism, we ought to be asking, 'What justifies it?'  Popular art does not have to pander to the lowest level of intelligence and taste."

Quotes taken from Looking for Calving and Hobbes: The Unconventional Store of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip by Nevin Martell.

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