Identity Crisis

I was going through my usual blogroll, checking out the latest and seeing what everyone is up to, and I noticed a huge influx of new animation blogs popping up recently. There's so much great talent out there right now that it's very invigorating to see this sort of stuff first-hand. I was going through these new blogs and the first thing I do is always check out the links. With animation, since it's mostly informational sharing, the majority of them listed the usual (great) suspects: Seward Street, Animation Podcast, Persistence of Vision, Animation Mentor, etc. Through it all, it suddenly dawned on me: The Ward-O-Matic was hardly mentioned at all. Now, please don't get me wrong -- I'm not some ego freak, desperately searching for some acceptance or respect. I just thought it was interesting.

See I started this blog because I wanted to talk about animation, as well as art and whatever floated my boat. I thought I'd share some of my experiences working in the industry, because someone animating in Atlanta might have a slightly different viewpoint from an LA- or NY-based animator. But things started to change throughout the course of my blog's history, and I understand that that's pretty much normal. I started to post my illustrations, sketches, and I started to talk more about my family and started Ava Thursday, etc. It became clear to me that this thing had a life of its own. I nurtured it and honestly did not know how it would turn out.

So, just what kind of blog is this? Is it an animation blog? Is it an art blog? A sketch blog? A links blog? A daddy blog? A lifestyle blog? I'm not sure if I can say. I would be very curious to know what my readers think of it, as I'm sure I'd get a very different answer from each and every one of you.

Basically, people get what they want out of a blog.

I can't tell you how to take what I give you. You get what you want out of it, and use it for your own personal interest. Whether it be for informational purposes, for entertainment value, for poops and giggles, it's all there. At least I hope.


It is interesting to me about all this, because I've never felt like a true participant in the online animation community, anyway. I feel a bit out of place. I don't post anymore in the Animation Nation forums like I used to, because I realized that most of the participants posting were the same 10 to 15 guys. Nothing new was being unearthed. And honestly, I don't blame those new animation bloggers for not linking me as I don't focus on animation 24/7. I don't have any passed-down 20th generation-copy notes from any animation legends to share, like some of my animation blog bretheren, and since I wasn't mentored by anyone, I don't have that much to offer in terms of pure textbook-quality animation knowledge. Plus, I didn't go to CalArts or any other ├╝ber-cool animation school that pump out super-talent on a routine basis.

All I have is me: self-taught and extremely passionate about animation. I have my own style, I have my own way of animating. I look at things differently and I love to watch animation from all around the world, and I like to talk about what I see. I enjoy this life I'm in, and I'm trying my best to make the most out of it.

I am an animator and I'm always learning. That's what I am.


  1. Its a Ward blog. :) Encompassing the things that mean something to you. Like mine is sometimes, mommy, sometimes spiritual, sometimes political, sometimes complaining (unfortunately)- but always me.

  2. great illustration by the way. sometimes (well for me anyway) variety is the spice of life and that is what i enjoy from ward-o-matic. graffiti, dad, husband, animator, art director, collector. what is that saying - do what you love?

  3. To be honest... why worry about it? It's a blog.

  4. I like the Ward O Matic cause you share what "you" like. Family, art, animation, inspiration! Keep it up!

  5. Simply put:
    If all you shared was animation, I'd only read occasionally.
    If all you shared was Ava's artwork, I'd catch up from time to time.
    If all you shared was you insights to movies, I'd be interested, but feel no need to check in daily.
    If all you shared was family oriented, I'd be interested, as I love you and your family, but I wouldn't feel like I had to catch everything you wrote, knowing that I could catch up at any time.

    Dude, what you do share, though - is you.
    Now that interests me. That pulls me in. That makes it so that I am checking your stinkin' block every frickin' morning as I arrive at work ... seeing what late night creativity eeked out of your bones.

    Dude, I love that.
    I love checking in.
    I love seeing what your watching, reading, collecting, loving, listening, seeing, feeling, avoiding, blah, blah, blah, etc.

    Dude. Keep doing what you're doing. I dig it.
    And obviously so does everyone else.

  6. Ward, man! Firstly, I hear ya, bud--I know where you're coming from, truly. But you'd better believe that a lot of folks are reading you, many more than comment.
    Certainly the first thing I came here for(was it from cartoon brew that I came--or drawn.ca?)was your thoughts as an animator, specifically. As Slim up there says, since then there's also everything else you write about, which you do with a great deal of clarity and, well--you make it all interesting. And let's face it--if I was just dying to read all about day-to-day production, I can always go to one of the plethora of CN blogs...not that there's anything wrong with that. But you definitely should be linked to...have you asked? Or does that seem an awkward thing to do? Is isn't, you know--and after all--you DO link to quite a few people(myself included--thanks!); I actually use your links as a good diviner of whether some amongst all these burgeoning blogs is worth another hour of web-surfing. You should be repaid in kind.
    And oh yeah--that IS a great illo! Nice job!

  7. Ward..Im not even sure how I happend to stumble on your blog site..At first I was curious then I was drawen to your love of Ava and Ezra and Andrea. I always did wonder what ever happend to you. It is so good to hear that things are great for you. Sorry about being a pain in your side for a few years. (long ago at "The Mount")

  8. The Ward-O-Matic, to me, is all about "what's important and aesthetically pleasing to Ward". That's good enough for me!

  9. Cool responses, guys. I'm feeling better about all this now. I think I felt that I should focus on one thing and one thing only, so as to be, uh... well, focused. I was worried that I might loose some of my readership because i was all over the place.

    But now I feel pretty good about it. Thanks guys.

    Anonymous, why worry? 'Cuz it's fun!

    And "Boe," now I'm very curious as to who you are. I can't imagine anyone being a pain in my side back then!

  10. Melinda.......Ring a bell.....Hee Hee......Side hurting yet?

  11. I love your blog because it is REAL and beautiful. I mainly found your blog because of Cartoon Brew. I often think animators and people in the animation industry are god-like in a way (mainly because i idolize them). For the longest time, you could never reach an artist on the internet or by mail. Your blog makes you a reachable human being. Someone who loves his family and enjoys movies like everyone else.

    You have such great art, and I never knew graffiti art could be so beautiful.

    I never really comment because I don't have time (the sadness of a college student), but as long as you keep blogging, people will keep reading. Thank you so much.

  12. Blast: Ha! No, we were just kids back then. No harm done, water under the bridge, that sort of thing. Hope things are good for you.

    Melon: Thank you very much for your comment. I'm glad you get that out of my ramblings, and thank you for your kind words about my graffiti. Made my day.

  13. ward,
    you are you man.
    and though i only know you from over the web i reckon you are:
    freaking cool + friggin' dope
    because u are u.

    don't be boring and become too "focused".

  14. Well, I can't tell whether the Ward-o-matic is a animaation blog, a family diary blog or whatever stuff we all can think of but that's a plus: it's a blog that is an amalgamation of all things that we all love to tell to everyone in the world! I think your blog has an unique life of its own and everyone should take example of that!

    - Glen!

  15. hey Ward,

    I cant really remember where it was that i first saw your site, but youve been in the 'daily reading' section of my modest animation/whatever blog since I put it up.
    There are a ton of animation blogs out there now, but what i dig about yours is that its not just about the artform, but about life, and how youve managed to juggle an apparently chill existence with your art and your family. It's got heart, and its a big part of what makes it interesting.
    My son was born early this year, and im still really struggling to get it together, and honestly there are times when its overwhelming... to work toward getting a job doing what i love, while spending the time with my family that they deserve. your site has been something of an inspiration... evidence that it can be done.
    take it easy man!

  16. Ward... I love both your blog and Andrea's blog. You are such a unique individual and you're family has inspired me to find answers for a regional advertising project. What does it matter if your blog doesn't satisfy every person. You don't realize how many people admire you and your family. That's not something everyone has. God bless!

  17. To all who've responded: I'm overwhelmed by the great comments. I've been thoroughly enjoying each of your blogs (those who have one), and I'm very proud to be a small part of your lives. Grazie mille!

    djp72, I promise never to be focused from now on.

    And pepper, do Andrea and I get some sort of compensation from your project? Ha ha, just kidding, there....Thanks so much.


  18. Slim Whitman couldn't have said it better. That's totally how I feel. And I really do enjoy your style of drawing. I imagine the images you draw flow out of your pencil easily and with fluid motion. It seems so relaxed, yet perfect. I wish I knew how get images out of my head and onto paper. Once every six years or so I have a moment and I can draw something that I approve of. Everything else sucks. I wish I was consistant. They say you have to draw everyday, but I am my own worst enemy and I despise everything that I put on paper in between those few successes. I lack inspiration and individualism. I applaud you and your talent. Keep up the awesome blogging!

  19. Things are good-married 13 years -3 kids-happy and healthy-
    I got my happily ever after..sounds like we both got lucky-
    Oh yeah..Keep the blog the same-it's quirky..just like you..
    (smile old friend)

  20. I read The Ward O Matic everyday. I didn't go to CalArt either, (sob) I wanted to - lack of $.

    No one should feel like an outsider, if you animate your an animator.


  21. I think you have great things to say and frankly I enjoy that you're a person. I started my blog as kind of a craft/illustration/fiber art blog, but when you have a family and a job, that creeps in too. Frankly I think what makes blogs great is that they show the people behind the work....for better or for worse. I enjoyed looking into your work environment and just recently we bought The Incredibles and I went back and read your thoughts about that.
    I look for your insight into animation and I don't even know you!

  22. Yeah, what they all said. I've bookmarked some of those animation blogs you've mentioned, and I don't visit them much, to focused. Variety is good, The Ward-o-Matic is a daily read, but not just for any one topic.

    Keep it up; although retiring from blogging is apparently the new black.

  23. you is what you is.

    and that is a very, very good thing. you're thinking too hard again.

  24. Thanks for the diversity of your blog... there are many aspects of your life, and most must complement the others for you to come up with the final product, which is you. And your blog reflects that, which is great.

  25. Ward, I'm in the same boat. I'm a designer who occasionally but not exclusively posts about designy things on my weblog. I also used to fret about that stuff, too, but then I realized that blogs don't have to be about one thing to be good. Personally, I'm willing to sacrifice links from other, more specialized blogs to stay true to my weblog's original missing of posting whatever weird old crap captures my attention. And you should, too. Stay cool!