so long summer

It was probably the craziest summer ever experienced in our 14 years together. But we endured. And we enjoyed, believe it or not.

So long, Summer '08. You were a doozy. Thanks for the memories.


  1. Hi Ward.
    I wrote this in response to your posting of 8/2/08 and not to sure if you got it so thought I'd try again, I agree its been a doozy of a summer but i found your post and the responses encouraging, a lot of us are struggling now a days. Great post on Jan Balet and terrific art you've been posting recently. Here's my original response to 8/2/08.

    Hi Ward. Your post was very encouraging.. I'm in exactly the same boat and concentrating on exactly the same things moving forward. Like you my love of drawing has always taken precedence but I don't view that a bad thing. I believe strongly that its a skill that needs maintenance and to drift away from that core skill in favor of learning new technology is a mistake. A balance needs to be struck...skill with new technology will keep you employed and feed your family...drawing will feed your soul.. both are important. Your style is a great fit for Flash - you'll take to it like a duck to water. Push work in your own style as well as being a hired gun. Gallery showing..why not..go for it, you're an artist..put your stuff out there and as always crave out your "my time" to do your thing. Don't concentrate on the should haves .. its easy to say that.. when things don't work out people tend to do that.. when it was rough for me I second guessed decisions I made thirty years ago.. not a good place to go. Concentrate on moving forward, which you will, successfully, I'm sure. As well remember the decisions you made along the way were the best decisions for you at the time. No one has a crystal ball, sure I've learned to keep my ear to the ground more then what I did for what's coming. Like you ( I'm assuming) I underestimated the impact of Flash in particular on 2D Animation production. I chose during the early 2000's to go back to night school and concentrate on drawing again after a hiatus into management. Why ? Because I ENJOYED it, it was where my passion was and I sorely needed to get back into touch with something I enjoyed at that time. Do I regret taking my eye of where the industry was going and missing the boat.. a little. Do I regret doing what was right for me.. not at all. Trends are a funny thing.. I got into 3D in 1990 and spent three years looking for work and turning up nothing. The summer of 1993 I got into developing digital scanning, Ink and paint technology because that's what opened up. Jurassic Park comes out and all of a sudden I get phone calls from everyone I submitted a portfolio to asking if I want work. What happened... Jurassic Park proved the validity of hiring traditional animators to sit down and work in CGI. During the years I was in the wilderness employment wise, companies despite my urging could not get their heads around hiring some one who didn't program. I was ahead of the curve and by the time it caught up with me I had, by necessity, moved on and passed on jumping on board. I use my history as a way to tell younger persons getting into the business, trends, technology, come and go..pay attention to it but always, always be honing your core skills.. firstly and foremost the ability to draw. That will stay with you in the long term and fanning the flames of that passion will keep you going. Pardon the ranting nature of this...in brief, I'm saying I believe you did and have done what was best for you. Move on from here, don't beat yourself up and take pride in your skills. For what its worth, and it may not be always acknowledged you're incredibly well rounded experience wise... that will pay dividends eventually. I'll be in Ottawa and will make a point of looking you up.. I've enjoyed reading your blog and following what's going on with you for several years now. Hang in there..

  2. Hey Ward,

    I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there. As a long time survivor of the animation business, I have a pretty good idea what you're going through.

    Of course, back in the old days we never had high tech skills to contend with. So, no need to learn Flash, Maya or any other tech skills because they didn't exist. I did, however, learn to do every darn job in the cartoon business. If any job in any category opened up -- I was ready for it.

    I hope things work out so you can stay in Portland. The one thing I never had to deal with was moving. Luckily I lived in Southern California, the heart of the animation business.

  3. Yo, Ward. The Force is with you.
    I think it was a crazy summer for both of us. I turned a huge corner on the teaching gig, found it to be the adult decision I needed to make.
    It was time to put the toys away - and no longer think as a child.

    I think maybe your situation showed something you didn't think you had - a strong penchant for independence.
    I salute your entrepreneurial quests.

  4. Hi Ward,

    i've been a long-time reader of your blog, and I want you to know that what you've gone through this summer has been an inspiration to me in more ways then one. I am still on the outside of the animation world, and am learning to better myself as an artist. I feel many of the same frustrations (I gather) that you have had to face, but I think we could both agree that progress takes time, but the reward is worth the work! You have a great unit around you in your family. Here's to your fortune coming up roses. All the best. Gabe.

  5. Hey, I think I know that beach. :-)

    Hang in there, li'l buckaroo. You guys are such a great family. You'll survive anything.

  6. hmmm. how did i get to this blog?
    ok, i was reading through the latest posts on 'drawn'. came across the one about coraline, which i can't wait to see. i love character based stop motion and all art in general. so then i was like, hmmm, the person who wrote this post used to work in laika. then i had a mini seizure hehhe. i've been dreaming of the day i can visit a studio like that. and then i clicked on 'ward' to see who this 'ward' was. alas, to my dismay hehe, that didn't work. then i came across the blue word in your text: BLOGGER. i clicked on it and there i was at your blog. went to read a bit more about ward and who he exactly is. i think i kind of got caught in a family whirlwind of happy birthdays...yes...yes...i somehow read the whole post, with the comments by your mum, your wife it seems and more heheh....was nice to read the story of how your first animation came to life...hmmm...in little words though i think i've said too much already, this is quite a cosy blog and i will now add it to my bookmarks. not now now because i'm still writing. buuuuuttt, in a minute...i will return to my art loving worlds now and feel free to hit me back with a comment if you read this!!!