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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


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Birth: 30 April 1946


Animator, Director, Writer, Producer, Illustrator, Cartoonist, Designer, Filmmaker

Bio Summary

Bill Plympton is highly regarded in the animation world for his independent films including the shorts 25 ways to quit smoking and Guard Dog along with his feature work such as Hair High and I Married a Strange Person. He also worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for numerous newspapers and magazines and even directed some live action films as well. To help finance his features he publishes the films as graphic novels.

Early Life/Family

Bill grew up in a large family in Portland Oregon, where he credits the wet weather for nurturing his drawing skills and imagination. As with many animators, Bill showed his interest at a young age. When he was 14 he wrote to Disney offering his services as an animator. Like many he received mail back saying that he was too young, but that his work showed promise.


Graduated from Oregon City High School in 1964
Portland State University
-edited the yearbook
-member of the film society
School of Visual Arts 1968. He only attended for 1 year

Career Outline

1967-1972 served in the National Guard in order to avoid the Vietnam War
moved to New York in 1968
Plympton did illustrations and cartoons for The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone Magazine, Vanity Fair, Penthouse and National Lampoon.
1975 began his political cartoon strip Plympton which would eventually appear in over 20 newspapers.
Plympton is considered the first animator to draw every frame for an animated feature film by himself for The Tune.
He has created numerous short films along with his own feature work. He is currently working on Idiots and Angels which is slated for release in 2008.
1992-1993 FOX Network comedy series The Edge showed his work.
1980’s he did work for MTV
2001 to 2003, he teamed with Don Hertzfeldt for the touring The Don and Bill Show, which was played throughout the United States.
2005, Plympton's "Guard Dog" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
2005 Plympton animated a music video for Kanye West's "Heard 'Em Say."
2006, Plympton created the music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic’s "Don't Download This Song".
Comments On Style

Bill Plympton is known for his loose sketchy drawing style along with his sense of comedy. His work all done by hand and use a signifigantly less amount of drawings per second (4-6) than the Disney Style animation of 12-24 drawings a second.

Comments On Style

Crazy good


“Peter Chung, who did Aeon Flux. I'm a big fan of his stuff. [Hayao] Miyazaki, the Japanese animator who did Princess Mononoke and Porco Rosso, I think he's totally brilliant. And his stuff is very visual, too; that's one reason I like it.”-Bill Plympton
Recommendations by Bill Plympton if you want to be a Cartoonist
Books: As for books I recommend, I believe the number one bible of all animation books is Preston Blair's "Animation", published by Walter Foster. Also check out Leonard Maltin's "Of Mice and Magic", published by Plume.
Artists: As for artists I recommend - first, Tex Avery for his humor. Walt Disney for his imagination, story and business sense. Bob Clampett for his style and energy - especially the early Warner's stuff with Rob Scribner as animator. Winsor McCay (print and animation) for pure draughtmanship and imagination. Saul Steinberg for visual wit. Roland Topor for grotesque humor. And A.B. Frost for draughtmanship and style. Of course, there are many other artists who have influenced me, but you must find your own artists to emulate and slowly your style will evolve to become your own


He seems to be the kind of guy who is willing to try anything. His average day is get up around 6:30-7 and draw, work with staff, draw till seven, then either see a movie or go out to dinner with friends.


Turned down a 7-figure offer from The Walt Disney Company to animate on Aladdin (1992) because any ideas he developed while under contract with them would become their intellectual property.
He is considered the first animator to draw every frame of for an animated feature by himself.


Many of the male characters in his cartoons are self-portraits.


Animated features
The Tune (1992)
Mondo Plympton (1997 shorts compilation)
I Married a Strange Person! (1997)
Mutant Aliens (2001)
Hair High (2004)
Idiots and Angels (scheduled for 2008)[1]
Live-action features
J. Lyle (1993)
Guns on the Clackamas (1995)
Walt Curtis, the Peckerneck Poet (1997)
Animated shorts
The Great Turn On (1968)
Lucas the Ear of Corn (1977)
Boomtown (1985)
Drawing Lesson #2 (1985)
Love in the Fast Lane (1985)
Your Face (1987)
One of Those Days (1988)
How to Kiss (1989)
25 Ways to Quit Smoking (1989)
Plymptoons (1990)
Tango Schmango (1990)
Dig My Do (1990)
The Wise Man (1990)
Draw (1990)
Push Comes to Shove (1991)
Nosehair (1994)
Faded roads (1994)
How to Make Love to a Woman (1995)
Smell the Flowers (1996)
Boney D (1996)
Plympmania (1996)
Sex & Violence (1997)
The Exciting Life of a Tree (1998)
More Sex & Violence (1998)
Surprise Cinema (1999)
Can't Drag Race with Jesus (2000)
Eat (2001)
Parking (2001)
Twelve Tiny Christmas Tales (2001)
Guard Dog (2004)
The Fan & The Flower (2005)
Guide Dog (sequel to Guard Dog, 2006)
Shuteye Hotel (2007)
Compilations (DVD)
Avoid Eye Contact, Vol. 1
Avoid Eye Contact, Vol. 2
Bill Plympton's Dirty Shorts
Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works Of Bill Plympton (2006)
Mondo Plympton (2007)
Music videos
Peter Himmelman – "245 Days" (1990)
Kanye West – "Heard 'Em Say" (2005)
"Weird Al" Yankovic – "Don't Download This Song" (2006)
MTV public service announcement "Acid Rain" (1989)
Trivial Pursuit (1990-91)
Sugar Delight (1990)
Nik Naks (UK) 1995


Winsor McCay Award 2006

Related Links

A-HAA: Meta: 2006 Annie Award Winners

Bibliographic References
Beck, Jerry Animation Art


Contributors To This Listing

Melissa Goodway

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