Drawing From Experience

Van Partible turned an old Saturday morning habit into a career path.

Remember waking up on Saturday mornings and parking it in front of the television for hours of crazy cartoon antics? Like most of us, 26-year-old Van Partible watched his fair share of cartoons as a child. Today, he makes his livelihood as a cartoon animator for Hanna-Barbera.

Partible had spent years copying the artwork from his collections of old comic books. He loved to draw, but it wasn't until college that he decided to pursue a career in animation. At Loyola Marymount U. in Los Angeles, Partible majored in studio arts with a concentration in animation. It was here that he began work on his first animated short film, "A Mess O' Blues," about an over-the-hill rock star.

Upon graduation in 1993, Partible didn't have the extensive portfolio or experience that studios were looking for. For several months, he worked at a local elementary school in a day care program, waiting and hoping for a break.

His break came seven months later, when he learned about the Hanna-Barbera shorts program. Each year, Hanna-Barbera and the Cartoon Network solicit seven-minute animated films. Anyone with a funny idea can submit their piece, so Partible decided to give it a go. Out of hundreds of pitches, the network chose Partible's.

Even luckier still, Partible was asked by Hanna-Barbera to turn his work into a weekly cartoon series. So for the past year, Partible has been working with a team of directors and writers to develop 13 half-hour episodes of his new show, "Johnny Bravo."

"Johnny Bravo is a very narcissistic man. He's kind of a womanizer. It's basically about him and his life," Partible says. "I just came up with this guy who doesn't get it. He's kind of sleazy but he has a good heart and he listens to his Mom."

Partible's goal in making "Johnny Bravo" was to make the animation reminiscent of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. To help achieve this, he enlisted the help of the master animators who originally developed the Hanna-Barbera cartoons years ago. Even Joe Barbera himself sat in on the creative sessions as a mentor, answering Partible's questions and helping him come up with gags for the show.

"The hardest challenge with making this series was finding people who can write funny," Partible says. "I eventually found this great group of people . Every single episode I watch, I laugh out loud."

Partible's advice for becoming an expert animator is to keep drawing. He says it's important to emulate cartoonists that you like and then work on developing your own style.

For now, Partible teaches animation at Loyola Marymount and is hoping his new series will be picked up for more episodes. Original episodes of "Johnny Bravo" will begin airing on Monday, July 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on the Cartoon Network

Name: Van Partible
Job: Cartoon creator
How He Got It:
Submitted work to Hanna-Barbera's "shorts" program after school.


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This site was last updated on 02/20/2001