November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Herb Moore, Cartoonist/Interview

© 2011 Herb Moore


“Draw until your hand feels numb…”

An Interview with Herb Moore

by Mike Foldes

The following interview with cartoonist Herb Moore was conducted via e-mail exchange in April 2011.

Q: When I look at your drawings on your web site, it seems like I’ve seen these somewhere before. How long have you been at this, and where does your work typically appear?

Herb Moore: I was a doodler in school but it was more to escape listening to the teacher than for a love of drawing, ha, ha.

Herb Moore's self-portrait.

Mike, I’ve been in this business for twenty years and have worked at almost every major studio in Hollywood, with the exception of Dreamworks and Sony, but I’ve pitched project ideas to both.  I’ve spent most of my time working at Warner Bros. and so maybe some of their style rubbed off on me, ha, ha.  I was always a fan of the Warner Bros. cartoons when I was a kid because the characters seemed to have some bite to them.  They developed some great characters and character duos.  Now I’m working on Phineas & Ferb, during the day, and it has to be one of the best productions that I’ve ever been on both because of the staff and the show itself. Finally, my website has been an opportunity to showcase some of my personal work as well as a place to host any new content that I create.  I’m soon to release a new animated short titled, “Duffy McTaggart and the 19th Hole” and I’m co-developing several mobisode series of animations for a client outside of the United States.  I’m very proud of animationsoup.net and I look forward to creating even more content to showcase at my website.

Q: Where did you study animation techniques, or did you have on-the-job training?

HM: I passionately studied animation on my own as I obtained my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  I knew that I needed to draw as much as possible, and really had no solid guidance as to what I “should” do exactly, but I wasn’t going to be stopped.  Once I got my foot in the door at my first “industry” job, that’s when finding work became a little bit easier.  I actually learned more on the job than I possibly could have been taught in school.  I’ll admit, an education in an animation program would have helped, but really, once I got my foot in the door, and I demonstrated my desire to work hard and learn, I did fine, (and will continue to).

Q: In becoming a cartoonist, did you distinguish between what apparently came naturally to you and the classical concepts of ‘fine art’? In your mind, what’s the distinction?

HM: That’s a heavy question for a lite mind like mine, ha, ha.  As I studied “fine art” in college, I initially knew I needed to draw as much as possible and fine art allowed that, but what I gained was an appreciation for true art and what it takes to create it.  I knew that I could tell an entertaining story, as well as act funny, and I felt that I could back that up with great drawings “eventually,” as I worked at drawing, but I had no appreciation for what it actually took to create through art.  Fine art to me is the ability to create something artistically that can be appreciated in one way or another, that is unique, born out of it’s creators experiences, feelings, imagination, and is one’s own personal expression.  Wow, that’s good stuff, I have to write that down.

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Q: I take it you’ve worked with quite a number of other cartoonists over the years. Who do you recall as being most memorable, or fun to work with?

HM: When I worked at Warner Bros. several years ago, I worked with Bob Doucette who was probably one of the most enjoyable artists for me to work ever with because he was so pleasant, as well as extremely talented.  I learned so much from him and had a great time.  Currently, Rob Hughes at Disney is the most fun because he knows funny, he knows how to make people laugh with his artwork, as well as his writing.  I have never laughed so hard as when I’m working with Rob.  I have been extremely blessed to have worked with some very talented and enjoyable people who have eventually turned into great friends.

Q: What do you think of the “Beavis and Butthead” or “South Park” programs? Anime? Any favorite styles?

HM: I love animation, unless it’s totally crap and I just don’t watch crap.  Shows like “Beavis and Butthead”, as well as “South Park”, are great shows.  I was so happy when “South Park” won an Emmy a few years ago.  It’s hard for me to say I have a favorite style, but I will say this, I love independent animation productions both feature films and short form.  Some of the most creative and well thought out animation seems to come from independent productions.

Q: Herb, I imagine both hardware and software have changed a lot since you started out, and there is the fear technology is taking over for pushing pencils and papers (people). How has the business changed technically since you started out and is how is demand these days for good cartoonists? Where is that demand coming from (if it is)?

HM: Things have definitely changed but technology is simply allowing us to do more things faster.  Yes, you have to know more than just how to draw but the possiblities in animation are broader today than ever before.  Personally, I believe “demand” for talented artists and animators is quite healthy these days, in most if not all areas of animation.  And, you don’t have to live in Los Angeles or New York, etc., to be consistently busy within this industry.  The internet has obviously open up a lot of opportunities for animators and I only see that increasing.  Also, animation in the games business is growing rapidly, all due to the blossoming of the digital age.

Q: What computer programs do you find most helpful to produce your cartoons?

HM: I use Sketchbook Pro for creating and developing ideas, such as backgrounds and characters, and then I do my animations in Adobe Flash.  I often use Photoshop in creating or touching up artwork for my website or for presentation.  I’ll also use Adobe Premiere to assemble my animatics as well as my final output of my latest animted short film.

Q: Any tips for the aspiring cartoonist?

HM: Well, yes.  Not only do you need to draw until your hand feels numb every waking hour of the day, and you must continue to study great shows, films and great stories, but you have to be technologically prepared for drawing on digital tablets, like the various Wacom tablets, and you have to know a variety of software, and then be able to manipulate your images in different ways.  Younger people have such a great opportunity to impact the world through their creations because we’re linked together now more than ever, so be prepared.

Visit Moore’s web site at: http://www.animationsoup.net

2 comments

1 Zaira Rahman { 05.03.11 at 6:22 am }

Interesting and aspirational interview. I really liked Herb’s website…it is fun and edgy.

I also agree with him when he said…that once you are out there you learn the most…even more than what we learn in professional schools.

2 on the job training { 05.14.11 at 2:31 am }

Who wouldn’t love to get paid for just drawing, ahhh… if we all only had the talent!