Corny Cole

“Beep beep! I’m the slowest roadrunner you’ve ever seen!” he’d say in the Character Animation hallway at CalArts, ambling along his walker not all that long ago…

I was fortunate enough to have Corny as my freshman mentor. When I showed him the animatic for VALUE BLiND and my sketchbook, he recommended that I animate small, and gave visual suggestions for the look of the film. By gosh was he right! This man spewed advice from a long life of experience.

“Draw, dammit!” (And when you’re sick of drawing, draw some more!)

I remember one of his most charming characteristics was a goofy mind. Here’s this old man with a wispy beard– giving sage advice on drawing cartoons?! Didn’t seem to make sense, but was it ever great!

He remembered my portfolio and recognized the model out of the first life drawings I showed him. And two years later, on his visit to CalArts (many thanks to Bob Kurtz), he recognized me– and said “she’s a good animator!” I’d never felt such honor before….

Knowing that night was going to be full of fun stories and experiences, I recorded the full hour and a half, and I wanted it out there for the rest of the animation community to enjoy. I now offer you a 42-megabyte .m4a of that night!

>>Corny Cole, Feb 16th 2011 @ the Palace (CalArts)<<

This is one guy whose brain I wish could have been magically preserved, hooked up to a computer… Something like that.

He also made that drawing for me at the top of this post!

He also made Heaven and Hell, Originally for the 1981 movie Heavy Metal. He told his employers yeah, yeah, I’m working on it– it’s almost done. The film deadline passed. Twenty years later, he finishes! What a rebel!

And here’s a drawing of him. Gonna miss him– but does an animator, one who creates life, ever really die?


One thought on “Corny Cole

  1. Corny crossed over August 8th, 2011.

    Corny Cole was my older cousin (20+ years senior) and a profoundly enlightening influence in my life. One of the most enjoyable times of my life started when Corny invited me to work with him as Assistant Animator when I was 20…I had no interest in “commercial” art, I was a “fine artist”, but I loved my cousin Corny, so how could I refuse and…it was $150 bucks a week!

    For a short while, I had the joy of drawing Directly on frosted cels with Write Brothers ball points and painting on the back, but mostly, I learned from the “World of Corny”, a magical other realm of possibilities, and from the unconditional acknowledgment and encouragement of one of the most pure artists ever.

    He was that, a true artist, which could at times bear upon his family and “real” life, but he was lucky to be surrounded be loving people who recognized that he was an eccentric, wonderful, inspiring artistic angel, and we were so blessed by his mastery, humbleness and respect…he was soo respectful and uplifting.

    He will live always in my heart.

    Thanks for your tribute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.