Ben Towle talks cartooning on film
Artist Ben Towle, whose credits include Midnight Sun and Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, is the subject of Folktales and Airships, a documentary by Peter Salomone, a filmmaker who is working toward an MFA in filmmaking at Wake Forest University. Towle confessed to having some misgivings about the project:
One of my big personal pet peeves with comics documentaries is how the actual comics artwork is filmed and shown on-screen. Filmmakers (because they’re used to moving images I assume) have a tendency to want to make the comics images move and this often works out really really badly. It also seems to me to imply that the original static comics images are somehow deficient and need to be “augmented” for use in film. A particularly egregious example of this is Tintin and Me, in which Hergé’s artwork is separated into foreground and background elements and then subjected to some sort of half-assed animation effect. On the other hand, I can certainly see some reasoning behind not wanting just a static image on-screen for long periods. There are a lot of ways to handle this problem in film, and I had some trepidations for sure about how it would be dealt with with my artwork.
Nonetheless, he was happy with the way Folktales and Airships turned out. It’s only 9 minutes long, but the film has a nice mix of Towle’s art and interviews with the artist himself.