Although Terry Naughton may not be a household name, his work certainly is. A former artist and animator for Disney studios, he has worked on films such as Aladdin, The Lion King and Beauty and The Beast. He is an active book illustrator and artist working on various projects including illustrating a children’s book written by Peter Mayhew.
During Comicpalooza I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Naughton, and get his take on the animation industry and his projects.
Mr. Naughton’s responses are in bold.
You’ve done children’s books with Peter and Angie Mayhew, and are part of Hound Comics publishing, and working on Shane Moore’s Abyss Walker series, has it been a system shock to go from the grind of Disney animation into book illustration?
Not really, I started out as a book illustrator, and my art instructor, Jack Lynwood, said he thought I should work at Disney, and he knew someone there. I called and they weren’t interested, but when I mentioned Jack Lynwood’s name, they said come in for an interview. Well the person I spoke to was the president of the studio, the guy was the Michael Eisner of that time period, and he said he would get me to the right department to start working. I didn’t even know how to do a flip book, and one of the special effects guys had pity on me and showed me how to flip. They kept giving deadlines that if I didn’t meet I’d be fired. I made through that first year, thought I would only be there a year or two, and wound up being with Disney for seventeen years. But, I stared out as an illustrator so; it’s kind of like coming back home for me.
Do you feel that the move some studios have made towards almost all CGI or 3D cartons will hurt 2D animation the way the move to overseas animation production hurt companies like Filmation in the 70’s and 80’s ?
I love all kinds of animation, but I don’t understand the major studios, like Disney and DreamWorks, to shove out 2D animation and go to CGI. Now, all animation has it’s place, I couldn’t imagine Snow White in 3D, or The Incredibles in 2D animation, so it has a charm to the style it’s in. That being said, I think 2D animation still has its place in film making. I loved the old Filmation stuff, and I grew up on Jonny Quest and Space Ghost, tat sort of stuff, do I really have a fondness for that type of animation.
Are there any projects besides Brimstone, in the Hound Comics titles you think would make a good cartoon or animated movie?
Well, we’re doing a cartoon for kids called The Border-Pups, based on the Border-Hounds series. It introduces what are essentially characters aimed at an n older market and makes them in to little kids, and that allows us to make cartoons that have a moral lesson aimed at kids.
I am working on a project, which I won’t really be doing any animating, I’ all be doing mostly storyboarding. It’s going to be an homage to the Chuck Jones, Fred Quimby stuff. I don’t think there are any really good Saturday morning cartoons out right now, and I would like to bring that sort of thing back.
With more access to production tools in both the CGI and 2D animation, do you see resurgence in small studios doing their own stuff, or getting crowded out by big name studios?
If they can produce quality work, I think that yeah, they can compete with the big studios. Being consistent and doing quality stuff, they’ve got a shot. But there are a lot of studios out there just trying to make a buck, and those studios don’t need to be around if they’re not putting out good animation.
Your work on the USC posters is great, but any love for Texas A&M or UT, couldn’t they use some cool posters too?
I am a died-in-the wool blue and gold fan, but most of my work is for the enemy the Oakland Raiders. I’m thinking I should throw myself off of a bridge because of the sacrilege. But, I’ve done all kinds of artwork for different teams. In fact I have a niece going to U.T. so yeah, if they wanted me to do some work for them, I would.