Get Your Ducks in a Row

Spring is here which means April Showers – and lots of rubber duckies! I’m currently working on some sketches to help my client out for her book. She runs a company called Duckies In A Row
and it’s about getting your goals in gear and organised. My friend thinks this one duck looks like Glenn Beck – can you pick out which one? In any case, here are a few suggestions to get your ducks in a row:

1. Get a clear vision on what you want
2. Understand your values, purpose and mission
3. Understand and embrace your essence – Be who you really are
4. Get a master plan organised by having the right people join your team
5. Master your mind – clear out negative thinking and embrace the positive

I’m the first to admit I’m quacked and have a lot to work on within myself. Hopefully these guidelines will at least get you inspired and get your ducks in a row! Have FUN with the process!

A Rise to the Occasion

A few years back while I was working at Scholastic I was asked to do what seemed to be the impossible – a caricature of Ms. Deborah Forte who is the President of Scholastic Media. She is an Emmy-award winning producer of over 300 productions and including films such as The Indian in the Cupboard, The Golden Compass and Clifford’s Big Movie. Currently Ms. Forte is working on future films such as Mortal Engines, Goosebumps (Columbia Pictures)and will be producing the The 39 Clues movie with Steven Spielberg. She’s extremely talented, super smart and one TOUGH business woman.

I was very nervous and challenged to really do something special – and rose to the occasion. I remember being up all night trying to think of something creative and different and of course to do a caricature that would make her look fabulous! I remember doing her in pencil, pastel and mixed media to give her a nice “soft” look and really enjoyed drawing the Scholastic book characters. I used a shadow box and made the characters pop out by having it look 3-D.

After the department presented the art to her I had no idea what she thought of it. A few days later I was stepping out of the elevator from my long day at work. Ms. Forte saw me, ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug and said, “OMG Cathy! I LOVE IT!”

I’m proud to say it is STILL in her office to this day and has been one of my most challenging but rewarding pieces of work! I always seem to get a surprised response when I tell people I did Ms. Forte’s caricature so I thought it’d be fun to show it to you all.

How to Pitch for Animation

Last night the Women’s in Animation (WIA) and Women’s in Children’s Media (WICM) hosted a great event at animation studio Curious Pictures here in NYC. Was a great talk about how to pitch for animation lead by Kristin Martin and Marina Grasic. Here are some great pointers for those of you who’d like to pitch to tv companies:

FIRST START WITH AN IDEA
Who are my characters? Character development is most important in this process. What are these characters like? Where do they live? What is their world? What are the elements of your show idea being funny? Adventurous? Interesting?
Why is the show unique and different?
What style of animation? There is 2D, 3D, claymation, computer generated
What network do you visualize your tv show to be on? Be sure to do your homework and watch episodes and programs on their channel before doing a pitch. Look for what is “lacking” in their programming schedule and fill that niche!

DOING THE PITCH BOOK
A pitch book is what you present to a broadcaster so they can get an idea about what your show is about, what is the setting, and who your characters are. In regards to character development, here are the roles:
The Artist draws the characters
The Producer coordinates the information and ideas
The Writer outlines the characters, describes the scene and setting
The Showrunner is the executive producer/writer and outranks the director.
Main responsibility is to manage day to day production. Usually has a close relationship
with the broadcaster.
COVER PAGE:
An image of all the characters and their environment ought to provide the broadcaster a sense of what the show will be about and if it is humorous, a drama, live action, etc. Of course mention the show title as well!
PAGE ONE:
Have a brief introduction page showcasing all of your characters with a two sentence blurb.
PAGE TWO:
Then have one page of each character and in 2-3 paragraphs describe the character’s personality, background, relationship to the other characters, hobbies, interests, quirks, etc. Keep it brief.
PAGE THREE:
Background setting – describe the setting, have visual backgrounds showcasing the environment, town, homes, etc.
PAGE FOUR:
Visual development – the characters and backgrounds are showcased but plays with the color, design, style and their world
PAGE FIVE:
Written treatment – describes the main concepts and characters of the show in less than 6 pages.
PAGE SIX:
Episode ideas – builds on the treatment and visual development to lay out episode ideas. Use only 4-5 ideas and keep them no more than half a page. About 2 paragraphs should be enough.
Can a pitch book be more than six pages – of course! But keep it brief and to the point so that the person you are pitching to is not overwhelmed at all and “gets” the concept of your show.

For more information about WIA go to http://wia.animationblogspot.com/chapters/new-york/
For more information about WICM go to

In the WhiteHouse! (well, almost!)

A few months ago, I was asked to do a caricature of Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth. She represents the NY state district 19 area. I really enjoyed the challenged do doing an elected official and it’s now hanging in her office in Washington, D.C! Who knows? Maybe she’ll run for president someday! Whether someone is an independent, democract or republican – to me it’s just a person whom I’d love to draw! For more information on Nan, check out http://www.nanhayworth.com

Eat Pray Draw

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best selling novel, Eat Pray Love. I loved her book and she was amazing in person. She spoke at the Academy of Life here in NYC and was witty, charming and very funny. Everyone kept asking her about the meaning / secret of life and even she is still figuring that out! I did her caricature and she loved it. For more information on Liz, check out http://www.elizabethgilbert.com

Why I love doing caricatures

Hi there!

I love doing caricature work and have been doing it for over 20 years – check out my website http://cathynolan.com and thanks for visiting! More to come soon – promise!