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Tissa David : an appreciation


[photograph by John Canemaker. click to see larger]

"She knows perfectly well why she does something.  She's an artist, that woman."

- Dick Williams

"I'm a loner. I always was. It's a disciplined life in a way.  But I think anyone who does any kind of creative work has to have discipline"
, says Tissa David, in the small apartment on New York's upper East Side where she lives and works.


So opens the chapter in John Canemaker's book "The Animated Raggedy Ann & Andy: An Intimate Look at the Art of Animation; It's History, Techniques, and Artists" titled  "Tissa David -- The Lonelieness of the Long-Distance Animator" .

Animator/director Michael Sporn, who has worked closely with master animator Tissa David ,  posted a series of animation roughs by Tissa on his blog today and it made me remember how much Tissa's drawings have inspired me over the years.   Here is the link to the  drawings on Michael's blog :

Drawings from Tissa David walk cycle from the Hubley's film  "Upkeep".

Here is a Quicktime movie of that walk cycle:

View Tissa_WalkCycle.mov (39.9K)

As I mentioned in my comment on Michael Sporn's blog , one of the reasons I enjoy Michael's blog so much is because of the sense of history there (especially in his featuring of East Coast animation artists and studios).  Michael Sporn learned much of his craft from Tissa David,  who learned from Grim Natwick, who stretches back almost to the very beginning of character animation as we know it.
(You'd have to  go back to Winsor McCay to get back much before Natwick) .

There is a concise biography of Tissa David on Michael Sporn's studio site, listing some of the major work she has done as an animator. Tissa's most recent animation was in 2005 for Michael Sporn's film "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" ,which I have mentioned a couple of times previously.


I have been inspired by Tissa David's animation and drawings since my teenage years when I was blessed to have found a copy of Canemaker's book on the making of "Raggedy Ann & Andy" . Whatever the merits of the finished product,  "Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure"  was an important film in that it showcased the talents of certain veteran animators (featured among them : Tissa David , Art Babbitt, Emery Hawkins)  as well as gave a break into animated feature films to many up and coming animation artists  of the then younger generation , such as Eric Goldberg, Dan Haskett,  Tom Sito, Chrystal Russell-Klabunde, Gian Celestri, Michael Sporn , and many others. .  (actually Sporn had been working professionally in animation , mainly for John and Faith Hubley, since the early 70's , but for many of these younger artists Raggedy Ann was their first or one of their first professional animation jobs, and a golden opportunity to work alongside of and learn from veteran animation artists.  Tom Sito posted some of his memories about the  Raggedy Ann  crew on his blog , here .)   

Here are a few of Tissa David's beautiful animation roughs from Raggedy Ann & Andy.  (I highly recommend the book as one of the best chronicles ever of the making of an animated film, if you can find a copy of this long out-of-print book) . 

[click on the images to see them larger]






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Beautiful drawings. This was the first time I heard about Tissa David. Thanks for sharing these drawings and information. Blogs are just great..



I've added a link to a short biography on Tissa from Michael Sporn's studio site.


Hi David:

You've inspired me to go thumbing thru my Raggedy Ann material. I'll try to post some things these next few days. The art is all so large, I'll probably go for the material I can scan with one or two joins.

I love Tissa's drawing. Always have, always will.

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