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Think Out Loud

Bill Plympton

Pete Springer/OPB

Do you think cartoons are just for kids? If so, Bill Plympton would respectfully disagree with you. He’s an Oscar-nominated animator and cartoonist who grew up in Oregon City. His films are most popular in Europe, he says, where they enjoy his “more sophisticated form of cartoons” and where they believe cartoons aren’t just for kids.

Plympton says he got into animation because of the rainy Oregon weather, which kept him inside a lot as kid. His love grew in art school at Oregon City High, then developed even more at Portland State University where he was part of the film society. Plympton also spent some of those early years doing political cartoons for Willamette Week and The Oregonian.

Now based in New York, he spends his days drawing. He’s best known for the animated films that garnered him Oscar nominations Guard Dog and Your Face. But he’s produced dozens of other films and shorts, worked on music videos (like Kanye West’s “Heard ‘Em Say” and Weird Al’s “Don’t Download this Song”), and illustrated advertisements like this one for Taco Bell.

This week Plympton is back in town to promote a couple of his DVDs and to reconnect with people who were involved with one of the few live action films he’s produced, Guns on the Clackamas.

Do you know Plympton’s work? What’s your feeling about the art of animation? Have your artistic endeavors been inspired by your childhood years, like Plympton’s were in Oregon City? What questions do you have for Plympton?


  • Bill Plympton: Oscar-nominated animator, filmmaker and cartoonist 
animation cartoons film

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