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Playtime Bill

Bill Plympton has got some crazy work ethic. Since he made his name as in animator in the late ’80s with the Oscar-nominated Your Face, a short cartoon featuring not much more than a goofy little ditty sung by a man whose face is meanwhile collapsing in on itself and enduring all manner of surprising contortions, Plympton has produced three feature-length animated movies and about forty shorts. But get this: He drew every single drawing of every single one. Seriously, nobody does that.

“I’d guess about a quarter-million to a half-million drawings, something like that,” Plympton says of his prolific output. “It’s a pleasure; it’s playtime. It’s like I’m five years old, playing on the floor, just drawing characters.”

On some level, perhaps that’s because he’s made his career on his own terms: Far from the treacle and family-friendly sentiment we generally expect from animation, Plympton’s works are bizarre, surreal exercises that, while often violent in an exaggerated way, retain the playfulness and sweetness of that five-year-old boy. And while he sometimes struggles to find distribution, it’s made him a legend among those willing to look.

Tonight at 8 p.m., Plympton appears in person courtesy of the Ones and Zeroes Pixel Show at a screening of his most recent feature, Idiots and Angels, at the Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road; tickets are $12 to $15. Tomorrow, Plympton will talk about his work and sign his book, Independently Animated: Bill Plympton, at 209 Kalamath Street, Unit 7; tickets to that are $35, but the author promises it will be worth it: “Everybody who comes to my show — and I mean this — gets a free Bill Plympton drawing. I will do a sketch for everyone who comes through the door.”

For more info about the book, visit, for tickets or more information about his appearances, go to
Fri., May 20, 8 p.m., 2011


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