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LETTERS

Sketching a future

March 28, 2004

Regarding Lynell George's article "Out of the Picture" (March 21), I am saddened that a great form of American cinema is coming to an end. As a former animation worker at such studios as Epoch and MGM Animation (both no longer in business), I got to work in a field I've always dreamed of but for only two years before the bubble burst. It then took four years to realize that life in this business was not going to return.

I transitioned into a new line of work that uses my artistic skills: caricature portrait artist. I work in high-tourist environments and draw people on a one-on-one basis. I have noticed many former animators in Southern California doing the same, not just to make money but to continue the work they love, drawing cartoons that delight a grateful yet smaller audience.

But in drawing for many young people, I noticed the trend for classic caricature design has also changed. Like the animation industry itself, I had to adapt or perish. They wanted anime style -- the look that is linked to Japanese cartoons of Pokemon fame. The Japanese make more animation than any country on the planet. With such noted Oscar successes as "Spirited Away" (2003), the popularity of this art form has been growing and affecting many artists and consumers of animation -- a fact that may be influencing the decline of the Disney magic more than computers!

Paul Dale

Los Angeles

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Thank you for putting names and faces to the reality of outsourcing. These wonderful, imaginative people have brought so much joy, laughter and entertainment into our lives they certainly deserve our gratitude, not to mention keeping their jobs! Somehow we think of outsourcing for cheap labor in the manufacturing industries. Now we see it in service and creative industries as well. Hopefully, those who make the decisions to sacrifice jobs in the name of increased "stockholder value" will one day be subject to the same value determination.

Judy McLaughlin

Simi Valley

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