MAD About China

May 25th, 2017 | Posted in General

The NCS Gang: L to R: Me, John and Suzanne Glynn, Luke, Steve and Joe McGarry

I just spend the better part of ten days in China as part of what was billed as the “2017 China- U.S. Comics Summit Forum” at the Jilin Animation Institute in Changchun. It was an intensive, jam-packed week of forums, panels, talks and lectures as well as a lot of touring of J.A.I. and it’s many program exhibits by our delegation from the National Cartoonists Society.

Consul General of U.S. Consolate General Shenyang Gregory May addresses the forum

The Jilin Animation Institute itself is a very impressive facility. The campus is huge, and they are moving to an even bigger campus in just a few years. Despite the name, animation is only one of the arts disciplines they teach at J.A.I. If it’s art related they probably have a program for it there. They have a huge comics department and teach styles from manga to western to traditional Chinese comic storytelling. Their animation dept offers courses in 2D and 3D animation, and they have programs in industrial design, architecture, textile and fabric arts, product design… you name it. As this was the end of their year they had multiple exhibitions of final work from all departments. The work was really outstanding.

Ran into an old pal…

I hope this doesn’t say anything bad about me…

Interestingly enough the school is also a company that produces comics and animated films as well as other products. The faculty act as the principal creative team and producers, and students do work on the final products. Their big film work is an animated series called “The Frog Kingdom”, which already has two movies with “Frog Kingdom 3” in production.  It’s a pretty cool looking series.

Lecturing on caricature…

I did two talks, one a presentation on caricature and MAD to the forum itself, and another a lecture to the comics arts students on the art of caricature. There were also multiple panel forums where our delegation, which consisted of myself, internationally syndicated cartoonist Steve McGarry, cartoonists, illustrators, designers and musicians Joe and Luke McGarry, and Universal UClick executives and creative directors John and Suzanne Glynn, spoke to the forum audience as well as to students and faculty.

One of the forum discussions we participated in with teachers and students

Me drawing at a workshop jam session

Even John got in on the drawing action!

The McGarry’s busy drawing!

This was my first trip to China, but as I am now an official visiting professor at J.A.I. I will probably be going there occasionally to lecture. We did get to see some sights and experience plenty of Chinese culture (and food!)

All those squats on leg day came in handy…

Climbed the Great Wall (not all of it)

Chinese Red Bull… not as potent as the U.S. version

The Forbidden City in Beijing!



  1. Greg L says:

    Looks as if it was another outstanding experience! The stereotype of a cartoonist has been one of isolation and working alone in a studio for most of your career. While I’m sure part of this is still true, I think it’s great that the fact you are a cartoonist has actually taken you around the world!

  2. alex in San Jose says:

    The stereotype is … NERD!!! And you’re certainly breaking that one.

  3. LEE F.H. says:

    Your chinese signboard states you’re a sarcasm caricature & character design artist. Chinese translations often are funny.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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