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Book Review: Paul Driessen's My Life in Cartoons

Paul Driessen has just published his autobiography, My Life In Cartoons, and it is as delightful to read as his films are to watch.

My Life in Cartoons

by Paul Driessen


Published by At Bay Press @atbaypress

154 Pages      Paperback    $24.95/ €22.94/£19.68 (Photos courtesy At Bay Press)

Everyone in the animation world knows Paul Driessen’s films. Known for their wittiness, it stands to reason that any book he writes about his life will also be witty. He has just published his autobiography, My Life In Cartoons, and it is as delightful to read as his films are to watch.

Paul starts with a brief look back at his family before telling us about his early years. Born in Holland in 1940, just before the Nazi German occupation, at the age of six his family moved to Moscow where his father was an attaché to the Dutch Ambassador.

Not allowed to attend Russian schools, Paul and his brother and sister were home-schooled by their mother. He attributes his ability to come up with original ideas for his films to his years of being isolated from conventional day-to-day life. Paul’s love of drawing began at an early age.

After years of drawing cartoons, his animation career began in 1964 when he discovered The Cine Cartoon Center, an animation studio in Hilversun, a town near Amsterdam. His first animation assignment was a ten-second commercial for an industrial glue. The commercial was never shown on television but was accepted at the 1965 Annecy Animation Festival, which was a great eye-opener and the beginning of a brilliant animation career.

From working on Yellow Submarine in London to moving to Montreal to work at the National Film Board of Canada, I have given a bare outline of his beginnings, but to get the full story of his life as Paul humorously tells it you have to read the book.

The 3 Misses

An award-winning director/animator/cartoonist, Paul has been honored with more than fifty prizes and awards including Lifetime Achievement Awards at both Ottawa and Zagreb Animation Festivals, an Annie from ASIFA Hollywood, and the Dutch Directors Guild Oeuvre Award. In 2000 Paul was nominated for an Oscar for his ten-minute film 3 Misses.

Along with the stories about his life in animation, there are a lot of stories and information about his films. The book is worth the price just for its wealth of photos and cartoons. In fact, why not buy two copies and give one to a friend who loves to laugh?

The 7 Brothers: Rapunzel

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