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The Bull's Eye

Planting new cartoon ideas

Ryan Kramer graduated in 2001 and pursued a career as a cartoonist.

Photo courtesy of RYAN KRAMER

Ryan Kramer graduated in 2001 and pursued a career as a cartoonist.

Amy Miyahara, Asst. A&E Editor

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Toonhole comics is run by Ryan Kramer and other cartoonists to comment on recent issues.

Although not everyone is able to turn their passion into a career, Diamond Bar High School class of 2001 alumnus Ryan Kramer took his love of drawing and pursued his calling in animation and cartooning. Kramer currently works as a storyboarder for the popular children’s television channel, Cartoon Network. 

Kramer has been working Cartoon Network, which is based in Burbank, for five years. At Cartoon Network, Kramer serves as both director and writer for the storyboard of various shows.

As a storyboard writer, he draws outlines of what the finished cartoon will look like, through choosing visual elements and adding dialogue.

As a director, he oversees the overall storyboard to ensure that it is ready to be animated. Kramer said that while he enjoys the process of building a premise into a full episode, the hardest part of his job is meeting deadlines.

“Sometimes you have to turn in what you have knowing that it could be better if you only had some more time,” he said via email.

Kramer said that his interest in drawing and cartooning developed from childhood. During his time at Diamond Bar High School, Kramer was involved in athletics and participated in drama productions, but also continued to draw and create comics.

“From a young age I always enjoyed drawing and cartoons, but in high school I would draw comics about my friends and would love getting a reaction from them. I figured I was decent enough at drawing and humor and decided to pursue a career in animation,” Kramer said. “My decision to pursue a career in animation was definitely influenced by my time in high school because art was the only thing I really felt excited about.”

After high school, Kramer studied animation at Cal State Fullerton, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts. From there, he found an animation internship, which gave him the experience to land his current position as a storyboarder at Cartoon Network.

Kramer has  worked on the writing and storyboarding for popular Cartoon Network shows “Ni Hao Kai-Lan,” “Ben 10,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness” and “Uncle Grandpa.”

While the simple animation style of “Ni Hao Kai-Lan” allowed Kramer to focus more on the storyboarding element of his job, working on “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness” allowed him to develop a different set of skills because of the 3D, action-packed nature of the popular series. “Uncle Grandpa” was Kramer’s first experience writing cartoons from an outline instead of creating a storyboard from a script.

“‘Uncle Grandpa’ for me was a special experience because it was a cartoon I would’ve loved to watch as a kid. I was really able to grow as a writer and artist on that show,” Kramer said.

In addition to his job at Cartoon Network, Kramer, along with some of his friends from college, runs a website called toonhole.com, where they post original animations and comics that they have created. Kramer said that the website provides him and his friends not only a platform to share their work, but also a way to get recruited for other jobs.

“While [Toonhole] only provides chump change for us, it’s actually been the single most important thing we’ve done for our careers in TV animation because that is how we’ve been recruited and recognized for jobs,” he said.  

Kramer advises students to pursue their talents, but acknowledges that compatibility and reliability are other important traits in achieving success.

“The best advice I can give is to spend your time doing what you want to excel at,” he said. “Also, you can’t just do good work… you have to be a likable person and be able to turn your work in on-time consistently.”

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Planting new cartoon ideas