Sunday, November 28, 2010

Burton on Drawing, Parenthood, Kids' Shows

Tim Burton spoke with AOL's ParentDish to discuss his recent book of art (which includes over 1,000 illustrations), drawing with his kids, and being a parent, among other relevant topics:

ParentDish: Hi, Tim.
Tim Burton:
If you hear screaming children, I apologize.

PD: I was just about to say the same thing! How old are your kids?
My daughter [Nell] is almost 3, and my son [Billy Ray] just turned 7. At the moment, they are having their normal brother/sister fights. The usual. We've all been through it.

PD: Your book is beautiful.
Publishing is such a strange world. We met publishers and they told me, "Well, it's not going to make any money." And I said, "We're not doing it to make money." So we thought of going through such an unenthusiastic process, it'll be more fun to do it independently. Then you know what you're doing and what you're getting. The process was more of a fun, hands-on experience. It was quite a lot of fun to be a part of. It's more tangible like making a movie.

PD: What are you working on now?
The most tangible thing is a stop motion version of "Frankenweenie," the short film I did many, many years ago. I wanted to try and go back and capture the spirit of the drawings. That's the thing that's happening right now and I'm also working on a thing called "Dark Shadows," which is close to happening. We'll see.

PD: I remember reading how you said it's hard for you to get projects made and I was shocked. You're Tim Burton!
It is strange; it's probably a good thing. I learned that pretty early on. Each project is its own organism. Some happen and some don't. There's always something. It does keep you humble, keeps you grounded.

PD: Do you still draw?
Oh, yeah. It's something I like to do. Even though I don't necessarily do it for a living anymore, it's still enjoyable. It's still part of the process of exploring ideas. I try to do it when I travel.

PD: Are your kids interested in drawing?
Yeah. My son has a monster book and I'll draw a shape and he'll draw some of it and we go back and forth. It's fun. You know, you kind of learn a lot from them because you kind of go back to the roots of why you like drawing. It's great; it's creativity and therapy and exploration.

PD: Do you ever go to a restaurant and offer to draw a picture instead of paying?
(Laughs.) No, actually I'm pretty private about it. I used to be able to go into a dark corner of a bar and quietly sketch. It's gotten harder and it's something that I actually miss.

PD: If you combed your hair you'd be unrecognizable.
No. I wear a white leisure suit.

PD: Your kids must have posh accents.
Yeah, that's a bit scary. They're like, "Daddy, daddy." (Says with an upper class British accent.) I've been here over 10 years and I haven't adopted a fake English accent.

PD: I assume you're getting your tux cleaned for the upcoming royal wedding.
(Laughs.) Yes, we're all very excited over here. I've got my cup and my bowl and all my memorabilia ready.

PD: Don't mock. I love that stuff.
I've met them (Prince William and Kate Middleton), actually. They're very, very nice so I wish them all the best. As strange as a life that they must have, they're strangely down to earth.

PD: Did you ever draw puppies and kittens? Your stuff is pretty dark.
TB: I worked on Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" for a year. That used up my quota of cute animals. I had trouble drawing them from the beginning. That's why I didn't work on further cute animal pictures.

PD: Do you vomit seeing cute animal movies?
No, no. With my kids, I've been watching my share of cute animal pictures. Some are awful, but I like in a funny way, and some are just awful. Most kids' stuff is kind of weird, anyway.

PD: What are your kids' favorite shows?
My boy likes "Scooby-Doo," which is good because that's what I liked. My daughter, she likes "Peppa Pig" (an English show), which is OK. I don't mind Peppa. "Max & Ruby," I can quite stomach. That one really drives me nuts.

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