‘Too Many Latkes!’: Twenty Years in the Making
On Monday, Richard Codor wrote about his cartoon education. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
The idea for “Too Many Latkes!” came from one of my fondest childhood memories. My mother was the office manager of our synagogue and in charge of organizing the annual “Latke Fundraiser.” She would always say, “This year we’re going to make a mountain of latkes!” Every year, all the latke cooks would gather at the temple on Hanukkah and fry huge amounts of latkes. They never quite made enough latkes for a mountain but the image stuck in my head.
When I had my own kids and we began a tradition of making elaborate holiday parties with ceremonies, music and song. I looked around for something entertaining that I could do. The first thing that came to mind was that latke mountain. Taking bits and pieces from the many stories I illustrated and animated for children’s programming in Israel and the U.S., I came up with the outline of “Too Many Latkes!” At the time I was a storyboard artist for Doug, the animated TV show and daily I would make little Post-It flip books to work out scripted action. It seemed natural to make “Latkes” into a big newsprint flip book that I could act out in front my guests, the way I would a storyboard pitch.
It became a big hit at Hanukkah and every year inevitably somebody would ask, “When is it going to be a book?” By the time I got around to seriously making it into book form, the nature of publishing and even drawing had changed. I no longer worked on paper. My drawings were done with a stylus in programs on computer screen. To keep the feeling of the large original black and white marker drawings on newsprint, I had to reduce, scan, color and touch up the drawings in PhotoShop. A lengthy process but well worth it since the digital images loose little when published in paper or Ibook form.
Now I can do book readings using a computer slideshow, drawing tablet, speakers, projector and HD screen. However, there are places that are just too intimate for all those gadgets. So from the digital files, I’ve printed out again black and white images and made a new flipbook.
Some things never change.
Richard Codor’s work is featured in the books “The Big Book of Jewish Humor” (Collins), “All You Want To Know About Sabbath Service” (Behrman House), and in Israel, the social satire classic, “Zoo Eretz Zoo” (E.L.S. Editions). His storyboards are used in numerous multi-ethnic, politically correct and incorrect movies, TV and Internet media such as “Doug,” “Lizzie McGuire,” “Robots” and “Queer Duck.” He is a recipient of multiple Jewish Press Association/Rockower Awards for Cartooning and the first Charles Schulz Prize.
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