These are the people in my internet*: Enrico Casarosa

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Related to some thinking I’ve been doing about the ways in which I have used, and do use, the internet, and also related to the fact that the 2012 Oscar ceremony took place last night…

I don’t care much about the Oscars (hey, cynicism and also a complete lack of opportunities to watch movies in the past year), but I did happen to have an arbitrary bias toward the Pixar short La Luna (which I haven’t seen) in the best animated short film category.  Not due to any sort of clairvoyant knowledge about the relative strengths of the competitors in that category, but just because it was directed by one Enrico Casarosa.

In the early-to-mid ’00s, Casarosa was an active member of the Flight forums, a very active (but currently eerily quiet, following publication of the eighth and final volume of Flight anthologies) community of comics creators (with dabblers like me at the periphery). He coordinated the First World Wide SketchCrawl drawing marathon in November 2004. People in different countries spent the day out drawing, alone or in groups, and shared results on the SketchCrawl forum. I joined in, in my solitary way, heading into Cambridge with sketchpad, pencils, water brush, and pocket watercolour set in my MEC carry-all bag.

Here’s me in November 2004, about to come down with the flu:

(I notice those are the shoes I wore today.)

I sketched for a few hours. A lot of my watercolours were blotted off the sketches by rain-soaked opposite pages in the sketchbook.

I did that one inside Starbucks. So the paint stayed on.

That night I uploaded my work to share and perused what others had created. Then, having spent the day standing around in the cold and wet, I succumbed to a miserable flu and have never felt up to joining a SketchCrawl event again. However, I have always admired Casarosa’s leadership in setting up a framework and inspiring people to take part. The 34th World Wide SketchCrawl took place in January this year.

Fast-forward to the past year. Casarosa blogged a day-in-the-life series of posts on the process of making La Luna, and he gave a peek at the experience of being nominated for an Oscar on Twitter (@sketchcrawl). His tweets share some of the magic of his work (including “bloopers,” or incorrectly-rendered images from the computer-animated film), the wonder of being a dad, and an all-around happy attitude that I resonate to. It doesn’t hurt that he makes a point of enjoying his commute on a nice Bianchi bicycle, complete with old-school toe clips.

(I think I coloured this one on the computer. There was a ceremony for turning on the Christmas lights in Cambridge that evening.)

As it turns out, La Luna didn’t win the Oscar, but it’s one short film I’ll make a point of seeing.

*Yes, this is a reference to this.