Hart, Christopher 1957-

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HART, Christopher 1957-

PERSONAL: Born December 29, 1957, in NY; son of Stanley F. (a writer) and Joan (a homemaker) Hart; married, 1988; wife's name Maria. Ethnicity: "American." Education: Attended California Institute of the Arts, 1975; New York University, B.A., 1980; also attended School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, and Paier School of Art. Hobbies and other interests: Cosmology, boxing, national politics, tennis.

ADDRESSES: Home—5 Brightfield Ln., Westport, CT 06880; fax: 203-226-2388. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Illustrator and writer. Writer for film and television studios, 1981-97, including National Broadcasting Co., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Twentieth Century-Fox, Showtime, Public Broadcasting Service, New World Pictures, and Dick Clark Productions.

WRITINGS:

How to Draw Cartoons for Comic Strips, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1988.

Making Funny Faces: Cartooning for Kids, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1992.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Cartooning but Were Afraid to Draw, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1994.

How to Draw Cartoon Animals, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1995.

How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1995, CD-ROM version, Diamar Interactive, 1996.

Christopher Hart's Portable Cartoon Studio, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1996, published as Christopher Hart's Cartoon Studio, 2003.

Christopher Hart's Portable Animation Studio, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1996, published as Christopher Hart's Animation Studio, 2003.

How to Draw Cartoons (CD-ROM release), Diamar Interactive, 1996.

Christopher Hart's Portable Action Hero Comic Book Studio, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1997.

How to Draw Animation, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1997.

Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain: How to Come Up with Jokes for Cartoons and Comic Strips, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1998.

How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys and Gals, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1998.

How to Draw Cartoon Dogs, Puppies, and Wolves, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1998.

How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1999.

How to Draw Cartoon Cats, Kittens, Lions and Tigers, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1999.

How to Draw Fantasy Characters, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1999.

How to Draw Halloween, Christmas and Seasonal Characters, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1999.

How to Draw Knights, Kings, Queens and Dragons, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1999.

Cartooning for the Beginner, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

How to Draw Cartoon Baby Animals, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

How to Draw Sports Cars, Monster Trucks and Fighter Jets, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

How to Draw Fast Cars, Monster Trucks and Fighter Jets, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

How to Draw Great-Looking Comic Book Women, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2000.

How to Draw Aliens, Mutants and Mysterious Creatures, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Baby Animals, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Cats, Kittens, Lions, and Tigers, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Dogs, Puppies, and Wolves, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Funny and Spooky Holiday Characters, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Drawing Cutting Edge Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Dinosaurs, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Angels, Elves, Fairies and More, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

Kids Draw Anime, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2002.

Anime Mania: How to Draw Characters for Japanese Animation, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2002.

Merwin: Master of Disguise, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2002.

Mecha Mania: How to Draw the Battling Robots, Cool Spaceships, and Military Vehicles of Japanese Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2002.

Draw Manga!, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2003.

Manga Mania Fantasy Worlds: How to Draw the Amazing Worlds of Japanese Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2003.

Manga Mania Villains: How to Draw the Dastardly Characters of Japanese Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2003.

Police Puppies, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2003.

Kids Draw Animals, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2003.

Drawing Faeries: A Believer's Guide to Sketching Faeries When They're Not Looking, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2004.

Kids Draw Manga, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2004.

Manga Mania Shoujo: How to Draw the Charming and Romantic Characters of Japanese Comics, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2004.

Xtreme Art: Draw Manga Villains!, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2004.

Staff writer for the comic strip Blondie, 1981-84. Contributor of copy and art to magazines, including Mad, Crayola Kids, Highlights for Children, and Ranger Rick.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Collaborating with a toy company to design and license characters from his books.

SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Hart is the author and illustrator of scores of instructional art books, including the popular Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Cartooning but Were Afraid to Draw. Hart offers his readers both beginner and advanced lessons in drawing everything from cartoon animals to human anatomy. Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin deemed Hart's books "slick" and "attractive," and Library Journal's Daniel Lombardo referred to Hart as "a master at teaching cartooning methods."

Hart's books for young children usually include step-by-step instructions on drawing, and focus on a breakdown of the geometric shapes used to create different cartoons. Books for more advanced artists often offer tips, discussions of drawing techniques, historical information on certain art forms, and, as with most of his books, a plethora of brightly colored finished drawings. Lombardo noted in his review of Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy that Hart "simplifies the process" of drawing human anatomy "in an accessible manual that concentrates on line and forgoes the complexity of color." Lombardo also concluded that Hart's book How to Draw Fast Cars, Monster Trucks, and Fighter Jets, "is just plain fun," and his Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics "doesn't disappoint."

In fact, Manga Mania is among the most popular cartoon art books in the United States. The book presents readers with instruction on drawing the manga style of comic book created by Japanese artists. Francisca Goldsmith of Booklist remarked that Manga Mania is "a rich interpretation of what the stylistic elements—from gestures to costuming—actually mean and how they differ from what's usually seen in U.S. comics: In a sense this book is about understanding cultural attitudes." School Library Journal's John Peters commented, "This book dishes up … generous helpings of specific advice and general encouragement." Likewise, Hart's Anime Mania: How to Draw Characters for Japanese Animation, offers detailed instruction on drawing the brightly colored, wide-eyed characters found in Japanese animated cartoons. He focuses on shading, camera angles, and special effects employed by this popular cartoon style, and advises readers on storyboarding, sketching, and perspective. Jessica Jackson, a reviewer for the Anime Digital Web site, considered Anime Mania "solid reference material for drawing characters in the Eastern style," and believed the book to be "a good start for the intermediate artist who's looking to start their own Japanese styled comic." In other manga -and anime-inspired instruction books, Hart teaches young artists to draw fantasy worlds, intricate robots and other machines, villains, dragons, and romantic characters.

In Christopher Hart's Animation Studio and Christopher Hart's Cartoon Studio, Hart offers instruction on how draw the same characters over and over again while keeping the overall look of the character the same throughout the drawings. Kathryn Kosiorek of School Library Journal remarked that readers of Cartoon Studio "will find clear, breezy instruction for refining their work," while Animation Studio offers a "wealth of detail" on illustrating emotions and drawing three-dimensional characters.

In addition to his many drawing manuals, Hart is the author of children's books. Hart's Merwin: Master of Disguise is the tale of a mischievous elephant living in a zoo. Merwin collects items lost by visitors at the zoo to put together disguises. He uses his costumes to leave the zoo undetected. Merwin visits the mall and changes disguises often to avoid being caught by the zookeeper. In Police Puppies, Hart tells the endearing tale of a puppy named Flash who has always dreamed of becoming a police dog. When a burglar breaks into Flash's house, he has the chance to prove himself. Together with his pals, Flash thwarts the criminal. Combined with Hart's renowned artwork, this book teaches children to pursue their dreams.

Christopher Hart once told CA: "I write and illustrate because, if I am not involved in an intensely creative endeavor, I feel rudderless. My work is influenced either by cutting-edge illustrations or by traditional, charming illustrations. The stuff in the middle is rather mundane and uninspiring.

"I keep banker's hours, working from eight to five, or later into the night if I'm particularly hot or frustrated with my work. Sometimes the work flows effortlessly, and sometimes I am stuck on one drawing for days. Most of the time I have a clear phone line to the artist's muse, but occasionally there is some static on the line.

"I illustrate the things that caught my interest when I was the age of my readers. Lately I have been illustrating and writing about things that I am either passionate about or curious about."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

American Artist, October, 1998.

Booklist, February 15, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, reviews of How to Draw Cartoon Dogs, Puppies and Wolves and How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys and Gals, p. 95; July, 2001, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Cartoons, p. 1995; March 15, 2002, review of Manga Mania, p. 1238; February 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Kids Draw Anime, p. 984.

Book Report, November, 2001, reviews of Kids Draw Angels, Elves, Fairies and More, Kids Draw Baby Animals, Kids Draw Cats, Kittens, Lions and Tigers, Kids Draw Dogs, Puppies and Wolves, Kids Draw Funny and Spooky Holiday Characters, and Kids Draw Knights, Kings, Queens and Dragons, p. 70.

Bookwatch, December, 2001, review of Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy, p. 7.

Cartoonist Profiles, September, 1998.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Merwin: Master of Disguise, p. 1131.

Library Journal, November 15, 2000, Daniel Lombardo, review of Cartooning for the Beginner, p. 65; March 15, 2001, Daniel Lombardo, review of How to Draw Fast Cars, Monster Trucks and Fighter Jets, p. 81, review of Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy, p. 82; July, 2001, Daniel Lombardo, review of Manga Mania, p. 88; November 15, 2002, Daniel Lombardo, review of Anime Mania: How to Draw Characters for Japanese Animation, p. 70.

Publishers Weekly, September 23, 2002, review of Merwin, p. 71.

School Library Journal, July, 2001, John Peters, review of Manga Mania, p. 124; September, 2001, Cathie Reed, review of Kids Draw Funny and Spooky Holiday Characters, p. 246; November, 2002, John Peters, review of Kids Draw Anime, p. 188; April, 2003, John Peters, review of Mecha Mania: How to Draw the Battling Robots, Cool Spaceships, and Military Vehicles of Japanese Comics, p. 182; November, 2003, Donna Cardon, review of Kids Draw Animals, p. 160; December, 2003, Douglas P. Davey, review of Manga Mania Fantasy Worlds: How to Draw the Amazing Worlds of Japanese Comics, p. 90; January, 2004, Kathryn Kosiorek, reviews of Christopher Hart's Animation Studio and Christopher Hart's Cartoon Studio, p. 148.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1999, reviews of How to Draw Cartoon Dogs, Puppies and Wolves and How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys and Gals, p. 201.

online

Anime Digital Web site, http://www.digital.anime.org.uk/ (April 16, 2003), Jessica Jackson, review of Anime Mania.

Witty World Web site, http://www.wittywrold.com/ (April 16, 2003), Fred Patten, review of Anime Mania.*