Synopsis: Cartoon College documents a group of students at one of the most selective and grueling art schools in America: The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. Founded in 2005, CCS is the country’s top institution of higher learning for up-and-coming graphic novelists. Each fall the school invites twenty aspiring cartoonists to study an all-encompassing, do-it-yourself approach to making comics. These lucky few spend two years learning all the skills needed to become a successful comics creator. Those who complete the program earn a Master of Fine Arts degree, and are ready to face the hardships and uncertainty of a career in one of the world’s most labor-intensive, drudgery-inducing art forms.
Cartoon College features a gifted and ambitious cast of aspiring cartoonists, characters in the mode of Spellbound, as well as appearances by some of the biggest names in cartooning—Chris Ware, Scott McCloud, Art Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly, Jules Feiffer, Charles Burns, Lynda Barry, among many others.
Since production began in 2007 filmmakers Josh Melrod and Tara Wray have chronicled the lives of a dozen aspiring cartoonists, documenting their successes and failures, observing their creative processes, watching them slave over their drawing boards, following them to their day jobs, seeing them ply their trade at conventions, visiting their homes, meeting their families, and discovering the passion and fortitude required when a person chooses comics over all else.