Monday 5 September 2011

Montreal's Toon Boom Animation spawns Garfield product

Toon Boom Animation Inc. is the worldwide leader in digital content and animation creation software, carrying user-friendly animation applications for all, catering to the needs of children, home users, creative professionals as well as students, educators and schools.

Based in Montreal since 1994, the company’s biggest clients include. Walt Disney Animation Studios; Walt Disney Television Animation, Nelvana, Warner Bros. Animation; and Fox TV.

However these days, a new software that turns mere mortals into superstar cartoonists based on the popular comic and animated character of Garfield the Cat, has company President and CEO Joan Vogelesang doing cartwheels. Working at putting this product on the map have been Vice-President of Marketing and Communications Karina Bessoudo and Director of Product Marketing Alissa Anzarut, pictured above with Garfield.

Born in France, Bessoudo lived in Israel for five years and immigrated to Canada in 1989. She graduated with a BA in Economics from Tel Aviv University in 1988 and an MBA from HEC Montreal in 1994. She has been working for Toon Boom Animation for 12 years. Winning the Primetime Emmy Engineering Award for one of Toon Boom's high end solutions was certainly a peak in her career. To keep close ties with Israel, she takes care of Toon Boom's customers and partners mainly located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Anzarut graduated with an Honours Business Degree from University of Western Ontario in 1993 and began working in tier one marketing companies in Toronto where she lived for 11 years, working on brands such as Aquafresh and Oxy (at Glaxo SmithKline Consumer) as well as Nescafe and Nesquik Chocolate Milk (at Nestle Canada). In 2004, she and her family moved to Montreal. She worked in the Aeroplan Rewards team for over six years, joining Toon Boom last May Her work encompasses marketing consumer animation products including apps in the Apple store, products for SMART Tech's SMART Boards and the new Garfield's Comic Boom.

Bessouda was quick to point out that Toon Boom Animation is active in 122 countries, including Israel. She and Anzarut have been intimately involved with the Garfield account, communicating regularly with comic strip creator Jim Davis. On September 17 and 18

Garfield’s Comic Boom will make its first public appearance at the prestigious Montreal Comic Convention (ComicCon) at the Place Bonaventure downtown. While Davis is unable to attend, the Garfield mascot will be there. Davis' friend and peer, Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse) will conduct a workshop on Saturday (creativity and storytelling) and Toon Boom will sponsor a Saturday evening “meet and greet” with former Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee on the Saturday night. Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City on December 28, 1922, in the apartment of his Romanian –born Jewish immigrant parents.

Davis is full of praise for the Toon Boom creation. "Back in my day we had only pencils and paper,” he says. “This new software is like adding a jet pack to creativity. Kids can craft characters and backgrounds and tell a story with such ease and speed that I'm a little worried I might be out of a job soon."

Garfield's Comic Boom encourages creativity and storytelling with easy-to-use drawing and coloring tools, props, and library items prompting kids to produce comic panels, comic strips, and even comic books. The software even allows users to record sound and voice-over, essentially turning the child into the director of their own unique production. Adding yet another dimension, the final product can be instantly broadcast via e-mail, YouTube, Facebook, and mobile.

As an added bonus, Davis offers cartooning tips and tricks-of-the-trade for budding cartoonists in an exclusive tutorial for Garfield's Comic Boom users. Why choose Garfield? “Jim Davis actually chose us,” says Vogelesang.

The new software is available for purchase via the Toon Boom product store — Customers can use a promo code: GARFIELD, to receive $10 off the purchase. The promo code is valid until October 1, 2011.

"Garfield's Comic Boom is a great addition to Toon Boom's family of fun products,” says Vogelesang. “We are very proud to work with Jim Davis on this project and look forward to seeing the entertaining comic books this easy-to-use application will inspire to kids of all ages!"

The product will make its first public appearance at the Montreal ComicCon, September 17-21. Davis' friend and peer, Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse) will conduct a workshop on creativity and storytelling. A demonstration will be given on the product's capabilities at the ComicCon main stage.

“This is an entirely new wave of education,” says Vogelesang, a resident of Westmount.

Garfield is a humorous strip centered on the lives of a fat, lazy, cynical orange cat who loves lasagna, coffee, and his remote control. Today, the strip appears in over 2,310 newspapers and is read daily by over 200 million people around the globe. Garfield recently added a new edutainment site to his accomplishes. He engages kids in interesting and pedagogically sound activities to promote literacy at

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