| Born Aug. 9, 1961
Died Feb. 1, 2019
Ted Stearn was an L.A.-based cartoonist and animator. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Visual Arts, he segued into a career in animation, working on such series as Futurama, King of the Hill, and Beavis and Butthead. He also taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Ted was born in Massachusetts in 1961 as a small baby, but soon grew up to be a very short child. He loved to draw, so when he grew a little more he decided that he wanted to be an artist. In 1979 he went to Rhode Island School of Design and majored in painting. His senior year he spent in Rome, Italy, where he was blown away by seeing the real thing, instead of all those fuzzy slides in art history class. He was also blown away by the fact that he was losing his hair already.
After graduating he moved to New York. He painted a lot of odd paintings that garnered responses like "That's so surreal!" and "I don't get it." He figured he didn't know enough about art, so in 1992 he went back to school to get his graduate degree at the School of Visual Arts. He drew a lot, built kinetic sculptures and created installations, as fine art graduate students tend to do.
But Ted also became influenced by comics at this point, especially early American comic strips and contemporary comic artists like Gary Panter.
Ted also realized how much cheaper it was to make comics rather than paintings or sculptures. He drew his first comics for David Mazzucchelli's Rubber Blanket. Inevitably that relatively more lucrative cousin of comics, animation, attracted Ted's attention. So it was off to MTV Animation, where he drew storyboards for all sorts of cartoons, such as Beavis and Butthead.
Ted continued to go bald and to draw comics, most notably Fuzz and Pluck, which was published as a collection in 1999. In 2001 Ted took a three-year break from the animation industry to teach at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was exposed to the mangled results of the manga fad on impressionable students. This inspired him to develop comics and animation curricula that could be applied to any genre.
Ted worked as a storyboard artist for various shows such as Futurama, Beavis & Butthead, Daria, King of the Hill, Drawn Together, Rick and Morty, and Squirrel Boy.
Ted died in 2019 at the age of 57. According to his family, Stearn's death was caused by complications due to AIDS.
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