Christmas 1985 I got the greatest gift
ever! Frank and Ollie's Tome "Disney
Animation The Illusion of Life." I had
Frank and Ollie sign it 3 years later.
Oh yeah, Scott Baio called. He wants
his hair back.
I was born in East L.A. and grew up on the suburban cul-de-sacs of
Hacienda Heights California. When I was six years old standing at a mere
3 heads tall, Popeye the Sailor was my hero. I never missed his show and
always ate my spinach despite my hatred of it that continues to this day.
But I digress. I decided to express my admiration for my cyclopean sea
voyaging friend in the form of a drawing so epic, so ambitious in terms of
design, technique and scale that it would rock the pillars of Heaven and pill
the rockers of Hades!
My plan was to create a picture of Popeye the Sailor giving Darth Vader
a well deserved kick in the garbanzos. My first conceptual masterpiece. It
mattered very little to my young and naive sensibilities that Popeye and
Lord Vader were from two different universes! Darth Vader after all was
pure make believe. A couple of actors hired by George Lucas. Popeye on
the other hand, he was as real as you or me.
I took a big broken chunk of dark blue crayon out of my little brother's
mouth and began my task. I toiled over the poses, the value, and gave
special attention to the composition. I was so caught up in my creative
frenzy that I totally lost track of time. Then just as suddenly as this inspired
madness had overtaken me, it vanished and I knew I was done. I stuck the
crayon back into my little brother's mouth and stood back to admire my
work. That's when I heard the scream.
You see,I had unfortunately chosen my mom's living room wall as my
canvas. The look of horror on her face left an indelible mark on me. With
that one simple demonstration of power, art had awoken the artist in me
and was to forever more be the driving force in my life.
In school, along with Arts and Language, I also showed aptitude for
science, literature, and sports. My final year of Little League I was team
Captain, Pitcher, First Baseman and I led the league in RBI's and home
runs. From grades 3-12 at the request of my teachers I was enrolled in the
California Gifted and Talented or G.A.T.E. program and I was a member
of my high school Academic Decathlon team my senior year. For me the
feelings I got from hitting a home run or making a baking soda volcano
paled in comparison to the deep feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment
I got from making up a universe and populating it with interesting characters
I created out of nothing. I am lucky enough to enjoy the process as much as
the result. So for the next 30 years I embarked on a quest for artistic
mastery with an unwavering Quixote-like passion and dedication.
After high school, I entered the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at the Art
Institute of Southern California (Recently renamed to The Laguna College of
Art and Design) where I received 2 years worth of solid art foundation. At
the same time I was studying animation at Dave Master's incredible
Rowland Animation. where I learned first hand how the studio system works.
During the summer of 1994 Walt Disney Feature Animation recruited me
and for the next 8 years I diligently honed my craft and absorbed everything
I could about art and animation from the artistic geniuses I had the pleasure
of working with. I worked on such features as The Hunchback of Notre
Dame, Pocahontas, and Tarzan, to name a few.
In 1999 I was 4 months into my clean-up stint on Atlantis when I got the call
I had been waiting for my entire life.
His holiness the Pope of Animation The great Glen Keane needed an
assistant to help him on Treasure Planet.
Glen wanted someone fresh and new to rough animation. Yet capable of
following him up on every scene. He saw my reel and liked my
Humphrey the Bear test. So he chose me from the pile to be his protégé
for the next two years on traditional-digital hybrid character Long John
Silver for Treasure Planet. I never let him down and I consistently kicked
major ass. I have the honor of being the last Disney Animator trained by
Glen in Disney Traditional 2D Feature Animation.
In 2002 I packed up my pencil and left Disney Feature Animation. Then
my TV animation Career began. I got a storyboard supervision gig for a
few months at Film Roman which turned out to be one of the most
rewarding jobs I ever had.
In 2003 I created Illegal Alien Productions now called Studio Raul in
South Gate California. My goal was and continues to be, to use my
boundless creativity, talent, steadfast determination, and brilliant problem
solving skills to launch my properties onto the world stage. So that I
might in my own unique way, grab this current technological revolution by
the horns and steer it in an entertaining and profitable direction. I began to
develop my own projects, write, and produce freelance animation, and
have since created over a dozen unique and stylish, High-Concept
properties ranging from Preschool to Prime Time content. Each one is
made up of strong, distinct, and interesting characters involved in silly
situations that'll make you laugh so hard that you'll squirt milk out of your
nose. Even if you're not drinking milk!
Frederator and Nickelodeon green lit me to produce my own creation Hero
Heights for the Random Cartoons show in late 2005. I was credited as
Creator, Co-Executive Producer, Director, Writer, Storyboard Artist,
Voice Director, and even provided a voice myself.
Also In 2005, I took a trip to Europe that affected my inner artist to the
core. I have always been mainly a cartoonist. I draw funny exaggerated
whimsical things. Even in art school I always reverted to Comics or
cartooning much to the irritation of my rendering professor. Sorry Gerry!
Instead of Picasso I studied Aragones. Instead of Michelangelo I studied
Kirby. It was not until I actually saw the works of the masters in person and
experienced first hand how well respected, appreciated, and admired
artists are all over Europe that I realized I had been wrong my whole life.
Since then I've been painting, and I loving it.
In 2007 to early 2008 I did a season of Storyboard Revision for Fox TVs
Family Guy which was great fun. You wouldn't believe the level of talent
involved and how wonderful and supportive the Production staff was. This
is a place that truly appreciates hard work and innovation! No egos or
overly sensitive nonsense here. I will NEVER forget how I was treated
working there. Ever. Some day I hope to return some of the love.
When creating my properties I took into account the current state of
technology and where it is headed. So I designed my properties to be
modular in terms of medium so they can be released simultaneously on
multiple platforms. People will be able to tune into my shows in theaters,
on TV, video game consoles, comic book, graphic novel, puppet show, web
comic, pod cast, mobile media, you name it. So whatever format you may
prefer, you can tune in and see what my creations have been up to. All
derivations of a property will support the original theme and brand itself as
a consistent high quality from of entertainment.
Why am I doing this? I believe the old school standard of linear story
structure in film, TV, and books is on its way out and will be replaced with
less restrictive story structure that would allow personalization of the
product. In essence the audience will have input over which direction the
story goes. Why go see an Indiana Jones movie, when instead you can be
Indiana Jones? We are really close technologically to achieving that. But
we must ask, are we even in the ballpark artistically? I am up in the Bob
Uecker Nose Bleed seats right now, but I have my eye on home plate. In
the meantime I will keep doing plenty of writing, painting, freelance
animation, storyboards, character design, portrait commissions, and
development of my own Intellectual Properties. I am also constantly
sharpening my Digital animation skills by brushing up on Maya,
3DStudiomax, and Z brush.
I also designed and built this website. So please have a look around and
enjoy your visit to my corner of the Internet and if you like something visit
my store or drop me a line.
Or check out my Blog and Podcast! Man Vs. Art.com
In my spare time I enjoy golf, travel, fine dining, photography and reading.
My lovely wife Hortencia and I currently reside in our Chateaus nestled in
beautiful South Gate Ca.