I love to draw and as a child I drew Disney characters all the time. I never dreamed that I would one day see how the magic happens. I wish I would have known that I could grow up to draw for Disney. Oh well, maybe my kids will want to draw!
Anyhow last month when I went on my trip with Disney we got a inside look at Disney Toon Studios and how that magic happens. We met ART HERNANDEZ (Story Artist) . Art was super easy to talk to and answered all of our questions. He explained that he is just the first step in a long line when it come to getting characters to the big screen.
You all know how much I loved the hand drawn animation. I asked Art how he felt about the “new” way of doing things. He explained that even though it took so getting used to he has learned to love the digital way of things. They are still drawing by hand, but instead of drawing onto paper they are drawing onto a tablet. He walked us though drawing “Dusty” , even though Art made it seem so easy, it wasn’t. It took us several minutes to follow him as he showed us how to draw Dusty. They he showed us how to draw El Chupacabra. It took him just seconds and it looked great!
Art takes the idea of a character and puts it to “paper” pulling out the idea of the character from the writers imaginations. Once he comes up with a concept he takes the story boards and acts out the characters, bringing them to life. I thought he did a amazing job! If he wasn’t in drawing he might have a job in voice acting.
Art began his association with Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1996 as an in-betweener on “Fantasia/2000,” and has been a character designer and story artist for Disneytoon Studios since 2004.
Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, Calif., Hernandez developed an interest in art and animation when he was just five years old. By the time he reached high school, he knew that he wanted to work for Disney, and found encouragement in that goal from several supportive teachers. After studying illustration at Antelope Valley College, he encountered Disney animator Ron Dias, who invited him to visit the Studio in 1993. He went on to study at the Animation Guild’s American Animation Institute, where he received some expert instruction in figure drawing and assistant animation from several Disney veterans.
A one-year gig at Turner Animation on “Cats Don’t Dance” led to him being recruited by Disney. His first animation assignment at Walt Disney Animation Studios was as an in-betweener on the “Pomp and Circumstance,” “Firebird Suite” and “Steadfast Tin Soldier” segments of “Fantasia/2000.” This was followed by credits as clean-up animator or assistant animator on such Disney features as “Hercules,” “Tarzan,” “Treasure Planet,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and “Home on the Range,” among others. Additionally, he served a three-month stint as key assistant animator on the Warner Bros. 2003 feature “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.”
In 2004, Hernandez moved to Disneytoon Studios to provide character design (and assist acclaimed animator Andreas Deja) on the home entertainment release of “Bambi 2.” Around this time, he became interested in story and worked in that capacity on “Brother Bear 2” (for which he also did character design) and the first four “Tinker Bell” direct-to-DVD features. For his latest assignment on “Disney’s Planes,” Hernandez studied a vast array of aerial footage from classic films to documentaries. He became a virtual aviation expert and learned to incorporate the actual mechanics of planes into the personalities and actions for the film’s colorful plane characters. In addition to his current role as a head of story at Disneytoon Studios, he is also in the process of directing a new short.~Amanda
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