Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Disney's Lorelay Bove - Academy Student

I was looking through the Academy student archives the other day and discovered work that was created by Lorelay Bove when she was a student here. Lorelay is currently one of Walt Disney Studio's top visual development artists and a new superstar in animation. 


She was a designer for "Wreck-It Ralph" as well as "Prep and Landing" among other high profile Disney projects.

In 2002 Lorelay was a student at a local college and was in need of specialized training. She wanted to apply to CalArts and came to The Animation Academy to prepare her portfolio. As my student she successfully completed Character Design 1 and 2 and upon request was provided with a Letter of Recommendation which I happily provided. She was accepted into CalArts and the rest as they say is history.

Here's what we have of Lorelay's early work from her time as a student in Character Design 1. Click on the images for a better view. 

You can see how Lorelay was attempting to get her fundamentals down. Her artwork showed promise but still had a ways to go to distinguish herself from her peers. She was a very dedicated student and her perseverance paid off. Now she's at the top of the game. That's the difference that good fundamentals makes in your art.

If Lorelay can achieve great things in her career from these humble beginnings you can too! We've had many students who went on to become standouts in the animation field as a result of their time with us. The Animation Academy can make a significant improvement in your art. If you're serous about a career as a professional animation artist or in developing your skills in working from your imagination then the Academy can help you establish a solid foundation that can take you to the next level as we see with the example of Lorelay Bove.

Keep Creating and focus on those all important basics and great things will happen for you with your art.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dedicated blog for The Art of Philip J Felix

I'm excited to bring news of a new blog that's gone up featuring the work of someone very special. I first met my great friend and brother-in-arms Philip J Felix when we were both working at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. He was only a year out of high school and working in a department that was revamping previously published greeting cards. Very menial tasks that didn't offer much of a challenge for someone with his amazing potential.

Since that time Philip got into animation and worked at many studios and on many significant shows over the years. Philip created some of the very first concept art for Shrek including this early development sketch from February 1997...

He also produced concept art for Jurassic Park...

That's just to name a few of the many projects he's done. Philip was among our very first instructors here at the Academy. You know the Felix family name in animation. Paul Felix is Disney's top production design and visual development artist. David Felix worked on The Simpsons before he passed away in the 1990s. Philip J Felix is their older brother and the one who brought them both into the animation business. He is also a pioneer of independent marketing for animation artists, going all the way back to the 1980s when he and Gary Montalbano started selling posters of their art at the San Diego Comic Con years before other artists  started doing the same. Philip helped blazed that trail.

Philip currently resides in Tucson Arizona where he is the owner of Red Sky Studio. It's a combination tattoo parlor and art gallery. Philip made the transition to tattoo art several years ago and is booked months in advance. On top of his tat work Philip continues to paint and inspire everyone around him with his masterful creativity and highly imaginative themes. He is also developing new projects that will be coming to animation in the future.

Thanks to Joel Valdez from the Academy, a new blog is up that features Philip's artwork. It's updated frequently with a mix of new images and older ones from Philip's extensive archives. Here's the link... http://philipjfelix.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 07, 2012

Lam's Brain - Joshua Lam's book online

Happy to pass along the news that Joshua Lam's new book "Lam's Brain" is online and available for all to see. Joshua is a former student from the Academy. Like many of our students both current and those who've been with us in the past, Joshua has utilized work he created through class assignments as content for his publication. He's also embellished his book with more recent art. Click on this link to peruse through "Lam's Brain - The Art of Joshua Lam". You can access Joshua's blog here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Academy's Joel Valdez meets Glen Keane

Every year at this time the CTN animation eXpo takes place in Burbank. The three day event has become a major industry attraction. This past weekend at CTNX 2012 one of our stand out students hooked up with legendary Disney animator Glen Keane. That's Joel Valdez on the right sharing his experience with The Academy's community.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Kristen Robertson's color studies

In a recent session of our Visual Development class Kristen Robertson did a nice job on an assignment she was given to create a variety of different moods for a background composition she created through the use of planned color schemes. Her medium  was color markers. Each study evokes a unique feeling. By applying basic color theory the single composition becomes differing versions that imply time of day and emotion as well as design abstractions. A very good exercise. See more of Kristen's work by following this link to her blog.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Emergence of Allan Ceccaldi

It's always an exciting experience for me to showcase an emerging artist from the students of the Academy. This is some of the work of Allan Ceccaldi. Allan started with us about a year ago, took some time off, then came back on a scholarship that was awarded to him upon graduation from an arts organization in California. A Burbank resident, he went through the Character Dersign aspect of our program and really started taking off once he got into Background Desiogn. These are some recent graphite pencil tonal studies he's created from his Visual Development class along with a blue pencil rendering from his BG Design class. A huge artistic leap forward as Allan is discovering his strengths.You can visit Allan Ceccaldi's blog at this link.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Charles Zembillas daily art blog

In late May this year I did something I've been meaning to do for a long while. I finally launched a personal blog for my art. Since then with the exception of a break for a few days earlier this month, I've been posting entries on a daily basis. Class demonstrations, old stuff, new stuff, vintage stuff, and lots of art dealing with the popular video game character Crash Bandicoot. My personal art blog is developing a good following and I'm happy for the opportunity to feature work in an educational environment which supplements what is posted here on the Academy's blog. Feel free to stop by and visit by clicking on the link below... 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Tyler Yu - Emerging Talent

A recently enrolled new student is making his mark at the Academy. Tyler Yu is a resident of Burbank in his last year of high school. He's with us to improve his skills and prepare a portfolio for submission to a degree granting college or university.

Take a look at the very first drawing he did on June 4 when he began with us. It shows imagination, talent and promise. It is also crude, lacking the fundamentals that are necessary in building a solid artistic foundation.

Compare the above drawing to what Tyler was doing just a few sessions later in Character Design 1. A full five pose rotation of a character he came up with as part of his class assignment. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Also compare the following assignment which involved rotating a character in three poses for modeling on a software program for computer generated imagery.

Quite an improvement in a short period of time. Tyler is typical of the talented and motivated artists who come to the Academy to get their basics down and greatly improve as a result. Our emphasis on developing core skills essential for confidence and professionalism in one's work makes all the difference. Students such as Tyler continue to contribute to the legacy that The Animation Academy enjoys. 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Art from a session of Visual Development

I thought I'd try something different on the Academy's blog by presenting an entry not of one particular student and their work but of several simultaneously. From a session of our Visual Development class this week I picked up some of the art that was being created by our students for the purpose of showing our productivity during a typical class. Clicking on the images will give you a better view.

From our most recent session of Vis Dev this past week here's the work of Kiana Mosser. 

This is what Cal Arts bound Justin Noel came up with as he broke down his images into shadow, tonal and color studies.

Kristen Robertson is designing a new character for development.

Izzy Alcala has recently joined our program and is creating some very impressive subjects.

Margo Akopov is a working on design and gray scale tonal relationships.

Marietta Semerdjyan is experimenting with fashion.

This is one evening at the Academy. Imagine what students are coming up with in our other classes and sessions Monday through Thursday. There's a lot of very positive developments happening at The Animation Academy in Burbank. Our new environment is working out great. We're growing and our program is expanding. I'll have some good news to share along those lines soon. In the meantime you know what we say when it comes to your art. Strive for excellence in everything you do and... Keep Creating!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bridget McCarty's Miniature Success

When she was with us as a teenager Bridget McCarty created very charming characters and backgrounds through her art. Here's an example of her work when she was with us from a previous write up on the Academy's blog on September 15, 2007.

Now as an adult she's established herself as one of the leading figures in the world of miniatures. In fact, Bridget has the distinction of a Warner Bros license to create miniature art for the "Wizard of Oz" franchise. Take a look at what she does. Clicking on the images will give you a better view.

It's amazing to see how our students evolve creatively over time. They may start out in one area and show a special skill, style or interest in something special and grow into a leading talent in a field that you wouldn't necessarily expect. Such is the case with Bridget. To see more of her work follow this link to Bridget McCarty's blog. You can also visit her website here.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Ed Irizarry's BG Design work

A return student to the Academy, Ed Irizarry was previous with us years ago and wound up working at Walt Disney's Consumer Products division as a staff artist. Now he's back to take his formidable character designs skills to another level by studying Background Design. It's very beneficial for character centric artists to learn to create environments.

These are samples of Ed's first pass in the class. Exercises in composition and one point perspective. These were drawn freehand. No straight edges were used in Ed's sketches.

At the Academy attention on fundamentals are a key factor in building a solid artistic foundation that makes a big difference when producing work from the imagination. Your images become more convincing and before you know it you're creating new worlds.

Ed's gone beyond this already and is doing exceptional work but it's good to take a look at where he's starting. You can see more of the artwork of Ed Irizarry here.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Final Tally - The Animation Academy - Mission Small Business 2012

The final tally for Mission Small Business voting in the community of Burbank...

The Animation Academy came in at 420 votes !!!

We shot from 5th place to 3rd place in Burbank California on the last day of voting !!!

The Animation Academy comes in at the bronze medal for Burbank, a media center for the world and the international capital of the animation industry !!!

There were 85 local businesses registered! We're on the medal stand with the bronze !!! 

THANK YOU TO OUR FAMILY OF SUPPORTERS !!! You're as good as gold !!!

This is a far greater result than I would have imagined at the beginning of the campaign !

Grateful, appreciative and proud !

We're one of only two businesses in America with the word 'Animation' in our name that qualified and we came ahead by 150 votes !

It's up to the Chase Bank and the Mission Small Business review board from here on out. For what this was it was hugely successful and great fun !

Thank you to everyone who supported the effort !!! You really came through !!!

Here's to you !!! 

Hearts of champions !!!


Charles Zembillas
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Academy qualifies for Mission Small Business !!!

A big THANK YOU going out to all of our students, friends, fans and everyone associated with The Animation Academy in Burbank. Thanks to your pro-active efforts, we reached 250 Facebook votes last Friday afternoon at 1:35 pm Pacific time. Eight full days ahead of the deadline!

We are now qualified to submit our application for the Mission Small Business Grant Program sponsored by Chase Bank!

I'm very appreciative of the outpouring of support we received. We not only reached 250 votes, we're currently at 323 votes, positioning us as one of the top vote getting small businesses of the 60 registered for the program here in Burbank, California. We're currently at number 5.

My goal for this week is to prepare our application for submission by the June 30, 2012 deadline. While I'm attending to this, you can still help out! You can help us rack up some more votes so that we can further impress the Chase Bank Review Board when they consider the Academy for one of the twelve $250,000 grants they'll be awarding by September 15.

If you have a Facebook account and have not voted for The Animation Academy yet, go to MissionSmallBusiness.com and login using Facebook. Search for The Animation Academy and then click VOTE. It's very easy! There's nothing to it!

If you've already voted please contact your Facebook network and help to get the word out. Encourage your friends to vote for The Animation Academy by forwarding this link - http://MissionSmallBusiness.com.

The Academy has accomplished many great things in our 14 1/2 year existence. Think of all the good we can do if we win this grant!

Thank you everyone for your continued support of this exceptional educational experience that's called The Animation Academy. You're the ones who've make it special!

Keep Creating and keep assisting the Academy with your Facebook vote in the MissionSmallBusiness Program!

Charles Zembillas
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Monday, June 18, 2012

The art of Jessica Willis Trousdale

One of our emerging students in the Visual Development program is Jessica Willis Trousdale. Her uncle Gary Trousdale is an accomplished animated feature film director whose credits include Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Hunchback of Notre Dame" among other high profile productions. Jessica is continuing the family tradition of artistic excellence by attending the Academy.

Here's an example of some recent work she's created in class using graphite pencils to develop a distinct rendering technique as well as defining the lead character for her project. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Jessica has been with us since 2010. This coming fall she'll be a senior in high school and well positioned creatively for submitting her work to the college or university of her choice. Time spent with us is making a big difference in the quality of her art. We're anticipating great things coming from this young lady in the future.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Afternoon Sessions - Academy Update - June 2012

Hi everybody.

We currently conduct classes Monday through Thursday evenings in Burbank. This month we've reached capacity in all of our evenings sessions. To make room for new students as well as our returning students, we'll be scheduling ongoing weekday afternoon sessions for the first time in our history. Starting this coming semester in July, 2012 we'll have afternoon classes in Burbank. More information with be forthcoming. For the moment we're working with both new and returning students to arrange for their attendance in afternoon classes. Once we've set up the system it will be reflected in our schedule.

Thanks to everyone involved with the Academy for making the transition to our latest location a successful one. We're with you when we say Keep Creating!

Charles Zembillas
President / Director
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Saturday, June 09, 2012

CSUN graduate Noah Amrani

Several years ago Noah Amrani enrolled at the Academy as a teenager. Today he's a graduate of California State University Northridge with a Bachelor of the Arts degree. His commencement was earlier this week.

Noah is emerging as a CG character animator and is also well versed in FX animation. He has two new demo reels to view. In honor of his achievement let's share some of his work. This is Noah's animation reel which features work he created while at Cal State Northridge...

This video features FX work that Noah has done at select studios and projects as an intern while he was studying at CSUN...


You're welcome to visit Noah's blog for more samples of his work. Even during his time at Cal State Northridge Noah continued to take classes with us at the Academy. He was a dedicated student and now he's emerging as a skilled professional. Noah is indicative of the quality individual we've had the pleasure and good fortune to attract to our program. I'm very confident of his success and look forward to what the future will bring as he embarks upon his career. Congratulations and good luck to you Noah! Keep Creating!  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Help the Academy with your Facebook vote!

Hello everyone and thank you for checking into the Academy's blog. 

There's a special request we're making of you. If you have a Facebook account, I hope you'll put it to use on our behalf. Chase Bank and LivingSocial are sponsoring a program called Mission: Small Business. The program involves issuing grants in the amount of $250,000 to as many as 12 small businesses in the US. The Animation Academy is eligible for this program and we're registered for it. In order to qualify for the next step in the process we need to get at least 250 Facebook votes by June 30, 2012.

If you would be so kind as to help us with your vote we would very much appreciate it. Please follow this link to MissionSmallBusiness.com. Click on the 'Log in & Support'. You'll be able to login with your Facebook account. Then in the business name box search for The Animation Academy. We're located in Burbank California. When you see our business name, click on the 'Vote' tab. It's that easy! 

If we can reach 250 votes by June 30, we'll be able to submit to the Mission: Small Business review board for consideration of a $250,000 grant. For all the good the Academy has done over the years, it would be great for an opportunity to get to this level. We started out in January 1998 with a $15 investment. Look at what we've achieved since then and how we've influenced the animation industry and the lives of the many artists that have experienced our program. Imagine what can be accomplished with a $250,000 grant.

Please vote for The Animation Academy at MissionSmallBusiness.com and please encourage your Facebook community network to do the same. I sincerely thank you for your time and effort. 

Keep Creating!

Charles Zembillas
President, Founder and Director
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Justin Noel to Cal Arts

I'm happy to report that we have yet another student who's made it into a world class degree granting animation program. Justin Noel was a senior in high school when he enrolled at the Academy last year. After spending a couple of semesters with us, he was accepted into 9 colleges and universities he applied to. He decided to go with CalArts in Valencia, California.

After completing Character Design 1 at the Academy, Justin has returned to work on his Visual Development skills as he prepares to enter Cal Arts in the fall. Here's what he did last week in class. His assignment involved developing his concept sketches while accommodating for a light source and using shadow to describe form within his designs while being mindful of important tonal relationships. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.
An extremely creative individual with a unique artistic vision, Justin is a very strong illustrator. Take a look at his blog and you'll see how talented he is. He'll be ready to take on all challenges by the time he heads to Valencia after the summer.

The Animation Academy has produced some of the most outstanding students that have attended CalArts since the founding of our school in 1998. I'm confident that Justin Noel will contribute to our legacy there. Congratulations and good luck Justin! Wishing you much success.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Introducing Carter Capps

Some time ago we had an interesting student enroll with us. He was very creative and produced highly imaginative drawings that centered around characters that he would name. He had his own unique way of approaching things, but his drawings lacked a fundamental foundation. Take a look at what Carter Capps was coming up with when he first started with us.

Since then, Carter has become one of our most dedicated and creatively productive students. His work is far from what it was when he started with the Academy. Now his imaginative sketches are grounded in good fundamentals and he's able to create very impressive designs that open up great possibilities. Check out some of his most recent work.

Add to the collection these drawings which he produced just this week at the last class session he attended. Keep in mind that clicking on the images will give you a better view.

A lot of growth from what he was doing before. Carter is a preparing to set up his blog and develop his online presence for his artwork. In the meantime, we're all looking forward to the great things he'll be coming up with as he continues to expand his skills and build upon his creative vision.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Einav Deri - Rising Star

The Academy has had many outstanding students over the years, and high in the ranks of those who've contributed to our legacy is Einav Deri. She's been featured before on the Academy's blog, starting with an entry on November 15, 2010, and again on June 13, 2011, and once more on October 4, 2011.

Einav came to us from Israel in 2009. She studied at the Academy twice. Everyone fell in love with her. From the humblest of creative beginnings, she returned to her country where she enrolled at the Israeli Animation College in Tel Aviv and took what she learned with us to new levels of excellence. Today, she's one of the top animation talents in Israel as her work is being featured in a national advertising campaign in which she designed the characters and much of the production. Here's a look at a billboard that showcases her work. Click on the image for a better view.

The billboard is one of many throughout Israel based on three animated commercial spots that will be airing on television, produced by Snowball Animation Studios in Tel Aviv. Follow this link to the AnimationNation Forums to take a look at one them.

We're super excited for Einav and looking forward to all the great things she'll be accomplishing in the future. Follow Einav's blog to see what's happening in her career.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

David Wolter - Student Academy Award

Before enrolling at Cal Arts, David Wolter was a student here at The Animation Academy. It's been announced that David's Cal Arts film "Eyrie" is a winner in this year's Student Academy Awards sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same organization that hosts the Oscars. To learn more follow this link. Congratulations David! Take a look at Eyrie...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alexa Terry Hanson returns

Late last year we had a standout out student who was with us for a short while, made an impact with her art and has since come back to the Academy. Alexa Terry Hanson is one of many students enrolled in our program who are among the stand out students of the industry. If you're enrolled at the Academy and you're doing well, our standards are such as that you would be at a professional level.

That's the case with Alexa. Here's one of her early assignments in Character Design 1. This is what she was doing with her first pass into our program. It's a basic exercise and a professional requirement for all character designers to be able to rotate their concepts. This is Alexa's head turn assignment. For a better view click on the image.

You'll soon be seeing more great stuff from this talented student. Looking forward to it Keep creating excellent art, Alexa.
To see Alexa Terry Hanson's blog click here.