John is working as a Visual Development and Story Artist at Sony Pictures Animation in California. He created designs for Pixar animated feature films such as Inside Out, Monster’s University and Cars 2. We met when I was living in Denmark and working for LEGO. John came to teach an Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark. I asked him if he would like to do a workshop in LEGO too and he accepted! It was a great inspiration to talk with him about his many years of experience in studios – Storyboard Artist at Walt Disney Studios, Sketch Artist at Pixar Animation Studios, Art Director at Ken Duncan Studios and others. What is more, he also worked as a storyboard artist in Disney Television Animation on numerous shows including Kim Possible. As a designer for Disney Toons, he worked on memorable Tinkerbell and Brother Bear 2!

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Key Takeaways

“It’s all good in the hood”

  • “Always be hungry, try and find something you are passionate about and do it, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be fearless. You gonna make mistakes, we are human. It’s ok to make mistakes, just keep drawing through the mistakes and that will make you a stronger artist.”
  • “If you working for a studio, just be nice, don’t be a jerk, be a pro and try to do the best you can, let your art speak for itself”
  • “Be hungry, learn something, e.g. character design, then learn backgrounds design, then storyboards, then painting, then do a short 7 min. story, then a 14 min. story, then feature length story. Build up and just keep doing it!
  • “Start looking at films, look at scenes – study them – repeat. What do the visuals, editing, scenes tell you? Observe, start doing it and don’t ever stop!
  • “Don’t wait for Pixar or Sony to tell you to do it. Do it now and be whatever ‘studio’ you like!

Resources mentioned

Note: some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

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Special thanks to John for joining me today. See you next time!

Art Side of Life Newsletter

All artworks by John Nevarez, used with permission


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