Ep.11: Curious mind of an artist with Tod Polson (The Book of Life)

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 19, 2017 •  Interviews

Tod is an animation designer and director originally from Wyoming, United States and currently living in Thailand. He has worked extensively as a director, designer, and art director, helping develop projects for companies all over the world including Walt Disney, Warner Bros., and Nickelodeon.

I met Tod while working at LEGO where he ran a week-long workshop about character design and animation.

Tod received both his BFA and MFA from The California Institute of the Arts (Cal/Arts) under a scholarship from the Walt Disney Co. At Cal/Arts, Tod fell under the mentorship of legendary animation designer Jules Engel, eventually garnering the “Student Oscar”, and “Annie Award” nomination for his short film, “Al Tudi Tuhak”. Between degrees, Tod apprenticed under the Oscar-winning team of Chuck Jones, and Maurice Noble.

Tod is known for his work on Howl (2010), The Secret of Kells (2009) and The Book of Life (2014). His animation design book, The Noble Approach, Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation was published by Chronicle Books LLC. Currently, Tod is a creative director at large for the Cartoon Saloon studio in Ireland and is busy creating new personal short film projects through his own studio Prodigal Pictures in Thailand.

Get in touch with Tod

Key Takeaways

“Try to find balance in your life, look at things outside of animation for inspiration – art, music, travel. Do all these things, because taking time from art will make you even better artist”

Resources mentioned

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

All artworks by Tod Polson, used with permission

Click Here For The Episode Transcript

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, teacher, and the founder of Art Side of Life™. I've worked as a commercial artist since 2009. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways so I’ve made it my mission to teach you everything I know, to contribute to waking up your creative genius.