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Animation Designers Who Illustrate and Vice Versa

Animation Designers Who Illustrate and Vice Versa

Title: Animation Designers Who Illustrate and Vice Versa
CTNX 2011
Length: 75 min

Are you an illustrator and have been wondering if you should take your skill set into the world of animation design. Or maybe you are an animator or animation artist and have been wondering if you should take your skill set into the world of Children’s Book Illustration or art.   Listen to these industry professionals discuss the similarities and differences for using their skills  in animation and book illustration to create and tell stories visually.

Moderated by: Carol Kieffer Police graduated from Art Center at the top of her class with distinction. Carol began working at Disney Television Animation. She utilized her skills as a Production Stylist, Art Director, Development and Photoshop Artist on various Television, Direct to Video, and Theatrical Releases. She joined Disney Feature Animation where she worked in Visual Development for The Snow Queen at Disney Features, creating character and costume designs, as well as locations and color styling. Disney sent her to Art Direct Bambi II, a financial, critical and popular success for Disneytoon Studios.  Carol joined Disneytoon’s CG animated Tinkerbell DVD series as an Art Director and overseeing consultant AD to establish the series visual direction. Carol founded Made in Paradise Productions, with her business partner, Karen Keller. She is the Creative Director and President of MiPP, combining her creative and administrative experience with a passion for efficient and effective pipeline and production.  Carol has worked with Starz Animation Toronto and Producer Steven-Charles Jaffe developing the characters and production design direction for the CG feature, Gahan Wilson’s Eddy Deco. And has also done development for Illumination on the feature film, IHop, and for the Disney Channel and Consumer Products developing a new TV show.



Panelist Brian Ajhar’s career as an artist has spanned three decades. His extensive and diverse client list includes numerous magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies, corporate clients, and book publishers. His illustrated children’s books have been published worldwide in a multitude of languages and have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Ajhar’s work is widely recognized for it’s distinctive and humorous point of view. The diverse range of his ideas have adapted to a variety of social, economic, and political issues. His whimsical paintings incorporate traditional mediums such as watercolors, acrylics, pencils and inks that have been integrated with digital technology.

Brian’s work has been featured in many articles and books written about the field of illustration. “The Illustrator in America” 1860-2000 written by Walt Reed profiled Brian’s influence in the 1990s. An excerpt from the book follows:“Ajhar has a free and fluid style of drawing coupled with humor that looks uninhibited and easy.It is based on the strong knowledge of the figure, however, and the ability to draw without slavish reliance on photographs”.

Brian is a frequent guest lecturer and has been teaching illustration concepts and character development at Syracuse University for the past 15 years. He has also taught at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and The University of Hartford, CT where he received the distinguished Koopman Chair Award for the Visual Arts. Brian’s most recent projects include story and character development for several animation projects and he is looking forward to appearing at the Nov 2011 CTN ANIMATION EXPO in Burbank.

More about Brian Ajhar and his work including character design reels can be found at Brian’s new website:


Panelist Christopher Denise is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and visual development artist.

His career began in 1993 with the publication of his first book, a retelling of the Russian folk-tale The Fool of The World and The Flying Ship, which was pronounced “a stunning debut” in Publisher’s Weekly. Since then, Chris has illustrated more than 20 books for authors including Brian Jacques (Redwall picture book series), Jane Yolen, Phyllis Root, and children’s poet laureate J. Patrick Lewis. His books have appeared on the New York Times best-seller’s list and have been recognized numerous times by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards and the Parents’ Choice Foundation.
A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Chris went on to teach at RISD in the illustration department for several years and was nominated for the Frazier Excellence in Teaching Award.

Christopher began working in animation as a matte painter and visual development artist. His clients include; Blue Sky Studios, Treanor Brothers Animation, Scholastic, Disney/Hyperion, Children’s Television Workshop, Candlewick Press

Penguin/Putnam/Philomel Books, American Greetings, Harcourt Brace, EA Games, Activision, McMillan/McGraw Hil

For more information:


Barry Jackson designs and artwork have contributed to the look of over 13 feature films including Shrek, at Dreamworks, The Nightmare before Christmas, at Disney, Ron Howard’s The Grinch, at Universal, and Horton Hears a Who, from Twentieth Century Fox.

He created the production design for Warner Bros. feature film, The Ant Bully and won the Telly Award for his production design of Cartoon Network’s television feature, Firebreather.

His artwork contributed to interactive games at EA Los Angeles, such as:  Medal of Honor, Lord of the Rings Battle for Middle Earth, and Strike Force.

Many professionals in the animation and art business have been influenced by his instruction at the Art Center College of Design, Cal State Northridge, and the Otis School of Art.  A guest speaker at numerous colleges and illustrator conventions, have made him a well known figure in the industry.

Recently, he production designed an al- digital, animated, science fiction film, for the Weinstein company, titled Escape from Planet Earth, due out in late 2012.

Danny Diamondback, a children’s book, which he both wrote and illustrated, now published by Harper Collins, deals with the idea of labeling and prejudging, and teaches that an individual has the power to transcend a stigma.

For more about Barry E, Jackson, visit:

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