Drawing on Frontline Industry Pros, Woodbury University Animation Department Forms Advisory Board

While Embracing CGI and Computer Animation, Panel Extols Value of Traditional Art and Animation Skills

BURBANK, Calif. (August 25, 2016) – In an effort to keep both the university and the Southern California creative community in the forefront of the industry, Woodbury University today announced that its Animation Department has formed a new Advisory Board.  The 14-member panel consists of professional animators, retired animation industry professionals, past and present Animation Department faculty and graduates of Woodbury’s award-winning animation program.

According to Dori Littell-Herrick, chair of the Animation Department within Woodbury’s School of Media, Culture & Design, the panel will provide input, insight and innovative ideas the university can use to design programs that will offer current and future Animation Department students the education and experience they need to succeed in the fast-changing animation industry.

“In today’s global media industry, much of the production work is done out of state or overseas, and animation is no exception to this,” Littell-Herrick said.  “The creative jobs that reliably remain in California — and specifically Burbank — require a solid grounding in arts, visual language, cinematic language and storytelling.  The prevalence of CGI and computer animation software notwithstanding, the consensus within the Advisory Board is that animation students need a strong foundation in traditional art and animation skills including gesture drawing, perspective, and principles of animation.”

Among the appointees to the Advisory Board:

Alan Bodner, art director, “The Life and Times of Juniper Lee,” a Cartoon Network original series; the Emmy-nominated Disney Channel hit series “Kim Possible; “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas,” and the Warner Bros. hit animated feature “Iron Giant”

Alex Topete, a retired Disney artist who teaches at the Animation Guild and directs the popular El Grupo animation workshop

Matt Manning, a stop motion animator at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Disney Online and Disney Interactive, and former Woodbury Animation Department instructor, known for his work on “Robot Chicken” and “Celebrity Deathmatch”

Susy Ruiz Campos, production manager with Cartoon Network’s “Samurai Jack” and a 2006 Woodbury University graduate

Alex Campos, background designer, Disney TV’s ”Milo Murphy’s Law” and a 2005 Woodbury graduate

Jon Vener, Animation Director, “Overkill’s The Walking Dead VR Experience,” former Woodbury Animation Department instructor and 2006 graduate

Manny Grijalva, a 2011 Woodbury graduate and now assistant recording engineer, Nickelodeon, SpongeBobSquarePants, Sanjay and Craig, Breadwinners and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Katia Grifols, CEO and Art Director at Glow in the Dark Concept Studio, comic artist, past visual development instructor at Woodbury

“In the past, animation artists learned the craft in an apprentice model, working in the studios with an experienced artist/mentor,” Littell-Herrick said.  “With the many quality animation schools in the Los Angeles area, the studios no longer use this model of hiring young artists and then training them in the craft of animation.  Although animation has become a global industry, many good animation jobs remain in close proximity to Woodbury.  Members of the Advisory Board will provide valuable insight into ways that our Animation program can continue to evolve to meet the needs of both our students and the companies that will hire them now and in the future.

“University animation programs — including our Department of Animation — must provide both the foundation art training and the current animation technology that will prepare students for an entry-level job while also encouraging them to develop their personal creative voice that may someday lead them to their dream job in the animation industry,” she said.  “We must also teach the soft skills that allow students to work well with others in a collaborative environment.  This includes effective communication skills and the ability to be part of a creative team project.”

In 2015, Animation Career Review, an online resource for people who aspire to a career in animation and other forms of design, ranked Woodbury’s Animation Department and its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation degree program No. 14 among the Top 25 Animation Schools in the West, and No. 45 among the Top 100 Animation Schools in the nation. Woodbury also placed 31st among private schools and colleges nationwide and was named to the Animation Magazine list of the “Top 25 Schools You Should Hire From.”

About Woodbury University

Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California.  The university ranks 15th among the nation’s “25 Colleges That Add the Most Value,” according to Money Magazine, and is a 2016-17 College of Distinction.  With campuses in Burbank/Los Angeles and San Diego, the university offers bachelor’s degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and College of Liberal Arts, along with a Master of Business Administration, Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Science in Architecture.  The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, as well as a Master of Architecture degree with a concentration in Real Estate Development.  Visit woodbury.edu for more information.


Media Contact:
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
(323) 469-3397
[email protected]




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