Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Root Branch Profiles 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Artists are shy. That's why they don't respond to these profile requests... or at least, that's what I tell myself when I cry myself to sleep at night. Some are so shy that I must dig around the www to find tidbits of biographical information. Good thing I'm super ethical and won't cheapen this site by fabricating juicy gossip about Root Branch artists 11-17 to spread like wildfire through the blogosphere!


A Maverix Studios co-founder, Christopher Carter is a veteran traditional Animator/Story Board Artist and has worked with clients such as Proctor and Gamble, MTV, Coca-Cola, Nike, Sprint and Sony. He earned an MFA in Fine Art/ Sculpture from U.C. Berkeley in 1995 and in 2003-2004 returned as a visiting Lecturer. He received the James T. Phelan and Ira Kroenig Scholarship for outstanding achievement and more recently a grant for a site-specific sculpture at Art Basel Miami. His work was recently acquired by the Grand Rapids Art Museum for their reopening in 2007. Carter is continually creating and working on exploring new themes and materials with his art. He shows regularly throughout the USA and the Caribbean.

(Chris once competed with our governator Schwarzenegger for Mr. Universe. Sadly he lost, and dashed all Californians' hopes for real tax and budget reform.)


Enrico Casarosa has been in the animation industry for more than ten years, drawing storyboards that fit into large animated feature films. Currently a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios Enrico continues his quest to create more hours in the day by drawing alternate realities. Sooner or later his experiments will break through and we’ll all have to buy new watches. Meantime he just published an art book “3 trees make a forest” with partners in crime Ronnie del Carmen and Tadahiro Uesugi. Other times he pursues his muse by traveling with his watercolors and sketchbooks. Enrico is the founder of “SketchCrawl”, a world wide drawing marathon event that gathers artists from all around the globe.

Listen to an interview with Enrico at IllustrationMundo here.

Read an interview with Enrico at here.

(Enrico once played for the Italian national soccer team: see if you can spot him here.)


(Mike likes hamburgers but he doesn't eat meat. It has stunted his growth.)


About Me: Storyboard supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios

Favorite Movies

Favorite Music

Favorite Books

(Ted just won the 6th season of Top Chef with his classic ratatouille dish, beating out both Voltaggio brothers and the adorable red-bearded dwarf creature from Atlanta.)


Sho is Japanese-Korean. She studied Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Cinematography and Psychology in Spain, where she grew up. She graduated in 2d animation from the Vancouver Film School.

Her first color graphic novel "SEI" was published by Image Comics in 2003. Since then she has created "ME2" and illustrated over a dozen graphic novels including the graphic novel adaption series of Nancy Drew, currently in volume 20.

Her animation work has been nominated in various Animation Film Festivals, including Annecy, Zagreb, Mendrisio and Chicago International A. F. Sho's work in advertisement stretches from Europe to the U.S., and her list of clients include brands such as Nike, Virgin, Mattel, Evian, Sony, and Electronic Arts.

Her art has been exhibited at galleries around the world, including the German Film Museum in Frankfurt and the Louisiana Modern Art Museum in Denmark.

(Sho is the ultimate couch potato who sits around all day and night, takes long naps, watches reality TV, and Does Not Work At All. Like NEVER.)


(Bosco has made billions selling high quality electronics to people around the world... like the Russian Mafia, the Shanghai Triad, and the Corleone Family.)


A Maverix co-founder and partner, Vaughn Ross, has worked in animation for more than a decade, including significant tenures at Colossal Pictures and Wild Brain Inc. Vaughn contributes technical animation direction for the feature short “Oasis” created by Ed Bell. Vaughn currently work for Lucasfilm as a 3D storyboard artist on the “Clone Wars” animated tv series.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

ROBERT VALLEY: Root Branch Profile #10

The legend of Robert Valley. I heard of this dude long before I met him. I believe he started the Maverix co-op! After stints in and out of the U.S. of A., this nomad is now in NYC I believe but gracing us with his presence at the show this Thursday. I stole his bio from Story Board Art (don't tell Sergio).


A bad ass Story Artist, a rocking Animator- Robert Valley is awesome

Robert Valley is an animation artist whose work is always on the cutting edge. Robert’s work is all over spots for Nike, Coca-Cola, the Gorillaz music videos, Aeon Flux with Peter Chung, and many others. Most recently Robert’s work was all a buzz with his latest Beatles Rock Band trailer. Although he didn’t direct the spot, Robert’s style and influence can be seen all over the project. Always an approachable and humble leader in the visual field, he is a pioneer in visual styles and filmmaking.

Robert’s style is edgy and unique always pushing the extreme angles and innovative shots. For a great example of his storyboard work check out the DVD extras in “Dark Fury The Chronicles of Riddick” directed by Peter Chung.

You can buy exclusive copies of Robert’s new book “Massive Swerve 2009″ here.

Watch the Beatles Rock Bank trailer here. COOOOOOOOOOL!

Monday, December 07, 2009

TOM RUBALCAVA: Root Branch Profile #9

To the untrained eye, Tom Rubalcava is calm, collected, the epitome of the cool artist guy. However, buried not far beneath the surface is a giant gorilla, the tragic antihero, surrounded by flying, half-naked fairy ladies, gently caressing his furry head. Oh wait... that's just the art.

For reals, Tom's 2d art is a testament to the flawless style of traditional comics and the man can sculpt anything! As President of Maverix Studios, Tom share many traits with our nation's fearless leader, President Obama. You'll have to ask him what those are when you see him at the show.


Tom Rubalcava has been an artist since he won a contest in a local newspaper when he was 7 years old. He spent the ensuing years dreaming and drawing comics until in high school he saw King Kong and the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. With a new passion to see his art move, coupled with newly discovered sculpting abilities Tom went on to work in Television and Motion Pictures as an animator, sculptor and designer of prosthetic make up and physical effects. He is a skilled digital artist but continues to work with traditional mediums to keep his work grounded.

Check out Tom's more extensive bio here. Amongst other accomplishments, Tom worked as a director at Colossal Pictures (earning a Clio Award) and co-founded Way Out West Productions. Tom started out in animation doing special effects for the Rats of Nimh (classic!)

When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?
When I was a kid I was fascinated by the art in Mad magazine - Mort Drucker was the best.

What is your favorite color and why?

Azure blue. It's a color that drapes the distant horizon and reminds of vast landscapes that I've been privileged to see and always keeps me hoping to see more.

What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

Oddly enough, I get distracted by music when I'm working - thinking about what next to play. I'm actually more productive in quieter surroundings. I relax with music - I don't relax so much when I work. That's bad - isn't it.

No Tom, great work requires great concentration and NO RELAXATION ALLOWED!! I just wonder how you survived being in the same room with Disco Vaughn for so long.

Friday, December 04, 2009

DEREK THOMPSON: Root Branch Profile #8

BOOOO!!! Scared ya? Then get ready for Derek Monsters! I don't know how he does it but our star of the day churns out one peculiar monster after another. He even sells a book filled with 365 monsters, to satisfy your monster cravings for every day of the year. (The monster we have bids his time, hiding in the kitchen behind a giant lamp, just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting stranger).

Better start bidding now on Derek's 7+ monsters in the exhibit. They are always in high demand and I know of one person in particular (hint: redhead) who is trying to fill out her already substantial collection. I've spied Derek hard at work, painting away in the backroom recesses of Maverix Studios and they look awesome!


Story Artist
Pixar Animation Studios

Derek Thompson received a BFA in Illustration from Otis/Parsons, and landed his first job for Dark Horse Comics while still attending college. He has worked professionally for over 14 years for a number of studios, including Rhythm & Hues, Lucasfilm and Electronic Arts. Derek has worked in a variety of disciplines, including storyboarding, visual development and creature design. He has contributed to numerous film projects, including Men in Black, The Mummy films, Star Wars: Episode 3 and WALL-E. In his free time, Derek paints abstract art and continues to self-publish collections of his monster drawings and comics. Derek is currently employed as a Story Artist for Pixar Animation Studios.

When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?
i've been drawing since i was a little kid...i've always felt a deep rooted passion for monsters, dinosaurs, robots and more. movies, comics and books have been steady and important inspirations for me.

What is your favorite color and why?
aaagh..that's a hard one! i'll have to say GREEN , because i remember that was my FIRST favorite color. the color of forests and emeralds and dragon scales...

What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?

i listen to all kinds of music while i work. i find movie soundtrack music very helpful when i'm storyboarding, and GODZILLA music is great for when i'm painting monsters. generally, though, i prefer an eclectic range of music, everything from Blues to Reggae, Industrial and Trance, from Jazz to Bluegrass... i like it all!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

JACKIE HUANG: Root Branch Profile #7

For anyone who attended this year's ComiCon, you will recognize Jackie Huang by the throngs of enthralled fangirls and boys gathered around his table, oooo'in and awwww'in over his wool creations. Jackie hand-makes these magical creatures by painstakingly poking at pieces of wool until he creates their distinct shapes and features. He is a one-man sweatshop. Sadly I say this because I just can't see how

(the amount he charges for wool buddies) - (the amount of time he spends on wood buddies X decent hourly wage) = a positive dollar figure.

For his day job, Jackie is the second Lucas Story Artist in a row to grace this blog.


Jackie was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and currently lives in the Bay Area USA. He works in the Animation industry as a 3D story artist. In 2009, Jackie started the WoolBuddy project, creating unique needle felted wool characters. They are so creative, cute, and hilarious all at the same time.

When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?
I started making wool buddies about a year ago because my daughter (2 years old) needed toys and I couldn't find any non-plastic ones.

What is your favorite color and why?
Any earth tone color, and I don't know why.

What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?
I don't listen to any music especially when I am working (can't focus). The only time I listen to music is when I'm driving alone... keeps me awake.

I can't wait to see which wool buddies Jackie brings to the show. I admit I own two - a mini totoro and a dobbit (i.e. a genetically engineered dog crossed with rabbit). Check out these photos of Jackie in a GIANT totoro wool buddy outfit for Halloween!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

OCTAVIO RODRIGUEZ: Root Branch Profile #6

This blog is making a liar of me - I'm not sticking to my own blogging schedule but I will persevere!

Our star profilee today is the recent Bay Area arrival and veteran story artist Octavio Rodriguez. And I say veteran not because he's old (really!!) but because Octavio's been a part of so many animation institutions and choice projects (see his bio below). His own books, which you can purchase on his blog, are full of poignant stories narrated through the cutest illustrations. Octavio is one hard working dude!

Octavio Rodriguez is a story artist who has been in the animation industry for over 14 years where he has also helped with the development of characters and show ideas. Octavio has worked for Nickelodeon, Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, Cartoon Network, Starz/IDT, Rough Draft, Titmouse, Epoch Ink, and is currently employed by Lucasfilm where he's working on the TV series "Clone Wars." Octavio has self-published his own line of sketchbooks, comics, and short stories as well as co-created, a website that celebrates the world of animation by showcasing the best films and the talented people who create them.

When did you first start to draw/create and what inspired you to do it?
It all started in junior high, I couldn't get enough of reading French comics and Mangas. I grew to admire the draftsmanship from my favorite comic and graphic novel artists. Before I knew it, I found myself creating extensive bios of my own characters. Those drawings and bios eventually became comics that I would sell to other kids in school. I was, and still am, completely fascinated with being able to tell a story through sequential art.

What is your favorite color and why?
Red-orange, especially in my art. I love the feel of it popping on the page. It just seems natural.

What kind of music (or other aural environments) do you listen to when you work and why?
Can't live without my iTunes radio. My favorite station hands down is- "Secret Agent: The soundtrack for your stylish, mysterious, dangerous life." I love drawing to it, it breathes life in me. The music meshes with my style, and it inspires my line work.

... so I have to sign off this post by congratulating Mr. Rodriguez on his recent nuptials to the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Quintero Rodriguez. I will refrain from further embarrassing Octavio by posting a picture of him on his wedding day, looking as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (I've always wanted to use that cliche!)