Monday, December 27, 2010


When I got my 1st job getting paid for making art, I was so happy. A week before Christmas our boss took us aside and told us he was days away from letting us all go but we got money to do a videogame. The news was suppose to be good, but instead all I heard was 'layed off'. I realized at that moment how unprepared I was. I told myself I would never let that happen again.

Each year I put together a demo reel, not that I'm always looking for a job but rather to be prepared if I lost mine. I never, ever want to go back to loading trucks on the docks.
As the year 2010 draws to a end, thought it might be nice to reflect on my last ten years of animation by putting together a demo reel.


note: for students making a demo reel, please don't use this reel as template. There is a number of things wrong with this reel, most notably the length is too long. Rather go to The Spline Doctors website for a how-to guide on making a demo reel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

J-Rock reads the classic: Mater the Greater

Ok, this doesn't have much to do w animation but I'm such a proud Papa I had to share.

I was tucking in my four year old son tonite when he turned to me and said 'I'm going to read you Mater the Greater, alright?' Thank you iPhone for catching these lil' life moments that pass by so quickly.
Enjoy Grandma and Grandpa :0)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Poppins Day

Each Thankgiving the Hartline family flies out to NYC to eat a big bird with family on the last Thursday of November. However, this last Wednesday of Nov. we now have a new family tradition - see a broadway show. Since my son is now 4 years old, he is now old enough to see his 1st play. After giving it some serious thought, we decided upon Mary Poppins.

My lovely wife has a college friend who does the lighting for the Broadway show. We were lucky enough to go backstage after the show. Below are a few pics. Enjoy!
Mary Poppins - The Broadway Musical
Jackson talking to none other then Mary Poppins. She tried singing 'a spoon full of sugar' to him but he interuptted her to talk about his new shoes.
The original Mary Poppins, Ms. Julie Andrews signs the mainstage wall that faces away from the audience
The Hartline Fam on stage - watch out Osmonds, were coming for you!
The many Mary Poppins' umbrellas
My beautiful wife Karen and her college friend Carlos.
J-Rock hits the stage. Next time all those seats behind him will be full :)

Thank you Carlos for a great night!

CTNX 2010

I'm writing to you 32,000 ft high in the sky. This past week has been non-stop - this is first time i've had a moment to sit, collect my thoughts and write. This past weekend I attended the 2nd Annual CTN-X Event down in Burbank, CA. All I can say is WOW! What a great event. It reminded me of Siggraph in the 90's except take out all the tech and fill it with lots and lots of art. My only complaint is there was sooo many panels that I wanted to see that there was no time to eat or rest.

Some standout moments was watching Peter DeSeve and Carter Goodrich exchange loving verbal blows to one another, AM t-shirts everywhere, the giant Simon Otto taking us threw Dragon's Flight School and Glen Keane drawing over CG animators animation in Tangled. WOW! I said that already didn't I?!

I guess I should mention that I was on a panel as well. Ok, I have a confession to make first. For those who know me - I am a person who likes to be prepared. If I have a job interview, I will drive to the building the day before just so I know the exact route and how long it takes to get to my destination. My wife knows if we are going out to a movie, I have to be there at least 15 minutes early. Yeah, I'm a bit of a headcase. Talking on this animation panel was a class in 'Teaching Aaron to Relax!'

When I agreed to do the panel I started to gather my materials only to have my coworkers go 'No man, we are just going to go down there and wing it!' WHAT?!! 3 to 1, I lost that battle. Then as I sat down to watch some of the panels, it was like the dvd extras come to life. I immediately started to sweat, mumbling to myself 'we have nothing, we have nothing' Walking the halls 'We have nothing' getting up on the stage 'We Have Nothing' Mic'd up to talk 'NOTHING!' Honestly, it was a blur for those 45 minutes. All I remember was one of the animation gods sat across from me while I asked him Chris Farley questions like 'Remember when you animated Jafar?! Yeah, that was cool!', Victor dropping a few F-bombs and Carlos losing his voice. Deja said it best 'In case you didnt know it, this is the Party Panel!'

The best comment I got was 'This was way better then the talk down at Siggraph!' Hats off to Victor, Michal and Carlos. They told me 'if we enjoy ourselves, the crowd will pick up on it and have a good time' How right they were, I had a great time! Thanks Fellas.
The Panel - Michal Markarewicz, ME, Andreas Deja, Victor Navone, Carlos Baena.
Literally a minute before the panel. 4 shots for the newbie animators and one glass of wine for the legendary animator. This pic sums up the night for me :)
Waiting in line for yet another awesome panel

Saw this at Oakland Airport for the Pixar Exhibit at OMCA

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

CARS 2 - Poster and Image

To my surprise, a new Cars 2 poster and 1st official image from the film was released today!

For those out there that have been following the blog, you know all about my 'geek out' thing. Make sure to check back in soon to see what art ends up on the poster :)

Which reminds me - I need to post my Toy Story 3 poster
Cars 2 Poster

Cars 2 - 1st Official Image

Friday, November 12, 2010

CTN Animation Expo

I'll be at CTNX talking on a panel about all things animation with 3 fellow Pixar animators - Michal Makarewicz, Carlos Baena, and Victor Navone moderated by the one and only, Mr Andreas Deja.

If your in L.A. next weekend - make sure to stop by the CTN Animation Expo and say Hi!
Tools of the Trade of a Successful Animator Yesterday, Today and Beyond

Just a few of Deja's beloved characters

1st I get to meet Eric Goldberg, now Andreas Deja?! Man, I feel like I'm in this animation dream this year. Please don't wake me up :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letters Of Note

Over a year ago I got a letter in the mail from a young man just starting out in the world. He was currently in the airforce but secretly loved cartoons. I could tell right away that it was much then just a passing interest for him, since he had so many drawings by different animators and speaked of animation with such passion.

I took out a paper and pencil, did my best to convince him to follow his dream. Mailing the letter I thought that was the end of it. A few months back I started getting emails about how inspiring my letter was to Willie. In the halls at Pixar co-workers would stop me and told me they read my letter. I gotta admit in this digital age of facebook and twitter, I felt like is there anything not private anymore? But then after reading the comments and emails I've gotten these last few months about how it inspired them as well, I was a bit taken back.

Thank you all for such nice words you've been sending, I'm really touched. I wanted to be a animator so bad that I knew if I ever made this impossible dream a reality, I would turn around once I climbed that mountain and yell to everyone else 'You Can Do It!'

You Can Do It - whatever your mountain may be :)
From the website
the letter to Willie
Since the letter, Willie and I have met.
Nice shirt Willie :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Driveway Follies

On Oct 31st, the Hartlines hop in the car and head to the next town over to what is quickly becoming a Halloween tradition, Oakland's Driveway Follies. Standing there watching 30+ kids all dressed in their costumes staring at a puppet show in a driveway of a house, I feel like i've been teleported into a Norman Rockwell painting. Its the one time a year where I feel like im getting a glimpse of a more simple time. When people come out of their homes and talk to one another face to face rather then using their new app Face-Time.

It was a great night w the family.
Official Poster from Oakland Artist Michael Wertz
A brief moment from the Driveway Follies Show
My son Bee-Boy (his mom made it specially for him)

Finally here, The Walking Dead on AMC

Friday, October 1, 2010

Columbia College - Alumni Weekend

This past weekend - my two college buddies and myself were asked to go back to our old college, Columbia College of Chicago to speak at the Alumni weekend. Truth be told, we used the Alumni Weekend to fly us out there so we could do what was really important to us, a chance to speak to the students in the animation department. Back when we attended, no one ever came to talk. It was great to be able to share our experiences w students just starting out.

The whole time Daniel, Everett, and myself kept looking at each other. We kept thinking 'is this really happening right now?' 'Weren't we just here yesterday?' 16 years go by fast!
Pixar Alumni Panel - wow, looks official.
Highly Animated Panel
These were all over the animation department (I animated the Barbie/Ken shot, Ev animated the Kevin shot, and Daniel did the Russell drawing)
We spoke in the lobby of the new Columbia College building.
Discussing animation on a mo-cap stage (does this strike anyone else as odd?)
Good times :) (not sure when this was taken?)
The 3 Amigos
Ev and myself in awe of Daniel's lecture on color
Hey, Thats ME!!
The moderator and one of the heads of the animation department, Mr Jim Rohn
My attempt at drawing Russell from UP
Best part of the trip, got to take my family along :)
This was taken at Navy Pier, my boy intensely watching the magic act

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A few weeks back the OMCA - Oakland Museum of California had a family day for all Pixar Employees to see the new exhibit, PIXAR / 25 Years of Animation. I remember 5 years ago when it opened in NYC while I was working at BlueSky, I was excited and a bummed at the same time. Excited to see the exhibit, bummed that I was not part of it.

5 years later, on a different coast. I was so incredibly happy and proud to take my family to see the final exhibit before it ends its 5 year run. It was definetly a moment to exhale and enjoy all the beautiful art for a day, after a 13 year (4745 days) journey to Pixar.

Gotta stick a post-it where ever I go :)
Still the best art I ever created - My two beautiful kids.
Must have LUXO for it to be a Pixar Event
Cover of the OMCA - 25 Years of Pixar Museum Book
My good friend, Daniel's drawing. Known him since college when we both dreamed of working for the Lamp, over 16 years ago. So proud to see his art in the show!

The Mighty Zoetrope!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Comers Children Hospital

This past weekend I went to Comer's Children Hospital of Chicago. It was great to walk into a room and see a child who has no idea who I am or why I am there. I pull up next to their bed and ask them what is their favorite Pixar character? Pulling out my pen and paper, I start to sketch. Watching their puzzled face turn to shear happiness when they see Woody staring back at them. Or Jessie, McQueen, Dory, Dash, I even got a request for SpongeBob :)

It was certainly a moment I will always remember.
Comer's Children Hospital
Practicing the night before in my hotel room
Still practicing, this time at lunch before I head off to the hospital

After a successful visit, my left hand looks like it went through a war-zone

Friday, August 27, 2010


The summer is coming to a end, how do I know? Because today was the 2nd Annual Pixarpalooza. The day where cubicle office artists turn into rockstars!
One of the many PIXARPALOOZA posters in the Atrium
As the music played, Mike was tossed around the crowd.
The Cupcakes (Animation Interns) take the stage

1-2-3 Check, Check. Sounds all good!
Music, Sun and Suds. What more do you need?