Stacks Image 117
Danbury, CT -Winter 2019-

As a child, I grew up loving to draw. Initially, almost all my subject matter involved either Snoopy or Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I followed my passion after high school, and attended the Columbus College of Art & Design, where I majored in illustration. Shortly after graduating from college, I discovered that the life of a freelance illustrator was not as romantic as I had envisioned, so I began to search out more stable career opportunities. About that same time, I spoke to a very enthusiastic friend of mine who had just been hired as an effects animator at Disney after finishing a twelve week animation internship. His enthusiasm was contagious. Although I had never taken an animation class, he convinced me to give it a try. I submitted a portfolio of figure drawings and interviewed with Disney in March of 1990. I was offered a position in their fall internship that same year, and upon its completion, was offered a job in the clean-up animation department. Prior to the start of “The Lion King,” I was promoted to Animator.

Following “Brother Bear” it was announced that the Florida Studio would be working on a hybrid film combining both traditional and computer animation. In the previous few years, it had become rather apparent that the age of hand drawn animation was coming to an end (or at least going on an extended hiatus). Therefore, I made requests to both the director of the film and the CGI supervisor, to be cast on the digital side of the project. After going through a training program with the rest of the 30 some animators at our studio, I was afforded the opportunity to animate on the computer. The film was unfortunately never completed and the Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida Studio shut its doors less than a year later.

Over the years I was blessed to learn the art of animation from some of the greatest animators and animation directors in the world. However, what I cherish most about that period of my life was the time I spent working with such great people on a day-to-day basis, and the friendships that were formed over those 14 years.

Following the closing of the Florida studio, I took my newly developed digital skills to the world of video game development where I accepted a position at Electronic Arts’ Tiburon Studio in Maitland, Florida. Since I would be working exclusively on football titles while at EA, being a football junkie was a real plus. It was a challenging transition, and I quickly learned that there was a lot more to animating on video games than simply making pretty scenes. I enjoyed learning new skill sets and developing a better understanding of game design during my time at EA-Tiburon. For my two boys, they could not have imagined a cooler job for their Dad. Sure, drawing “Simba” might be interesting, but two little boys, working on Madden football video games was “cool”.

Although I love the sport, after four years and eleven football titles I was in need of new challenges. I took a job at N-Space in April of 2008. I really enjoyed taking on a wider range of responsibilities offered by a smaller studio, as well as the variety of subject matter I was able to work on.

In January of 2010 I began working at Blue Sky Studios in Connecticut, right outside White Plains, NY. I really enjoyed making movies again with a company that was producing some of the best animation in the world. One of the things I really loved about my experience at Blue Sky is that was that I was asked to a wear a lot of different hats. Blue Sky Studios allowed me to hone my feature animation skills on the computer, while at the same time I was able to contribute to the development of films using the traditional hand-drawn skills I learned at Disney.

I have been blessed to have so many great experiences in my career, where I have been able to work with amazing people and be a part of so many iconic projects. Grateful for the opportunely to have a career where I continue to learn new things and grow as an animator everyday.

Jim Jackson


Franco Harris drawings

age 7
Stacks Image 41
age 13
Stacks Image 45
EA Sports
Stacks Image 59


Snoopy drawing

age 5
Stacks Image 66
"The Peanuts Movie"
Stacks Image 68


Orlando, FL -New Years 2010-
Stacks Image 100
Animating on "The Lion King"
Stacks Image 104
Working at Blue Sky Studios
Stacks Image 108