How The Class Works

Animation has been around since the dawn of man. Prehistoric man in 35,000 BC drew stick figures on the walls of their caves ( in France & Spain) and watched the firelight flicker over the outlines; they would appear to move in the dark. These hand drawn images were Man's first movie theater.

Animation, whether hand-drawn, clay, armature or CGI, is the art of making inanimate drawings or objects appear to move, to show emotions in new ways, and even to give the impression they've come to life. Powerpuff Girls, SpongeBob, Donald Duck, King Kong, Jack Skellington, Buzz Lightyear, the Gollum, all express the artist's intent to make the audience laugh, cry, be amazed or afraid.

Animators are storytellers. And the basics of all animation are same regardless of whether the final film is a flipbook or a $100 million Hollywood epic. Making a drawing move means understanding character, emotion, timing. You don't even have to draw very well. It takes practice & learning.

If you have an idea and the artistic temperament to want to express it through the tools animation uniquely offer, you can learn to animate.

I am a trained 2-D (hand-drawn) animator. I received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue my craft in the '70s and studied for six years at the prestigious Zagreb Animation School, under such masters as Dragic, Grgic, and Gasparovic.. I worked for many studios/companies over the years designing and animating characters, including work at Disney Television, Ralph Bakshi Studios, and Colossal Pictures. I animated on CD-ROMs, commercials, and industrial films. Over the past 20 years I have taught over 1,000 students at Cogswell College, Vista College (now Berkeley City College), Academy of Art University,  San Francisco State University, Expression College, and Laney College.
I have also taught animation in private, one-on-one tutoring.

Thousands of students want to get into the lucrative field of animation but don't know the fundamentals of how to animate. You don't need to know Maya or computer programming to succeed (Pixar, for example, sometimes hires artists with no computer experience, but show great skill as animators, designers, artists, etc.)  I am uniquely trained to show you the fundamentals of the craft, and can teach you the basic in: how things move, timing, when less is more, character design, comic timing, and more. I have 10 on-line lessons in the beginners course

This is what I can't do for you:
--I am not a computer animator. I don't teach computer software (our animation software for the class is the simple-to-use Digicel Flipbook, used by most major animation studios and major art colleges. (Check them out at We will be focusing on drawing characters & objects and how to make them express weight, & aliveness, not writing code or computer programming.
--I am a freelance artist and animator and I offer no connections in the industry in the Bay Area. It is impossible for me to get you a job at Pixar  Disney ILM, DreamWorks, or any other company. I found jobs over the years by myself. You can figure that out on your own.
--Charge you an arm and a leg for nothing. I take only a handful of students a year and pride myself on a one-on-one (over the internet, that is) interaction so you get personalized feedback and the ability to revise and discuss your decisions, challenges and obstacles. I enjoy finding and nurturing dedicated and passionate students.

Classes in animation here in California cost as much as $4,500 per class in private art colleges ( no joke!). This is the same class, I taught it in private art colleges in the S.F. Bay Area,  for only $30. per lesson, totaling 10 lessons. The cost is $299. You have the option of signing up for only the first  five lessons for $149.

Below is my syllabus. I have 10 lessons, mostly made up of a discussion of the concepts for the week, a demonstration or two, recommended (required) reading and viewing, as well as a short assignment. Generally assignments are due in one week and I make it a point to check in with you at least once during the week, then we discuss your assignment once you've turned it in, then we go onto the next one. During every week I will be available (at arranged times) for you to email, skype or screen-share your questions to ensure you are on the right track. Deadlines aren't written in stone -- if we need more time we can go slower or do one again.

In this way, we build through 10 weeks (or so) and your skill and understanding improves as the concepts build on each other.

At the end of the course you get a certificate. I am not accredited; you won't receive any credit that you can apply to a higher institution, just a better understanding and practice (as well as some audition footage) of the basics of animation. In this industry, that is often better than any certificate.

To give you a better idea of what we will be covering, here is my Reading/Viewing list:

Cartoon Animation (required): by Preston Blair.  Walter Foster: publisher.
 (currently available on
Timing For Animation by John Halas, Focal Press.
DVD: Zagreb Classics, Vol. 1, 2, & 3 Rembrandt Films, N.Y.
DVD: UPA classics.
DVD: Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes
DVD: Disney's Fantasia, 1940, Mickey Mouse shorts; 1930s, Peter Pan, 1953, Sword & The Stone, 1963 (while these are not required, you should be familiar with the techniques and story-telling aspects of what has gone before)
The following films can be found on YouTube, your local library, Netflix, or on DVD, and you should at least have a familiarity with them, the makers, and what they were able to accomplish with pen, paper, talent, and patience.
Chuck Jones: Extremes and Inbetweens.
Goofy Classics
Gertie The Dinosaur
Donald in Mathimagicland
Behind the scenes at Walt Disney Studio: Disney Treasures.