Animation Visual Development Designer

 

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Michael has worked in the animation industry for over thirty years with such

notable studios as Walt Disney/Pixar, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks and

Sony Pictures Animation.                                             

 

Michael’s professional career in art began in 1976, when he was invited to

join the faculty at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, after

graduating with distinction.  He taught there for twelve years, simultaneously working as a freelance illustrator

for clients that included the Public Broadcasting System,Zondervan Publishing House, Masda Motors, the

National Football League,NBC Television, Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.

 

Michael ventured into animation as a Layout Artist with Ralph Bakshi’s feature production of Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings. Shortly after that, he worked with Filmation Studios on He-Man and Bravestar, and on the Bagdasarian feature, The Chipmunk Adventure.

 

Joining the Walt Disney Television Animation team in 1988 as a Visual Development Artist and Designer,

Michael set the style for such episodic shows as, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Goof Troop,

The Little Mermaid, New Bonkers and Aladdin.  He also worked on the direct-to-video production of Aladdin

and the King of Thieves.

 

In 1994, Michael and his family moved to Paris, France, where he headed up the Production Layout team for

Disney’s feature film, A Goofy Movie.

 

Returning to Los Angeles in 1995, Michael Co-Art Directed Warner Brothers' first full-length animated feature,

Quest for Camelot, then as a Visual Development Designer on Disney Feature Animation’s, Dinosaurs,

The Emperor’s New Groove, Treasure Planet and Lilo and Stitch.  Michael also assisted on early development

design of Dreamworks', Shrek.

 

Michael moved to the Chicago area in 1999 to become Director of Visual Development and Artist Education

with Big Idea Productions, home of the popular 3D animated video series, Veggie Tales.  There he developed

and headed up the Visual Development process in Story, Concept Design, Modeling and Layout.  He also served

as Art Director on various productions and as an Art Direction Consultant on Big Idea’s first feature animated film,

Jonah.

 

Since 2004 Michael has owned Spoonerville Animation Design, an independent visual development studio,

providing both traditional and CGI design concepts for clients such as, Walt Disney/Pixar Animation Studios,

Blue Sky Studios, ReelFX Animation Studios and Big Idea, Inc.

 

in 2013 Michael returned to LA to work with Sony Pictures Animation as a Visual Development Designer, on such feature projects as Popeye, Kazorn, Hotel Transylvania 2, Surf's Up 2, Emoji: Express Yourself, Ghostbusters,

The Star, and Smurfs:The Lost Village.

In 2017, he joined Warner Animation Group on the theatrical feature production of SCOOB.

 

Michael lives in Southern California with his writer-wife, and son.

 

Michael is a visiting artist and lecturer, presenting in colleges, universities, art schools and animation studios throughout the United States.  

 

 

THE ART OF MICHAEL SPOONER