How to Become a Professional Artist – Advice from the Pros

Ever Wondered How to Become a Professional Artist?

Pencil Kings recently spoke with Art Directors, Animation Supervisors, Layout Designers, etc. from the most notable studios in the world. Pixar, Walt Disney, Sony Imageworks and Blue Sky Studios were all represented and some of their top artists provide insight and share their story on what it took to reach the top of their profession.

This is a “must watch” video for anyone who wishes to someday reach the top of their craft. These artists generously share tips from their own personal experience about how to become a professional artist that you will not find anywhere else.



Aaron has been Animation Supervisor on such Blue Sky films as Ice Age, Robots, Horton Hears a Who! where he created movement for such notable characters as Scrat [Ice Age] and Vlad the Vulture [Horton Hears a Who]. Aaron eventually worked his way to his dream job at Pixar where he has worked on features such as Toy Story 3, Up and Cars 2.

Credits include:


  • Toy Story 3 (2010)
  • Up (2009))
  • Ice Age 3: Dawn of Dinosaurs (2009)
  • Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
  • No Time for Nuts (2006)
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
  • Robots (2005)
  • Gone Nutty (2002)
  • Ice Age (2002)
  • Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed (1999)


You can find Aaron online at:


Born and raised in the Philippines, Armand grew up in Quezon City and studied engineering at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in 1989. He worked as an apprentice engineer for a construction company only to give up that career after six months of practice to go back to drawing. Armand is currently at Senior Visual Development at Sony Pictures Animation and worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation as well as overseas productions of Marvel, Disney TV and Hanna-Barbera.

In his spare time, Armand loves to spend time with his family and enjoys traveling. He recently returned from a missions trip in Kenya, Africa and also stopped in Istanbul and Athens.

Credits include:


  • Open Season 2
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Surf’s Up
  • Brother Bear
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Tarzan
  • Mulan


You can visit Armand online at and his blog which has some amazing photos of his travels as well.



Mike was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, but has lived in New York state for the past ten+ years. Mike is currently the Senior Supervising Animator for Blue Sky Studios in New York and he has also began directing as he co-directed Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs as well as with Steve Martino of Horton Hears a Who! on Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Besides Animation, Mike loves movies, video games, Cherry Pepsi and his Mac. He also obsesses about having a beautiful lawn and the weeds in his rock garden are his nemesis.

Credits include:


  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown
  • Robots
  • Gone Nutty
  • Ice Age
  • Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up
  • The Sopranos
  • Fight Club




Stef currently lives in LA where he is the Art Director at Disney. Stef is originally from France where he studied at École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg at only 16 years old. Stef is married and has a young son, Magnus. Stef and has gained a lot of exposure from creating some amazing sketches on his iPhone. Stef has single handidly made the iPhone a legitimate drawing/sketching tool as you can see by some of his sketches here. Stef has even painted baby murals for Ashley Simpson and Pete Wendt.

In his free time, Stef also loves to travel where he is constantly sketching. He just returned from London and France.


  • Cars 2
  • Ratatouille
  • Winnie the Pooh


Stef has an amazing blog that he frequently updates here.

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