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Mentor of the Day: Bobby Pontillas


Bobby Pontillas has become a highly respected Character Designer in the animation industry, and we are ecstatic to have him back for our final Mentorship! It’s a guarantee that you’ve seen Bobby’s previous work, as he was a CG animator for many loved Disney and Blue Sky films prior to his switch to a full time Character Designer. Expect to see a lot more of his fantastic work in Disney TV Animation’s Tangled: Before Ever After TV Series coming out in 2017.

If you’ve been developing your Character Design portfolio and are ready to push it to the next step, Bobby might be the perfect Mentor for you! We spoke with his Spring 2016 Mentee, Rebecca Gautrey and asked her about her favorite part of the experience, “Getting to see Bobby’s draw overs on my work, and how he would tackle certain problems I was struggling with, as well as hearing his thoughts on how to approach the challenging areas of design / my weaker areas […] It was extremely useful, especially when I felt I’d hit a block and couldn’t figure out how to get around it. […]. Also just chatting with Bobby generally about animation and design was super fun!” Check out some of Rebecca’s work below!

What does Rebecca have to say to Bobby’s potential mentees? “Go for it! It’s an incredible opportunity and Bobby is brilliant – super friendly and encouraging and with so much skill and experience to draw from, it’s an invaluable experience and such a boost.”

Thanks for the wonderful advice Rebecca!  To learn more about Bobby, check out his profile and apply soon.

Mentor of the Day: Mike Yamada


by Mike Yamada

Mike Yamada is returning to us for our last Mentorship term, and we couldn’t be more excited! He is a Production Designer at Walt Disney Animation, and the illustrator of eight children’s books. You’ve seen his work throughout the animation industry, and we are so thrilled to have him pass his knowledge on to new talent!

Spring 2016 Mentee, Brianne Neumann spoke of how her goals changed throughout her ten weeks working with Mike, “I learned a ton of new stuff! Even though we went to the same school, Mike’s approach to almost everything was so different than what I learned. Through the mentorship I changed my goals from creating polished portfolio pieces to just learning and trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone. I feel like I have a brand new tool bag of knowledge to use outside of the mentorship to push myself forward on my own time, which to me, is invaluable.”   Check out some of her work below.

When asked about her advice to Mike’s Fall 2016 Mentee, Brianne offered some great advice, “Ask lots and lots of questions, take the opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and be prepared to work hard on your own time. Mike has a huge breadth of knowledge and is a great problem solver, but you get the most out of it if you bring in a lot of different work and try new things.”

Mike Yamada is taking up to two Mentees this time from the US and Canada!  So apply soon!

Mentor of the Day: Garrett Hanna


We’re ecstatic to welcome back Garrett Hanna as our Mentor of the Day!  Garrett joined Motivarti back in 2015 and has been a fantastic mentor.  Not only does he welcome multiple mentees, but they’ve all had great things to say about their experiences.

Roi Horn, one of Garrett’s Spring 2016 mentee, works full time so was interested in our mentorship program as an alternative to taking a full time class.  Roi was most interested in learning “why [Garrett] applies his technique, the way he was thinking when creating an art piece.”

Since Roi worked full time, he and Garrett focused more on creating solid beginnings so he could render them in his spare time.   “I consider the beginning stage the most important one so it was very helpful for me in that way.”  But check out on of his finished below!

creatures slayer

Kristen Pauline, another one of Garrett’s Spring 2016 mentees, also had some great feedback about Garrett.

“I wanted to push my style and finish as much as possible and hear from the perspective of someone who has freelanced a lot longer and more successfully than I have…Garrett’s feedback helped me figure out how to push my paintings to a more polished finish and spot some of the bad habits I’ve fallen into in my artwork…[A] critique from an experienced artist is one of the most valuable learning tools that exists for artists. It’s super hard to find that outside of an art school. So just chatting with an experienced artist one on one about anything to do with art and creative industries is amazing.”

Definitely check out the before/after progress Kristen made on her images while working with Garrett!


Final parting thoughts?  Garrett has an extensive career and wealth of knowledge “but you need to know what to ask in order to get it,” says Roi.  Roi advises Garrett’s future mentees, “[Be sure] to guide the conversation to where you want it to go.”

So there you have it!  If you’re interested in being one of Garrett’s final mentees be sure to check out his profile page first and then apply soon!

Mentor of the Day: Ben Juwono


Ben Juwono is back for his second Mentorship with Motivarti! Ben is currently a Director at Disney TV Animation for the upcoming Big Hero 6 TV series. He is an Annie Awards Nominated Storyboard Artist, and has previously worked for DreamWorks TV Animation and Film Roman. He also happens to have a Masters in Physics.

His first round as Mentor was incredibly successful! He helped Spring 2016 Mentee Paulene Phouybanhdyt put together her portfolio, develop her storyboarding techniques, and answer every question about the intricacies of the animation industry. The great combination of Paulene’s tireless hard work, and Ben’s generous guidance helped this Mentee gain a well earned Story Artist Trainee position at DreamWorks Animation. We are so proud of Paulene, and can’t wait to see what amazing work develops as she continues her training outside the Mentorship. Check out some of her work below!

When we asked Paulene about her advice to potential Mentees for Ben, she told us, “You have to work hard, don’t waste his time. Whatever you put in, you get out. Ben’s an excellent  mentor who knows what he’s doing, and he’s kind and gracious with his time and knowledge. As long as you take critique well, you’ll be fine.”

When Ben is not Storyboarding or Directing, he can often be found making puns or making coffee. Occasionally at the same time. Be sure to check out his website for more examples of his work!

Mentor of the Day: Frederic Durand

Frederic_Speed-Racer-2008Over the past few years, we have been privileged to have Frederic Durand as one of mentors.  The only mentor we’ve ever had offering his time to teaching lighting.

As a professional VFX artist, Frederic has extensive experience in lighting, texturing, scripting, shaders writing, and generalist applications across feature films, television, and commercial photoreal development environments. Frederic has worked on projects for companies like Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Heineken, and Nintendo to name a few.  In addition, he’s worked on films such as The Mummy, Speed Racer,  Surf’s up, Harry Potter 2, Shark Tale, Chicken Little, and Open Season, which are just a few in his long career.

If you haven’t seen his reel before, you’ll definitely want to check it out below.

Furthermore, Frederic has over ten years of experience in teaching VFX methods at various institutions, focusing on lighting techniques, history of computer graphics, and typography.   Not only does Frederic mentor with Motivarti, but he also teaches at The Gnome Workshop and the Hollywood CG School of Digital Arts.

Be sure to swing by his website and look at all the amazing info he offers up in his before and after studies.  Frederic has continuously been one of the most patient mentors we’ve ever had.  His past mentees have had nothing but wonderful things to say (see their words here , here and here ).

Frederic is open to sharing his experience with anyone wanting to learn lighting regardless of their experience.  So don’t pass this opportunity to learn one on one with a master!