Disney animators instruct next generation of artists

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 2:51 PM EST

We've tracked down some Walt Disney World animators who are passing along their skills to the next generation.

  • Former Disney animators instruct the next generation
  • Students take courses at Elite Animation Academy
  • The school is now enrolling for the spring

"I always wanted to animate with Disney," said student Julia Ros, of Ocoee. "I'm trying to reach that goal."

Ros is attending Elite Animation Academy in Orlando. She's taught by honest-to-goodness former Disney animation artists.

"I got to do what I was really meant to do, which was tell stories with pictures," said Woody Woodman, a storyboard artist who's also instructing at Elite.

Woodman concentrates on traditional animation, while Thomas "Thor" Specken teaches digital animation. Specken got his start working on "The Lion King."

"I'm encouraging [my students] to always carry a sketch book; to capture whatever's happening in their life on the page - nonstop," he said. "It's a habit."

Nolan Phillips, a 7th grader, says drawing helps him relax.

"It's really amazing because they help us a lot with drawing all this stuff and helping us achieve whatever we want to do," he told us, while sketching with a pencil.

Madison Adkins, a 6th grader, is home-schooled but also attends Elite.

"I just want to inspire people, like those films I watched when I was young, inspired me," she said. "One day it just hit me - I just want to do that."

"We're really proud that we have made a difference," said Elite Animation Founder, Gladys West. "We are making artists better artists."

Elite is enrolling for 2018 spring courses. They run from March 31 - June 2.

If your kid prefers summer camp, those are offered between June 4 - Aug. 10.