Former Disney animator brings ‘magic’ to art presentation

The Sam Houston State University Department of Art will host Ron Husband, a former animator from Walt Disney Animation Studios, in a presentation called “Beyond the Pencil” on April 6 in the Academic Building IV Olson Auditorium, Room 220.

The idea to have Husband come to SHSU came about when assistant professor of animation Willie Williams met him at the CTN Animation Expo in 2014.

Husband retired from Disney back in 2013 after 38 years at the company. He started out as an animation trainee in 1975 and then became the first African American animator & the first African American supervising animator for Walt Disney Studios.

“Ron’s expertise and career speak volumes and I want students to know that pursuing the dreams and goals is never out of reach,” Williams said. “Ron is a testament of that. Understanding that, the difficult part is having the courage to chase those dreams.”

Junior Art-Computer Animation major Barbara Garcia said the lecture will be unique because of Husband’s long career in the animation industry, where he has seen all the different changes for animation from drawing on sketch books to working on computers.

“We get to be face-to-face to an artist that has seen animation evolve and develop into new concepts and new themes, such as times from the late 70s early 80s to now,” Garcia said. “To me, it will be a great experience to understand the history of animation from someone who has experienced it first-hand.”

Husband worked on many well-known Disney movies that include “The Fox and the Hound”, “The Black Cauldron”, “The Great Mouse Detective, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Rescuers”, “The Lion King” and many more. Art- Computer Animation senior Shelby Tedder said she is excited to meet the artist that created the characters she grew up watching.

“He worked on movies during the golden age of Disney and it’s not every day you get to meet a legendary artist who is still currently working on projects,” Tedder said. “He worked on some great characters in movies that inspired me as a child, I am eager to learn from him during his visit.”

Husband decided to cover topics that are best suited for SHSU students.

‘Beyond the Pencil’ will present what Husband’s thought process is like when he works on characters and tips on how students can make their animations better each time.

“I will spend time discussing the importance of the thought process that is behind all artwork, my approach to all my projects, how to get the most out of a pose, character design, body language, how to show weight convincingly and any other topic which may arise,” Husband said.

There will also be a Q&A session following the lecture.

The Disney veteran has visited a few college campuses before and guest lectured. Husband said he understands the importance of speaking to students because he did not have that opportunity when he was younger.

“To give a ‘face’ to the animation that has been enjoyed by many over the years and to answer some of the questions that students have regarding a career in art is something I did not have coming out of college,” he said.

Along with Husband’s visit to SHSU, he will review a special group of students’ work and give a private demonstration along with Wednesday night’s lecture.

Williams said Husband is a great choice for this guest lecturer presentation because of his willingness to take on new challenges.

“Ron’s approach to the art form is golden,” Williams said. “His experiences relates to all disciplines across the board, not just the arts. It just so happens that he has sustained a 38 year career at one of the most profound companies in the world.”

A group of hand-picked Mass Communication students will also be involved in the event. The team of students will film the visit and create a video for the animation program.

In the future, Williams said he would love Husband to come back to SHSU and speak to a new group of students.

“[In one visit we would] get a fraction of the knowledge and experiences he’s encountered,” Williams said. “We would need several more visits to obtain it all.”

The event begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.


Leave a Reply