Skip to content

Mentor of the Day: Ian Abando

IanAbando_6Interested in story boarding?  Well, Ian Abando would be a great mentor for you!

Since graduating Art Center College of Design just four years ago, Ian has worked for a variety of studios including Jim Henson, Nickelodeon, Laika, Disney TV, Illumination, Sony, and currently, Dreamworks where he is a storyboard artist.

At Dreamworks  Animation, he’s involved on a number of projects set to be released over the next 3 years (most of which are undisclosed).  One of his more recent project set for debut is the Minion Movie, coming out on July 10.   Check out this clip he storyboarded on his instagram!

In addition to working full-time, Ian finds time to sharpen his sketching skills.  “I’m not as consistent with it as a I used to be, but I definitely try go sketching once a week.”  See some awesome images below.

Ian is also constantly doing film studies – tiny sketches in black and white from frames of feature films.  “Whether it’s for the purpose of reference when I’m at work, or just general enrichment, I find film studies incredibly useful in terms of informing my sense of staging, cutting, lighting, acting, etc.” says Ian.

So if you’re looking to break into animation via story boarding, definitely consider Ian as your mentor!

Mentor of the Day: Octavio Rodriguez

Octavio_sketch2Octavio Rodriguez is back and ready to work with two enthusiastic Mentees this Fall! He is one of our most loved and longest standing Mentors. He brilliantly challenges hardworking potential Storyboard Artists, and helps them bring their portfolio to their fullest potential. Octavio has been all over the animation industry, having been a Storyboard Artist in plenty of television and feature animation studios. Most recently he’s been busy at Pixar, but he always manages to find some time to be a great Mentor!

One of his most recent students from the Spring 2015 Motivarti session was Ying-Hsuan Chen. She described to us what they worked on over the ten week Mentorship. She informed us, “Story development, boarding method, problem solving. We have developed beat boards and rough boards for two short stories.” Check out some of her hard work below!

Octavio has been a great guide for all of his Mentees, and he’s excited to take on students from anywhere in the world! If you are fortunate enough to be chosen, Ying-Hsuan has some words of advice for you! She says to, “Come prepared! Know what you want to do and what you want to learn. Help the mentor to help you learn. By asking questions, you can help your mentor effectively pinpoint your problems. Octavio is a great communicator and he always give me the answers I need. I learned a lot from just asking question alone. Take the initiative and ask questions! You would gain much more than you expected from this mentorship.” Octavio is ready for your questions, and your application!

Mentor of the Day: Garrett Hanna

GarrettHanna_3It’s a joy to have Garrett Hanna back with Motivarti after a successful term! Garrett is a talented and versatile artist that has mainly done concept art all over the games industry, as well as plenty of freelance work ranging from magazine covers to website illustrations. Garrett is especially known for his amazing digital paintings, and the perfect Mentor for a dedicated illustrator that’s ready to add on to their pencil mileage!

Garrett’s Spring 2015 Mentee Emanuel Gonzalez had a wonderful experience studying under him. The two of them worked on a several illustrations together, with Garrett providing insight into his own painting style. Emanuel told us, “Everything was fantastic! Thank you for this wonderful program.” He especially enjoyed, “[learning] Garrett’s painting techniques and design method.” Check out some of Emanuel’s hard work below!

Emanuel’s favorite part of the mentorship was the “one on one time with my Mentor”, and it’s no surprise considering how knowledgeable and approachable Garrett is to his Mentees! Garrett is open to three lucky Mentees from anywhere in the world this Fall! If you’re ready to take your digital paintings to the next level, he’s the Mentor you’ve been looking for! Check out Garrett’s tumblr for even more amazing work!

Mentor of the Day: Mauricio Abril

MauricioAbril_Sonic Flash Superman Mauricio AbrilWe’re excited to introduce one of our new mentors for Fall 2015, Mauricio Abril! If you’re looking for a kind, generous mentor with a keen eye for composition and storytelling, Mauricio would be a perfect fit for you.

Mauricio has a breadth of wisdom and artistic experience, as well an interesting path to becoming an artist. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Molecular Biology, Mauricio reconnected with his childhood passion—art—and enrolled at Art Center College of Design, studying Illustration and Entertainment Design. He credits his science background with providing the strong analytical skills that help him look at a piece critically and improve it, be it through changes in composition, figure drawing and posing, prop design, environment design, color and lighting, and/or storytelling.

An expert at combining the needs of a story with visual illustration, Mauricio has a pitch-perfect sense of how the basic elements of composition—line, shape, value, color—work together to communicate an interesting and relevant concept. At a high level, he understands how the expressiveness of illustration combines with the fundamentals of design to develop an image with impact and emotional content.

Professionally, Mauricio is an Art Director at BRC Imagination Arts, providing concept art and key direction on multiple experiential entertainment projects. He also teaches several classes at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) and CGMA, including Design Fundamentals, Composition, and Intro to Visual Development. And he still manages to find time to work on several personal projects, including a children’s book and several animatics, as well as exhibiting his work on the convention circuit.

His ideal mentee would have a great attitude, a strong desire for improvement, and a commitment to the mentorship. He’s open to someone who’s trying to get into art school or already in art school and looking to improve, or someone who isn’t able to go to art school but is serious in their pursuit of becoming a professional artist.

Mauricio is available to take on one mentee from anywhere in the world—get ready to be motivated and inspired!

Mentor of the Day: Bobby Pontillas

BobbyPontillas_Pirates02Every session of Motivarti, we look forward to welcoming new Mentors that really shake things up. We are so excited to welcome Bobby Pontillas, the perfect Mentor for a hardworking student! If this is the first time you’ve heard of him, there’s a great chance you already love his work and haven’t realized it. Bobby is an incredibly talented Character Designer, currently working on the new ‘Tangled’ animated series for Disney Television Animation! During his time during the training program at Disney, he also provided designs for Disney’s upcoming films such as ‘Giants’ and ‘Moana’! Bobby is also a fantastic Animator, having worked on such beloved films such as Disney’s ‘Wreck-it Ralph’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Big Hero 6’, ‘Feast’, and the upcoming ‘Zootopia’.

His ideal plan with his Mentee reflects a structure he picked up from when he was being mentored at Disney. It goes right back to the heart of design, by making sure your designs tell a story. He plans to have his student focus on a well known story and put their own spin on it. There’s so much potential, and with research and hard work, an amazing potential portfolio could flourish!

Bobby is also known for his amazing caricatures! Check out some of them on his blog!


Applying to be Bobby’s Mentee is a unique opportunity to work with someone who not only knows how to design, but can make beautiful designs that work perfectly for animation. He is a friendly person, and Motivarti is excited to see him pair up with just the right person!