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Mentor of the Day: Ian Abando

IanAbando_5From it’s humble roots as a small after hours club at Art Center, Ian Abando has been a long time champion of Motivarti.  Shortly after graduating from Art Center, Ian quickly made a name for himself in the animation industry.  Only three years into his career, Ian has already spent time working for Laika, Jim Henson Studios, Disney Television, Illumination, Sony, and Nickelodeon Animation.  He currently resides as a story artist at DreamWorks Animation.

Not only does Ian have an impressive career but he has always been fond of giving back to the animation community.  Ian has teamed with with Steve Macleod,to teach a CGMA story class and if you haven’t already, check out his vimeo page for demos and working tips.

This past spring, Ian took on 2 mentees who had nothing but great things to say!  For John Bosley, “The mentorship has really reinforced the fact that I’m following the right path and that I’m very close to attaining my goals… [I enjoyed] just talking to Ian and getting his take on my work and what to do to get better. He’s very knowledgeable and good and pushing you to squeeze everything out of your story. He’s very sharp when it comes to the needs of a story.”  What did they do during the mentorship? “Lots of sketching, lots of studies, 2 full storyboard sequences, and we became pretty good friends through all of it. Not bad, I’d say.”  Check out his work below:


As for Dirk van Dulmen, “First of all I feel I feel that in Ian I’ve found a mentor that I’m sure I will stay in touch with for a long time after Motivarti now has ended. Further I got to work on 3 story sequences, did film studies, gags and story idea brainstorm sketches and discussed my story portfolio.” See his work below.

For Dirk, the most important thing he learned was to “trust my process- know and understand what the story is about, take your time too figure out how to tell the story… it’s important to continue learning by doing filmstudies, drawing from life and having fun drawing all the time, every day.”

What’s their advice for Ian’s next mentees?

Dirk: “Work hard, give it all you got, ask questions and you will be amazed what you will get out of it.”

John: “Prepare to work your butt off and learn a bunch. Ian’s going to strip you down and build you back up again…and you’re going to like it.”

There you have it!  If you’re eager to take your storyboarding to the next level be sure to consider applying for a mentorship with Ian Abando and work hard when you get it!


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