Michele W. Graybeal
Animation Art Lead
I am working primarily in the animation industry as a background painter, art director, and development artist.
Coming out of a family of artists it was pretty clear the path I was going to take. Well, later on it was clear. Having had a musical career for about ten years prior, I was introduced to the animation world by my brother, already deep in the industry. He taught me the ropes in background design giving me some freelance work to help me build up a decent portfolio. This led me to begin my career in animation officially in 1996 at Warner Bros. TV Animation on the show, Superman: The Animated Series, headed by Bruce Timm of the original Batman series. I went on to design backgrounds for the next generation series The New Batman Adventures and Batman Beyond. Having a fine art background I decided to get back to my roots working for an art consultant agency producing commissioned works for various clientele.
Animation has provided yet another avenue to explore – art direction. My organizational habits are proving to be quite useful as well as my ability to multitask. With encouragement and clear direction I strive to create a positive, productive and fun work environment. I have also found my niche as a concept artist and designer. This is where I flourish. Working with other artists, conceptualizing, brainstorming and problem solving is something I love. I am not one to toot my own horn so here are a few very nice and talented folks that will do the honors.
"Finding the right art director is a very crucial step for any production. They must define the world to the upper brass, but also assemble an inspired crew when production begins. They must prep all comps and backgrounds for overseas as well, and give each sequence the tonal identity it deserves. With today’s shrinking budgets and schedules, it’s an impossible task. But along comes Michele. She does all that with a smile, and in her calm, focused, collaborative way, exceeds every expectation you possibly had."
Erik Kuska, Writer, Producer, Animator, Puppeteer - Warner Bros, Fox, Dreamworks, Disney
“Michele is a great Visual Development/Concept artist. She approached each design assignment with enthusiasm and energy while never running out of new creative ideas and solutions. I highly recommend Michele as a collaborative film-making partner.”
Ed Jones, Producer – Rainmaker Entertainment, CEO Reel FX
“Michele is an outstanding Visual Development/Concept artist, Color and design are her strong points. She is a great art director for any animated project.”
Barry Jackson, Production Designer – Dreamworks, DNA Productions, Rainmaker Entertainment
“I found Michele to be a very strong and well-grounded designer. Her sense of composition, colour, space, and form is well-developed, and she is very mindful and deep-thinking in her choices. I also found her to be adaptable and willing to take direction, to explore different ideas. She is always a pleasure to be around and makes a great addition to a team.”
Jericca (Rikki) Cleland, Cinematographer/Developer – Pixar, Rainmaker Entertainment, Twenty One Inc.
“I worked with Michele a digital feature. Not only is her artwork exemplary, but she is a skilled collaborator and designer. Michele was able to match the high bar set by our production design and would add her own influences and elements to every design or key art piece that she created and push the art to a fantastic level for feature films. She was always a pleasure to work with and took any direction well. Michele is an asset to any production she works on.”
Steve Nichols, animation director, Pixar, Rainmaker, Reel FX
“I found Michele to be conscientious, hard working and exceptionally creative and talented. She works well with a team and is an asset to any creative project.”
Fred Gambino, Art Director/Illustrator
Warner Bros. Animation
May 2014 – Present • Burbank, CA
Color & Lighting Lead
Disney TV Animation
May 2018 – Present • Burbank, CA
Disney TV Animation’s foray into feature quality TV for the new streaming service Disney +. It is a spin-off in the Monsters, Inc. franchise as well as a direct sequel to Monsters, Inc. titled Monsters at Work.