Thomas Estrada

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Thomas Estrada. I’m a senior animator at Disney Interactive.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not really crazy, but the most unusual was working as a pest control technician for several years. Covering Hollywood and Encino, I killed the bugs of Gene Kelly, George Carlin, and Jaclyn Smith, among others.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The Prince of Egypt, The Emperor’s New Groove, Treasure Planet, and the Toy Story 3 video game.

How did you become interested in animation?
As far back as I can remember, I loved to draw. I have memories of early grade school, drawing pictures of “Giant Robot” for school friends. I knew then that I wanted to this for a living.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. After graduating high school in 1988, I had no idea about how to actually be a professional artist. I enrolled into art classes at the community college, but was soon discouraged after a couple semesters, thinking a career in art required going to schools like Cal Arts or Otis Parsons, places I could never afford. So I quit school, found a regular job and did whatever freelance art I could find such as airbrushing t-shirts, drawing brochure covers and painting murals. Finally in the summer of 1996 my wife and I attended her family reunion and discovered she had a cousin who was a Disney animator. He gave me an honest assessment of my drawing skills, then Continue…