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John Celestri has a blog

School is in session. John Celestri has, thankfully, started a thought-provoking blog on animation and classical techniques. I’ve heard of this guy for YEARS, but never got to talk to him. Now you can, too!

From David Nethery’s blog (Hand Drawn Animation instructor at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University):

“John Celestri started his animation career in his native New York City (working on the Richard Williams’ feature film “Raggedy Ann & Andy”, among other things)  then spent several years at the Nelvana studio in Toronto as a supervising animator on Nelvana’s ambitious first feature film , “Rock & Rule”, as well  the Nelvana television specials  such as “The Devil and Daniel Mouse”,  “Intergalactic Thanksgiving” , “Easter Fever” (which he was also a Sequence Director on) , among others. After a long stretch in the Hollywood animation industry John moved back east to work as a freelancer from his home studio.  He and his wife Cathie have also teamed up to write a series of mystery novels.   Currently John is the Directing Animator and VP of Grace Animation Studios in Danville, Kentucky .”

Celestri has made a lasting impression on a generation of Toronto-based professionals. Check out these extremes from the Zellers Batman commercials we had posted on this site months ago. Solid examples of designing drawings for motion and tweaking the model to emphasize the movement:

As John points out on his blog, here’s the result:

Even better, check out the conditions under which he animated on this. No lightbox, no penciltest, on 8.5 x 11 photocopy paper. Pretty sweet skillset there.

Scurry on over there to learn some old school tricks to impress your Flash/Harmony-based animation director and get a raise!


  1. John Celestri John Celestri September 8, 2011

    Hello, Sir Warren.

    Thank you very much for the write up and the prominent placement. I was quite surprised to see a sudden spurt of interest in my blog coming from Canada. I didn’t think anyone remembered my years there in Toronto at Nelvana.

    I’ll keep posting new “old school” material on my blog as long as I feel it’s of use to someone out there.

    I tip my hat in your direction.

    John Celestri

  2. sir warren b leonhardt sir warren b leonhardt Post author | September 13, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your experience, John! Many animators out there can benefit from your blog.

    There’s a lot of animation artists out there who may have never learned to animate on paper like you or I (I’ve been a board artist for 13 years & started before digital showed up).

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