Employee Profile: Spotlight on a Visual Development Artist

Strolling through the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, home to the Walt Disney Animation Studios and classics such as Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled and the upcoming comedy adventureFrozen, you see and hear things that are very rarely seen or heard outside those hallowed halls—conversations between top animators about a change in the story line of a future animated feature and displayed concept art that beautifully depicts scenes from films, among other captivating sights and sounds.

Inside the legendary premises, we meet Brittney Lee, a visual development artist who has a hand in bringing movie scripts to life for several Disney animated features.

She sat down with us to discuss her role and experiences at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Name: Brittney Lee
First Day at Disney: February 16, 2010
Title: Visual Development Artist

You have a unique opportunity to create Disney animated features for audiences around the world. Describe your role.
As a visual development artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios, I create artwork that helps build a better picture of what a film will ultimately look like. This can involve designing characters and environments, as well as illustrating “moments” from the script. Visual development artists get involved very early on in the filmmaking process, and we can stay on a project until close to the end of production.

What do you enjoy most about working in Visual Development at Walt Disney Animation Studios?
I love the fact that the work we do is able to touch so many people all around the world. While not everyone may understand the specific details of my job, if I say, “I work for Disney,” to anyone I meet, it will always put a smile on their face.

Walk us through a typical day in your role. What do you spend most of your time doing?
Every day is different for me. Some days are spent entirely on researching, brainstorming and planning what I would like to create. Other days are filled with drawing and painting from the moment I walk in my workspace. Sometimes, I also have more interesting tasks to work on—like building scale models out of candy or making dresses out of candy wrappers. The possibilities are endless and that is what I love about my job!

What’s your favorite part about working for Walt Disney Animation Studios?
The reasons I enjoy my work at Walt Disney Animation Studios are aplenty, but perhaps my single favorite aspect is working with talented, wonderful people who all share the same passion: telling compelling stories and making great films. I am constantly challenged and supported by my peers, which makes this a wonderful environment to grow as an artist.

What’s been your most memorable experience at the Company?
This is a really difficult question, because I have had so many moments where I feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure everything is real; Paperman winning the Oscar® was one of those moments. I will never forget sitting around the TV at an Oscar party with the entire crew of the short and hearing the title of our film being called out. We were all cheering and filled with joy!