Tag Archives: The Simpsons

Blackwing Experience Opens with a “What’s Up, Doc?”

The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity was the scene last night for the opening gala of the Blackwing Experience. Charles Berlozheimer and his wife, Ginger, founders of the Blackwing Foundation and sixth generation pencil-makers were on hand to greet arriving guests.

DSC05150In addition to the Berlozheimer’s, guests were greeted by a quote from Blackwing 602 pencil devotee, Chuck Jones, “The rules are simple: take your work, but never yourself, seriously. Pour in the love and whatever skill you have, and it will come out.” Every guest picked up a Blackwing 602 or a Blackwing Pearl pencil on their way in, because…DSC05147…there were creativity stations scattered throughout the Center. From camera lucidas to song-writing, from pictionary to photo ops, guests had the opportunity to express themselves while nibbling on amazing hors d’oeuvres from 24 Carrots Catering.DSC05163One of many highlights of the evening was the launch of the new ChuckJones.com website. Created by the awesome team at Gigasavvy. Shown here from left: Sven Johnston, SVP Business Development at Gigasavvy; Corey Mangold, Co-founder of Gigasavvy with his fiancee, Erin; and far right, Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and Chuck Jones’s grandson. The new website, when it leaps out of beta mode (soon, soon, we promise!) will be one of the most creative and exciting shopping destinations on the internet. Chuck Redux may be biased, but we are not over-promising!

DSC05162Another special treat of the evening was Stephen Reis, storyboard artist for the longest running sitcom on television, “The Simpsons”. Reis, center, shown here with Ann Tanner and her husband, Joel, one of the co-founders of Gigasavvy. Stephen was kind enough to spend the evening at one of Chuck’s animation desks drawing “Simpsons” characters for those assembled. Thank you for your generous spirit, Stephen!

DSC05180The Blackwing Experience wouldn’t be the astounding event it is without the creative talents of art director, Lesli Scott, seen here with the Center’s Robert Patrick. How do you spell “CREATIVE”? L-e-s-l-i!

DSC05156And speaking of behind-the-scenes talent (we were, you know) Grant Christensen, right, the director of business development for Pencils.com and Palomino Brands, the companies behind the Blackwing Experience, was on hand to make sure all of the parts fell together before the gala kicked off. He’s shown here with landscape artist Diane Wright, and Mahlon, the Pencils.com wholesale point person.

DSC05170Artists Joseph Yakovetic, left, and Robert Delgadillo (AKA Radboy).

DSC05168Chuck Jones “Homage” artist and surfer, Bob Elias.

DSC05171Henri Duong, Project Manager at Gigasavvy, with his friend, Kimberly, show off their artistic sides.

DSC05174The always entertaining Wayne Todd, PBS SoCal art director and volunteer community ambassador for the Chuck Jones Center (AKA Jester McCool), shown here with Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant, Carol Erickson, left, and Sasha Advani, Program Administrator for the Center (who is tireless.)

DSC05175Rogue’s gallery from left: Kyle Johnston, VP Online Marketing at Gigasavvy with Joel Tanner and Craig Kausen.

DSC05186Somewhere in the middle of the evening–or was toward the end? Who can remember?–Craig Kausen took the microphone and welcomed everyone to the Blackwing Experience; he introduced Corey Mangold of Gigasavvy (below) as well as Charles Berlozheimer of Blackwing (2nd photo below.) All-in-all it was a lovely evening celebrating the creative spirit, especially the spirit as embodied in the simple object of a pencil. Huzzah to the Blackwing 602!




“Simpsons” Storyboard Artist Stephen Reis at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Writing from Costa Mesa: This reporter was fortunate enough to witness "Simpsons" storyboard artist, Stephen Reis (center in photo below) in action this past Saturday, November 3rd, at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity during their "Great, Grand Chuck Jones Family Happening!" With a sharp pencil in each hand (many thanks to Pencils.com for the gift of Chuck Jones's preferred drawing instrument, the Blackwing 602, which all of those in attendance were able to use), Reis wowed those lucky aspirants with his dexterity and command of character design.  

Reis drawing of mr. burns
How to draw Mr. Burns was one of many character studies led by Stephen Reis. 

Over a three-hour period, over 30 students of animation, both young and old alike, learned from one of the most creative storyboard and character design artists working in animation today. By the end of the session and because of his guidance and nurturing manner each student had produced a group of characters from "The Simpsons". Smiles all around!

Everyone at the Center extends a heartfelt thank you to Stephen and we look forward to his return in the future!

Reis with students 72 dpi
Photo by Stephen Russo.

Two Artists Two Events One Day!

immediate release

Contact: Robert Patrick, rpatrick@lje.com,
949-660-7791 x 22103 

Two Artists Two Events One Day!

“Simpsons” Storyboard Artist, Stephen Reis

Free Fun for the Whole Family! 10 AM to 1 PM                                                      

Painter, Mike

New Work, Exhibition and Sale – 1 to 4 PM                                                                                     

Saturday, November 3rd

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity &
Art Gallery

Costa Mesa, CA: The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
announced today that on Saturday, November 3, 2012, beginning at 10 AM “Simpsons”
storyboard artist and director, Stephen Reis, will lead a workshop on creating
storyboards and character development during the Center’s “The Great, Grand
Chuck Jones Family Happening!” This event is free and open to the public and
will end at 1PM. The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is located at 3321
Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa in Orange County’s hippest new gathering place, South
Coast Collection (SoCo).

following “The Great, Grand Chuck Jones Family Happening” the Chuck Jones
Gallery will host a reception for painter Mike Kungl whose work graces the
halls of Warner Bros. Television, DreamWorks Entertainment and Ingram Micro to
name but a few of his corporate collectors. His Art Deco and Art
Moderne-inspired imagery is always in full bloom whether he’s painting a
beautiful woman or Bugs Bunny and one of his adversaries. The reception for
this artist will end at 4 PM and is free and open to the public.

thrilled to be able to bring Stephen Reis to the Chuck Jones Center for
Creativity’s ‘The Great, Grand Chuck Jones Family Happening!’,” says Craig
Kausen, Chairman of the Center and Chuck Jones’s grandson. “His ability to
guide and nurture creativity is inspirational and a wonder to behold. Children
and adults will thoroughly enjoy their time with him.”

of my parents were very encouraging of my artistic pursuits. Not once can I
remember them trying to talk me out of going into an art-related career, while
at the same time reminding me that it is still a business and that you have to
be a professional to work as a professional,” says Stephen Reis about his
choice of career.

Stephen reis sm
Stephen Reis

Currently the storyboard artist for the longest running
animated sitcom on television, “The Simpsons”, Reis brings a child-like
intensity to the work he creates tempered by an adult’s more realistic
approach. The results: hilarious!

“Mike Kungl is one of today’s art stars, known for his Art Deco/Moderne
influenced paintings and fine art prints,” notes Scott Dicken, VP of retail for
the Chuck Jones Companies and director of the Chuck Jones Gallery at SoCo.
“This will be his first exhibition at our Costa Mesa gallery and we will be
featuring never-before-seen original drawings, mixed media, and works on

"I strive to produce work that I'm
personally going to have fun designing and painting. Therefore when it's
complete my goal is having the collector be just as entertained looking
at it as I was creating it,” states Mike Kungl on his approach to selecting
subject matter and the creation of his artwork.

Mikekungl sm
Mike Kungl

A resident of Orange County,
California, Kungl is the official artist of the 25th Annual Miami
Beach Art Deco Weekend. The Miami honor is just one of many in a
succession of developments that highlight Kungl’s growing reputation as a
recognized artist across the country and around the world. His work is featured
regularly in magazine articles, how to books and television shows. The Chuck Jones Gallery at the Center for
Creativity is pleased to represent his original work and fine art limited

Founded in 1999, the Chuck Jones
Center for Creativity’s vision is to inspire the innate creative genius within
each person that leads to a more joyous, passionate, and harmonious life and
world. These are important goals, particularly in today’s world, when arts
education is practically non-existent. The Center is dedicated to
reinvigorating the creative spirit and is accomplishing that through art
classes, exhibitions, lectures, and film festivals, all of which spring from
the material in the Chuck Jones archive. His writings, art, and other ephemera
from a nine-decade life along with his philosophy of guiding and nurturing
instruction form the basis of the programs of the Center.

The Chuck Jones Gallery has been an
Orange County institution since 1991 and a magnet for collectors and visitors
from around the world. Located inside the Center’s 8000 square foot building at
South Coast Collection, the OC’s most fashionable shopping and dining
destination, the Gallery regularly exhibits the work of Chuck Jones, Dr. Seuss,
Disney Studios, and the Chuck Jones Homage Artists which include Mike Kungl,
Bob Elias, Jeff Degrandis, Mike Peraza, James Coleman, and Tennessee Loveless.
Gallery hours are 10 to 6 Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesday.

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity,
3321 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 949-274-4834

Stephen Reis and Mike Kungl available
for interviews subject to their schedule. Images available upon request.


Join Us at the Chuck Jones Big Draw as We Attempt to Set a Guinness World Record!

It’s Official!

Chuck Jones Big Draw

Goes for Guinness World Record—

Largest Art Class!


Tustin, CA—The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity announced today that Guinness World Records has approved their request to set the Guinness World Record for the largest art class held in a single venue.  Scheduled for Sunday, August 7th at 2 PM sharp during the Chuck Jones Big Draw (11 AM to 5 PM) to be held at SOCO (South Coast Collection), 3303 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa, California, the Center will host a 45 minute drawing class during which participants will learn how to draw the star of Warner Bros. cartoons, Bugs Bunny.  The cost is $25.00 each or $40.00 for a family (or group) of four.  Tickets for the event are available through EventComplete.com.  Special pricing for organizations is available by contacting EventComplete.com. 

“Attempting to break the recent record of 817 people at an art class held in Copenhagen, Denmark in June of this year will be an awesome feat and a great experience for everyone involved,” exclaimed Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Chuck Jones Center and the grandson of Chuck Jones.  “I know that Chuck would have loved the idea of over 800 people all learning how to draw Bugs Bunny, at one time, at one location; in fact, I believe he would have loved leading the class himself!”

The Chuck Jones Big Draw is a fun-filled event that allows people of all ages and levels of artistic accomplishment to be nurtured and guided by the Center’s teaching artists in a non-judgmental environment.  Intended as an exploration of each person’s creativity, the Chuck Jones Big Draw will allow participants to experience a personal journey filled with insight and joy.  It is designed to ignite their creativity so that it may be used in all aspects of their life including school, business, sciences, sports and all of the fine arts.

Artists scheduled to offer their expertise during the Chuck Jones Big Draw include, Stephen Reis, storyboard artist for “The Simpsons”, California surf artist Bob Elias and master draftsman, Christopher Scardino, the Center’s resident teaching artist.

The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is hosting the Chuck Jones Big Draw with the sponsors for this event, SOCO (South Coast Collection, Costa Mesa), Art Supply Warehouse (Westminster, Ca) and Pencils.com (a California Cedar Products Company).  The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity was founded in 1999 by four-time Academy Award recipient, Chuck Jones to promote his unique philosophy of developing the creative genius that resides in all of us, utilizing his drawings, films and writings as the springboard to a more joyous and innovative life.  Through public educational programs such as the Chuck Jones Big Draw, the Center reaches out to families, students and adults through interactive programs that lead them to a more passionate, joyous, and harmonious life and world.    

Pink Donuts + the Chuck Jones Big Draw

You might ask yourself what pink donuts have to do with the Chuck Jones Big Draw and you'd be right to do so.  I imagine that Chuck may have enjoyed a pink donut on occasion (no one's talking if he did or didn't), but still it seems a stretch, doesn't it?


Well, wonder no more!  "The Simpson's" storyboard artist and animator, Stephen Reis, will be one of our teaching artists at the upcomnig Chuck Jones Big Draw.  Not only will he be working with young and old alike at the animation station, but with his painting partner, Trevor Carlton, will be creating a painting to music in a performance you won't want to miss!  To read a great interview with Stephen, click on the pink donut.

The Chuck Jones Big Draw will be held Sunday, August 7th from 11 AM to 5 PM at SOCO (South Coast Collection), 3303 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.  We really want to set a world record for the largest  art class held in one location, starting promptly at 2 PM, so please come out and join in the fun, meet Stephen Reis and our large group of teaching artists and discover your innate creative genius. To reserve your space go to EventComplete.com or click on Bugs Bunny.

BigDrawPostcard5x7_AugRev (Large)

Meet The Simpsons Animator Stephen Reis This Afternoon!

The Simpsons animator & storyboard artist, Stephen Reis, is our special guest this afternoon at not only our San Diego gallery, but also via podcast at our Santa Fe gallery.  If you're looking to make last minute late afternoon plans in either city, please feel free to drop by and introduce yourself! 

Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego, 232 Fifth Avenue–888-294-9880 and Santa Fe, 135 W. Palace Avenue–800-290-5999. 

Mr. Reis will be dedicating artwork purchased at these events. 

1 Stephen Reis sketch card 


Original production cel from episode 9 of the 12th season, titled "HOMR" (backwards 'R'.) Available subject to prior sale.


Original production drawing from episode 9 of the 12 season, titled "HOMR" (backwards 'R'.)  Available subject to prior sale. 

Stephen Reis: 20 Questions with “The Simpsons” Animator & Storyboard Artist

(Editor's note:  Stephen Reis will be the special guest of the Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego and Santa Fe (via podcast) on Saturday, February 13th.  For more information about The Simpsons exhibition, please contact the galleries: 888-294-9880 San Diego and 800-290-5999 Santa Fe.)

Stephen reis Stephen Reis was born in Los Angeles, California in 1974 and raised in nearby Santa Barbara.  The artist within emerged around age three, and as a young child he would spend countless hours drawing the world conjured up in his imagination. 

Regular family outings to the movies, along with a healthy addiction to late-night monster and horror films, instilled the love of cinema in Stephen, an din 1992 he enrolled in the film program at Loyola Marymount University; the highlight of his studies was studying drawing and photography at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy in 1994.  Being immersed in Italian culture and surrounded by much of the finest art to be created by man proved to be a defining time for the both the artist and the young man.

In late 1996, Stephen joined the animation crew for Fox's long-standing hit series The Simpsons.  The work environment on the show provided him with a second education (as well as a paycheck,) as he learned more about drawing and storytelling than ever before.

Chuck Redux took a moment to ask Stephen Reis questions about his life, his work & his passions:

CR: Tell us about the early years, growing up, what part painting and drawing played in your childhood.

SR:  I've been drawing for as long as I can remember.  My brother, Ed, four years my senior, also enjoyed drawing and I suppose it's natural to do what your older brother does.  It was a great fit for me.  Like any kid, I'd spent a lot of time in front of the television, but I'd be drawing!  I'd use the TV for sound.  It's something I still do to this day.

CR:  Did your parents encourage you in pursuing your artistic expression?

SR:  Completely.  Both of my parents were very encouraging of my artistic pursuits.  Not once can I remember them trying to talk me out of going into an art-related career, while at the same time reminding me that it is still a business and that you have to be a professional to work as a professional.

CR:  Was there a point in your young life when you knew that art would be your career?

SR:  It actually never occurred to me that I would do anything else.  I never had any teenage angst over what I was going to do with my life, career-wise.


CR:  Are there any major artistic influences that you would want to cite?  Artists?  Genres?

SR:  I loved horror films as a kid.  Couldn't get enough of 'em.  Sci-fi and Fantasy as well.  Comics and cartoons.  I gravitated to the highly visual genres.  As for comedy, Looney Tunes and Monty Python pretty much shaped what I thought was funny.  Still do.

CR:  What has been the highlight of your artistic career?

SR:  I'm hoping it hasn't occurred yet.

CR:  Any lowlights you'd want to mention?

SR:  Seeing the sunrise…again.

CR:  Do you have any special superstitions about working on a painting or a drawing?  Do you have any favorite fetishes (toys, special pencil, a can of brushes must face east, etc.) that adorn your work space?

SR:  I'd have to say that I'm the polar opposite when it comes to special superstitions.  I have absolutely none.  As for my office at the studio, it's actually been mistaken for a spare desk because I have nothing adorning it.  I realize these answers may seem, well, boring, but there is a reason.  A decorated desk is a time-honored tradition in animation and early in my career I was no exception.  Throughout my time on The Simpsons, I've jumped around to different positions and departments so often that I've had dozens of desks or offices.  For a few years I was never in the same place long enough to get settled, so I just gave up and went the sparse route.  It's so much easier to pack up.


CR:  Tell us about your working methods.  Early to rise and work, or work late at night?

SR:   Always have been and always will be a night owl.

CR:  What are you working on right now?

SR:  I am currently working on my final storyboard for this past season.  As for painting…at the moment, I'm painting my house.  Different type of artistry involved there.

CR:  What's your favorite color?

SR:  Probably blue.  In the shade of Dodger Blue.  (My mom will love that answer!)


CR:  What's it like working on The Simpsons?

SR:  After 14 years I still approach each new script as a fresh challenge.  There is this enormous history that you want to honor, but the script in front of you is it's own story, and it dictates its own way of being told.  I feel this approach helps keep the creative part of the work brain fresh after many years and many, many episodes.

CR:  Is it solitary or do you work with other animators?

SR:  The storyboarding job is a solitary one.  With the exception of meetings with our directors and Supervising Director, we're off on our own, dra
wing away.

CR:  You're credited with a lot of story board work.  To a neophyte, what does that entail?

SR:  The storyboard artist is responsible for the visualization of the script.  Armed with that and a rough record[ing] of the voice-actors (the little accents and inflections they put into their performances can affect the whole way a scene is played) the board artist draws out the camera angles and basic acting for the episode on panels that match the dimensions of the television screen.  We also work out camera moves within a scene and other basic technical elements that artists will employ in the animation.

We then meet with the director of the episode and the show's Supervising Director.  We present the board to them with the voice track, and then we break the whole thing down and rebuild it.  This is my favorite part of the process.   I like these meetings because they are highly creative–I like getting the director's reaction to the work and digging into the drawings, removing all the elements that don't work comedy-wise, combining shots, coming up with new ideas, streamlining.  

The board artist then takes all the notes and sketches from this meeting and revises the storyboard into a cleaner presentation form.  That board is sent to the producers for their notes before heading to animation.


CR:  Who are your animation influences/directors/animators?

SR:  The Looney Tunes guys first and foremost.  Looking back, I feel so fortunate I was a kid at a time when they were still shown every Saturday morning.  I got to literally grow up with them, so my appreciation of these cartoons has just matured with age.  They put a stranglehold on my comic sensibilities from the very beginning and have never really let go.

As for modern days, Pixar has really cracked the code when it comes to raising the bar visually while never losing focus of the story.  Special mention goes to Brad Bird, former Simpsonite and director of The Iron Giant, a true masterpiece.  [Also] stop-motion classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Wallace & Gromit series are major influences.

CR:  What's your favorite short animated cartoon?  And your favorite episode of The Simpsons?

SR: I'm going to go with a non-Looney Tunes answer on this one because it's impossible to pick a favorite among them.  It'd have to be Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers.  Not only did Aardman created a true stop-motion spectacle, they also gave us arguably animation's greatest villain: Feathers McGraw.  A stone-faced, jewel-robbing penguin that disguises himself as a chicken during heists; he's cunning, ruthless, could have stepped out of a Hitchcock picture.  This, of course, makes him utterly hilarious whenever he's onscreen.  

Favorite episode of The Simpsons?  I'd have to say the first episode I worked on, Homer's Enemy.  I'm really lucky my first episode has gone on to have its own identity and fan base for Homer's frustrated antagonist, Frank Grimes.

CR:  Will there be life after 3-D?

SR:  Absolutely.  As long as there is a good story to tell, the medium that it's told in will find an audience.  Every advance in technology was supposed to make the former ways obsolete, yet we still have painters, classical musicians, sculptors.  Traditional animation will evolve with technology and the times.  But if Looney Tunes have proven anything, it's that a good story told in this medium can become timeless.

CR:  What's your forecast for The Simpsons as they enter their 21st year?

SR:  Every time I've tried to do that, I"ve been way off.  Each season is it's own adventure.  I just jump on for the ride.

CR:  Do you have plans for your own cartoon?

SR:  Never say never, but my focus right now is on the residents of Springfield.