Orlando Instructors

Foundational Drawing / Illustration/ Story Boards/ Comics Instructor – ORLANDO

Woody Woodman is an artist, storyteller and teacher with 20 years in the animation industry. After being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1991, I began my pursuit to become a professional artist, and enrolled at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota Florida, where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I was recruited by Walt Disney Feature Animation and continued my education in their internship program in Orlando Florida in July of 1997. I began my animation career as an ‘inbetweener’ on the film “Mulan” with Barry Cook. I worked on several films; “Tarzan,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Lilo & Stitch” Then I was excepted into the story department working with some of the finest storyboard artists and directors in the business. I also worked on “Treasure Planet” with Ron Clements, John Musker and Glen Keane. I continued to work for Disney in the story department on “Brother Bear” and a few films that where never realized, until the Orlando studio was shut down in 2003. Woody has continued his Animation experience working with such  clients such as: Aardman, Lucas Films, Laika and 20 Century Fox. 


Traditional Animation/ Sketching /Foundational Drawing / Figure Drawing – ORLANDO

Thomas Thorspecken, also known as Thor, attended the school of Visual Arts and Design in New York City.  In his 10 years as a freelance illustrator in the city, one of his assignments for the Daily News included sketching historic buildings throughout the city for a column called “Undiscovered Manhattan”.  Thor relocated to Orlando in 1993 to work for Disney Feature Animation.  After 10 years the studio closed, and he continued to pursue his passion for art through teaching and sketching.  His blog “Analog Artist Digital World” began in 2009 as a resolution to post a sketch every day.  He describes it as “his way to finally put down roots, to be part of the community, one sketch at a time.”  Thor has also been teaching Traditional Animation at Full Sail University and now is part of a great team of instructors at Elite Animation Academy.  Thor will continue his passion to teach and now will include Middle and High School students.  Some of the classes he will teach include Traditional Animation, Drawing Fundamental and Urban Sketching. 


Traditional Animation / Comics and Cartooning Instructor – ORLANDO

Jason Peltz was drawing Mickey Mouse from the age of three, in the hopes of someday working for Disney. Jason graduated Carnegie Mellon with an illustration degree, which was put to use in NYC at Jim Henson Productions, Marvel Comics, and Disney Consumer Products. At this point, Jason was bit by the animation bug, and moved to Chicago. There, he worked for Startoons on such projects as Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Tiny Toons. After gaining some experience, Disney brought Jason to Orlando, giving him the opportunity to draw Mickey Mouse professionally. Jason’s credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mushu from Mulan, Tarzan, Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove, Jumba from Lilo and Stitch, and Koda from Brother Bear. Jason also added sculpting to his resume, doing the John Henry maquette for the Disney produced short. After Disney Animation closed it’s doors in Orlando, Jason spent almost two years working as a Senior Key Assistant on a traditionally animated video game. He’s now working as a full time freelancer, sculpting and illustrating for such clients as Disney Publishing, Disney Entertainment Design, Busch Gardens, Premise Entertainment, Big Idea, SPCA, and many others. Since finishing work on Disney’s latest 2-D feature- The Princess and the Frog, Jason’s been freelancing as a Disney Storybook Artist on such books as UP, Toy Story 3 and CARS.


3D Animation/ 2D Animation & Gaming /Instructor – ORLANDO


Ricardo Reyes was born in Venezuela, raised in Miami, Florida and currently living in Winter Park. I have been interested in 3D for as long as I could remember. Since the day I received my Nintendo 64 for christmas I knew that this was what I wanted to be a part of. Games and movies have always been a huge part of my life and upon discovering that people created them for a living I knew that this was what I wanted to a part of. I started getting involved in 3D art my freshman year of high school by modeling in blender 2.4 and I’ve never looked back, I’ve dedicated my life since then to figure out where I fit in the pipeline and now with animation as my goal I’ve strived to bring forth the best work I could possibly make.  



Character Design / Digital Painting – Illustration /Anime-Manga Instructor – ORLANDO

Brandon M. Burghard, a young freelance digital artist for over 4 years whose professional work includes; designing characters, creating promotional material, rendering splash art, designing icons,logos, pixel art and sprite work on multiple indie games and projects, as well as an art consultant. Ever since he was young, Brandon crafted stories and designed characters expressing each in different mediums throughout the years. It was only until later in life where he honed his potential as a draftsmen and studied the way of illustration and design. Brandon’s works are inspired by many Eastern artists as well as a blend of his own art style. in his free time he often continues his education in art, writes stories, and works on his webcomic.


2D & 3D Animation Instructor – ORLANDO

Genesis Laboy was born and raised in Puerto Rico. As a kid I was always interested in film and animation but never imagined this could be a career for me. After moving to Florida I’ve had the opportunity to grow as an artist by exploring both traditional and digital mediums while learning the different steps of the production pipeline. My background in theatrical lighting helped me with the transition into digital lighting for animated movies while working on the short film Tiffany and attending the University of Central Florida. I’ve since dedicated myself to learning as much as a can about lighting so that I can enhance the look of the animated projects I am a part of.


Voice Over for “PIP THE PENCIL” and Video Production 

Michael Picher has been making his own movies since he was about 7 years old. He now has his own video company through which he films school events, commercials (including the commercial for Elite Animation Academy), and short fun videos which he typically uploads to YouTube. He has taken classes in TV production, film, and attended a camp presented by the New York Film Academy. In addition to movie making, Michael is also a gifted musician/composer and occasional voice actor. He is the official voice of “Pip the Pencil”.        




Office Administrator – Elite Animation Academy


Francine Luna – Channell is a Bilingual (English/Spanish) operations professional with over 28 years’ experience in the Entertainment Industry. Her career started at The Walt Disney Company in 1980 and in 1992 she was transferred to The Walt Disney Feature Animation Division as an Office and Purchasing Manager. While at Walt Disney Feature Animation, she worked on various films including Lion King, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Brother Bear and many others. After the studio closed in 2004, Francine continued her career as an Office Manager in the Entertainment Industry for companies such as Project Firefly Animation Studios and Immersion Digital LLC. Francine is married to Warren Channell a successful Orlando Attorney and has three children. Francine will welcome you to Elite Animation Academy in Orlando with a warm smile and a friendly, professional demeanor ! Make sure you say hi !

 “Developing Young Minds Through The Art of Animation®”