GBN alumnus Jason Grandt, creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, has been living his dream job for the past 20 years. He leads a team of artists and designers responsible for designing and building all of The Walt Disney Company theme park attractions, resort and cruise line experiences. Grandt has used many lessons he learned in high school to carry him into his professional art career and has recently passed on his knowledge, visiting current GBN art students to give drawing tips. Grandt answered a few questions for us about his art and professional life.
What kinds of cartoons do you draw?
Grandt: A few years ago, I was also able to write and illustrate a book called “The Magic Kingdom Storybook” which was a collection children’s stories based on our theme parks. Most recently, I illustrated covers for Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms Enchanted Tiki Room comics.”
What have you learned since you began work?
Grandt: After 20 years of working as a professional artist, the greatest thing I have learned, I learned from Mrs. Block while at GBN. Nearing the completion of an art project, Mrs. Block came to check my work. She pulled out a big, black marker and drew a line right across my art and then asked me “Now what are you going to do?” At the time, this was a bit of a shock but in hindsight, this lesson was absolutely invaluable. In the real world, things change and there are surprises around every corner. You have to think fast, be creative and turn every challenge into an opportunity.
How do you feel the GBN community and art program prepared you for the job you hold today?
Grandt: Going to GBN perfectly prepared me for the rigors of higher education, and the GBN art program’s diverse lineup of classes and opportunities let me learn, experiment and explore every whim I had to develop myself as an artist. I took eight art classes in my four years at GBN and would have done more if I could have figured out how!
If you could give current GBN students advice about a future career in art, what would you say?
Grandt: Go for it! Experiment, explore and draw, draw, draw. Everything made in the world has been drawn and designed by an artist like you. There’s no better profession to have where you can contribute positively to the happiness of others.