The Animator Letters Project is a book for aspiring animators that dream of working at a major studio but don’t know how to get there, it’s encouragement for those that feel lost and discouraged in their creative journey, and inspiration for those trying to make their big break into the animation industry. This is a book filled with nearly 100 handwritten letters by some of the most creative animators and directors in the animation industry- each telling their own unique story, along with words of wisdom for the next generation of animators. In an age of technology, where texts, tweets, blogs, chats and emails are the norm, this book’s handwritten element offers a personal connection to those in the industry. Get ready to be inspired by the likes of Pete Docter, Don Hahn, Byron Howard, Gary Trousdale, Roger Allers, Gary Goldman, Brenda Chapman, John Musker, Ron Clements, and Rob Minkoff, among many others. Their voices will awaken that creativity inside of you, if you are willing to listen.

100% of Willie’s proceeds from this book will be donated to The Animator Letters Project Scholarship at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) to benefit character animation students in financial need.


Each one of us come from different backgrounds, with various life situations that are personal to us. We all have have a unique story to tell about our creative journey. Many of us are just starting on that journey and looking for answers as we pursue our daunting dream of becoming an animator. That is where the words of wisdom, advice, encouragement and inspiration from animation industry veterans becomes invaluable. These handwritten letters are a goldmine of inspiration for aspiring animators and anyone pursuing a creative lifestyle. Are you ready to take your creativity to the next level, and make your dreams come true? Buy a copy of The Animator Letters Project, and let your life be transformed as you read the letters written by those who have animated, directed and produced the most memorable films in animation history!



“Ever feel like you’re alone and the path to your creative dream seems confusing and nearly impossible? We’ve all been there. Animation is one of the world’s most rewarding creative professions, combining art, acting, design, music and storytelling. But how do you get in? And once you’re there, how do you keep the creativity going? The Animator Letters Project gives you a direct line into the personal experiences of your fellow animators and storytellers. It’s a great resource not only for animators but also for any individual who is determined to live a creative life.”Byron Howard, Director, Walt Disney Animation Studios
“For someone fascinated by animation but unsure how to proceed, the future can seem daunting and scary. Where’s a potential animator to turn? Why, to other unsure, daunted animators, of course! The Animator Letters Project allows experienced artists to write about how they got their start, as well as about what they find important in their field — and in life.”Pete Docter, Director, Pixar Animation Studios
“You know, when I went to art school in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, there were no animation schools or classes for this art form. Even now with over 720 animation programs in colleges throughout the English speaking world, most of those programs do not give any insight as to how their animation students might get into this unique industry. Willie Downs’s idea to bring in professional animators to write a letter to aspiring animators is truly a great concept, and will undoubtedly help give those aspiring artists some insight to how they might proceed when school is over.”
Gary Goldman, Director, Don Bluth Films, Inc.


Willie Downs is the creator of The Animator Letters Project, which has been featured by Cartoon Brew, Animation Magazine, Letters of Note, and KCRW’s The Business. With contributors like Pete Docter, Gary Trousdale, Brenda Chapman, John Musker and Rob Minkoff, The Animator Letters Project has already become a world-wide inspiration to aspiring animators. Downs is a former student of Animation Mentor Online Animation School, and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. During his junior year of high school, Downs joined the Texas Army National Guard, serving six years with one deployment to Iraq, where he was awarded The Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service. Downs, his wife and daughter reside in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas where they enjoy spending time outdoors.