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A big jump: Illustrator goes freelance after 20 years of working on films, games

Thomas Estrada is making a monumental leap with his career.

An illustrator for more than 20 years, Estrada is going freelance for the first time.

He will focus on doing individual jobs and traveling around the country participating in comic conventions.

“I took the leap in September,” he says. “I was working for WB Games and doing animation for the last 20 years. It’s going to be a different game for me.”

Estrada’s résumé is one that many would envy.

Maleficent by Thomas Estrada.

He’s worked on “The Prince of Egypt,” “The Tigger Movie,” “The Road to El Dorado,” “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” “Home on the Range” and “Shark Tale” to name a few.

As far as video games go, his work can be seen on “God of War II,” “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” “Toy Story 3: The Video Game” and “Disney Infinity.”

In addition to having an artist booth at the comic convention, he will host a panel at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, in the sub floor, panel room B. It will be called “Thomas Estrada Making Animation Magic.”

Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Animator Thomas Estrada worked on the film.

“The comic convention scene is all new to me,” he says. “What I’ve enjoyed so far is meeting people who are interested in animation and drawing. I’ve been drawing all my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of my idols. I still geek out to this day because I can’t believe that I get to do this for a living.”

In fact, last year, Estrada was in Oklahoma at a convention when he had a fan boy moment.

“I got to meet Bob Camp,” he says excitedly. “He’s the animator on ‘(The) Ren & Stimpy (Show).’ It was amazing to meet one of my idols.”

Over the course of his career, Estrada has never taken a project for granted.

He also enjoyed being on teams with amazing artists.

“There are times when deadlines were just unbearable,” he says. “But each project brought something that I learned from and appreciate it. Like with ‘Over the Hedge’ and ‘Shark Tale,’ they weren’t the biggest movies, but I did my best in putting a piece of myself into the scenes.”

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