Wonder Bunch Media’s Animation Director got his start right where your little ones are today! Just a kid with talent and parents who loved and supported his passion.
Justin Hamrick knows how important it is to let kids dream, wonder, and draw. His own storied career in animation began with his first art commission – in second grade.
“I’d finish my school work and start drawing Ninja Turtles on whatever paper was nearby. Some of my classmates saw it and liked it, and soon I had 20 kids asking me to draw Ninja Turtles for them, too. I think it sets in early for kids, whatever their skills are. You do something and people like or praise it, and it starts to form a path for you. You want to get better at it, and soon something that was kind of a natural talent becomes something you’re really good at and passionate about.”
But his classmates weren’t his only fans and supporters. From his parents to his professors, his exceptional skills were evident from an early age.
“My parents always made sure I had an abundance of art supplies. Printer paper was my favorite for practicing on. It feels like less of a commitment. You can throw it away without feeling too bad about it. Then my dad would bring home that green and white matrix paper with the perforated dots on the side. I had an accordion of it at all times and would really zero in on a project and just draw for hours.”
Natural Talent, Honed Technique
“High school was when someone helped me realize that art was a viable way to earn a living and make a difference. I had an art teacher who spent time teaching us how to value our work based on the time it took to learn technique, the cost of materials, and the hours we spent on it. It helped me understand that art was more than what it cost. It was how much value it had.”
Justin’s art education continued well beyond his second-grade fandom and his high school curriculum. He attended Savannah College of Art and Design with a major in Art/Animation. By 2005, he was a professional animator, and has been a freelancer choosing his own projects for the last decade. And we have to say, we feel so honored that he has chosen to work with Wonder Bunch!
Passion Turned Profession
Justin’s decision to never put his crayons down has resulted in a prolific career, animating on shows for PBS, Comedy Central, and Adult Swim. He was recognized in 2011 by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for contributions to the Emmy-award winning Sci Girls, and won the 2015 Bronze Telly Award for Non-Broadcast Productions.
“I live in California, so I wouldn’t have been lucky enough to have stumbled upon Wonder Bunch by myself. Instead, I was connected by a friend of mine, who was doing some freelance with Wonder Bunch. He couldn’t do the animation and so he suggested me. I’ve been able to work with them on nine of their apps so far.”
Let’s put a hard emphasis on that “so far,” because we aren’t done with Justin yet!
“Wonder Bunch feels so comforting and gentle, and that’s because everything is done with so much intention. The animation is so much slower and more delicate than anything else I’ve ever worked on, and it isn’t something I would have thought of for a children’s app until I got that direction from Meghan and Alex. It’s the most collaborative project I’ve ever worked on, and every component is done in a really thoughtful way.”
Including how we chose our animator. Justin came highly recommended, more than qualified, and with a desire to create a truly meaningful world where children could learn and thrive. We couldn’t be more thrilled that he has chosen to work with us, and the world he animates is our dream come true!