Steve Thompson

Principal Designer, The Walt Disney Company

Drawing from Life

Saturday, October 6th @ 3:35pm

How a single statement from Steve’s high school art teacher changed the course of his life and career. Find out what “Drawing from life” means and how Steve has applied this mantra over the course of his 24-year career as an artist for The Walt Disney Company.

This presentation will also cover wide-ranging topics including his inspirations, finding your own unique artistic style, staying inspired and tips on how to avoid the dreaded “artist block”. You’ll also get a sneak into his creative process and approach to designing storytelling products where every idea begins with a drawing.



Steve Thompson joined the Walt Disney Company in 1994 after attending California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He began his career as a senior character artist working on Pocahontas merchandise at Disney Consumer Products before making a jump to feature animation. Steve spent the next 10 years working at Walt Disney Animation Studios alongside some of the industry’s top animators on such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan and The Emperor’s New Groove.

In 2005, Thompson transitioned to The Disney Stores and currently serves as a principal designer for the company. From classic Disney characters to modern live-action films, Thompson has transformed movie moments into product art, high-end collectibles, snow globes, ornaments, toys, dolls and more. His work on such projects as The Disney Designer Collection, Disney Sketchbook line of Christmas ornaments, Disney Animator’s Collection, and numerous “Art Of” series has attracted a large social following of fans eager to see his own personal artwork.

Now, with nearly 25 years at the same company, Thompson’s process has evolved with changing styles, tastes, and technology, and yet he still starts every project the same way: whether it’s pencils or pixels, every design begins with a drawing.