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Seeing a future in cartoons

Squiggle by squiggle, the characters of the popular children’s television program “Regular Show” began to take shape Thursday on a dozen drawing tablets splayed out on tables at the Boys & Girls Club in Burbank.

“They way the kids think, it is so refreshing,” said Cartoon Network character designer Chap Yaep as he leaned over to offer some guidance to a young artist. “We are used to thinking of stuff in a certain way and then you see a kid and they think of stuff and you are like, ‘Wow, I never thought of that. I didn’t know you could put toenails on a banana.’ It is great.”

Yaep was one of a half-dozen Cartoon Network employees at the center to share the tricks of their trade.

“It makes me feel like I could get there one day, maybe my work will be on a show or something,” said Ernesto Mariscal, 16, who had brought with him a portfolio of work to share with the visitors.


The event was co-sponsored by Crayola, which donated a year’s supply of art materials — including crayons, colored pencils, markers and paper tablets — to the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. The 50 participating students were hand-picked based on their interest in art, officials said.

“These kids can see a future in animation, these kids can learn to draw, these kids can realize that there are businesses in the community that are interested in them,” said Zita Lefebvre, director of operations and community relations. “Our network caters to children, so it is a perfect fit.”

The Cartoon Network artists led the children through the creative process of developing an animated character, sketched portraits and signed autographs. They also reviewed portfolios, offering academic and professional advice.

Adrianna Costa — a correspondent for the show “Extra” who dropped by to participate in the artist jam session — encouraged the students to focus on what they enjoy, and to develop the skills needed to advance those interests.


“Not everybody has to be a doctor or a lawyer, there is such a huge range of skills,” Costa said. “Making cartoons and being an animator is one of them.”

She drew on her early years as a struggling broadcast journalist as an example.

“It was long hours and we worked a lot, but it was also fun,” Costa said. “I made great friends, great relationships and now I get to interview celebrities and I also get to write stories and produce and be creative. There is something for all of you. The most important thing is to stay in school, learn about yourselves, learn about what you want to do.”