The best animator and cartoonist you’ve never heard of

Although often overlooked when it comes to major influences in the world of animation, Paul Rudish still left an undeniably large imprint on the medium as a whole. Starting out as a character design artist on storyboards for cartoons such as Batman: The Animated Series, he would eventually migrate to Cartoon Network, working alongside other talent on major television series Craig McCracken and Genndy Tartakovsky as samurai jack, Dexter’s Laboratoryand The Powerpuff Girls.

After providing his skills as an animator, writer, and even voice actor on numerous series, Rudish was eventually tasked with directing a series of Disney shorts around Mickey Mouse, intended to bring the character to life and modernize the character. humor for new audiences. The shorts were so well received that in 2020 Disney announced the new series The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse would stream on Disney Plus, in the same style as the shorts, continuing to be overseen by Rudish.


The award-winning style and liveliness of its animation aesthetic has seen the animator be part of many successful projects, all of which have been enriched accordingly. With a fascinating career filled with many collaborations and insights, let’s take a look at the impressive and influential work of Paul Rudish.

The early years of Paul Rudish

Possessing a love of drawing from an early age, a young Rudish looked up to his father, who was an illustrator for Hallmark Cards and the creator of the Rainbow Brite franchise. Having an “art teacher at home” has proven invaluable to Paul, who spoke to CHIBBY CHANNEL in a YouTube interview below:

With the encouragement of his father, Rudish would pursue a career in animation at the California Institute of the Arts, from which he would eventually graduate, and with his portfolio in hand, he would begin to accept any job the animator could find in the domain. His credentials speaking for themselves, the recent grad landed a job on the first season of Batman: The Animated Series as his first work experience in the industry.

Related: The Best Anime Series That Got Canceled Too Soon

Shortly after his stint with the caped crusader, Rudish would move to Cartoon Network in the ’90s and develop partnerships with other talent, starring in some of the most memorable and beloved shows in the channel’s history. As the character designer and writer of several successful series, the host would eventually get his own directing role for the first time with 2003’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. In 2010, he will continue with a co-creator credit for Sym-Biotic Titana show he conceptualized with longtime collaborator Genndy Tartakovsky.

Meet the Mouse

By this point, Paul Rudish was becoming a well-respected name in the animation industry, with more than a few major hits under his belt. Despite this, the animator had yet to fully direct his own personal project until 2013, when he was approached by Disney to take the reins of their new Mickey Mouse-centric animated series of shorts. Needless to say, the direction taken by Rudish and his team has helped the shorts achieve huge success, garnering collective billions of views online and bringing the classic formula of short animations featuring legacy Disney characters into the new time.

In an interview with Animation Scoop, Rudish details his team’s goals for transitioning shorts into a modern era below:

Our hope was that we could create something to feel like we had taken over the work that Walt [Disney] and Ub [Iwerks] (who originally drew Mickey Mouse) has stopped. There was no conscious decision to make Mickey more relevant and contemporary, to make it feel like a “SpongeBob comedy” or style. We knew we couldn’t do 1930s cartoons, but we knew we could take what we loved about those cartoons and that slap-stick humor and Mickey finding himself getting out of sticky situations and bringing them into our era. This type of funny seems to have transcended generations, so we thought it could apply to our cartoons as well.

Related: The Best Mickey Mouse Shorts, Ranked

With these shorts upgraded to full series status with The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse on Disney Plus, and with Rudish designing for characters used in more commercials and Disney theme park rides, it looks like his work is here to stay.

The influence of Paul Rudish on the medium

It was Rudish’s childhood fascination with animation that led him to become an incredibly important figure in the industry, from screenwriter to helming a series featuring arguably the most popular animated character. known at all times. Taking on such a massive project with a world-renowned cartoon icon is no easy task, and navigating it expertly while delivering a new style deserves a lot more attention.

The crisp, contemporary style of his work has the ability to lend itself perfectly to any project the animator may be involved in, and whether adapting classic characters for new generations or creating new series, he There is much to appreciate and admire about the work of Paul Rudish.

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