Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 6, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Scott Burroughs

Scott Burroughs graduated from Air Academy High School in 1987. He graduated with his BA from Academy Of Art University in San Francisco California in 1994. Upon graduation he worked as a video game animator and conceptual artist for Sega before being hired by Walt Disney Feature Animation to work on movies.  Scott worked 10 years for Disney as an animator on movies and mentor for new artists. His credits include Pocahontas, Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo And Stitch, Brother Bear and several shorts.  When the Florida studio closed it’s doors he moved back to Colorado and began a career in illustration working on children’s books, magazines, curriculum, murals, website design and more. Scott has years of teaching experience with elementary up to high school, college and adult classes and has a genuine love of seeing people having fun creating art! He volunteers some of his time visiting schools and sharing with students what it’s like to attend art school and also work as a video game animator, a Disney animator and illustrator. If you’re interested in having Scott speak at your school please email him at Scott is married to his high school sweet heart Chrysti and has two amazing teenage sons, Max and Titus and two lovable cats, Butter and Sushi. He is proudly represented by the agency of DEBORAH WOLFE LTD.





Interview with Scott Burroughs:

How long have you been illustrating?

14 years

What and when was the first piece of art or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

14 years ago I illustrated 3 small spots for Clubhouse Magazine.

Did you go to school for art? If so where and what did you study?

Yes, I was living in California in the Bay area and decided to go to Academy Of Art University in S.F. and study sculpture.

Did school help you get your job as a Disney Animator?

Totally! Disney Feature Animation came to our school looking for interns.  They showed us the work in progress of Beauty and the Beast and I was hooked!  I switched my major from sculpture to illustration (closest thing the school had for animation back then) and began working on my portfolio to get an internship.  An amazing teacher and person, Barbara Bradley, spent two years helping me learn how to draw people and animals for my portfolio.  I was fortunate to get the internship!  I couldn’t have gotten into Disney without Barbara’s help and encouragement!

What made you decide to leave Disney and strike out on your own?

One Friday morning as I entered the Studio the front desk told us all to go upstairs for an impromptu studio meeting. Once the studio was all gathered together, the heads of Feature Animation told us the movie we were getting ready to start was not going to happen and we were all released out of our contracts.  Several months after that meeting the Florida studio where I was working closed it’s doors.  I had been working there for almost 10 years and was ready to start a new adventure in illustration.

Do you feel animation influenced your illustrating style?

Yes, very much!

Have you ever made a book dummy to help sell a book idea?

I made several and got lucky with those books finding a publisher.

When did you decide that you wanted to illustrate for children?

I had just finished working on Mulan and had some free time on my hands. I wanted to learn how to illustrate a children’s book so I picked a story for the Bible (Jonah), and went for it.

I see you have illustrated a few Hardy Boy books? How many did you illustrate?

I had the great opportunity to work for Simon and Schuster on the Hardy Boys, on a project that lasted 5 years and I illustrated 19 books. Super fun assignment!

How did that job come your way?

I had done an illustration of a boy doing tricks on his snowboard for LifeWay.  An art director saw it and contacted my agent Deborah asking if I’d be interested in working on the series.  I learned that you never know what image you illustrate that can result in a huge project.

Was your first book a Hardy Boy book? If not what was your first illustrated picture book? 

My first book was one my wife Chrysti and I wrote together and I illustrated called The Christmas Tail of Sampson the Silly-Looking Sock Monkey.

It looks like you have done a few Ready to Read books for Simon Spotlight. How many have to done with them?

I think I’ve worked on about 10 of those. That project is really fun with great art direction.

Is The Harlem Globetrotters Present the Points Behind Basketball (Science of Fun Stuff) your latest book. Any fun story about illustrating this book? 

Not really, I only did a few images for that book.

I notice that you are represented by Deborah Wolff. How did the two of you connect and how long have you been together?

I reached out to Deborah right when I was getting started in illustration after leaving Disney.  I sent her some images and I’m so grateful she decided to take me on as one of her illustrators.  She has taught me a ton about the business and I love working with her.  She has an amazing team (Lisa and Mary) who work hard at keeping me busy.

Have you done any book covers?

I’ve illustrated lots of book covers. Those are fun and challenging.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

Yes. I’ve illustrated several of those.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

A lot of my work is with educational publishers. I’ve worked with Oxford, Triumph, Pearson, Rodale Press, Penguin Group and Scholastic to name a few.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Yes, I’ve worked on Highlights, Jack and Jill, Girl’s World, Animal Tails and several others.


Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I written and illustrated my own books and I really enjoy working on other people’s projects too.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

I have an idea for a fun robot book like that.

Are all your illustrations done digitally?

I start off sketching on paper and the finals are all done in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Has that changed over time?

I’ve had the same process since I started.

Can you tell us a little bit about your studio?

I’ve moved 4 times since starting illustration but my most recent studio is a spare bedroom in my house with an AMAZING few of the Air Force Academy and the Rocky Mountains. I do my drawings on my Disney animation desk that I bought before the studio closed. I do my digital work at my computer desk using an iMac and Wacom Tablet.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to but probably not enough time- eek!

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I think I’ve only taken 2 pictures for reference since I started. I made both my sons Max and Titus pose for me.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, lots of art directors find me online.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I’d say finding a career that lets me spend tons of time with my wife and kids and live where I want is my biggest success and blessing!

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Photoshop and Illustrator.


Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

I own and use a Wacom tablet- love it!

Do you still accept animation work?

I’m pretty much an illustrator now, but I’m getting ready to start teaching some art workshops here in Colorado Springs to 5th – 12 graders. For more info please check out

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I’d love to work on projects while sitting on any beach in Kauai.  That’s my favorite place in the world!

What are you working on now?

I’m presently working on like a million sketches for an educational book.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I really enjoy Apple products, Wacom products and Adobe products.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Always have balance in your life- too much time working is not good. Always give your best to your clients and treat them with respect and honor. And most importantly enjoy life J

Thank you Scott for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share your future successes with us. To see more of Scott’s work, you can visit him at: Website: and

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Scott. I am sure he’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for sharing your playful and colorful work here! Very fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Scott I am so glad I read this! Your work is beautiful and you hit home on many of the reasons I create. Currently I have decided its time to write and paint my stories. I am wondering if you can recommend a great book to help with how to draw animals and cute simple characters. I’m not one for detail but oh I love using color and simple textures to convey emotion. I am working on a book drawing simple hair and eyes and facial expressions to name a few.


  3. I love the fun and humor in your art! Such a fun mix of modern and throw-back cartoons! Id love to see you illustrate a modern day remake of the jetsons!!


  4. […] Illustrator Saturday – Scott Burroughs – Did you go to school for art? If so where and what did you study? Yes, I was living in California in the Bay area and decided. […]


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