Thursday, November 16, 2023

End of Year Celebrations


I was presented with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony held in Marina Del Rey, CA. 

Dr. Reba Renee Perry-Ufele (above left) CEO of Hidden Gemstones, presented me and several others with certificates.

To my left (above) is my nephew Aulsondro 'Emcee N.I.C.E'. Hamilton who also received this award and is a nationally known gospel hip hop artist who recently graduated with a Doctorate Degree in Musical Arts.

Far left of me is Vonzell Washington, Director of President Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award and CEO of Right-Way Management.


Pastor Christopher Bourne, Sr., me and my nephew Al.

This is the certificate they presented me along with the letter below.

I don't think about the time invested in the lives of others, it is more of a passion I have to see others progress in the talents they have been blessed with. Some need a word of encouragement, others know what and how they want to arrive and just need a gentle nudge in the right direction, and some need a 'swift kick in the pants' to get motivated in order to take advantage of their God given talents.

Others take notice and thus this type of recognition has a foundation and there are far more people making a difference in the lives of others who go unnoticed. We must continue to reach out a hand to help or offer a word of encouragement to our fellow citizens of planet earth.

Another photo of my nephew Aulsondro with my wife LaVonne and I (left) smile for the camera:- ).

The great pioneering baseball player Jackie Robinson is quoted as saying, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."

...until next time 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Keynote Speaker UNLV College of Fine Arts 2023

 On Sunday May 14th  I was given the honor to address the graduating class of Fine Art students on the campus of my Alma Mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  

On the way to the podium...

(Photo by Larry Henley)

Program and sticker on seat I was assigned to:- ) (below).

Seated next to Dean of Fine Arts Nancy Uscher(at podium), administration, regents, undergraduate and graduate speakers  (below).
(Photo by L. Henley)

Waiting my turn, as usual, I sketched those in the waiting room and at the podium:- ).

(Photo by L. Henley)

Quick sketches...                                  

At the podium my 'hood' was hanging off my shoulder (first image above). The afternoon's emcee, Kymberly Mellon, straightened me out to a big 'thumbs up':- ).

(Photo by L. Henley)

Speaking from the heart and looking at the audience of students, parents and others.

(Photo by L. Henley)

 My view of students, parents and others:- ).

(Photo by Ron Husband)

Undergraduate student speaker Ayce Mangapit and Graduate student speaker Judahea Bluntt finished off the afternoon (below).

(Photo by L. Henley)


(Photo by L. Henley)

 UNLV posted a link to my speech here.

Until next time...


Friday, May 5, 2023

May 12, 2023

  I was chosen by Assemblymember Chris Holden to receive his Unsung Hero 2023 award in the state capital building in Sacramento, CA last month.

Assemblymember Holden could not attend this event, he was out of the country (Pakistan) on business.

He wanted to personally present the award to me and will do so at Mt San Antonio College located in Walnut, Ca on the 12th of this month (below).


 I did get to meet Assemblymember Holden a few weeks after I received the award. The church I attend (Second Baptist, Monrovia) was celebrating the 121st anniversary of it's founding and he was in attendance. It was my turn to help in the Children's Church in another building. There, as always, I illustrated a Bible story to the kids delight:-). That Sunday the lesson focused on the first chapter of Genesis, the creation (below).


After the service, driving through the parking lot I spot a familiar face, that of Assemblymember Holden. Though we had never met, I had seen enough images on campaign literature to recognize him.

I pulled over, got out of the car and introduced myself. We chatted like old friends and  ended by taking  a picture in front of the plaque I designed for the city of Monrovia of the first pastor of Second Baptist Church, Colonel Allen Allensworth. (below)


(Assemblymember Holden and I )

My roots go deep at Mt San Antonio College.
I taught a class on Humorous Illustration there back in the 1980's for one semester.
I conduct a workshop there once a year starting in the 2000's based on a word I made up 'Quicksketchillustrationanimation'. Quick sketching, illustration and animation, the correlation of these three art disciplines.
About 2016 the art department contacted me to inquire if I had interest in teaching a class on Fundamental Drawing. "Yes" was my reply and I've been there since.
Long ago, running track at Monrovia High we competed in invitational track meets there (MtSAC Relays) and while at Citrus Junior College not too far from here my Citrus Owls team played the MtSAC Mounties (below). We lost by a point:- (

until next time...

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Recognition in Sacramento


 In the California state capitol building in Sacramento , I was one of the people  honored by their district Assemblypersons as Unsung Heroes 2023.

The other honorees...

(Me second from left)

   In Assemblyperson Chris R. Holden's absence (in Pakistan on business) Assemblyperson Dr. Corey A. Jackson ( top photo, grey suit) escorted me down the aisle as my biography was read over the  podium.

The program...

Prior to the ceremony we got to witness the legislature in session as Assemblypersons Weber and Bradford (program 1 below right) presented a resolution for the state of California to recognize February as Black History Month.

(Program Cover)


(Inside program 1)

(Inside program 2)

(Inside program 3)

The fine print...

The road that led to this award.

  I was accepted into the Walt Disney Animation trainee program and started learning the craft on February 10, 1975, my first day at the Walt Disney Studio lot. 

   1976 I had started my journey by doing 'inbetweens' for animator Frank Thomas on The Rescuers. Frank let me animate 51 feet of rough animation scenes under his supervision. 

  In those days you had to animate 100 feet on the production you were working on to be promoted to an animator. Not only a promotion, you no longer had to 'clock in', you got a screen credit and the union minimum salary. At around fifty feet, I wasn't even close. Frank got credit for the footage:- ).

 Next up in 1977 I was doing inbetweens and rough animation for animator Gary Goldman on Pete's Dragon. Another 50 or so feet as animation production came to a close. Again, footage was credited to the Gary as I had not reached the magic number.

 Following was The Small One in1979, Disney created a in-house category, animating assistant. No such category exists in the union.

 The union categories are inbetweener, an inbetweener with more experience becomes a breakdown, more experience bumps you up to an assistant animator and finally animator. Any of those categories could be a career. I had advanced to assistant animator by this time.

  Entering into The Small One, a number of us who had come through the trainee program were deemed animating assistants. We now had all the responsibilities of an animator. Which include being issued scenes, talking directly with the sequence director, animating full time and having our own inbetweener.

Animating on The Small One  (below).

As I gained on my 100 feet, the publicity department sent out this photo (above) and information about 'A Disney First Black  Animators' referring to Mike McKinney and myself. At this time Mike was in clean-up and I was an assistant.

  In reality they jumped the gun. I had not officially reached the required footage to be an animator.
 I suppose animator sounds more important and gets your attention as the article (above right) refers to us as "The black animators" and The Hero From Otherwhere never got the green light to go into production.

The publicity went out to cities who had a primarily African American news source,(newspaper, magazine).
 At this juncture, animation was not the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
Disney was one of the only if not the only kid on the block producing animated features on a regular basis and that only once every 3 years release date. There were smaller studios and Hanna-Barbara television series but nothing like todays super saturation animation machines. Interest in me making history was small news to some but big news in my community.
From 1937 to 1979 there had been no Black names listed in the screen credits under Animator on a Disney Animated Feature.

 1979  The promotion plus 

 Ed Hanson, Department Head of animation called my home to give me the news that I had been promoted to animator.  I had achieved the quota of 100 feet and more on the production. The week before I had  turned in the scene of the boy climbing up the wall and waving good bye to the man, his wife and The Small One (Joseph with Mary riding the donkey on their way to Bethlehem).

In the 'old days' a scene would be rough animated, sent to the camera department where the individual drawings were to be shot (photographed), reviewed by the director(s) and if it got approval, be inserted in the story reel in place of workbook images. This process could take several days or more.

The week I turned in the scene I decided to take that next week off as vacation time and rest up. I felt tired and run down, very little energy. I had lost weight, my equilibrium was off, slurred speech and nausea also plagued me.

 Weeks earlier my general practice doctor, after examining me said " I'm not giving you a note to get off work". If he didn't take my condition seriously, why should I. So I continued to go to the studio, using one lane on the freeway because looking left or right made me dizzy.

 Another doctor prescribed pills to combat my nausea but the pills made me drowsy. I could barely keep from falling asleep at my desk. 

 I had started tapping the wall as I walked the hallways to keep my balance. President of the studio at the time, the late Ron Miller saw me in this condition, inquired  about it and took action. He had his secretary make specialist doctor appointments for me.  She would telephone from the third floor having made an appointment for me. 

Ear, nose and throat doctor, nope, nothing wrong there...on to another appointment. Several doctors later she arranged for me to see a neurosurgeon, Dr George Gruner. He almost jumped out of his skin upon examining me. His office was across the street to the north from St. Joseph's Hospital. The studio was across the street to the east of the hospital.

"Don't go home, check yourself into the hospital". Day's later Dr. Gruner performed an eight hour surgery on the back of my neck where the spine meets the cranium (still have the scar).

 He told my wife LaVonne, "he's probably going to die on the operating table or if the operation is a success, he'll be paralyzed from the neck or waist down". He said this not to be pessimistic but to prepare her for what he thought the foreseeable outcome would be.

He performed a successful surgery, About three months later I was back on the lot half days.

Other hurdles along the way...

  A few months after I passed the trainee period and doing the job of inbetweening I got called up to the third floor of the old animation building. (First floor was where feature animation was done. Second floor was dedicated to trainees and Eric Larson's spacious office (Eric headed the trainee training) and the library. Management was on the third level.

 There I was told "you will never animate here, Filmation, Hanna-Barbara or someplace else, but not here". This was not a studio wide attitude but it was this person's. I left his office and went back down to the first floor to finish Frank's inbetweens.

 A few years later I was told "Ron, you can't draw, it says right here on paper". Ironic, earlier that week I had talked with the person who was cleaning up (taking roughly drawn characters and removing the construction lines and putting the character on model if needed) my  ruff drawings and he told me the information in the drawings made them easy to clean-up and follow. (example below)

(Ruff animation drawing by Frank Thomas)

(Clean-Up animation drawing-unknown)

  For about seven years I animated crowd and secondary character scenes. I asked if I could get a 'personality/dialogue' scene once in a while. "If I make a mistake, I'll do the scene over", I pleaded my case. I had seen animators re-do scenes before, a common occurrence in the business. "Animators  don't make mistakes" was the answer. A polite way of saying , no.

My journey to February 27, 2023 has not been paved with roses (and there is more to tell) but perhaps for another time.

 For now, I'll enjoy my Sacramento experience.

'Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,'...

                                                                                                                          Eph. 3:20

Until next time...


Saturday, February 25, 2023


  The news outlets broadcast politics and politicians daily, you can't help but give it and them some thought. Politicians have a tremendous responsibility representing us. With all they are concerned with, it seems almost incredible that they take an interest in the lives of individuals they represent. Some politicians take such an interest in their constituents that they go above and beyond by reaching out and making contact with those in their districts.

I happen to be one of the few who have had first hand experience of being recognized by a politician, my California State Representative.


 The first time, some fifty-five years ago as a senior at Monrovia High School.

 Assemblyman Peter F. Schabarum (1929-2021), known as the 'Father of California Term Limits Law', reading the town newspaper (Daily News Post) seeing a picture with captions about me, sent me the  article taped to an official state brochure (below).

 I had never met him, knew anything about him or politics and it would be three years before I  would be able to vote (July1, 1971 Amendment XXV lowered the age from 21 to 18).

 He took an interest in me and I'm sure other individuals he represented.



 The second time Assemblyman Schabarum took notice of me was three years later.  

After he graduated from the University of California Berkely and before entering into politics, he played in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers in the early 1950s. We had a football connection.

Again, taping an article to a brochure (below) letting me know he read the newspaper and was aware of the activities of those in his district.

 Regardless of the activities and rhetoric that comes out of politicians, they are there to do their best and some go above and beyond to encourage, Assemblyman Peter F. Schabarum was one.


Another of the encouraging politicians is Assemblyman Chris R. Holden.

In a few days California State Assemblyman Chris Holden will have an impact and encourage my life. Not by brochure but in a personal appearance, by me at the state capitol in Sacramento (below). Though he will not be there in person (he will be in Pakistan) a representative from his office will stand in for him.

Dear Mr. Husband,


It was my pleasure on behalf of Assemblymember Chris R. Holden, to notify you this afternoon of your selection as his Unsung Hero, 2023.  


Each year, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) select a constituent whose accomplishments are a substantive yet unrecognized contribution to society. Assemblymember Holden learned of your long and  successful  career at Walt Disney Studios as the first African American Animator.  He is impressed by your accomplishments and wants to honor you, an example of Black excellence.


For the first time since the pandemic, the recognition will be  in a Floor Ceremony at the State Capitol, Monday, February 27.

Our representatives do take a personal interest in all of us:- ).

until next  time...

Friday, February 24, 2023

Hey, that's Dad...

 Recently son Jai on business as usual. Head of the art department and lead designer at Light Up Toys on one of his many visits to theme parks across the continent, to take orders for his company's product, this time Disney World in Orlando, FL. spots his Dad on a poster.


Sharing this photo with the family his baby sister wrote "They meant to say Ron Husband was THE FIRST African American to achieve the title Animator AND later SUPERVISING Animator at the Walt Disney Studios".

I was "one of the first", my history has the first African American to work at Disney Feature Animation was Frank Braxton who worked there a few months, then Floyd Norman followed by Mike McKinney and me coming fourth on the list working in animation at Disney and number one doing the work of an animator:- ).

until next time...