Artist of the Day: Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders

This week we’ll take a look at the work of artists who were part of the production crew of The Croods, which will be released into theaters this Friday, March 22nd. If there’s any downside to focusing on the artists of Croods, it’s that there are countless more impressive artists on the film’s crew who are equally worthy of being featured here.

For starters, one of the crew members with a substantial web presence happens to be Chris Sanders, the co-director of the film. Although the gallery and comics section of his website (Chris creates a strip called Kiskaloo) are currently empty and being refreshed at some point in the future, Chris’s work can still be seen throughout his website’s blog, deviantART and Twitter.

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders

Chris’s drawings of humans and creatures tend to have a distinctive facial/eye design and proportions that are strongly identifiable as his own. His style was particularly on display in his first feature, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch.

There is also a generous amount of storyboard drawings from The Croods that Chris has posted on his blog in its own category.

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders


  • Ringtail Badger

    I always made sure to buy at least 2 of the self published sketchbooks he sells at his booth at SDCC. One to read, one to collect. A wise investment, I think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/knisley Eric Knisley

    Outstanding execution and technique…top notch!

  • Tim

    What is it about his facial proportions that’s so recognizable? I notice:
    -facial features generally spread quite wide
    -eyes low compared to the nose
    -a biggish nose
    -”bottom heavy” body types — thin arms, thick legs

    • Inkan1969

      His characters tend to look “squishy”. I really like that his style is so distinctive.

  • Miles Thompson

    COOOL! Such great drawing, can tell a doodler at heart when you see one, INSTANTLY ! ! ! Looking fwd to Croods ! ! !

  • Funkybat

    When I see vis dev stuff of this caliber for 3D films, it just makes me frustrated that the films are 3D instead of 2D. Still waiting for a 3D movie that can capture the feel of drawings such as these. Perhaps the “Paperman method” could work…

  • Bolt

    A big loss for Disney and huge gain for Dreamworks. I wish John would have kept him at the studio for “American Dog”

  • http://twitter.com/SarahJesness SarahJesness

    Heh, I really love his designs! It’s a shame his human designs for the CGI films don’t always carry over. I don’t know if it’s because his human designs are legitimately hard to translate to CGI or if the people working on it make an active decision to use more convention designs. Anyway, I also really love his animal designs and I’m glad at least a lot of those are being carried over to the final cut of “The Croods”.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyCupcakes Johnny Cupcakes

    Very friendly sketches. Something about them makes you feel like everything is going to be okay!

  • Deaniac

    Funny that Chris Sanders was today’s choice. I just so happened to rewatch Lilo in Stitch last night for the first time in years (and in 720p, no less.) One artistic trait that I distinctly remember learning about the movie’s production – and Sander’s art style in general – was the use of soft, round edges with absolutely NO sharp edges or corners in sight. It makes his art work all the more appealing to look at.

    It’s sad though, I feel a lot of that charm was lost during the CG modeling of the Croods characters and it makes me wish that Sanders would have another chance to produce another traditionally animated film. How To Train Your Dragon fared a little better because you can EASILY tell that Toothless was a product of Sander’s drawings; his design is very reminiscent of Stitch.

  • Ann Telnaes

    I remember watching his wonderful student film at CalArts in the mid-80s of a wolf tossing marshmallows. He was an incredible artist even back then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tapok Erika Tcogoeva

      And there’s no way to find it now, of course?

  • http://croods.blogspot.com/ Ju-osh

    The same way we see John K.’s style mimicked in a lot of 90s/00s animation, a quick look around deviantART will show you the influence Sanders has had on today’s up-and-coming artists. (And unlike most artistic influences, these kids KNOW who they’re borrowing from — ‘Sanders-style’ is a very popular tag! How cool is that?)

  • Kendra Meder

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Natalie Belton

    To me, Sanders style is really interesting. It’s sort of a blend of both American and Asian styles with a bit of something all its own.

  • popyea

    Dammit, how come the characters in The Croods don’t look as good as this? Seeing the trailers made me think Sanders had lost his touch, but I guess it just isn’t getting translated, or they’re opting for a different direction.

  • Robert Fiore

    That man has been looking at T.S. Sullivant.

  • TP72

    You are Awesome.

    Lilo and Stitch was Awesome, Dragons was Awesome, Croods was Awesome.
    You are just… AWESOME!

  • mick

    above anything else his pictures always appear as though he enjoyed drawing them and that has to be a good thing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Harry-Bastard/899295240 Harry Bastard

    Ahahah! Chris’s hula girls and cute n’ fuzzy animals rawk! If you can find it, pick up ‘Kiskaloo’, the trade paperback of all the online strips he did featuring his signature cat character Ogo.

  • OtherDan

    So dang good! Wish we saw more of his work on the big screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PirateStitch Sarah Smith

    Chris Sanders work is absolutely amazing and inspiring. His creatures have such a life like presence and the emotion that he can evoke. Chris Sanders is truly the best !

  • http://croods.blogspot.com/ Ju-osh

    Anecdotes, please?

  • Bobobo

    Besides directing the movie, he should design the characters by himself too. I think his distinctive character designs fit better for the movie. I noticed a few animals in the movie are designed by him, so it still carried some of his charm.

  • Goa

    Nobody draws cute girls and cute critters like Chris Sanders!
    Always a smile on the face when i see his work`1