Pasadena’s Lightbox Expo will take place October 27-29 this year, featuring over 200 panels, roundtables, and demos, and more than 600 artists attendees.
Lightbox Expo was co-founded in 2019 by character designer, illustrator, and Expo creative director Bobby Chiu and Jim Demonakos, one of the directors of the documentary Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters. Since then, the event has evolved into one of the year’s biggest West Coast meet-ups for industry professionals and students.
Of this year’s event, Chiu said:
We’re excited to present educational panels throughout the show that allow new and upcoming artists to hear about pathways into the industry. In addition, much of the programming allows artists of all levels to learn new tips, tricks and techniques to up their art game, making it the perfect place to come learn no matter where you are in your artistic journey.
Anyone planning to attend this year’s event should know that Lightbox has implemented a new ticketing system. The details of the system are outlined in an illustrated Instagram post.
Below, we’ve highlighted a few of this year’s standout presentations. The full 2023 program can be found on the Lightbox website.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget director Sam Fell and Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord continue their globetrotting tour with the film at Lightbox. The duo will share a behind-the-scenes look at the feature’s production.
Trolls Band Together team members Ruben Perez, Tim Heitz, John Swanson, Ben Willis, Marc J. Scott, and Colin Jack will host a conversation about the creative ambitions, artistic goals, technical innovations, and challenges they faced during production.
This Year’s Hits
Nimona directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane will be joined by ND Stevenson, creator of the webcomic from which the film is adapted, for a making-of session. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse production designer Patrick O’Keefe and vfx supervisor Mike Lasker will host a film-specific panel all about worldbuilding, focusing on the artistic and technological innovations developed during production. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem director Jeff Rowe and art director Arthur Fong will discuss the visual development process for their film.
Character Design Roundtable
Lightbox has assembled an all-star team of character designers to participate in a roundtable at this year’s event. Speakers include Carter Goodrich (Coco, Despicable Me, Ratatouille), Peter de Seve (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Finding Nemo), and Carlos Grangel (The Prince of Egypt, Madagascar, Corpse Bride), with Renee di Cherri moderating. Lightbox says attendees will:
Dive deep into the minds of those who’ve shaped the faces of animation, exploring their creative process, unique insights, and the journey of character design evolution. Don’t miss this chance to gain invaluable knowledge from the individuals who have defined character artistry in the animated film industry.
Concept Art Awards
Each year, Lightbox recognizes the best concept art from film, tv, video game, independent, and student artists at the Concept Art Awards, presented in partnership with the Concept Art Association.
This year’s Concept Art Award Finalists include:
Animation: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Elemental, Ruby Gillman, Nimona, Tales of the Jedi, Animaniacs, Entergalactic, Spirit Rangers, Agent Elvis, My Dad the Bounty Hunter, Kizazi Moto: Generation of Fire, My Adventures with Superman, Star Wars: Visions
Live Action: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Blue Beetle, Barbie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, The Little Mermaid, Meg 2: The Trench, Haunted Mansion, Transformer: Rise of the Beasts, American Born Chinese, House of the Dragon, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, The Mandalorian, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Andor, The Last of Us, Willow, Foundation
Video Game: Gotham Knights, God of War: Ragnarök, Apex Legends, Dead Space, Tinykin, Gotham Knights, Modern Warships, MetalCore, Moonbreaker
The full list of nominees can be found here.