RIP Denise Blakely Fuller, Matte Painter On ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘The Book Of Life,’ ‘Hotel Transylvania’
Denise Blakely Fuller, a matte painter, layout person, and visual development artist who worked mostly in the feature animation industry in the U.S., died aged 52 on January 5, 2020 in Glendora, California. The cause of death was not announced.
In her career, which spanned nearly three decades, she helped design the worlds of well-known features and television series. Her talents took her to Pixar (Toy Story 3, Brave), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2), Warner Bros. Animation (Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island, Lego direct-to-video films), Reel FX (The Book of Life), and Rhythm and Hues (Elf). She also worked on games like Goldeneye: Rogue Agent at Electronic Arts.
Blakely Fuller was born on April 21, 1967 in Schenectady, New York. On the strength of her high school portfolio, she was accepted at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in illustration and industrial design.
She began her career as a layout artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the midst of its 1990s renaissance, working on Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
By 2001, nearing burnout, she was ready to leave and develop her skills as a matte painter, which she refined at the aforementioned studios over the next two decades. Examples of her artwork can be seen on her online portfolio and blog. Alongside her career, she explored her passion for floral and event design, and briefly taught foundation courses for the animation program at Brigham Young University.
Blakely Fuller is survived by her father, Clifford, brothers Kempton and Darrell, a sister and brother-in-law (Christiane and Bryan Woerner), three sisters-in-law (Cyndy, Shannon, and Rachel), and seventeen nieces and nephews.
Here are a few examples of Blakely Fuller’s contributions to the projects she worked on: