Byron Howard Biography

Byron Howard is an up-and-coming animation director who has worked on films like 2008’s Bolt and 2010’s , with his journey from low-level animator to full-fledged director certainly an interesting one.

Animation Mania

Growing up in Issaquah, Washington, Byron Howard discovered his love of art from sources as varied as Mad Magazine to Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comic strip. As he explained in an interview with the St.

Petersburg Times, "I drew like any other kid, typical little boy things: airplanes, monsters, superheroes, etc. If you saw those drawings now, I don't know that they would show any particular aptitude for art.”

Byron Howard Ditches Science

After graduating from high school, Byron intended to study science because, as he notes in the same interview, he wanted to “be a nuclear physicist in a lab and discover something.” It was only after he took a few courses in film and art that he decided to change his career path, with his decision to pursue animation cemented after he took a trip to Florida to visit Disney’s in-progress animation studio. His first stop before working within the Mouse House’s hallowed halls was, however, a gig as a tour guide for the studio, though he spent much of his free time working on and perfecting his portfolio.

Byron Howard Joins Disney

After submitting his portfolio four times, Byron was finally accepted into Disney’s animation internship program and was hired full-time just a short while later.

His first project was as an inbetween artist on 1995’s Pocahontas, and he quickly worked his way up through the ranks in the studio. After tackling 1998’s Mulan as a full-fledged animator, Byron moved onto character design for Disney’s 2002 release Lilo & Stitch – where he was responsible for conceiving and perfecting the character of Cobra Bubbles (which was voiced by Ving Rhames).

Byron Howard Makes his Directorial Debut

Byron’s growing reputation within the Disney studio led to more opportunities, and it wasn’t long before the animator was asked to relocate to the company’s California studios. It was there that Byron, after working on films like 2003’s and 2005’s Chicken Little, was asked to direct 2008’s alongside Chris Williams, with the movie’s success among critics and audiences alike cementing Byron’s place as an up-and-coming filmmaker.

Byron Howard Co-Directs Tangled

Following Bolt’s triumph at the worldwide box office, where it grossed almost half a billion dollars, Byron moved onto the studio’s 50th animated film. Originally titled Rapunzel, paired Byron up with fellow Disney filmmaker Nathan Greno and essentially put a contemporary spin on the old Rapunzel story. The movie was instantly hailed as a return to form for the studio, and was even compared to such classic Disney fare as 1989’s , 1991’s , and 1994’s .