New Groovin’ Into 20 Years!

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Disney’s comedy feast The Emperor’s New Groove directed by Mark Dindal! This film holds a special place in my heart, for it was the first big Hollywood production on which I received screen credit! To celebrate, I created a new drawing to mark the occasion!


Emperor Kuzco in his llama form created in ink and gouache. The character was animated so brilliantly by supervising animator Nik Ranieri and his team.


I actually started at Disney on Mulan, and also worked on Tarzan and Fantasia 2000 before this, but back in those days, the studio didn’t give screen credit to everyone like they do now. I wasn’t a production artist on the films, but rather was considered “support staff” with my computer job.

New Groove was such an interesting journey. It started as a musical drama called Kingdom of the Sun, later changed to Kingdom in the Sun (that’s what all those songs were written for that are on the soundtrack), before changing to the comedy that folks have come to love.

If you are ever curious to know the sordid details of the production journey, Trudie Styler (Sting’s wife) made a documentary about it called The Sweatbox that while never having been released to the public other than a short Oscar qualifying run in theaters 20 years ago, it does pop up every now and then on youTube.

Hard to believe all this was twenty years ago. I feel privileged to have been able to be a part of it. Of anything I have ever worked on, this is the project that lights up the most eyes when folks hear I was involved with it.

So, celebrate with me in this special birthday for a special Disney movie!