Julia Presbitero is a 2D Digital Animator for Top Draw Animation Inc., an animation studio in Pasig City. She has worked for a variety of international clients and animated for cartoons like Disney’s Penn Zero Part Time Hero, GO-N Productions’ Titeuf, and SLR Productions’ Skinner Boys. She studied Animation in De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. 

She enjoys drawing/sketching, watching cartoons, animated films, and musicals. Almost anything Disney or Marvel, she’s most likely to enjoy. When she’s not drawing, or stressing out about work, she likes to play the piano, or breaks out her ukulele and plays some tunes. She’s a big Harry Potter fan (Hufflepuff represent!!) and has a sort of weird fascination with bees.

She’s also open to doing online commissions and sells some of her prints at local artist markets/cons. Also, she makes “not-so-secret” secret online comics with a group of friends.

You can find more of Julia Presbitero and her work on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Artstation, or buy purchase some of her works online at Society6 and InPrnt.


Spirited Away

Q: Everyone has an origin story. Could you share with us the exact moment (or moments) wherein you realized that you wanted to become an artist?

When I was in second grade, during a Parent-Teacher Conference, my teacher told my mom that she should enroll me in some sort of art class/camp because she saw me draw on the chalkboard. She said I could become an artist. I guess that was the first time I was ever called an artist, but that didn’t really register anything with me. I just liked drawing. So instead of taking down notes, I would draw on my notebooks, textbooks, test papers, and even my friend’s planners cartoon characters and sometimes characters that I would make up.

The first time I realized that I could actually be an “artist” was during my 4th year in high school, when I was looking into colleges/universities and college courses. I saw that I could take up painting, multimedia arts, animation, and all kinds of art courses. I didn’t know this because all my life my parents wanted me to take up medicine or dentistry.

So I told my parents I wanted to be an artist. And my dad told me no. And then I cried. Hahahah! It’s funny, now that I think about it, how bratty I must’ve been, but during that time, my heart was completely crushed hearing that “No”.

But my dad caved in the end, seeing me cry must’ve done something hahah.


Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?

The biggest struggle I have is that I always compare my art to other people’s art. It’s pretty bad. Seeing other artist’s work, especially artists who are younger than me, who make such amazing art. It takes a big shot at your confidence. Why am I not as good? Why can’t I draw like that? Why am I so bad at art?

Whenever I get into this headspace, I lose motivation, I get frustrated, and I tend to stop drawing.



Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?

I try to keep drawing. I look at my past works and recognize my improvement. I remind myself that I’m doing fine, that I’m creating and improving at my own pace. I try to view other artist’s work as inspiration to keep making more art.


Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?

Drawing everyday. It sounds so simple and maybe even so obvious, but people tend to overlook that. All those art classes and art books about how to’s and what not, everything would be pointless if you don’t pick up that pencil and practice. Draw! You won’t get better if you don’t.


Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?

That improvement takes time, drawing everyday helps, and to just have fun making art. I used to take everything so seriously, that I had to become better now. And I would berate myself for not improving faster. It took out the joy of creating. Everyone improves at their own pace; you can’t rush art. As long as you draw everyday, (practice, practice, practice!!) you’ll see the improvement soon enough. Also, say yes to opportunities!!


Bike Ride

Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?

Other people’s art inspires me to continue making my own art. Be it sketches, paintings, music, film, games, architecture, food, fashion, etc., seeing people’s creative output makes me itch to create and contribute to that art space.


Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)

I work at the animation studio from 11 am to 9 pm, sometimes even until 12 in the morning when we need to meet a client’s deadline. Sometimes even going to the studio on Saturdays just to finish some scenes. Animation is definitely not for the weak hahahaha. It’s pretty tiring; I don’t always get to draw for myself. I try to make time though, coming home from work, I would try to squeeze in a sketch or two before I pass out.


Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?

I don’t get distracted much when drawing leisurely, but when I do, I sometimes, if not always, just go with it hahaha. I’ll get back to finishing that illustration eventually.

On the other hand, getting distracted at work is different. I force myself to get back on track. I remind myself that there’s a deadline, and I don’t want to stay until the next morning to finish the episode. Also, I have bills to pay and things I want to buy. Money is a pretty powerful motivator hahahaha.


Q: What do you do when you feel just completely uninspired or burnt out? How do you motivate yourself to start working again?

When I’m incredibly burnt out from drawing or animating, I sleep it off. A good 10 hours hahahah. I make sure I’m well rested before I do anything. Taking a break from art is good too. Go out, take a stroll, walk your dog, or hang out with your friends! To motivate myself to start working again, I sit down and marathon a good cartoon series or animated movies (mostly Disney ones).


Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?

I think my epic win so far was getting to animate for a Disney cartoon, Penn Zero: Part Time Hero Season 2. I also had the opportunity to do an animation test for a Nickelodeon cartoon.



Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?

My biggest failure/regret is that I used to pass up projects and freelance work because I didn’t think my art was good enough. I wouldn’t even send in applications to the jobs I really wanted because I would always think I wasn’t ready, that my art wasn’t ready. I passed up so many opportunities for artistic growth in fear of rejection.


Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?

Post frequently so people know you’re active and present in social media, whether be it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform. Using the appropriate hashtags helps people find your work. Communicating with artists and your following can help you build a connection and give you a presence in the art community. By going to artist markets and conventions, you can reach a whole new age demographic and an audience that isn’t on social media.


Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?

The ultimate D R E A M is to be a visual development artist or character designer for animated feature films. Maybe even work pre-production at one of the big animation studios like Disney or Pixar. Also getting to publish my own art book would be super cool.


Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?

I get my ideas and concepts from my good friends, from the amazingly talented artists I follow on social media, from the shows/cartoons, films, and books I enjoy, and from everyday life.


Q: What is your big “WHY”? Why do you feel the need to make art? Who are you doing it for? What’s the hidden reason behind your big dream?

I make art for me. There’s a sort of peaceful/zen-like feeling when I’m drawing or painting leisurely. It’s almost therapeutic for me. Drawing, painting, making art makes me feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do, if that makes any sense. Like it’s part of who I am. Like if I stop drawing, I stop breathing. Hahahaha that sounds really cheesy.

Quick-Fire Questions

Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?

Alice in Wonderland, Tangled, Howl’s Moving Castle


Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills? (Feel free to plug in as many as you’d like)

Basically ALL of James Jean’s artbooks, The Art of Loish, The Sketchbook of Loish, The Art of Tangled, The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams (for animation)


Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?

Maybe somewhere in California, because that’s where everything is: the animation industry, big conventions and the like, and also Disneyland. And maybe book a flight to Florida once in a while to go to Disney World and Universal Studios hahahahahaha.


Q: Name ONE artist/writer that, if you could, you would pick their brain and find out all the hidden secrets behind their amazing work?



Q: Who do you consider your biggest mentor that helped you improve your skills?
(Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met personally. Can be someone you look up to, or someone whose art has inspired you to get better, over the years.)

My college professors, definitely. And the directors I’ve worked for at the studio.

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