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Daniel Killen

Photo of Daniel Killen

Daniel Killen was born in 1965 and raised along the coast of Southern California, where he still lives and calls home. The youngest of four, Daniel’s family originally immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1963. Always feeling like an outsider, he began creating and using his imagination to cope with his own shyness.  As a child, Daniel created creatures and worlds out of clay, cardboard, and any other items lying around the house. His love for creating grew to include illustrating and painting all of which set the course for his life’s goal of being an artist.  

His artistic career began creating designs for a t-shirt business, but in his spare time he was working as a freelance artist designing theatrical backdrops and props used in CBS afterschool specials, produced by his Emmy-award winning brother, Michael. He was given the opportunity through a Disney artist to produce clean-up line work for Western Publishing on Walt Disney licensed creations. This included work on Little Golden Books, featuring Mickey Mouse and Goofy, the Pocahontas Giant Activity Book, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame coloring books. Daniel’s work has consistently been accepted into visual design competitions, including the Orange County Fair, where he has won numerous first place awards. Daniel’s latest book illustrations can be found in the 2013 children’s book Lessons from Sarah the Cat for a Southern California Charity, Pathways to Independence.

He studied animation at Roland Animation School in Hacienda, California. Learning the basics of 2D animation principles, Daniel was recruited in mid-1995 by Warner Bros. where he worked in their animation division on Space Jam starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. Trained primarily in visual effects, he fulfilled a lifelong dream on his first professional Hollywood project by getting to work with all of the classic Looney Tunes characters. Performing tasks as an animator’s assistant, he was given the responsibility of animating certain EFX scenes on his own. These experiences lead to work on eight additional animated feature films over the next eight years for Warner Bros. and DreamWorks SKG Animation Studio. Daniel also created concept and prop designs for Warner Bros. The Iron Giant, directed by Brad Bird, where he designed the giant’s visual readout, including the font design used in all scenes where the giant’s viewfinder was shown. He also was responsible for the creation of other items in the movie as well as the words ATOMIC HOLOCOST, which reads across the main character’s Duck and Cover school safety film.  

His other movies for Warner Bros. were The Quest for Camelot and Osmosis Jones with Bill Murray. DreamWorks SKG projects included working in the EFX department, on Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. He also did freelance work for Rich Animation’s The King and I. Daniel continued to hone his drawing and painting skills in classes provide by the major studios, as well as the Animators Union.

Daniel now works with the Chuck Jones Gallery bringing to canvas such inspired Warner Bros. properties as The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Story, The Iron Giant, and the classic Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and the Road Runner. Greatly influenced by such artistic giants as Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, Frank Frazetta, and Chuck Jones, Daniel incorporates sly wit, poetic beauty, and adventurous themes into his work. He brings his whimsical sense of humor, pleasing colors, and clever layout to all his creative endeavors. Daniel lives by two inspirational quotes from French Director Robert Bresson: “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. “, and “Bring together things that have not yet been brought together and did not seem predisposed to be so.”

2013/2014 - Featured artist at the Chuck Jones Galleries in Costa Mesa and San Diego, CA. 

2013 - Featured artist in the Mary Paxon Art Gallery in Norwalk, CA. (June)

2008-2012- 1st Place Ribbons in Graphic Art Division at OC Fair.

2007- 1st Place Ribbon for Booth Design at OC Fair Humanities Building (16). Theme "Cowabunga".

1996 -2003- EFX Inbetweener, Breakdown Artist and Prop Designer for Warner Bros. Feature Animation and Dreamworks SKG Animation.

1995-1996- Illustrator freelance for Disney Publishing.