Have you ever wondered how an animated series evolves from an idea to a complete episode on your television screen? Tuck Tucker, supervising storyboard director of the Nickelodeon animated series, “SpongeBob Squarepants,” will demystify the process during his talk, “The Art of Drawing Story,” on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. in Hancock Auditorium on the Virginia Tech campus.

Tucker’s talk, which is part of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s ArtsFusion seminar series, is free and open to the public. The event is co-presented with Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Tucker will share insight gained during his 28-year career in film and television, detailing how he made the transition from growing up in Lynchburg, Va. to becoming a working professional in Los Angeles. His talk will uncover the process of how an episode of an animated series is created — from outlines, premises, and storyboards, to dialogue, animation, and sound effects. 

During his visit, Tucker will also work with students in a 3-D animation class taught by Thomas Tucker, associate professor of creative technology in the School of Visual Arts. Some of the visual arts students who worked with Tuck Tucker at his workshop earlier in the day will join him for his public presentation, presenting their own ideas for the ending of a “SpongeBob Squarepants” episode.

Tucker has worked on some well-known projects during his career, including Walt Disney Productions’ “The Little Mermaid,” “The Simpsons” for Fox Broadcasting Company, and several Nickelodeon series, such as “Rugrats,” “The Ren and Stimpy Show,” and “Hey Arnold!” 

In 2007, he became a writer for the “SpongeBob Squarepants” series, transitioning to supervising storyboard director in 2010. He won an Annie Award, the highest honor given for excellence in animation, for his work on the show in 2011.   

“It was here that I found myself happiest,” Tucker explains about his work on “SpongeBob Squarepants.” “I work with top writing and drawing professionals who really know their craft.  The artists are not bound by scripts and are encouraged to think on their feet, which is the best possible environment for creating funny cartoons.”

The show recently went into hiatus, which has allowed Tucker the opportunity to direct another Nickelodeon production, “Fairly Oddparents.” 

Tucker was born and raised in Lynchburg, Va., where his teachers at Virginia Episcopal School took a personal interest in his work and encouraged his creativity. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University, spending his final years there as a student moonlighting at Candy Apple, the only animation studio in the state at the time, and working full-time for HBO Films as a production assistant for Robert Preston, Sam Waterston, and Mary Tyler Moore. His colleagues at HBO encouraged him to bring his animation talents to Los Angeles, where he relocated after completing the communication arts program at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984.

Free parking is available around the Drillfield with a visitor’s pass from 5 to 8 p.m. Parking is also available in the Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.



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