Tim Hodge is a true animation multihyphenate – a renaissance man in the fullest sense of the term. A director, storyboard artist, illustrator, animator, voice actor, author, comedian, and teacher, Tim’s long and diverse career has taken him from hand-drawn animation to live-action and back, making him one of contemporary American animation’s most interesting figures.
After falling in love with drawing as a child, Tim began making his first animated films at age 12 using his father’s 8mm camera. At 14, he met Marvel artist Johnny Romita, Sr., who advised him not only to draw cartoons, but from life. A self-taught artist, Tim kept honing his drawings, and after attending Oral Roberts University, got his first job in animation working with Willming-Reams Animation, where animated commercials for seven years.
In the early 1990s, Tim joined the Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida Studio, beginning as an inbetween animator on the Roger Rabbit short Trail Mix Up (1993). His first major production came a year later, where he served as an inbetween/breakdown animator for the character of Young Simba on The Lion King (1994). Tim continued his animation work as an animator on the EPCOT attraction film Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable (1995), and as an animating assistant on Pocahontas (1995).
However, Tim quickly discovered that his passion in animation was in telling stories, and for his next project, he moved to the story department at the Florida Studio. In his new role, he served as a story artist on Mulan (1998) alongside Disney legends Joe Grant and Floyd Norman. Falling in love with storyboarding, Tim refocused his efforts on this field, becoming the artistic story supervisor on Disney’s short film John Henry (2000). This production also provided his first opportunity to serve as a voice actor; he leant his talents to voicing the railroad foreman, MacTavish. He also provided early work on the Florida Studio’s final feature film, Brother Bear (2003), serving as an additional story artist. It was during this time, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, that Tim began the longest project of his career: serving as the leading storyboard artist and visual stylist of The Flower, a project he has remained committed to for over 20 years.
After completing work on John Henry, Tim left the Florida Studio to join the newly-established company Big Idea, known for creating the VeggieTales franchise. Empowered with significant creative freedom to engage his versatility, Tim utilized his talents to alternate between serving as storyboard supervisor, voice actor, writer, musician, and director on over 40 VeggieTales productions, starting with the video special VeggieTales: Esther, the Girl Who Became Queen (2000), to which he contributed storyboards. Most notably, he directed and served as the storyboard supervisor for the video special VeggieTales: Lyle, the Kindly Viking (2001), which won the World Animation Showcase’s award for Best Direct-to-Video Production. Tim received further acclaim upon directing the video special VeggieTales: The Star of Christmas (2002), which was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Home Video Production, and with the production of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2003), for which he served as head of story and voiced the character Khalil; his acting performance earned him an Annie Award nomination for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, where he was recognized alongside such actors as Emma Thompson, Brian Murray, Corey Burton, and Daveigh Chase.
Tim’s long association with Big Idea continued through the company’s move from Chicago, Illinois to Franklin, Tennessee, where he continues to reside. Other noteworthy credits from his time at the company included serving as lead storyboard artist on The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008), and for directing 35 episodes of the series VeggieTales in the House (2014-16).
Contemporary with and subsequent to his work with Big Idea, Tim also worked with other animation studios on a variety of titles. He provided storyboards, screenplays, and revisions to numerous episodes of Superbook (2011-18), and worked as a storyboard artist for the series The Tom and Jerry Show (2014), DC Superhero Girls (2018), Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (2019), and DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders (2019), as well as for the films Bunyon and Babe (2017), Animal Crackers (2017), and Dorothy’s Christmas in Oz (2018).
Ever eager to try his hand at other creative means, Tim has also written and directed his own live-action short films, including Time & Chance (2008) and Soccer Mom Detective (2008). He acquired his distinctive nickname, Bald Melon Tim, from playing harmonica in a blue band he recruited from other Big Idea members for a one-time-only performance on his 40th birthday (Bald Melon Tim and the Mid-Life Crisis). Tim has published his own books with comedic poems and illustrations, including Pith and Vinegar (2015) and 31 Uses for a Zombie (2017). Most recently, Tim has served as an instructor, teaching at Nashville’s Lipscomb University, and offering a number of video lessons on the topics of cartooning, storyboarding, and creature design in cooperation with artistic presenter and Disney veteran Aaron Blaise; these lectures may be accessed via the video course catalogue on The Art of Aaron Blaise website.