Please, welcome… The King of Cute! Well, animator Dave Pruiksma, of course! A title that seems particularly appropriate in that over the past 20 years Pruiksma has been cast on some of the more adorable characters to come out of the Disney menagerie.
Dave Pruiksma had the usual interest in animation from an early age. Growing up in the Virginia suburbs, just minutes from the heart of Washington D.C., he was first influenced by early television cartoons, but remembers being really “blown away” by the 1964 television broadcast of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. It was then that Pruiksma decided what his life’s vocation would be. Dave drew constantly through school, eventually making his own series of Super-8 films. Upon graduating from High School in 1975 he was accepted into the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn N.Y. where he received a very solid formal Art and Film training for two years.
He was one of a handful of students selected to work on a theatrical film project (based on a Bertholt Brecht play) that was being done at the school by veteran puppet animator Lou Bunin. Still, Dave felt that he wasn’t getting the training he needed to become a professional animator. His instructors recognized his ability and suggested a move to Los Angeles, where the animation industry was based. He applied to California Institute of the Arts and was accepted into their Character Animation program starting in the Fall of 1979.