Ruben Chavez


Background Director/Artist Bio Summary:
Born in 1960 in east Los Angeles to a single mother who had previously worked on small novels on the side, Ruben Chavez had been struck with a desire to create art from a young age. For a time up until he spent three years each at community college and the Los Angeles Art College, he had at first wanted to do comic books but then switched to get a degree in Illustration.

Straight out of college he was able to work on Don Bluth’s *Dragon Lair* for a time, where he was able to network with other journeymen artists and create connections that would serve him well in the years to come. There would be times when things would slow down for him in the animation industry however, such as in the years of 1985 and 1988 through a friend of his high school sweetheart and wife, he was able to work in aerospace working on technical designs for the F-14 and F-18 Tomcat and doing portraits for the rest of the time those years.

Ruben Chavez has bounced around various prestigious animations companies since then, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers, Cartoon Network, Disney, and he continued working unto this day, being hired as either Background Director or a Background Artist, whichever he may be needed for.

Early Life/Family:
Throughout his early life Ruben Chavez has enjoyed the comic book works of Joe Kubert and John Buscema, Joe Kubert being the larger influence in his life. He never knew his father and was left to be raised by his mother, a woman who drew small story novels but was primarily a singer at nightclubs. He met his wife in high school and they married when they were in college, Mr. Chavez studying art while his wife earned a degree in aerospace engineering.

Growing up in east Los Angeles had not been easy, especially since he had no knowledge of financial loans, scholarships and college. But after six years of hard work and very little sleep in the last three, he graduated with his degree and immediately set out to get his first job.

Outside of his basic education and six years between community college and the Los Angeles Art College, he has had no other outside training before graduation and had continued to learn and improve during his early jobs in the industry.

Career Outline:
The career of Ruben Chavez is very vast and it would be difficult to list every project over the course of his thirty years of work where he is credited in over fifty projects. The first big project he worked on was coming on board with Don Bluth’s *Dragon Lair* in 1983, after which he would continue work as a background artist for many well-known television shows, such as *He-Man and the Masters of the Universe *in ’83, *The Smurfs* in ’89, *Jetsons: The Movie* in ’90, *2 Stupid Dogs* in ’93, *Captain Planet and the Planeteers* between ’93 and ’93, with one of his most recent works being *Phineas and Ferb* from 2011 to 2014.

Outside of animation, for the years of 1985 and 1988 he did work in aerospace helping to design the F-14 and F-18 Tomcat while also creating portraits for people on base.

Over all it is a long and illustrious career, moving between the major animations studios and working on various projects that have all been on TV.

Comments On Style:
As a background painter his style is enjoyable, he has a solid and fun style, colors that have good saturation yet are soft and pleasing to the eye. It fits very well within the various cartoons he has worked on over the years and very memorable, speaking as someone who watched the shows he worked on as a child.

At a young age he was influenced most by Joe Kubert and John Buscema when at first he desired to be a comic book artist before changing his career choice during college. Particularly he drew inspiration from Joe Kubert’s works, enjoying works such as Sgt. Rock and broadening his likes to Marvel works like Spiderman.

Without a doubt he is a nice, well-spoken and good humored man. Not only willing to take time out of his interview but also patient when asked questions, open to giving commentary on his experiences and quite polite.


He enjoys relaxing after work and traveling when he has the time, particularly enjoying trips to wine country to enjoy the scenery.

(There are some more credits that he is under but adding more to the 63 presented here might be far too long, to see the rest there is his IMDB page)

-2014 Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon (background painter)
-201­1-2014 Phineas and Ferb (background painter)
-2013 Brickleberry (color supervisor)
-2013 Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure (background painter)
-2011 – 2013 Dan Vs. (background painter - 2011 - 2012) (key background painter - 2011 - 2013)
-2010-2012 The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (background painter)
-2010-2011 G.I. Joe: Renegades (background paint supervisor)
-2010 Neighbors from Hell (background painter - 2010) (key background painter - 2010)
-2007-2009 Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (background supervisor)
-2008 The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! (background supervisor)
-2008 Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Destination Imagination (background supervisor)
-2007 The Simpsons Movie (background painter)
-2005-2006 The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (background painter)
-2005 Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (digital background artist)
-2005 My Little Pony: Friends are Never Far Away (background key)
-2002 – 2004 Justice League (key digital background painter - 2002 - 2004) (background painter - 2003 - 2004)
- 2001 - 2004 Lloyd in Space (key background stylist - 2001 - 2004) (additional background painter - 2001 - 2003) (additional background stylist - 2003) (additional location designer - 2002) (additional background artist - 2001) (key digital background painter - 2001)
-2001 Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (background painter)
-2001 House of Mouse (key background painter)
-2000 Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders (background artist)
-1999-2000 Avengers: United They Stand (background artist)
-1999 Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (background artist)
-1999 The Iron Giant (background artist)
-1998 Quest for Camelot (background artist: United States)
-1997 Cats Don't Dance (background artist)
-1996-1997 The Cartoon Cartoon Show (background artist)
-1996 Siegfried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible (color backgrounds)
-1996 Dexter's Laboratory (background key painter)
- 1992-1995 Capitol Critters (background artist)
-1994 The Pagemaster (additional background artist)
-1993-1994 Captain Planet and the Planeteers (background artist)
- 1994 Yogi the Easter Bear (background artist)
- 1993 A Flintstone Family Christmas (background artist)
- 1993 Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (background artist)
- 1993 The Town Santa Forgot (background artist)
- 1993 2 Stupid Dogs (background artist)
- 1993 Droopy: Master Detective (background artist)
- 1993 Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron (background artist)
- 1991-1993 The Pirates of Dark Water (key background artist)
- 1993 Tom & Jerry Kids Show (background artist)
- 1993 Jonny's Golden Quest (background artist) - 1993 I Yabba-Dabba Do! (background artist)
- 1992 Fish Police (background artist)
- 1991-1992 Yo Yogi! (background artist)
- 1991 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (background artist) - 1990 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (background artist)
- 1990 Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone (background artist)
- 1990 The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda (background artist)
- 1990 Jetsons: The Movie (background artist) / (background keys)
- 1990 Happily Ever After (background artist)
- 1990 Gravedale High (background artist)
- 1990 Timeless Tales from Hallmark (TV Series) (background keys - 1 episode)
- 1989 The Karate Kid (TV Series) (background color stylist - 13 episodes)
- 1989 The Smurfs (background artist)
- 1988 BraveStarr: The Legend (background artist)
- 1987-1988 BraveStarr (background artist)
- 1985-1987 She-Ra: Princess of Power (background artist)
- 1987 Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (background painter)
- 1986 Ghostbusters (background artist)
- The Way You Are (background artist)
- 1985 He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special (background artist)
- 1985 The Secret of the Sword (background artist)
- 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (background artist)
- 1983 Dragons Lair

Nominated for an Emmy 5 times.

Related Links: Ruben Chavez’s IMDB page containing the entire list of the projects he worked on.
Ruben Chavez’s own website showing his portfolio, a short bit of information about him, etc.

Bibliographic References:
Websites and an interview with Ruben Chavez himself

Contributors To This Listing:
Jennifer Smith
Ruben Chavez

Animators Hall of Fame