J. Garett Sheldrew

Garett Sheldrew, one of the most awe-inspiringly talented artists I’ve ever known, died this morning of cancer. Even after working with many mega talents in studios all around the world, Garett was a stand out, and many of those other geniuses were in awe of his abilities too. If you’ve never heard of him it’s simply because Garett never promoted himself in the slightest. If he’d traded half his talent for ambition he’d have been world famous, but Garett never cared about ‘getting ahead’. Eccentric and utterly brilliant, Garett was a genuine Mozart of the pencil, and I can honestly say that I never met anyone else quite like him.

Most other people in the animation biz come from a mere handful of schools, where they’re all taught the exact same things by the same few teachers, but Garett never had any art education whatsoever. Instead of making student films at CalArts & Sheridan etc, Garett was teaching himself how to draw by copying pinups from girlie magazines while in the Army, stationed in Germany. I find it amazing (and reassuring) that one of the most talented artists I’ve ever seen was completely self taught, and made his own way into this industry. Unique himself, he both thought & worked differently from every other animator I’ve known, and created astonishing artwork as a result.

He became a benign elder Gandalf of the Pixar story department, but when I first saw him in the early 1990s, Garett was a smoldering & mysterious young gun, lurking outside the 3rd Street office of Colossal Pictures in mirrored sunglasses, chain smoking. I’d heard others mutter about this guy before I got to actually know him. ‘What’s the deal with that dude in the assassin shades?’ ‘Wasn’t he ex military?’ Blah blah.. Being largely silent allowed people to imagine wild stories, and project whatever they wanted onto him; ‘intense’, ‘difficult’ ‘intimidating’ etc etc.. but the truth is that he was a Magnificent Kook, a noble Art Wizard, a Gentle Loon and, in a world where the phrase is overused, he was a TRUE ’True Original’.

Back then, Garett lived in a crummy hotel in the tenderest part of The Tenderloin. After one night at a bar, Tony Stacchi & I took him back to his room at 3AM, when Garett’s legs were wobbly. The scene around his hotel was utterly crazy, even on a weeknight. Brawling hookers, skeezy Huggy Bear types, prowling Johns & glaring Travis Bickles.. While Garett snored in his bed, I looked out his window onto this scuzzball diorama, thinking that I’d not want to live there, that’s for sure, but Garett was often oblivious to ‘the niceties’. It was probably the flophouse he landed in after arriving from Seattle and he’d simply never bothered to leave. In that crummy neighborhood, l saw him hand out multiple 20 dollar bills to needy folks many times. Garett was very generous with his money, and in other ways too. There was even one down-on-his luck fellow that Garett allowed to sleep in his car every night (only terminating this deal when the guy puked on the seats).

It is difficult to sum up Garett as a person, or as an artist, and what he meant to those who worked with him, especially back when he had opportunities to show the full range of his capabilities. Later, he became a much loved & reliable member of one department in a big studio and was genuinely happy there, but knowing all that he was capable of, to me he seemed a thoroughbred used for pony rides. When I first encountered Garett, it was in a dynamic environment that encouraged creative growth with ever more opportunities & challenges. The fire of youth was still in him, and I feel lucky to have seen him stretch himself. His example inspired a lot of young artists, myself included, and though I never got even remotely close to Garett’s level, trying to do so expanded my skills a thousandfold.

At one point, I shared an office with him, which was both mystifying and humbling. While I arrived early and grimly battled away at my creative chores, Garett apparently did nothing for days on end. He’d come in late, watch episodes of classic Star Trek, read a few conspiracy theory websites, then knock off early as I sweatily hammered my stuff together. Then, on the day before the pitch, he’d finally start to draw and still be at it as I left. The following morning he’d have a flawless sequence pinned to the wall.

There are countless such stories from people who worked closely with him; ‘He just pulled magic out of thin air!’ etc.. but I wonder if he actually worked things through in his mind the entire time, like a 4D chess master. Far from idling, I’m convinced that he blocked out sequences, animated scenes and drew illustrations in his head, before ever lifting pencil to paper. Able to draw anything from any angle in any style (and animate it too) his true super power was mental visualization.

Occasionally production folk made the mistake of messing with this process, perhaps thinking more Golden Eggs could be extracted from the Golden Goose if he was forced into a 9-5 routine. This never went well. Bosco Ng observed years ago that sometimes Garett had to ‘break in a new coordinator’ which meant stress headaches for anyone holding a schedule & clipboard (Garett didn’t respond well to an ultimatum).

He was a curious mixture of things, as such brilliant people often are. Stubborn and capable of epic clashes with those trying to control him (I always wondered how he’d survived the army) he was an imaginative & cooperative collaborator, kind & sweet natured too. Wise creative leadership left Garett to his own devices, because when given enough rope he spun it into solid gold. On schedule. Every time. 

Though absent minded & forgetful about the piffling minutiae of the world, Garett was intellectually dazzling at his craft, displaying a talent so vast that it seemed supernatural. When he explained what he planned to draw it often sounded crazy, but when he did so, it was astonishingly beautiful. Often barely monosyllabic, Garett was beautifully eloquent in visual communication. In corporate life, where verbal flexing in MEETINGS is where it’s at, this truth often gets lost – the best artists are often not ‘good in meetings’ and those who flourish in that verbal arena can’t always deliver the goods outside it (where the magic really happens).

When we lived a few blocks apart I’d often see Garett on the street, and he might walk right past me. This also happened at studios where we were colleagues. Some might interpret this as rudeness but I did not, knowing that Garett was often in his own head (perhaps thinking of a scene, or creative issue). For all this seeming detachment, he was an incredibly astute observer of the world – of motion, of animals, of people & the human condition. Of life. All the nuance, subtlety & poignancy seen in his work was ample evidence of an incredibly perceptive intelligence.

In 30 years of knowing him, I never heard Garett whine or complain even once. If he didn’t like a situation he’d deal with it, leave it, or quietly endure it. He hadn’t seen a doctor since the early 1980s (when in the army) but when abdominal cramps became unbearable for even his stoicism he finally went, and discovered that he already had stage 4 cancer in several organs. Many in his circle have only just heard of this shock, but the fact is that Garett only learned of it very recently himself.

Garett was long loved by Erica Jordan, and in his last days she was assisted in his care by his mother, as his old cronies came to say hello (& goodbye) including Gordon Clark & myself. Yet again, I was utterly amazed at the depth of the man. Were it me learning that I had mere weeks left on this Earth, I’m pretty sure there’d be some ‘why me’ self pity, but I saw not one iota of that from the Mighty Garett. He saw what was coming for him, looked it squarely in the eye, and then we watched an old Ray Harryhausen movie together.

JAMES GARETT SHELDREW
1964-2022

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From early in his career, when he was a mere self-taught pup in his twenties (and I first got to know him) here are a few samples of work by the Mad Monk:

Garett did most of the heavy lifting on this early 90s NIKE commercial:

Likewise most of the storyboards and animation on this AEON FLUX episode were by Garett:

20 years ago, another recently departed friend, Sho Murase assembled a book of Garett’s girlie pinups: GIRLS.

The climax of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA features a Garett-designed ceiling mural.

Aother NIKE commercial designed by Peter DeSeve and Beautifully animated by Garett.

112 thoughts on “J. Garett Sheldrew”

    • Looking around on the internet for evidence of Garett’s work, I was struck at how little of a digital footprint this incredible artistic GIANT left behind him, but how utterly perfect that is, because he never cared a jot about ‘curating his brand’. Perhaps Garett’s legacy is in this question: maybe the GREATEST artist (in your field) is someone we’ve never even heard of? Ambition/Fame isn’t everything. There are many artists (like Garett) simply dazzling & inspiring colleagues close by them..

  1. Beautifully written Jamie. Posts like this are happening too often lately. I can’t begin to wrap my head around what that guy meant to our craft, to how much he inspired everyone he worked with and to what he meant to me personally in my career. The far reaches of my conception of what is possible with a pencil and an idea was set by him. What he meant as my friend and how big a thread he was in all our lives during those early years when we were still young… is just too big and too heavy… you gave us a great start to trying to take it in. Thanks.

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    • I feel lucky that early in my career I got to work alongside Garett. Not just for all the drawing/art/imagination stuff that I learned by trying to keep up with him, but also to see how some people react to being around a true genius. There is an ego-death that must happen, and some people never really grapple with that, and that’s when the controlling/politicking instinct kicks in.. Anyway, as you say, Garett’s effect was too big on all of us to communicate in one tear-stained blog post but I had to try. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Tony.

    • Sending love, Tony. It seemed like you were a dear friend and part-time guardian angel for Garett, and I can only imagine how you might be feeling about his passing. All the more reason to love like there’s no tomorrow. Big hugs xo

  2. A great portrait of the Garett I remember, Jamie. Thanks for sharing. I had not heard about his passing till now. In addition to the short you mention, Garett wrote (with Peter Gaffney) the story for his own full Aeon episode, Chronophashia, about a boy living outside the constraints of linear time. Sounds like he lived that way while he could. Sad news.

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  3. Great tribute Jamie. Another brilliant artist leaving us too soon. He was a complex, sweet man who left his mark. Those of us that knew him were blessed…..

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  4. Oh man, Garett’s gone too… “a Ferrari who only got utilized like a Ford” to poorly quote your summation of his abilities! On ‘Inside Out’ I used to sneak outside the gate on Hollis and have a smoke with him after the latest ‘brain-trust’ session to try and decipher what had just transpired. He’d have some WILD ideas about where to take the story. When I quit I had an epic night out w him and some of the ladies from the Story dept where he gave us a hair-raising ride home in his vintage car! He was the unassuming rockstar of the Pixar story dept.

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  5. Jamie, thank you for the brilliant sorrowful tribute to our mad art pal: the word “mad” here meant in the very best way, as in “mad good chops” or “divine madness.” It’s so true his talent was astoundingly unfathomably GREAT, but I have to say, I never once experienced or witnessed any of Garret’s stroppy (a magnificent Australian word I learned from you, sir) behavior as regards production deadlines and biz-wiz whatnot, and am genuinely surprised to hear all these rebel-without-a-cause stories. To my reckoning he was the ultimate professional, always on time, on budget. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, or maybe I was one of the “wise creatives” who trusted Garret and let him do his thing unbothered. Or maybe I was just lucky that he always was in a good mood on my assorted projects, some of which (thinking of certain TV commercials here) were fraught with the kind of corporate goofiness that drives art workers crazy. Certainly I was incredibly lucky to have worked with him and seen his wonderfully amazing artistry up close.

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    • I hope I didn’t make too much of the ‘hard headed’ side of Garett, because he was a sweetheart, as you well know. It’s just that in my case I heard ABOUT him first, via much muttering about how ‘difficult’ he was. I soon realized that people who saw him that way were likely to be difficult themselves, or simply needlessly controlling. Thanks for adding your thoughts & impressions of the man, George.

  6. Only had the pleasure of speaking to him once…I was at Maverix talking about my favorite Aeon Flux episode. I think I was talking to Steward and I just remember he got a smile on his face and after I finished describing it he said “you know that’s Garett’s right? He directed it…” I was shocked…I went over to him and quietly asked him about it, trying not to gush, and he was casually said “oh yeah…thanks…”

    Such an amazing artist..on such a different level…

    Rest easy…

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  7. Incredible, Jamie. Another gut punch. Sho, Ralph, now Garrett. I better understand his quiet, smoldering presence after reading this deep tribute. He wasn’t being judgmental or dismissive – I always felt comfortable around him – he was just always working shit out in his head. He was such an amazing AMAZING artist on so many levels, in so many dimensions. What a staggering loss, not only to you and Tony and those closest to him, but to animation in general.

    Thanks so much for writing this. So beautifully put. It captured everything about the guy.

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  8. Beautiful write up Jamie. As a young animator working around Garett was…confusing. He didn’t draw like an animator, he drew like an early 20th century illustrator who happened to work in animation. On the rare occasion I asked him about anything technical he just grunted ” I just guess”. His mind was definitely at the end of his pencil. My favorite story about Garett was when Gordon Clark directed “Destination Moon” for Nike and I was gushing to Gordon about how great it was. I think Gordon said something like “I just mediated between the two geniuses”, meaning the illustrator Peter de Seve and Garett who animated the whole spot in de Seve’s style. I heard Garett was rung up by Dreamworks after that spot aired and he turned them down, perfect.

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  9. Dear Jamie

    I had no idea… Another beautiful soul leaving this plane in what seems like way too early. My heart is heavy.

    Thank you for the truly wonderfully written, and felt, tribute to Garett. Like all I was always in awe of his talent, felt safe in his presence, and was curious about what went on inside his quiet exterior. I’m grateful to have gotten to work with him, and all y’all for that matter. That time in the trailers was definitely special. Think I’m going to pull out the ‘Bebe’ drawing he did for my birthday one year and finally frame it. I meant to long ago…

    Holding his memory in my heart and mind, and sending love to all who are grieving his departing.

    Thank you, Jamie, and sending big hugs
    xoxo

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  10. Thank you for this, Jamie. He was a lovely human, and talented beyond words. You could always tell Garrett’s drawings, and it made you long to see them move, just as they were drawn… I was once one of those clipboards that fretted over getting his work in on time, and it always was, and always genius, even if it did sometimes smell of cigarettes and have a few coffee stains. :-) He was kind of like a cat~ smart, often sweet, sometimes in his own world, coming and going as it suited him, and very well loved…. So glad you guys got to see him. Another deep loss…

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  11. Thanks for his Jamie. I never knew Garett like you guys but definitely felt his talent radiating from him in the short time that we were acquainted. I have that “pinup” book signed will post scans if anyone wants.

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  12. A beautiful tribute, Jamie. I worked for many years with Garett on Brave – we had a jam – I knew his style and often saw the magic he’d deliver – on time, on schedule (the manager in me), and always brilliant. He had a camera in his eye that was attached to his hand. He could see how the characters moved in the world, how they reacted and how they breathed and translate that into boards (with a few coffee stains). True artist, humble, and unassuming. He gave me a CD of a pop artist that he liked at first, but then didn’t when he heard her use foul language in a song. I’m so sad to hear of his passing. Many condolences. x

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  13. Thanks for writing such a beautiful tribute for Garett, Jamie.
    Garett was always an inspiration to see at work and humble beyond belief. He had the whole package when it came to sheer creativity, drawing muscle, storytelling, animation, design etc. etc. etc. He dropped jaws on a regular basis wherever and whenever he put pencil or pen to paper but also with his big heart and no nosense way of being.

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    • I think it is true to say that working alongside Garett raised ALL our games. Personally, I never got close to his level, though I tried very hard, but that challenge improved my work immeasurably.

  14. James. Thank you again for using your amazing gifts to help us see his in a more nuanced light. I haven’t seen Garrett since my 1st year at Wild Brain. But it feels like I’ve lost another brother.

    Guys like me were never lucky enough to be in the trenches with him on jobs at the studio, but I never stopped hoping we would do so “someday”. Even 30 years later I guess. From the periphery I watched the guy in bemused wonder, and coveted after sketches on the floor, . At Collosal, I remember I used stop to speak to Garrett on a smoke break and laugh as he described the latest project from the pov of the genius — get out of his way if your goal is a beautiful product at the end of the week. If one knew what was good for one, that is.

    I guess I showed up at colossal too late for the richness bonds that formed on the Frankenstein crew and the Back To The Future mob, but I sure got waves of pure inspiration from Mr. Sheldrew. as a guy living by the pencil, he was one of my brothers — I shouldn’t be suprised at how much these losses hurt.

    Anyway, it’s really enriching to be able to know the artist better through people I know that shared time with him. Thanks again, James.

    Ed

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  15. At CP, Garett would be seated, hunched over the fold up conference table we each had in our cubicles, sketching away. Not wanting to break his concentration, I’d stand there a moment and finally say, “Lunch Garett?” He’d slowly turn and look up at me with blue-grey, glazed over eyes and offer a gentle smile. Without a word, he stood up, put on his jacket and lead me out of the cubicle. Wish I would have spent more time away from work with him over years. RIP, Garett.

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  16. That is such a beautiful tribute Jamie.
    Garett was a Chrisitian who practiced what he preached.
    I like to think that his Faith gave him strength and guidance.
    Rest in Peace Maestro.

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    • Thank you, Peter. It is hard to sum up a person as complex and magical as Garett in one simple blog post, so thanks for your added perspective of his spiritual side. You are right to point out that he managed to BE an example of what Christianity professes to be. He did talk about such things in my recent visits and I could see that it gave him great comfort.

  17. Beautifully written Jamie. Garett was a sensitive, loving friend. He and I exchanged messages several times in the past 2.5 weeks but we never did get to actually speak. I feel bereft over it.

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    • I’m so glad that you got to exchange messages, Kari. His energy levels were up & down recently so meeting in person was tricky at the end, but I heard that messages etc were being read to him, and gave him great comfort.

  18. At (CP) us groupies would with for Garett to go for a cigarette break and quickly descend upon his recycling box to find a treasure of his amazing sketches just tossed away. We would look at them with amazement at his effortless lines and subtle nuances, hoping whatever artistic magic he had would flow to us.
    After 25 years, I find the same sweet, thoughtful Garett, with his impish smile waiting to greet his friends at the top of the stairs, excited with courage, warmth and generosity. The strength it must have taken for him to be there for us. Thank you G.

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    • Cindy! When writing this tribute I was trying to remember the timeline of when he & I lived in approximately the same area. When I first knew Garett he lived in a crummy hotel on O’Farrell street. But then were a few other places before he moved out to the Irving Street area: a better place on Bush street, and I also remember he shared a flat with YOU on Jackson street, but I forget the sequence. What years were you guys flatmates?.

    • Jaime, Correct my friend! Garett, Robert Valley and myself took over Tony’s flat on Jackson/Polk st. We were all still working at CP. I think you must have been living close cause I remember all of us walking home from CP. Good walks. Robert would walk his bike. Garett had a boot on his car in front of the flat cause he didn’t care about paying the tickets – classic G.

  19. Thank you for writing and sharing this beautiful tribute to Garrett. I remember being floored by his drawings and bring intimidated by his silence. I regret never getting the nerve to meet him and to tell him how bold and powerful his drawings were. Despite never really knowing him I really regret not being able to give him my praise. I hate knowing that artist, especially great ones like Garrett, pass on anonymous an uncelebrated. Which is why I’m so grateful that you wrote this tribute on his behalf. It’s wonderful Jamie and very much appreciated by me and I’m sure by others that knew him.

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    • yes, that was the strange thing about Garett that I noticed very early on; his silence somehow intimidated people. He was always quiet, but he was more vocal later on, and was often the artist who’d bravely say what everyone else was thinking too, but afraid to verbalise. We need those voices more and more, I think.

  20. We called him Levi. I was his best friend from high school. We did everything together. But just like life he went his way and I went my way. The sad thing is I have been try so hard to talk to him the last year. He is a great guy. To let you know he hated the Army he was beaten so bad in Germany I cried it hurt me. I missed him in my life so much. The story that was wrote is so true and kind. He was a bit lost and it was so sad. I loved Levi so much knowing I will not be able to talk on the phone kills me but I will see him again and I can’t wait. Love you Levi.

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    • Garett used to have a website, and be on Twitter, but for some reason he let all that stuff go a few years ago. He left Pixar last year too, so that would have made him even harder for you to find.. I’m sorry that you couldn’t connect, but be reassured that he wasn’t lost or sad at the end. He was surrounded by people who loved him.

  21. Jamie, thanks for this eloquent tribute. I am so sorry I wasn’t able to see him one last time. It was so sudden and he was far too young. I was hanging onto the hope that I’d get the chance to work with him again, if for no other reason than to learn more from his unique secret magic. He had the gift of imbuing everything he drew with elusive beauty and soul.

    I have so much to share of Garett’s work and will be doing so as soon as I can dig up all the pieces of his I can find.

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  22. Jamie this is a beautiful tribute. Garett was an amazing talent and a gentle and thoughtful man. When I first joined (C)P I was not in a great space and he was kind and nurturing and carted me about with him to parties and gatherings. I will never forget that kindness. I loved working with him and watching him sketch and draw. Somewhere I have some boards for a job we pitched but didn’t get (what was wrong with that agency?!) I think of that sly, sideways half-smile and those mirror shades. What a beautiful man. What a loss for all.
    Thanks Jamie. Only you could write this story. ~ B

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    • ooh! If you have some original art by the Wizard himself, treasure it! I used to have some, plus a copy of that book Sho edited together of his sketches, but have no idea where they are now. Thanks for sharing your remembrance of him, Betsy.

  23. When I think of everyone I know who draws the last line of that thought is always, ‘…well, and then there’s Garrett.’
    And if I were to describe any artist I’ve known as a ‘genius’ it would be him.
    When I think of his work my favorite is what he did for Tony on development for the Frankenstein film – the most emotional content I’ve ever seen in drawings, and they were for Frankenstein, but am I wrong in seeing Garrett in them too?
    When I think about him now, and if I had to describe him in one word, it would be ‘pure’.
    The last time I talked with him was at the Little Shamrock last year, a happy guy, I can’t imagine what this must be like for all of you he was close to.
    Sending love and good thoughts to Garrett for his journey.

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    • Oh great, he went to the Shamrock. I’d not seen him there before but I guess it is not far from where he lived, come to think of it. What was the occasion?

      Yes, ‘pure’ is a very good word for Garett.

  24. So tragic. Thank you James for your words that bring back such fond memories of working with Garrett. Exactly how you described it, remembering that he got script pages and for days showed nothing, then out of the blue he was out of the gate. A pencil in his hand and a stack of storyboards. I saw him flip through a stack of boards playing back a sequence, stop in the middle of a stack, then sketch out a board that fit perfectly between the two boards. Simply genius. Simply inspired. Simply missed.

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    • Yes. Most artists that I’ve ever worked with achieve simply through hard work. I understand that path. But a rare few seem to have artistry simply dripping from their fingers. It flows out of them naturally. Mozart. Leonardo. Etc.. GARETT was one of these.thanks very much for commenting.

  25. He was a silent gentleman. Not in the room myself, I could feel the weight of respect for his work by how everyone would light up in learning it was a Garett sequence on the schedule.

    And to state the obvious, it’s pretty awesome to read this wonderful tribute to a legend written by a legend himself. 💕

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  26. Wow. Another HUGE loss. I feel so lucky to have been friends with Garett and was able to work with he, Robert and Peter on Aeon Flux. I believe I still have a few of his drawings he would just throw away or say “Tom, just keep that”. He was so humble and calm and I remember struggling financially that he’d often buy me lunch when I couldn’t afford it. We also had our fare share of drinking bourbon at his place on Bush street where I’d watch him play video games and try to pick his brain about his talent. I remember saying I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t draw as well as he since we both started drawing at 5. His reply was blunt and sincere in his Elvis drawl, “Well Tom, I’ve been drawing EVERY day since I was five”. He also would whip out a ball point pen and in 5 minutes he’d use his wizardry to leave me with a fine work of art. Such a sad day trying to understand this loss. How will I miss Garett and gently chiding him with his pseudo Elvis voice. We had such good laughs and he’s a friend I will always remember.

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  27. Thank you so much for this, Jamie. Like many of us who were pulled together into that little group of trailers, I wasn’t quite sure how I lucked into being part of it. It was an incredible mix of old friends and new, and all those different styles, backgrounds and viewpoints…yet gomers and monster kids every one of us.
    I was especially humbled by Garett’s talent, warmth and quiet, dry humor. And you were exactly right about his skill at visual communication. His sequences conveyed, information, tone, action and above all emotion. I especially loved his take on Novo and Nina.
    So glad I had a chance to get to know him and his work, even just for a single project together. Plus…hanging out outside the trailer talking about monsters and weird stuff.

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    • Those days in FRANKENSTEIN were some of the happiest in my career, and I get the impression that many other ex-crew feel the same way. I know Garett was in his element and happy, that’s for sure. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Tad.

  28. What an evocative tribute, Jamie. Garrett was always part Lewis Carroll caterpillar to me, head shrouded in cigarette smoke hanging out outside the 15th street roll-up doors with Bill Weir. Quiet, wise, but funny, as economical with words as with his pencil. I’m still amazed by how he got me to fall in love with a cow and her eyelashes and then brought that tenderness to piles and piles of Aeon Flux carnage, too. Godspeed, Garrett!

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  29. I’m so grateful for your words, Jamie. Garret was an enigma for me in my early days as a Story coordinator at Pixar. I saved a beautiful sketch he did in the Battlesaurs story room and its a treasure, very few strokes, a gorgeous woman in an open robe with a cup of tea. Thank you for this loving tribute.

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    • Kate! So great to hear from you! Yes, Garett could be VERY quiet at times. Unlike the typical chatterboxes in story teams he mostly only spoke when he had something important to say. Otherwise he let his work speak for itself.

  30. Jamie…you have painted such a wonderful tribute of Garrett. Tho I didn’t get to know Garett incredibly well, I do think back fondly of the many conversations we did have during those Wild Brain days. He was a sweet guy and always treated me with great kindness. There was so much talent that surround us at that time, but to me, there was something about Destination Moon that had an artistic-ness to it that was next level. The line work and pace of that piece equally matched the velvety voice of Dinah Washington and was just a joy to watch. I’m still in awe of that piece. So sad to know that both Garrett and Sho have both left us so soon. Rene too. Huge hugs to all that knew them. We well my friends.

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    • You said it; we were surrounded by many incredibly talented people but Garett was in a class all by himself. Whatever he drew had something special about it. Our community has been blindsided with loss lately.. Thanks for commenting Frank.

  31. As many have said your tribute is a beautiful act of heart. I think the cumulative embrace of those who added their thoughts are a moving testament to the man and his awesome talent.

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    • Yes, it’s plain to see by the rapid accumulation of comments on this post over the past few days that Garett touched many people. Thanks for adding your thoughts too, Drew.

  32. What a gorgeous tribute, Jamie. I didn’t know Garett well, but to me he was part of the DNA of Colossal, representing the very best of a special time and place. It’s a staggering loss.

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    • Colossal by name AND by nature. It was a fantastically creative studio, brimming with talent, and yes, Garett was one of its absolute powerhouses. As he was at SF Wild Brain, at ILM, and Pixar too. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Heidi.

  33. Jamie. This was an amazing tribute to Garett Sheldrew. I didn’t know you knew so much. Garett and I started at Colossal Pictures back in May 1990. It was our first day there. He was quiet and didn’t have much to say. Jeff Kahan (I hope I got the name right) recruited us and gave us the first day “what to expect” talk. After being shown around, he told us to come back for final orientation and get everything signed. Garett never came back. The next day, Garett didn’t come into work until 3pm! He came up to me and asked me where he was going to sit. They situated Garett and I next to each other under a doorway because they didn’t know where to put us. During this period, Colossal was over at 3rd st. In the Hunter Points area. I told Garett that they were worried that something happened to him. He told me something but I don’t remember what was his excuse. No matter, after Garett started working, the rest of Colossal was blown away by his talent! I sure was. Garett and I became close because we both serve in the Army around the same time and we were the same age and Dragons under the Chinese zodiac. Garett was my best work bud for the next 4 years (until I left). We did a lot together outside of work. Test driving cars (he had a love for Porsche 914), working out at Worlds Gym, and just hanging out. Garett could’ve been one of the greatest director, animator, storyboarder, concept artist, but he marched to his own tune and did not care about recognition and what other people thought of him. He was quirky that way.

    Thank you Jamie for giving us a great recounting of his life. I had a chance to hang out with him 2 weeks before he moved on. He looked and sound good. I’m still shocked it happened so fast. He did tell me that he’ll let God decide, and no matter what happens, he said he’s ready. I will miss my dragon brother dearly.

    Reply
    • Steve! I am so very glad that you’ve added your thoughts to this remembrance because I know you & Garett were close buds from the very start of his time at (C)P. I’d seen him around the 3rd street branch in 1991 (I started there in January ’91, before moving to Custer Street annex and then 15th street) but didn’t really get to know Garett till you all moved to 15th street (maybe 92/93?). I got to work with him soon after, on a few commercials (and later at ILM). Because we lived in the same Polk street area, I got to know him pretty well during the mid 90s onward (many evenings at the John Barleycorn!) Yes, I remember his old Porsche and you guys pumping iron! Ha ha!

      There were a LOT of ‘64 Dragons at (C)P! I’m one too!

  34. Thanks for this, Jamie. You have a knack for finding the words that many of us can identify with. I was just thinking about how on Frankenstein, Garett would create these beautifully drawn, bawdy birthday cards for us. It felt like a rare gift to get one, or any of his sketches that he was so willing to share. Glad I had the chance to be part of that creative little tribe back in the trailers.

    Reply
    • Yes! Garett’s effortless caricatures of his crew-mates – on birthdays cards, or just as injokes – were hilarious. I remember a particularly funny/brutal drawing he did of Tony for his 35th birthday (during FRANKENSTEIN) tied up & being spanked by Kathleen & Jane. I think Garett was truly in his element on that project, getting to design and storyboard on a project he loved with a group of people who loved him. Thanks for commenting Steve.

  35. Thanks, Jamie – beautiful tribute. People like Garett are so rare in the world and it’s fitting that we all always knew how special he was, and not just because of his talent. Truly, there was no one like him.

    Reply
    • I can’t remember how exactly I first met Garett. Either via Tony socially (when Garett & Tony were still at 3rd street) or later, when all the animation dept moved to 15th street with us. But I suspect that I was aware of his work (on Aeon Flux? or that Nike Berkeley spot?) before I’d really got to know him.

    • I have had many observations of Garett over the years, but no true insights. I knew him a long time, but there was always something a bit enigmatic about him, I think. Thanks for reading & commenting Howie.

  36. Loved all the memories in your tribute, Jamie. Somehow, especially struck by your description of his process – I remember many a day where he drove the producers crazy by “not drawing” a thing. And then he’d start at the upper left corner of the paper and proceed to the lower right, creating an absolute masterpiece in graphite along the way.

    We will all miss his humility, his genius (and like others here, I don’t throw that word around lightly), his sly, sideways sense of humor, his grace under pressure (which he danced his own unique dance with),and his generosity. I won’t drag on, here – but just one more thanks to you and to Erica for caring so deeply for Garett, all the way to the end, and beyond. RIP to perhaps the most unsung great one I’ve had the pleasure to know.

    Reply
    • Yes, his process was like watching magic happen. Even other artists who have drawn their entire lives were constantly amazed when watching the maestro. I was glad to see him a few times near the end of his life, but sadly I’d not seen Garett for several years before that. Much human contact was lost in the lockdown/isolation era.. The varied group of old friends who gathered at Garett’s beautiful memorial this past weekend constantly reaffirmed our need to meet face to face more often. Great to hear from you Robin, and thank you for adding your thoughts.

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