Mascot “Kuna”

  • About Tony Bancroft
  • Meet Kuna
About Tony Bancroft
Tony Bancroft, Director/Animator/ Storyboard Artist

Tony Bancroft was accepted into the exclusive California Institute of the Arts (Cal-Arts) in 1987, where he thrived artistically and developed a lifelong passion for animation. During his 12-year career with Disney Studios, Bancroft helped create and animate Pumbaa, the lovable warthog in The Lion King; Kronk, the dim-witted sidekick in The Emperor’s New Groove; Cogsworth the nervous clock from Beauty and the Beast; and Iago the pestering parrot in Aladdin.

In recent years, Bancroft has been an executive producer (CG feature Mosley), co-directed another CG animated feature Animal Crackers that released internationally on Netflix this summer and animated on Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and was a Lead Animator on Warner Brother’s Space Jam 2 expected to release summer of 2021.

Bancroft’s most notable accomplishments include being the co-director of Walt Disney’s animated film, Mulan, for which he received the Annie Award for Director of the Year from ASIFA-International; and animation supervisor of Sony’s Stuart Little 2, for which he received the Visual Effects Society’s top award for character animation.

Currently, outside of being the professor/ program director of APU’s Animation and Visual Effects Program, he is storyboarding on a feature project for Warner Animation Group.  He has taken his 30+ years of industry experience and compiled it into a book, Directing for Animation, which released worldwide through Focal Press.  And, in his spare time, Tony and his twin brother, Tom, produce a popular podcast called The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast, which is the #1 podcast for animation on iTunes.

Meet Tony's Newest Creation Kuna

Tony's Latest Creation for Space Jam 2

Tony's Previous Creations for Walt Disney®

Tony Bancroft
Animator/ Director

Tony's “Kuna” Design Process​

“I don’t automatically know exactly what a bull looks like so I start by collecting photos of different kinds of bulls. Some aggressive, some friendly looking. Is it tough and lean or big and jolly? Is it muscular or toned? How does a bull handle its immense weight and run with power? To answer these questions, I look at a lot of images, videos and read about the subject. I start drawing the overall body shape. I am thinking of contrasting shapes: big against small, tall against short, etc. The more shape variety the more fun and caricatured the design will look. With the bull it became obvious that the large barrel chest of the animal was a nice contrast to the small hind quarters.” 


“I try a lot of different varieties of looks for the face shape. Again, I want to try a variety of shapes to try and come up with something unique. I like the look of the bull having a big nose/ nostrils and smaller eyes. I give him a tuft of hair to humanize the character a bit as well.”


I like to play with the design in some poses next. The way you pose the design can say a lot about the personality of the bull character. I start to play with the idea of the bull being able to stand on two legs (more human-like) to make him more relatable to the audience. We settle on the bull being on all fours at times and on two legs at times. The more I draw the design the more comfortable I get with it. At this point he is starting to look more appealing to me.


Exploring the expressions of the character is next. I like to do a wide variety of expressions even if the character is mostly seen smiling in a general way. This way I can make sure I can draw the character from different angles and attitudes for a more 3-dimensional character.


Color really brings things together and makes the character pop! At this point I like to experiment with color to help showcase the characters personality. I tend to do a light, medium and dark value color combination to see the most variety. In this case the fans chose the B color design. It just happens to be the same colors as Pumbaa, my Disney character.


After this, we asked the HakunaMatata community to name our character. The name Kuna was chosen by popular demand. Now, the fun begins as we can explore who Kuna is and how his charitable and happy attitude can change the world! Stay tooned!

Tony Bancroft
Animator/ Director