Creative Team

Malachi Staples

Owner, Creative Director 

Strategic, multidisciplinary animator, web & graphic designer with 15 years of branding experience. He has an eye for innovation and pixel perfection. Although his skill set is vast, his greatest expertise lies under the umbrella of market design, social media growth & business management.

Cole Cummings

Lead Animator   

Cole has a high level of skill with puppet animation, cutout and rigging using Adobe Flash. When it comes to animating he is the Barry Allan aka the Flash, because he can do what takes 3 animators to completed by himself and still delivery a high-quality animation.

Scott Ciprian is a 2D animator and illustrator currently based in Columbus, Ohio. His work is mainly traditional 2D animation, but he also has experience with cutout animation and motion graphics. With a hope to further diversify into 3D and comics, 2D animation will always be his bread and butter. “The Force has awaken in this Jedi… his stylus is a Light Sabre.”

I have a BA in Digital Animation. I’ve been working since 2003 as a freelance storyboard artist and animator for local advertising campaigns. I’ve also worked in an animation studio, mostly as a puppet animator. Now I’m the head of a creative department on a digital agency, in charge of all stages of animated productions for social media campaigns.

I love to illustrate, to do more I have become a sketch artist, posting on Instagram and Tumblr different art techniques.

Luke Graber

Lead Illustrator

With a BFA in Illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Luke is a highly motivated worker who has experience and strong interest in children’s book illustration, comics, and traditional animation. His affection for the look and feel of 2D animated movies is so deep that it has gone on to heavily influence his main rendering style for illustration. He’s also a perfectionist when it comes to his work.

Meg Mahoney loves stories, and thinks that all of the arts are at their best when they combine to tell stories; Being an animator was inevitable for her. She loves collaborative art and jumps at any chance to draw to tell a great story. Meg primarily uses Toonboom and Photoshop for animation. Meg graduated from Paducah School of Art and Design in 2013 with a degree in illustrative drawing, and graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2015 with her BFA in animation.

Fernando Guevara

Lead Animator & Illustrator

I am Fernando an animator and illustrator who constantly explores using new tools! I am very passionate about animation.
I worked for El Hombre Invisible animation studios based in Ecuador for about 3 years. After that I completed varies frelance work for about 1 year. I also worked on several short films such as Popoc, Cincopata, Tzan-zan and a local animated series for kids called Los Acolite and Nuki Nuki.

Humberto “Hue” Zugasti

Illustrator

Since he was a child, he fell in love with cartoons and animated films; so he got prepared for all kinds of art schools and workshops to reach his dream of becoming a professional cartoonist. Including classes for Stop Motion, Painting, Character Design, Graphic Motion, Creative Writing, Voice acting, among others. Hue is the “Michael Jordan of Graphic Design…”

Loves cartoons, storytelling, and creating characters . . . with character! It’s been her dream to be a cartoon animator since she was 5 years old. She is skilled in Flash, traditional animation, storyboarding, and story development. Since earning her degree in animation in 2013, Jenny has worked on WordGirl, Azadae, and has been developing her own animated series, Abra Cadaveric.

Molly Thomas

Illustrator

When Molly was younger, she would come up with about 85,000 different characters and stories and would stay up way past her bedtime drawing them. Once she found out she can work and do what she loves, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She received her BFA in Illustration in 2015 and had been working as a freelance illustrator ever since.

 

Brittney Baker

Animator & Illustrator

Brittney is like the Swiss-army knife of the art world. Whether it be creating storyboard animatics, 3D sculpts, animations, or character designs, she puts forth her very best in whatever work she does! She has a BFA in Animation from Laguna College of Art and Design where she was trained in traditional animation. Since graduating, she has been teaching art classes at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton California as well as doing freelance 3D animation for the Disneyland parks around the world. Now Brittney is living in Central California with her cockatiel sidekick named Batman, rocking out art and animations for Essence Cartoon!

Alayna Schwab

Animator & Illustrator

Alayna Schwab is an animator, illustrator, character designer, and storyteller. She works in 2d, 3d, as well as traditional mediums like colored pencil and graphite to make animation. She enjoys exploring different styles and techniques ranging from realistic to abstract and expressionist. She wishes to bring her characters to life and considers every animator to be a character actor. She graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design with a BFA in Animation in 2017.

Staci Montanez

Animator & Illustrator

Staci “Takkun” M. is a freelance, 2D animator working professionally since 2016. She specializes in After Effects Puppet animation with a wide range of skills from sound design to scriptwriting. Staci graduated from the University of Northwestern St. Paul, cum laude, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Media Arts and Animation, and she is currently working as an intern for Essence Cartoon animation studio. She has had her work featured in the UNW Animation and Illustration Showcase 2016-2017.

Brandon Chen

Scriptwriter

Brandon Chen is a young author that wrote his first book at the age of 14 and published it when he was 17. He became a best-selling author at 19 with the release of God of War, Ares. As a fan of comics, manga, animations, and movies, Brandon hopes to one day branch out into those industries with his writing.

To find him on social media, go to www.authorbrandonchen.com, Links to Amazon Books: Age of Darkness (Book One) / Age of Darkness (Book Two) / God of War, Ares

 

Rick Schlaack

Scriptwriter

Every once in a great while, a writer emerges with a particular vision so acute, it revolutionizes the very foundation of authorship. Rick Schlaack is that writer. Not only is he a top-notch editor, but an insightful reviewer of comics, books, and film, and a creative writer and artist in his own right. Rick Schlaack serves as co-founder of Blind Alley Comics, where he has authored and illustrated twenty titles spanning four series; collaborated on the groundbreaking Die Kätze trilogy; and co-edited the Tales to Befuddle comics anthology. He currently serves as a scriptwriter for Essence Cartoon, as well as maintaining a healthy general-interest blog, The Penguin. His plans currently include the production of several new comic book series, as well as an upcoming collection of short stories to be available on the Blind Alley Comics website. He hopes to expand his creative repertoire to include animation and songwriting in the near future. 

 

Marketing Team

Genesis Shine

Lead Brand Ambassador

15 years of Promotional and Branding Model experience. Worked with Power 107.5’s DJ Dommy “Huge Deal” Styles on various projects including album release parties, meet and greets, artist development education, promo for nightclubs, and runway events, planned fundraisers, artist recruiting, interviews, model recruiting, promotions, modeling, and hosting for Anthony Vines XUMM Magazine

Scarlet and Grey Commercial on 106.7 The Beat Scouted, maintained social networks and directed the “Mid West Mix UP” for MOG Events.

Laura Besh has been in the Brand Ambassador business for eight years. She has worked for alcohol companies, wireless companies, radio stations, and even Disney. Laura is also an actress and writer, known for Unicorn and Toast (2015), Meridian (2016) and Lost in Detroit (2013). www.Unitoast.com – @unitoast Twitter www.Patreon.com/peachyfiend @unitoast (Facebook)

 

Stephanie Jorgensen

Brand Ambassador

Hello! Icebreaker? Mom to a 9-year-old, purple, local music, traveling, coffee, food, ashtanga yoga, art and COMICS of course. I am a Columbus native in graduate school for a Masters in Education, School Counseling. So excited to be on the Essence Team!

Voice Team

DaWolf

DaWolf

Voice Actress

Mela Hudson

Mela Hudson

Voice Actress

Mazin Zien

Mazin Zien

Voice Actor

Val Kelly

Val Kelly

Voice Actress

 

 

Terrance Nicholson

Terrance Nicholson

Voice Actor

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Salim Al-Mumin

Salim Al-Mumin

Voice Actor

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Joe Ponder

Joe Ponder

Voice Actor

Instagram: Kings of Earth – Published Novel Kings of Earth

Guy Chace

Guy Chace

Voice Actor

Website – SoundcloudEmailNewgrounds

 

Matthew Curtis

Matthew Curtis

Voice Actor

 

 

Lynn Norris

Lynn Norris

Voice Actress

Website Home-2.png

 

Leah Tyler

Leah Tyler

Voice Actress

 

Ken Foster

Ken Foster

Voice Actor

 

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