A multiple Emmy nominated director, animator, writer and illustrator, Dave Palmer is best known for his work as director of the breakthrough preschool series Blue’s Clues, and the hit animated children’s series The Backyardigans. Dave’s animation career really began when he was about 12 years old, after he saw Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings at a local dollar movie house and decided to turn his lifelong interest in drawing and painting toward telling stories with his drawings and paintings. Dave’s filmmaking education began at Ithaca College, where he earned a BFA in Film, Photography and Visual Arts. Later, he studied traditional animation at NYU under Oscar winning animator and author John Canemaker, and he received his MFA in Film Animation in 1996.
While at NYU, Dave was hired to animate the pilot for a preschool TV show called Blueprints, about a live action host and his cartoon dog. During production of the pilot, Dave also developed the animation system for the show, and co-designed the character Blue. After graduating from NYU, he began animating on the show, now called Blue’s Clues, and was soon promoted to Animation Director. Later, Dave became the show’s Supervising Director of Animation and Animation Producer, positions he held through 2004, when the show wrapped its sixth and final season. In all, Dave directed all but the first half dozen of the 160 episodes of Blue’s Clues that were produced, as well as a direct-to-video feature, Blue’s Big Music Show, and various interstitials, bumpers and promos for the show. He was also on the development team for the Blue’s Clues puppet show spin-off, Blue’s Room, and directed the live action for two of the episodes. Over his nine years working on Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Room, Dave was honored with 6 Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Direction in a Children’s Show, and 3 for Outstanding Children’s Show for his work as Animation Producer.
After Blue’s Clues wrapped, Dave was hired as Director of The Backyardigans, another terrific children’s show on Nickelodeon with a top-notch team behind it. From 2004 through early 2010, Dave directed 70 episodes of the Emmy award winning series, (Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, 2008). Sadly, The Backyardigans recently wrapped production on its fourth and final season.
Dave has developed his own projects throughout his career, including the short Dave the Brave Meets a Big, Orange Monster, which he wrote, designed and directed, and the political short, The Vet Who Did Not Vet, which was written by Adam Peltzman. Dave the Brave premiered in 2001 on Nickelodeon and CBS, and can still be seen as an interactive storybook at Nickjr.com. The Vet was posted on Youtube, just before the 2008 presidential election, and has since garnered about 950,000 hits. Dave continues to do illustration work for a variety of clients, and is also currently writing and illustrating a children’s book he began years ago–Space Cowboy Robots, Away!–which was featured in an episode of Blue’s Room.
An active member of the New York animation community for over 15 years, Dave has taught animation classes on the principles of animation, and has been featured in the books The Animation Book: New Digital Edition, by Kit Laybourne (1998), Blue’s Clues to Success: The 8 Secrets Behind a Phenomenal Business, by Diane Tracy (2002), and both Your Career in Animation: How to Survive and Thrive, (2006) and Directing Animation (2010), by David B. Levy. He is currently having a great time being a Dad, and is writing and developing several projects for film, TV and print.
Some of Dave’s projects in development:
An ABC book for grownups.
A graphic novel about a mute world traveler.
An animated feature about a rebellious guardian angel.
An animated science fiction series for TV.
A children’s TV series about the greatest monster hunter in the playground.
A collaborative film based on the music of Tom Waits.