Professors in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation program possess superior artistic and technical qualifications that can only be obtained through extensive professional experience. Our teaching team has participated in the direction, development, and realization of multiple audio-visual productions (in 2D animation, 3D animation, and live action), internationally renowned video games, and many other audio-visual communication projects. Faculty maintain close contact with the industry to ensure that their students are training and specializing in the most in-demand skills in today’s market.
Music and Sound Director
Jorge Fernandez is a multifaceted musician with an extensive and proven musical career, which has included collaborations with artists like Bertín Osborne, Shirley Bassey, Elkin Martin, and The Starlight Orchestra. At DigiPen, he is responsible for composing the music, soundtracks, and special effects sounds for the students’ animation and video game projects. His training started at the Universidad de Bellas Artes de La Plata in Argentina, where he learned from great masters, composing original scores for CBS Buenos Aires.
Department Chair, Program Director (BFA in Digital Art and Animation)
Asier Azkarraga, current director of the BFA program and chair of the art and animation department, has more than 25 years of experience in the 2D- and 3D-animation fields. He has worked in more than 30 national and international productions, including well-known films and shows such as Disney’s Brother Bear, The Simpsons, Batman, and Warner Bros.’ Space Jam, as well as television advertisements for the NBA, Kellogg’s, and Cola Cao. Currently, he teaches 2D-animation classes, coordinates the 2D-animation projects and student concept art, and replicates the animation sector’s professional production processes for the curriculum.
Carlos Varela, pioneer in the animation world of the Basque Country, started his career in 1985 by creating some of the first locally animated productions. Many of these projects were awarded with national prizes, including two Goya Awards from the Spanish Cinema Academy for the films Goomer and The Legend of the North Wind. He has also worked as an animator for major companies in the traditional animation industry, such as Warner Bros., Universal, and RAI. Today, he is a paragon in the field, sharing his vast knowledge in the development of short, 3D-animated films and concept art with his students.
Cristina Juesas has a degree in Tourism, with postgraduate studies in Quality Management, and a master’s degree in Corporate Internal Communication from the Escuela Oficial de Turismo (Madrid, 1995) and the Experto Universitario en Comunicación Científica (UNED, 2014). She has more than 20 years of comprehensive experience in the marketing and communication sector. Her most prominent works include communication campaigns for the Basque Government, the University of the Basque Country, Tecnalia, Pfizer, and the CCOO. She has been the hostess and commissioner of TEDx Vitoria-Gasteiz since 2014 and was twice named Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) by Toastmasters International. Currently, she teaches the subjects of communication and intellectual property, instructing students on developing themselves in this very specialized field.
Dani Ruiz has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca and more than 20 years of experience in the international video game and animation industry. He has worked as an animator for top-tier companies like EA Games San Francisco (where he contributed to Lord of the Rings), Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver, and Lightbox. Ruiz is an example of how animators should cultivate their skills in both film production and video game development, a reality he tries to instill in his students by thoroughly teaching them both fields.
Fernando Pérez Velasco (Piru)
Fernando Pérez Velasco is a professional storyboard and layout artist with more than 25 years of experience. Velasco has collaborated with the likes of Don Bluth (Anastasia) and Joanna Quinn (Famous Fred) and has garnered several national and international nominations and awards, including two Goyas for Best Animation Film for Goomer and ¡Qué vecinos tan animales! Currently he combines his professional work with teaching at DigiPen, instructing students about the importance of the storyboard in audio-visual projects and narratives in video games.
Gerardo Basabe is a traditional animator with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for many national and international productions, several of which have won awards at highly regarded animation festivals. In the 1990s, Basabe founded a local animation studio employing over 15 creative staff, offering animation services to television production companies working on series such as Las Tres Mellizas and Tom, as well as advertising campaigns for Cola Cao, among others. His drawing and animation skills and expertise are reflected in his students’ 2D-animated short films and video games.
Javier Martín is a professor teaching both artistic drawing and figure drawing and has more than 20 years of experience in the creative industry. His training as an architect, together with his career in the animation world — which has included high-quality programs such as Astérix and the Vikings, The Illusionist, and animation direction of El Cid: The Legend — combined with his passion for artistic drawing, makes his classes a true learning experience for his students.
Jon Bazo graduated from DigiPen Bilbao and, as a former student, is bringing his talent and skills back to share with the next generation. His professional experience has led him to work in a multidisciplinary capacity for companies such as the Havyard Group, BowVision Engineering, and Picmatic, performing work that has included 3D modelling and digital art. Currently, he contributes his talent to subject areas in 3D modelling and rendering.
Laura Choueri is an artist and graphic designer trained at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts in Beirut, Lebanon. She has collaborated with Kabbabe Company, AHA Interactive, LBC Television, and ABC Mall, among others, contributing her knowledge in the fields of illustration, conceptual animation, graphic design, books, and television advertisements. Currently, she teaches drawing and artistic design, injecting innovative new approaches to creative art for the benefit of her students.
Mikel Rueda received his bachelor’s degree in audio-visual communication studies from the University of Navarre, specializing in scripts, and a master’s degree in cinematographic studies and cinema direction from the prestigious New York Film Academy. He has written and directed several feature films such as Izarren argia, finalist in the New Directors category of the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2010, and A Escondidas, which received support from the Ministry of Culture and the MEDIA program of the European Commission for the development of its script. He continues to be an active professional, writing and directing short and feature films such as El doble mas 15, starring well-recognized actress Maribel Verdú, and television series such as Veneno. He centers his knowledge on the scripts of students’ audio-visual projects and on cinematographic language projects.
Paul Sirats is a professional artist and producer of video game and animation concept art whose technical prowess has brought him to design characters for the Mad Max and Star Citizen games in Canada, as well as for clients such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Amstel, among others. Sirats has several international awards in his field, including his work developing all of the designs for Perpetuum Mobile, which won best 3D animated short film at the prestigious Miami Short Film Festival. His technical virtuosity can be seen in the concept art courses he teaches, in which he imparts to students all the secrets of character design for both animation and video games.
Sergio Martínez has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country and completed his studies at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK. While living in Bristol, he worked for Aardman Studios, which included contributing to Gulp, a film recognized by Guinness World Records for having the largest ever stop-motion animation set. On his return to Bilbao, he joined EITB, performing animation with puppets in the Motion Graphics Department for publicity. His skill in graphic design and eye for color, painting, and composition are reflected in much of his artwork and 2D video games, which have won several international prizes.