• Home
  • /
  • About William Cone

About William Cone

Born and raised in California, William Cone studied fine art at San Francisco State, and commercial illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After working as an illustrator for many years, he began working for Pixar Animation Studios as a set designer on Toy Story, going on to subsequent projects as a Production Designer for A Bugs Life, Toy Story 2, and Cars.
While working on A Bug's Life he began using pastels to do lighting studies. Realizing pastel's inherent benefits of speed and portability, he began doing lighting studies outdoors. Working in natural light began to influence William's perception of light and color relationships. 18 years later he is still pursuing the process of integrating his experiences in nature with film work.  His pastel work for Pixar has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and other venues around the world, as part of the 'Art of Pixar' show.
In 2004, he organized an artist's pack trip into the Sierra Nevada back country, which has become an ongoing source of inspiration in his personal work –“visually, the qualities of light at higher altitudes, the colors of the rocks and how they respond to light, as well as the nature of water in creeks, rivers and lakes are all inspiring. Bill has explored the Rock Creek Basin, the Ansel Adams Wilderness and the Sequoia National Park in his search for painting locations.
Several of his Sierra trips have been covered in Plein Air magazine. His work has appeared in the Pastel Journal on several occasions, including a feature piece in the August 2013 issue, when he was the cover artist.
A member of the California Art Club, Bill's landscape work has been exhibited in various galleries and venues in California over the last 12 years, including the CAC Gold Medal show. Since 2009, Bill has had 4 solo shows at the Studio Gallery in San Francisco.
Bill currently teaches several workshops a year, one in the Sierra Nevada, and several in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Because of his dual career path, Bill began teaching periodic classes about the effects of natural light at work, to get computer artists who were lighting scenes on computers out of their offices to 'light shots' in nature, so to speak.  Bill teaches a 12 week class at the Animation Collaborative. This is not a pastel workshop, it is a class that focusses on developing and orchestrating a light- and color-based plan for film.