Alumni testimonials

Celebrating 20 years of teaching @ Seneca!

Below are some generous testimonials from many former students, now Alumni, respected colleagues, and many to this day are dear friends. I am deeply honored that these amazing folks took the time to share with you, their impressions of their time spent with me over the last 20 years. - Thank you all!

There aren’t any words that could fully describe how wonderful and kind Jim Graves was as a professor. College during a pandemic had many challenges and having a supportive professor like Jim made all the difference. 

I’ll never forget how patient and supportive he was during this difficult time. I can say, he helped motivate me to continue pushing forward despite all the circumstances. He always cared for our mental and emotional help and was willing to be flexible if we really needed it. He always came to class with open ears, and an open heart! You can tell that he’s passionate about teaching, and that he deeply cares for his student’s success. For that, I’ll never forget him!

I value all the advice he has given to me during my time with him, and the sacrifices he’s also made to ensure our success. He always made sure to make time to guide us through the process, and always had a kind word of reassurance.

Jim has impacted my process of design as well, always reminding us that story plays a large role in design. Now, I always consider even the smallest details of how to express the story of my characters through design. Anyone would be lucky to have such a supportive and passionate professor!

 - Iesha Walse-Harrison | 3D Generalist and Concept/ Storyboard Artist 


One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed learning at Seneca College which was mostly online due to Covid-19, was Jim Graves. He is kind, humble, encouraging and most importantly, beyond understanding.

Something I admire about Jim is that he values every student's mental health, compared to most professors who are more concerned with meeting assignment deadlines.

He pushes every student to come out of their comfort zone and try something different. Whether it be about school, work or life, Jim does not shy away from helping students out.

He is an amazing human being I have had utmost respect and pleasure of working with, and being a student of. He made quite a difference in my career and I am forever grateful for his teachings.

- Rechana Sebastian | Illustrator


I was fortunate to be taught by many wonderful teachers in my time at Seneca, but Graves is definitely the one I’ll remember the most. Not only for all his quality lessons will stay with me, but also for his warm heart and Dad jokes (sorry Graves! haha) that we all love.
Learning from him is a great experience. From the beginning, I could tell he’s not only very organized and punctual, but also really invested in his students success. As a student, he will make sure your journey is smooth, providing you with the best lessons, examples  and additional material you need; all labelled, all there sorted out by folders, all in time… which, trust me, you will appreciate in these chaotic times.

In addition, all his lessons are planned so they build up from each other, meaning that the learning is successive and accumulative; you will definitely see a progress as the classes go on. However, what makes Graves one of the best mentors is that he is, at all times, really mindful of where you are and where you want be. He cares about your personal interests and professional goals, and evaluates and supports you accordingly to make sure you get there!
Graves is an amazing teacher, artist and human being, so make the best of your time with him. This man is the true MVP so as long as you’re ready to play hard and work hard, this will be a fun and enriching experience for you.  

- Fernanda Bocanegra
Illustrator & Comic Artist 


I was lucky enough to have Jim as my character design teacher at Seneca College and my experience was nothing short of amazing. Jim is a very caring person who not only makes sure to push students out of their comfort zone to try new things; he also cares deeply about their mental health and is very accommodating and easy to talk to. One of the things I appreciate the most about him is his enthusiasm for working with students that extends beyond the classroom time – he is always available through email to answer any questions and willing to make extra time to help anyone who needs it. His teaching style is a great mix of a laid back friendly approach to students as people, while keeping the level of professionalism very high when it comes to actual work and assignments – you know that as long as you put the work in, Jim will help you to get your best work out there! 

- Simona Baranovicova
3D Animator


Jim Graves was a major reason why I found Seneca’s learning experience one of the best! He's a teacher whose passion for teaching spills through to each and every student in a way that is special. Not only was he kind and funny, he also pushed every student past their comfort zone, including myself. His constructive criticism was always so motivating, and if you didn’t understand something, he would go above and beyond to help you understand what needed to be done to achieve expectations and more.

Lastly, Jim gives a lot of attention to each of his students and is very friendly, making it so easy to talk to him about anything, literally. He’s one of those teachers that I’ll remember through my entire life because of the difference he’s made in helping me with my business and above all, my art. He’s always been open to talk about art whether it was for his class or unrelated way after I finished his course, which I’ve always appreciated. He’s a great teacher, artist, and person all throughout! :)

- Kate Pellerin
Children's Book Illustrator | Andrea Brown Lit.


I was lucky enough to be taught by Jim when I attended Seneca College for Independent Illustration in the year 2019. Jim’s wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for art and visual development was very infectious, and I can honestly say that I am a better artist directly because of him. He never stopped at just good enough art, Jim would push all his students to be more creative and to think outside of the box which in turn made us more unique. Jim was highly reliable for assistance when we did struggle, didn’t matter what time of day it was or if it was a weekend, Jim was available to help. Jim was an excellent teacher and art director, and he guided his students into the artists they wanted to be. Didn’t matter if your art goals took you to children’s books, cartoons, or realistic renders, Jim was able to fine tune everyone’s uniqueness into a better version. Even though I have graduated from the illustration program, Jim remains an excellent mentor and more importantly a fantastic friend that continues to guide me along my journey.

- Meghan Merkus

Dutch, tree kickin' Illustrator/ 2D Artist


 Jim is the kind of teacher that you always remember. Partly because you come across them so infrequently, but mainly because he will do anything and everything in his power to see you succeed and you always subconsciously just know this.  His enthusiasm is infectious and he legitimately cares about every single one of the students he has ever had.  Having had him as a teacher you always knew where you stood with him, but never questioned whether or not he had your best interest at heart.  

Not only does Jim help you be employable by teaching you how to create exceptional art,
he also teaches you how to stay employed by making sure you develop many of the soft skills that are critical in the often relationship driven creative arts industry.  One of the greatest things about Jim as a teacher is that he doesn’t push a particular style on you in order to make you more trendy, he instead plants the seeds for you to seek out and find your own unique voice so that one day you will be like him - One of a kind. If you are lucky enough to have Jim as a teacher, you will be much better for it.

- Gavin Ball
Creative Lead at Full Circle CS 
Technical Art Lecturer at UOIT 
Game Development Program Coordinator at Centennial College

Jim Graves is one of the most passionate teachers I've ever met, and am absolutely grateful to have had the opportunity of learning from him during my time at Seneca. Always smiling and upbeat, his positivity radiates and resonates with like-minded folks!

Apart from being genuinely hilarious, he is an admirable and kind educator who encourages and approaches his students with respect and a gentle sense of comfort which allows them to express themselves without feeling any pressure. 

As long as you do your part, he’ll definitely go above and beyond to help sort you out! This one time I asked Graves to help me prepare my portfolio for the gaming stream. His invaluable critiques and discussions about the industry and his experiences were tremendously helpful to me in understanding how I needed to refine my works in order to be accepted into the gaming stream and into the industry. It might not have been much for Graves to do so at the time, but I was really grateful for the time he set aside to do that for me! I can honestly say that my time at Seneca College was one of the best learning experiences of my life. Graves was a positive part of that experience. 

- Calen Dominic Lewis
2D Concept and Environment Artist

Jim Graves is the most amazing teacher I had the pleasure of being with during my 3 years of ANI at Seneca. I still remember the first thing he told us when he entered into the classroom that first day. He said: “Never doubt your abilities, doubt your limits, you can be as good as you want to be.” From that moment on I was in awe of him and never have stopped.

Jim is charismatic, always sees the bright side and appreciates hard work. Because of his vast experience, he can see your potential and drive you. If you show him you are committed he will give you the world on a silver platter so you can achieve your goals and more. He is someone you can count on, and talk to when the going gets tough since he will always be in your corner no matter what.

Graves supported, encouraged and drilled my work, and I came to believe in the me that he believed in, and became a better artist for it. So, I count my lucky stars that I was able to be under his wing and it was a fabulous time that I spent as his TA. I will forever be in his debt and wish him nothing but the best, very few teachers are as amazing as he is.

- Gina Garcia Basora 
Animator  | Mercury Filmworks

Jim Graves, affectionately known as Gravy or Jimbo Slice, is one of the most passionate and compassionate educators I have had the pleasure to learn from. He will work you hard and demand more of you than you think you're capable of. Often times it takes someone who knows the ropes to show you how to raise your standards. This program is not easy. Trust that all the teachers know this. So if you run into a problem or challenge, be it about design or something larger, rest assured you can bring it up with Graves. He will always be there to hear and to help. He has pushed me to be a better artist on many occasions and talked me off the edge more than once, for both of which I am deeply grateful. Thanks Gravel, you rock.

- Aaron Lun 
Creative Ronin 

I had Jim Graves for character design during my second year in Seneca College’s Animation program. While I only had him as a teacher for a few months, I enjoyed my experience with him overall. Jim has a good eye for design and industry-ready work, and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to criticism and honesty. He encourages his students to work with different styles and break out of their comfort zones, which is a MUST in this industry.

He helped me to be confident in myself and my abilities, and I am grateful for his patience, understanding, and willingness to compromise and offer alternative solutions. If you’re looking for a teacher who will inspire and push you to succeed, Jim’s the man!

- Annissa Schwartz
Animator, Designer, Freelancer

I first had Jim Graves as a character design professor in my first year of animation. After that I couldn’t get rid of the guy!

Jim’s not just a professor that comes in, does his job and goes home. He’s also a mentor, friend, and to a lot of us, a father figure. He taught me the valuable lesson of reaching deadlines, and how to take constructive criticism. He also taught me to not be afraid to rework a drawing and think outside the box until it’s just right.

Outside of class, Jim remained the same caring guy that he was in class. Even when I didn’t have him as a professor in my 3rd year he would come by to talk with us, just sit down and have a conversation. I found that to be very special.

Jim Graves is a boss and a professor, but he’s also a great guy, and if you do the work for him, he’ll do what he can for you, simple as that.

- Zach Gusky
Animator | Nelvana

There are two Teachers in my life that had a life changing difference in my education. One was Mrs. Francis in grade 5 who first got me passionate about art and creativity, the second is without a doubt Jim Graves. I've never met a teacher more down to earth and honest than Jim, a true friend as well as a fantastic educator. More than anyone Jim instilled in me the importance of critique and how you take that critique and apply it to your work to make the best possible product in the end. A consummate professional when working who isn't afraid to have fun and share his infectious upbeat personality with you outside of class. I've never met a teacher more personally invested in the success and personal well being of his students in all my days. I am genuinely thankful for the opportunity to have learned under him and to be able to call him my friend.

- Josh VanHalteren
Animator | Mercury Filmworks

I had the privilege of having Jim Graves as a professor three times during my time at Seneca; for both semesters of character design and then again in my final semester for advertising. He is one of those teachers that you know really cares about the students. He was always available to help with assignments, listen to problems, and give some great advice.

When our year was struggling because of a heavy workload he advised us on who to speak to about it and helped us out by pushing back some of our deadlines. He was under no obligation to do so and did it out of the kindness of his heart.

Jim always tries to get the best out of you and will be honest if he thinks you're not giving something your all. I was never one of the most confident people when I started at Seneca, but Jim helped me understand that the only way you're going to achieve your best is to put yourself out there and learn from your mistakes. This changed me from someone who would hope to be picked last, to someone who was volunteering to go first.

He also shared an immense amount of knowledge about the art industry which has helped me be successful as a freelancer and confident enough to reach my goals sooner than I'd ever hoped.

Jim is an all around wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend. He will always be there to lend an ear, share some advice, help with a project, or just make you laugh. He is what all teachers should aspire to be and I am grateful to have had the chance to work with him not only once, but three times during my time at Seneca.

- Kaitlyn Ziegler

I had Jim Graves as my professor while studying Independent Illustration at Seneca @York.

What impressed me most about Jim, aside from being very talented, was that he always made time for all his students and seemed to be genuinely interested in every single one of us. He was not just there to fulfill his hours and leave. He always valued each students thoughts and ideas.

Jim is very passionate about what he does, he makes learning exciting. He constantly has a positive outlook on everything, which is so refreshing. Having the opportunity to have been taught by Jim was a privilege. He is an example of what an effective educator is and I truly feel that people thrive under teachers like him.

Even after a few years out of the program, I can still email Jim or call him, without hesitation. I can talk to him about my frustrations and questions regarding freelancing, or even just life in general. I truly appreciate that. Thanks Jim!!

- Rachelle Ng


I had the very special privilege to be mentored by Jim Graves during my two year stay at Seneca as an Illustration student. Jim is one of those rare and unique individuals that truly cares about each and every student that walks through his door. He made the seemingly impossible feat of turning art into a career seem not only less daunting, but actually exciting.

Jim was one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever had the opportunity to work under. His method involves one hundred percent transparency. There was never a point in his classes that I felt I did not know either what was expected of me or where I stood.

That does not mean Jim is an easy Prof, I won’t disillusion you by making it seem that his class was a cake walk. I worked harder in Jim’s class than many others I took.
The difference was that Jim made you want to work hard. He made you want to impress him. He was always available for one-on-one mentorship either in class or out, and was always available to talk either about an assignment, career goals, other classes, or even just how your week was going.

When he saw that I was struggling with perspective, he made a run to his office and lent me a personal book on perspective made easy for the remainder of the semester. It was a God send. Not only is Jim a fantastic artist in his own right with a sharp wit and easy sense of humour, he also has a wealth of real life experience in the freelance field that he is always willing to share. My best advice if you are taking one of his classes is talk to him! The man can help you, or at the very least make you laugh!

Some of the main things I learned from Jim were to take a deep breath, give yourself a break every once and a while, and don’t ever sell yourself short. Also, lipstick on a pig is still just lipstick on a pig. I call him a mentor because he taught me more than how to draw; he taught me valuable life and career lessons that I will not be soon to forget.

- Nicci Dusa
Freelance Illustrator


It was sitting in a large classroom, filled with other nervous people whom had just became first year students of Seneca College's Animation Program, that I was introduced to Jim.
He was there to welcome us to the program and talk about some of the rules.

It was immediately clear that Jim was someone who would quickly become a source of inspiration, guidance and be a fantastic role model. Seeing someone speak with so much passion about the program, teaching, animation and respect for other people, made it clear to me I was in the right place for this step into my future.

Though I did not have the privilege to have been in Jim’s class, this did not change that he was always available for help; may it be a critique on an assignment, assistance getting your hands on the coveted animation disc’s, guidance in your personal life, helping those struggling financially with resources, and more.

I recall clearly a situation where I went with a friend who was too afraid to do so themselves, to talk about some other students making homophobic statements in the studio space. His priority was to make sure that this ended immediately and that the studio and classroom environment remains a safe and inclusive place for everyone.

At the end of my final year I was faced with a personal tragedy, the sudden and unexpected passing of my Mother. During this time Jim reached out to me and made sure that I was okay. Checking in with me frequently for updates, and his continued support truly meant a lot to me.

This is not something you would expect one of your instructors to do! I was truly touched during this time by the compassion and support I was shown. I felt more like family, like a friend, than a student.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the influence Jim has had on me in the past few years. May it have been a genuinely honest critique and thus a learning experience, a spot of advice on the business side of the arts, or emotional support, Jim has been there for me as he is for all his students. I feel it is clear why he is loved by so many students!

- Katharine Ford
Layout Artist | Guru Studio


Jim Graves was one of my favorite educators during my three years as a Seneca Animation student. Not just because he's a genuine and fun person but he taught me many invaluable lessons during my time, whether design related or career related it was always valuable.

Not only does he dedicate himself to each and every student with one-on-one critique time but he always makes sure that you as an artist continue to learn and grow regardless of your skill level. His passion for designing fun and relatable characters shows in his curriculum design.

His classes help influence and guide his students passion and dedication as well.
I was able to learn and retain many technical and storytelling lessons from him and just being in his classes added to my excitement regarding design. I was lucky enough to have him as a teacher and appreciate each and every lesson he taught our class.
Graves and my experience with him as a teacher and a friend remains a positive and genuine influence with me today! 

- Amanda Keenan-Roote


I've always found the advice and input Jim's had on my work to be some of the most valuable words I've received as an illustrator at Seneca. Jim's always pushed people to strive for their best and exceed even their own expectations.

Therefore as a result of all the challenges that countless students, including myself, at Seneca eventually found themselves in is a better place both artistically and professionally. However, despite the professional sternness necessary to survive in the industry, Jim's also provided a nurturing classroom environment that's allowed creative and original solutions.

Sometimes we need mentors like Jim to tell us the sugar-free truth if we want to succeed with our goals as artists. Of course it helps that Jim's hilarious and have never taken his creative criticism as anything other  than important and valued input from an experienced artist himself.

I'm honestly thankful that I've had the opportunity to have been taught by a genuinely devoted instructor!

- Katrina Canedo
Painter | Illustrator | Designer


I first met Jim Graves in animation, he gave me the opportunity to switch to Illustration shortly after. A wonderful mentor and a good friend, his teaching style is well suited to beginners and intermediates alike! Carefully guiding you and giving you advice if you were a newbie and giving you just enough guidance and freedom if you were an intermediate artist. He always pushes you to try multiple ideas which seems like a hassle as a student but since working in the industry you'll find this to be absolutely true and almost mandatory.
The portfolio I've worked on with Graves gave me ample career opportunities as well as many new connections, thanks to this amazing teacher!

- Jonathan Lee
Freelance 2D/3D Character Artist


I could write a book about the dedication and passion that Jim Graves has towards education and design, but i guess this paragraph will have to do...

Never in my life have i met someone so inspirational, dedicated and passionate about teaching and helping his students. When i was at Seneca College i was not one of the strongest artists and i was easily frustrated by that. Instead of passing by and providing the status quo Graves went above and beyond to help me achieve my goals. One instance, Jim had worked with me for hours during school time. A couple of hours after class. Then proceeded to email with me back and forth until 4 in the morning. He then met with me at 7 the next morning over coffee to continue helping me out. All because he wanted me to get it and was not going to give up until i did. Not only is he a remarkable teacher and person, he was and still is, a kind friend and mentor. My experience at Seneca College would have been drastically different if it wasn't for Jim Graves' guidance and council. There are very few people in my life that i hold with such high regard. Cheers to you my friend and i sincerely hope other people get to experience the joys of having you as a teacher and friend.

- Alec Wells
Production Assistant at Arc Productions


I consider myself very fortunate to have had Jim as a professor. He always pushed me to do the best that I can and when I felt like I was stuck, he was always there to help. His critiques were always great and helped me develop a better eye for design. You can really tell that he loves to teach and genuinely wants his students to succeed. He is an amazing artist as well and through his lessons I felt like my skills as an artist improved significantly. I would recommend him to any student who wants to study character design and improve their skills.

- Susan Dehdari
Animator at Arc Productions


I first met Jim during the orientation for Seneca's Animation program, even though I was one of many applicants to the program he took time out of his schedule to answer any questions I had. Although he was not my instructor when I was accepted into the program, he constantly made himself available for me and other classmates. Jim is without a doubt one of the most helpful and encouraging professors I've met, and without his guidance I would probably not be where I am today. On behalf of me and my friends, thank you Jim!

- James Sullivan
Level Artist/Designer at SE3D Interactive
Jim Graves was my professor for 3 years, and he is without a doubt the most committed teacher that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Jim not only teaches the skills necessary for production artists, but also shows his students what it means to be a true professional. His lessons and guidance were truly motivational, but the most important lesson that he imparted, was to stay true to myself and never compromise. “Graves” is a true inspiration, a man who absolutely loves to teach, adores his students and is one of the most genuine people that I’ve ever met.

- Matt Rigg
Game Designer at Clapfoot Games


I was lucky enough to have Jim Graves as my teacher for 3 years during my time at Seneca College. It was through his guidance in Art Fundamentals that helped push my skills for my portfolio application and grow even more once accepted into the Animation Program and I continued my studies with him for Character Design. During my time in both programs, Jim showed a tremendous amount of passion for his classes and his work. Classes were structured around lectures and invaluable, one-on-one critique time every week. It was in these critiques, he would push you to move away from your comfort zone and experiment, while encouraging your absolute best on every assignment. On top of the excellent learning opportunities in class, Jim would make himself available for after class help, critiques and advice, if needed, on everything from whatever wasn’t working on a character design, to difficult career based dilemmas, that not only myself but others have gone through during school. I am honored to have been taught by such a person as Jim Graves, someone so clearly devoted to his students and his craft.

- Meg Simmons
Layout Artist at GURU


Being well prepared for this Industry is one of the greatest assets I gained from my time in the animation program at Seneca College. One "Instructor" in particular stood out in providing his students with both his vast knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry - that was Jim Graves. I used quotations when writing the word instructor because that is just a title, and he is more than that. Jim Graves has an amazing ability to transcend the confines of the teacher/student hierarchy to provide his students the sense of comfort with him to feel truly free to just be themselves, while continuing to challenge them to find design solutions and push past their own perceived limits as an artist. I feel he does this by truly having respect for his students, respect of their ability, their time, and for them as people. I have the utmost admiration for someone who is able to give that much of themselves to anything they do. Jim is an extremely talented artist, teacher and friend. It was a pleasure.

- Oliver Merlo
Character Animator & Designer


I had the pleasure of studying character design under Jim for two years at Seneca College. Jim always went above and beyond to help out his students and make them feel welcome, whether it be helping to organize a spirit event or reviewing a sketchbook. He has a great sense of design, and know how to push his students to want to improve their work. He doesn't just accept your first idea, but challenges you to think deeper or try something new. On a personal level, Jim is extremely friendly and helpful to his students at any time, he was always my go-to guy if I had a question or concern.

- Devin Cherubini
Character Animator at GURU


Having Jim Graves as a teacher for three years of my time at Seneca College taught me many lessons that I still use today. He was always available to help students with their work whether during class hours or not. He helped me better understand the process of designing for animation and always pushed students to go further with many exercises exploring different aspects of character design. With his critiques my skills and understanding of character design greatly heightened. When working on anything now I still look back on the lessons that he taught. I highly respect Jim as a teacher and appreciate the many hours that he puts into helping students succeed. I would recommend him to any students wanting to work in this industry.

- Parisa Behvar
Compositor at Pixomondo


Jim was my Character Design teacher at Seneca during my studies in Classical Animation. He is such a stellar example of the type of educator that truly impacts students. His expertise and creativity in character design is founded on true passion and is contagious with in his classroom. Jim's humor and light hearted personality balance with the discipline he demands,ensuring his students continue to grow as artists and craftsman. 

I highly recommend "The Cartoon Guy" as a artist and educator. 

- Aaron McLean
Creative Director & Product Manager at Verold


Full of enthusiasm and creativity Jim takes on each of his classes with a full fist of heart. His teaching tactics surpass expectations and his passion for character development and design can be easily displayed with his signature smile and full hearten laughs. 

Jim would open our minds about the minuscule details of character traits and illustrative techniques. The many elements I learned about character illustration and development, is a skill I still posses and utilize in my career as an animator and an educator.

- Jakub Pazera
Creative Professional in Film and Television / Educator


Jim is, and likely will be for some time, one of the most memorable and important instructors I had when I was at Seneca. His care for every student was obvious, clearly doing everything he could to make sure any of us had what we needed to succeed in our future careers. Abundantly friendly, he's great to be around, which makes it easy to want to learn from. But he's not afraid of playing the bad guy when he knows we need to hear that from him. 
The numerous critiques and encouragements that he was always happy to give, even in fields of animation that weren't character design, will definitely stick with me for a life time. Very happy to have had him for my instructor.

- Matt Frigault
Character Animator at Arc Productions


I had the pleasure of having Jim Graves as a teacher for 3 semesters during my time at Seneca College in the Independent Illustration diploma program. Jim is an exceptional teacher, using a combination of constructive critique and active encouragement to bring out the best work in his students. His cheery and personable personality make him an excellent person to talk to regarding his experiences and insights, and his open lines of communication make it clear that teaching and his students are a priority for him. I have no hesitation in recommending Jim as a teacher, and I have no doubt all his future students will say the same.

- Marina Siu-Chong
Artist at IndieStone Studios


I don't even know where to start ! Jim is an amazing teacher ! He really cares about his students and makes each of them feel important ! He was my professor for two years and during this time he really pushed me to reach my potential I didn't know I had ! Even now that I have graduated , I ask him for advise..He is my mentor and my good friend!

- Nicole (Nogol) Doosti
3D Animator, 3D Lighting and Texture Artist

I had Jim Graves as a professor for 4 different subjects. In each subject he demonstrated a vast amount of enthusiasm, knowledge and a genuine interest in student work and progress. He always went above and beyond both inside and outside the classroom, whether it be for critique, advice or the sense of community he builds at the school. He has absolutely shaped me as an artist and I still think back to his advice at times when I start a project.

- Andrea Woodford
Artist at Lithic Entertainment


Jim is a fantastic professor - incredibly dedicated and patient. He understands well that learning takes time, and that new ideas need to be absorbed. He went over the concepts with us as many times as we needed. He dedicated much of his own time, far past his teaching or office hours, to help us out. And he was always willing to adapt his assignments to what the class needed to learn the most. I would highly recommend any class he is teaching.

- Renée Brunton
Animator at ARC Entertainment

There is not a single teacher at Seneca College more dedicated to his students, and that IS saying a lot. Graves was an excellent teacher and shows legitimate concern and excitement for student progress and success. This makes him invaluable, and doesn't even scratch the surface of how good he is at his job.

- Craig Burgess
Freelance modeler/texture artist


Jim was an amazing professor because he was honest with his students. He saw both your strengths and weaknesses and pushed you to become a better artist. Now that I've graduated he continues to show support by attending our art shows and giving constant feedback whenever needed. It was such an honor to have become part of his class and thankful for his constant encouragement.

- Kathy de Castro


Jim Graves' lessons and directions have been an invaluable part of my college career. An amazing professor, Jim Graves has always offered (and followed through) to go above and beyond for his students. I appreciated the thorough critiques and the feedback he gives. I will take everything I've learned and without a doubt use it in my future career. If you get "Graves" as your professor, you are in very good hands.

- Yochie Botbol
 Layout Artist at GURU

I had the amazing luck to have Jim as a professor for my Character Design class, and gained far more than a teacher. 

Jim works tirelessly to give everyone the very best guidance he can muster, both in and outside the classroom, with levels of dedication entirely unmatched. He is an enthusiastic, charismatic, and deeply invested teacher who consistently goes out of his way to help any student who asks for it. He is willing to help at any time he has a spare moment - I was even once encouraged to call him at home when I had questions about an assignment(much to the bemusement of his wife). Even after I had completed his program, he has remained a consistent source of inspiration, feedback, and encouragement. 

There are not enough good things to say about Jim, the work he does, and the work he inspires.

- Christie Moore
Character Animator at ARC Entertainment


I have never met a teacher who genuinely cared about his students as much as Jim does. He is a gentle soul who only wants his students to produce the best art possible. He is quite knowledgeable, and funny. 

His sunny disposition motivates and inspires, and he has a genuine love for his work. Jim Graves is an excellent teacher. He is always warm and inviting, and he has a passion for art. He is one of the main reasons I continue to work in art to this day.

- Adam Garib
Artist at Clapfoot Inc.

Jim has been a professor of mine since Art Fundamentals at Seneca College. Three years was the total amount of time that I spent under Jim's guidance as a Professor for Stylistic Drawing and for Character Design. He always pushed me to try something new, and whenever he said to "have fun with it," I believe he meant to do something out of the box from my comfort zone. Whenever I was lost and confused, I'd go to Jim for advice, and he'd always have the doors open and willing to answer questions. His concern for his student's progress is very much appreciated, because I know that all he really wants is for his students to succeed.

- Bianca de Guzman
Production Coordinator at ARC


Jim has had a immense impact on my development as a character designer. His one on one consultation, suggestions, and tools for improvement have been by far the most useful knowledge I have taken away with me from school. All my questions, concerns and guiding needed was provided clearly and timely. I continue to hold him in high regard and will continue returning to him when questions and opinions are needed.

- Kelli Rockbrune
3D Modeler and Designer


It is with great pleasure I recommend Jim "The Cartoon Guy" Graves. 
Jim was my character design teacher at Seneca College in the 2D animation program. An excellent motivator Jim's enthusiasm for animation and design was catching and always provided the inspiration for students to do their very best. 
Even long after I had graduated Jim was more than willing to offer his help when he learnt I was struggling to enter the animation industry. He very generously committed his time and expertise over a period of several months while I put together a new portfolio. 
Most teachers would have considered their job done once a student has graduated. But Jim is not most teachers. An amazing mentor, he considered it his personal responsibility to help a struggling student. His guidance and support gave me the skills and confidence to find work in animation. Jim Graves is an excellent teacher and I would recommend him in a heart beat!

- Stephanie Ramón
Storyboard and Development Artist at Smiley Guy Studios


I met Jim Graves during my first year in college. I had my sights set on getting into the animation program, but had only made into into Art Fundamentals for my first year. Jim went out of his way to take the time to give me guidance and advice on my work despite not being my instructor at the time. His guidance helped me achieve the first of my many goals to gain admission into Seneca's Animation Arts program. 

For the next three years in the animation program Jim became far more then just a mentor or teacher. Through some of the most difficult and stressful years of my life he was there for me as an educator, a professional and a close friend. Without his instruction, knowledge, advice, words of wisdom and wonderful sense of humour I don't think I could have come as far as I have. I have to say with all honesty that Jim has been one of the most inspirational and influential teachers I have ever had in my life. And I am honored to be able to call him a friend! 

Jim has done nothing but go above and beyond for me on many different levels and I know for a fact he has done the same for many others as well! 

On behalf of myself and I'm sure many others, Thank you!!

- Corey Kasperski
Game Artist


I had the privilege of being taught character design by Jim Graves. He was consistently available for feedback at every point during the design process. His high energy and attitude for the subject matter contributed positively to the learning environment. Overall, I recommend Jim Graves for the outstanding, professional, and creative knowledge he provides.

- Christina Kelbert
Animator at Guru


I had Jim as my Character Design Instructor at Seneca Animation. Besides being a very good instructor, he also pushed his students in a personal manner to strive and achieve bigger and better aspects of the Animation craft. He not only made you believe in yourself but in your art as well. I hope whomever has Jim in the future heeds his advice and strives for their goals. For me, he was a great Instructor that teaches each student with the same passion he exhibits for his own art. That kind of teacher is infectious in the best way possible and it was a pleasure learning at his side!

- Paul Barge
3D Animator at Jam Filled


Jim is a very dedicated teacher, He is there every step of the way with his students encouraging them to reach their potential and then exceed it. He's very approachable and creative, making him an ideal person to collaborate with. He consistently encourages community and hard work and it shows in the graduates from his classes. Jim is a person who often takes that extra step and then some with everything he does.

- Andrew Gregoire (ARG!)
Animator at GURU and Cartoonist


Jim Graves was an outstanding 2D Character Design instructor to me at Seneca College. His lessons were always well planned, and well designed to greatly improve the classes skill level on any particular area. Not only was he readily available during lessons, but more than happy to help after class, even going so far as to continue teaching me after I had graduated from his class.

- Meredith Kinrys
2D/3D Animator

Where to start ?... 

If not for Jim's dedication to his passion of teaching, I know for a fact I would not be where I am today, and achieved what I have thus far. 

His supportive and encouraging methods of teaching kept myself and my fellow peers motivated and striving for new heights. Always expecting us to think outside the box, go beyond where we were, and to step out of our comfort zones proved to be of unmeasurable worth, when we all realized how far we had come. 

I recommend Jim as a brilliant fresh teacher (and artist) that truly cares about the success of his students, in both the classroom and life beyond the college's doors. 

With all that said you would be hard pressed to find a more honest, respectful, caring, and motivated teacher who will always go that extra mile for his students.

- Joshua A. Mills
Level Designer at Compulsion Games


I was lucky enough to have Jim Graves as my teacher at Seneca College for almost two years. In that time, Jim not only taught interesting and engaging classes, but showed a dedication and passion for teaching. He frequently gave of his own time to help myself and other students and I know that it improved my work and helped me grow as an artist. 
He is also one of the most friendly and personable people I know and I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to work with him.

- Lynn Sibley
Outsource Department Supervisor at Legend3D

Jim is a dedicated individual who never ceases to encourage his students to improve their skills. He is positive and is always willing to put time aside for extra help with any project a student may be having trouble with. His knowledge of character design makes him a great resource for many answers about design and free lance art in general. He is always open to feedback from his students about how to improve his teaching methods and he is easy to approach and talk with. In conclusion, I find him a rather positive element to my own work and still try to keep in contact with him.

- Amanda Robertson
Layout Artist at Guru


Jim's passion for teaching and drawing alike, as well as his upbeat personality are just some examples of why he is such an outstanding teacher. He makes it a priority to inspire and bring out the best in his students so that they may realize their full potential as artists. I can say that, without a doubt, he has been one of the driving forces in my development as an artist and I am glad to have had the chance to be taught by him.

- Sebastian Borkowski
UX Designer


Jim Graves is a very talented and inspiring professor who understands the needs of his students. In fact, I had the chance to be one them while taking the Animation Program at Seneca College; it was an honor to be trained by Graves, especially because he would go out of his way to make sure I understood the material taught. Moreover, his actions and passion for his subject had a great impact on me, to a point where I wanted to be good at it for myself. It was great opportunity I had. Therefore, I am confident to say that whoever has the chance to be his student is in good hands. 

- Amanda Rovaron
Senior Animator

In the two semesters I studied under Jim at Seneca college he greatly enhanced my understanding of character design and how to approach it with creativity. Jim is a great instructor because it is clear that he cares deeply about his students progress, he has a great understanding of the subject of character design, and is invaluable as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.

- Nathan Gaul
Art Director at Dark Matter Entertainment

As my character design teacher, Jim's knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject was an incredible source of encouragement. He was always able to find a way to have me reconsider what was good and what could be improved in my designs, rather than simply drawing out a solution for me. He is also one of, if not the most, personable people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! His class was always a joy, and his enthusiasm for art and drawing is still to this day an encouragement. I would highly recommend Jim as a teacher, and can only hope that one day I have the opportunity to experience how great it must be to work with him professionally.

- Dave Dind
3D Artist at Gameloft


There aren't enough words to say how grateful and lucky I was to have started my college career with Jim Graves as one of my instructors. He was always there no matter the circumstance–day, night, four in the morning, he was always available to help! He would make time when it seemed he didn't have any.

Not only did he make every student he had a better artist, I'm sure I'm not only speaking for myself when I say that he made me a better person. He works with everyone to make them the artist that they want to be. He opens his doors to you and encourages you to do the same with your art so you can go as far as you can. Graves leads by example–he was always working as hard as I was through the most demanding and toughest part of my life. And through it all he continued to have his infectious bright personality, always encouraging me to have fun!

It's easy to see that he loves his job. He plans his curriculum and lessons like no one else, and continues to grow with his students. He adapts to fill whatever needs he sees and always wants to do more. He is never only teaching character design–his lessons are invaluable and have became the springboards for whatever art I'm creating. I wouldn't have the skills as the artist I am today without him. I have no doubt saying he was by far the most amazingly impactful instructor I've had in my life. Even after starting my professional career he has continued to be a mentor, and it makes me so happy to be able to call him a friend. I can't thank him enough and anyone who's been under his wing or is going to be will be able to see all Graves has to offer. You seldom find educators that care, teach, and motivate as passionately as Graves ... and he's funny too!

- Mikki Benaglia
Game Artist

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