Darrell Van Citters’s father was in the military, so Darrell moved around a lot when he was growing up. He lived in Albuquerque, NM, when he was in high school, and got a job painting cels at a regional commercial studio. He continued on that job during his first year at University of New Mexico – and was given advanced standing in CalArts the next year. He spent a summer working at Chuck Jones Studio and another summer at Filmation. His room-mates at CalArts were John Lasseter and Harry Sabin.
He was the first person to graduate from the CalArts character animation program due to his advance standing. He was hired by Disney in 1976 and became an animator while working on The Fox and the Hound. He worked on some television specials and then directed the short, Fun With Mr. Future.
Van Citters was the director of the early Disney development unit for Roger Rabbit – from late 1981 to 1983. He directed Sport Goofy in Soccermania in 1983-84, although it was modified extensively and released in 1987 under the credit of Matthew O’Callaghan. Van Citters left Disney in 1986 and moved to Warner Bros. in 1987 to animate on Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters and direct Box Office Bunny. He co-founded Renegade Animation, with Ashley Postlewaite, in 1993. Renegade Animation has produced classic commercials, internet animation series, and broadcast television series. He created the special memorial art on the event of Mel Blanc’s death.
Van Citters has written two seminal books on animation – Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special (Oxberry Press, 2009) and Art of Jay Ward Productions (Oxberry Press, 2013).
The name Van Citters chose for his studio [Renegade] was very apropos.
Although not completely a contrarian, he was quite happy to challenge the norms at the studio. He was an active contributor to the Burton/Rees films, Doctor of Doom and Luau. He was also part of the cast of the Eddie Fisher Show, one of the creative diversions of the Disney animators in the early 1980s.
He also actively (spoofingly) challenged Ron Miller to leadership of the Disney Studio by means of a best of three volleyball game.