image-library event
The Half Moon Bay Library will be the scene of a unique animation project on Saturday. Kyle Ludowitz / Review


Khalilah Ramirez and Justin Gabaldon are two artists familiar with turning passion into their life’s work. 

Ramirez is an educator and author based in San Jose. Her “Dance of Peace” is a type of performance art designed to contribute positivity and bring inner peace through music and movement. Her work is perhaps best explained through her two books, “The Peace Dancer,” an illustrated guide to her performances and “Glowing Magic Beauty.” 

Ramirez joins Gabaldon, a professional animator, artist and educator, in collaborating on a project in which Gabaldon has filmed one of Ramirez’s performances and printed it out frame by frame. True to the rotoscope animation technique, participants can draw and color the pages that will eventually be scanned to create a moving picture.

The Half Moon Bay Library is hosting this free event with the two artists on Saturday. It’s open to all ages to drop in between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to draw, color and dance with Ramirez. 

Gabaldon, an El Granada resident, studied film and animation at San Francisco State University and began working as a freelance animator and cartoonist after he graduated in 2011. A comprehensive look at his work can be found on his website,

The two artists met at an animation workshop in San Jose two years ago. They had long talked about collaborating, and this is their first attempt. 

Gabaldon, who works at the Bay Area Video Coalition, estimated there could be upward of 150 pages to fill out at the library. If all are completed, he’ll scan them in post-production to show a basic rendering of how the animation should look. 

“I like teaching animation because it helps me think of my own animated projects,” Gabaldon explained. “It’s a nice way to get inspired and it helps kids come up with stories, which I think is really important.”

It’s a relatively simple task for attendees and an accessible opportunity to learn about animation and digital art from a professional. Video animation can be a challenging process. Gabaldon has earned a reputation not just as a talented digital artist, but as a passionate instructor.

He’s worked in various educational institutions, such as the Children’s Creativity Museum and the Brooklyn Children's Museum as a digital media instructor. His work sometimes combines live video with intricate cartoon design, and he hopes to talk with library patrons about starting more local animation workshops. 

“I happen to be good working with kids,” he said. “It naturally mixes together, the two things that I like the most work together.”

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