Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kids! of the Month – May 2012 – Danielle Bowman

Danielle Bowman, Amazing Animator!
By Kasey Dallman, AKOM editor


Quote of the month

“My goal is to make Powerlight Animation Studios a successful animation company, and to change the perception of autism by employing other autistic people, and to show the world how wonderful we can be if just given the chance.”
-Dani Bowmen, 17 year old animator

Danielle Bowman, Amazing Kid! of the Month

Danielle Bowman is living the dream. At just 17 years old she has her own animation studio, Powerlight Animation Studios, where she has produced series, animated shows, and illustrated books. Dani’s tremendous success at such a young age is inspiring. And to add to the inspiration, Dani has autism, a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills.

In opening her own animation studio, Dani hopes to not only create a successful studio, but to also show the world that autism isn’t a disability. We couldn’t be any prouder to name Dani our Amazing Kid of the Month.

Dani Bowman, amazing young animator

Autism in the News

With television shows like America’s Next Top Model casting people with autism and with books such as Jodi Picoult’s House Rules, autism awareness has been getting more and more recognition.

Autism, is a developmental disorder that appears early on. Living with autism makes it hard to engage in social interaction and delays communication skills.

While there are varying degrees of autism, children and adults with autism have the possibilities to do EVERYTHING that people without autism can do. Dani’s animation studio is proving just that!


Powerlight Studios

Dani became interested in animation when she was 11 years old, partially due to her love of Anime like Pokémon. “I’ve always enjoyed drawing and creating, and would sketch out a whole series of characters on a sheet of paper and leave them all over the house,” Dani said. Her first animated series was Gemstar & Friends, written at age 11. Now Dani is up to 8 original series that she writes, animates, voices, and scores.

Powerlight Studios’ logo

Dani draws inspiration from some of her favorite animated characters, including characters from Tangled, Gnomeo & Juliet, and Puss in Boots.

When Dani was 14, her animation  hobby became a real job with many incoming clients. Her first professional project was working on the music video “The Cave,” produced by Joey Travolta. “Since then, I have illustrated two anti-bullying books for Picalata Press, won several awards for the autism awareness short “Eeya’s Story” and completed several commercial projects,” Dani said.

Dani and Joey Travolta at the voice over session for “Eeya’s Story.”

Joey Travolta, an actor, writer and producer, is now a production partner with Dani! Last summer she even taught animation at Joey Travolta’s summer camp program for kids with autism.

For Dani, one of her favorite things about animation is telling stories. “What I love most about animation is creating the wonderful characters and virtual worlds, or alternative universes.”


A Voice for Autism

Dani’s story of success and advocacy for autism has been inspired by other incredible autistic people. “One of my role models is Satoshi Tajiri,” Dani said. Tajiri, who also is on the autism spectrum, created a gaming magazine at the age of 17. “A couple of years later, he started developing games and created Pokémon for Nintendo.”

Another one of Dani’s role models is Temple Grandin, who is known for her speech “We’re Autistic, Not Less.”

“Temple Grandin also gives advice about autism and works hard to educate people about the autism spectrum,” Dani said.

Dani has even done numerous speaking engagements herself, talking not only about her animation, but also about changing the perception people have about autism. Some of her speaking engagements include her own high school, Barnesdale Theater in Hollywood, Cal-TOSH, The Avocado Festival, Orange County Festival of Children’s Books, and the Rotary Club.

Dani’s initiative to help others with autism doesn’t stop with her speaking engagements. One of her goals ever since starting her own animation studio has been to employ other people with autism. She currently is training her first employee, and mentoring two others with autism.

While Dani hopes to change the perception people have about autism, another goal “is to find the treatment for autism, not for the ones who are already autistic, but for the future generations so they can more easily overcome the challenges of the condition.”


Following your dreams

Even though Dani faces challenges, she hasn’t stopped it from chasing her dreams. If you face challenges, don’t let that stop you! Dani has many suggestions for others searching to pursue their dreams. “Finish school, study what you are talented in, get help from family members, attend college, and promote what you are doing by volunteering your services to other organizations or companies.”

For those interested in animation, Dani has a long list of software to get started. “Software is only part of the learning process,” Dani said. “Also attend animation classes, study about animation in books, and watch videos for animation. There are many educational videos about animation on YouTube.”


Dani’s software suggestions from beginner to advanced

FlipBoom Doodle
Toon Boom Suite
FlipBoom All-Star
ToonBoom Studio


Dani’s websites!/PwrlightStudios