Home Illustration Meet the former Nickelodeon host with West Michigan ties

Meet the former Nickelodeon host with West Michigan ties


WEST MICHIGAN — You might recognize the names of early animated shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, CatDog, Dora The Explorer or Tom & Jerry, but you might not know the name of Ray Pointer, who helped create these productions and many more.

Pointer has lent his talents to many projects as an illustrator, artist, writer. and director. He has worked on several prolific animated shows and has interesting ties to West Michigan and Remus.

Born in Detroit, Pointer took special art classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts and graduated from Cass Technical High School with a degree in commercial arts. He earned a bachelor’s degree in film broadcasting and production from Wayne State University in Detroit and a post-baccalaureate degree from the University of Southern California, Department of Film/Television.

Initially a self-taught filmmaker, he experimented with cartoons from 1963 to 1973 and began his career at The Jam Handy Organization in Detroit.

“I’ve always been fascinated by movies and TV,” Pointer said. “I was interested in the intelligence it takes to create a television show. I started trying to create characters and stories when I was 12, and I loved Popeye cartoons and ended up trying to recreate some of those scenes I loved with my own characters with different shows I’ve seen.

Pointer has worked as a screenwriter for productions such as Madeline, Hurricanes, Ultra Force for DIC, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sinbad The Sailor for Fred Wolf Films, and Garfield for Paramount.

He also worked on All Dogs Go To Heaven for MGM and was animation director on CatDog for Oh, Yeah! Cartoons. He worked as animation timing director on the first season of Dora the Explorer for Nickelodeon and on the animation of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Additionally, he was a writer and director of corporate video programs for General Dynamics Land Systems, assistant animator on Tom and Jerry for Film Roman, Bebe’s Kids and Itsy-Bitsy Spider for Hyperion, Post Pebbles, Sugar Bear and Polly Pockets for Playhouse. Pictures.

“I was very lucky to have had that fundamental support early on,” Pointer said. “(Animation and illustration) is a tough business, and I was lucky enough to work with kind professionals who were really close and showed you things to help you.

“I enjoyed working on Bebe’s Kids during the short time I worked on it mainly because I liked the story,” he added. “I loved the character designs of this show, and I also loved working on Sinbad (The Sailor) because a lot of the characters and stories were diverse and overseas-based.”

Pointer was also a naval photographer and film editor for the Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group and a producer for Navy Broadcasting.


Pointer helped the Old Settlers Reunion organization in Mecosta County by providing artwork for the Remus Story coloring book, first published in 2018.

He also helped produce an educational video focusing on the history of the Little River Schoolhouse in the Lake Veterans Park school section in Mecosta County.

His grandfather was in school in 1905 before it was replaced by a log building. His great-great-grandfather was also the very first teacher to work there.

“One of the reasons the coloring book was created is that the fundamental problem is that the child’s parents don’t know the story and they don’t teach it,” Pointer said. “We are not about this manufactured image that our society is meant to be, and there needs to be a reintroduction of what our culture really is. It’s a whole intellectual process, whether it’s cartoons, movies, writing a book, whatever. It charges the imagination and the coloring book is meant to inspire children.

Pointer encouraged the organization to include text about the history of the images and the individuals featured in the book.

He hopes it will inspire families to look back to their roots and the history of Remus’s former settlers.

Pointer is the President and CEO of Inkwell Images. Since returning to Michigan in 2008, Ray then worked as an adjunct professor and 2D animation instructor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids before retiring in May 2016.