Madefire’s Motion Tool to Improve Portfolios


(L–R) Matt Harding, current illustration major and Senior Builder for Madefire, and Joe Otis Costello, Madefire Product Manager demonstrate the Motion Tool. Photo by Lourdes Livingston.

On Thursday, Oct. 30, Madefire Motion Books presented their new Motion Tool and demonstration of possibilities, from creating interactive motion storytelling to presenting a state-of-the-art portfolio in Bradley Hall at Academy of Art University.

Madefire Motion Books, based in Berkeley, is a 2011 startup with over $5 million in funding. Founders Ben Wolstenholme and Liam Sharp are among the School of Illustration’s Comics Board of Advisers.

Madefire produces its own motion books series by Dave Gibbons, Mike Carrey and others. However, Boom Studios, Top Cow and IDW now use Madefire’s Motion Tool with its licensed characters. The Madefire Motion tool is available for free from

Product Manager Joe Otis Costello and Senior Builder Matt Harding, a current Academy illustration major, walked through the Motion Tool interface that is accessible in Anyone can now produce their own motion book through its easy to use interface.

Costello discussed how current industry standards for portfolio and resumes are shifting to a different format from websites, for example, to social media. The illustrator has to think about what employers are looking for. Today, everything is online; you have to stand out from everyone else. DeviantArt allows new and seasoned artists to build their own audience via social media, like Twitter.

Costello said, “The biggest hurdle is that there is heavy competition with more experienced people, and you have to establish yourself as a brand. makes it possible with the Madefire Motion Tool to build an audience; you’ve got to get into the habit of refreshing your portfolio on a regular basis.”

Harding responded to one question about his skills from the School of Illustration and how they apply to working at Madefire. He said, “Everything I’ve learned in school is applicable with the Motion Tool.”