Full Name:

Paul Julian

Occupation / Title:


Date of birth:


Date of death:



Santa Barbara, California


Paul Julian was an American background and layout artist, art director and production designer whose work is best known in Warner Bros. classic Looney Tunes cartoons. He worked primarily as a part of Friz Freleng‘s team on Tweety Bird and Sylvester shorts, and created the wonderful cityscape backgrounds for Bugs Bunny’s feature film Baseball Bugs, as well as for Daffy Ducks in the film Golden Yeggs. Aside from WB, his work can also be recognized in UPA cartoons, including the Academy-Award nominated cartoon Rooty Toot Toot (1952) as well as Hanna-Barbera Productions . He is also noted for his contribution to the Road Runner cartoons through the iconic sound mheep mheep , used by Julian within his lifetime to playfully scurry people out of his way, later on recorded and used for the animation. 

Family and early life

Paul Julian was born Paul Hull Husted, but after his mother remarried a Frank Julian, Julian and his brother and mother all took on the Julian name. They moved to Santa Barbara, California, where Paul lived at 814 W. Valerio Street. 

Career outline

Julian was born in Illinois and trailed at the Chouinard Art Institute. In the early 30’s, he was working at the Works Progress Administration, a movement of federal funding for public arts where he was commissioned to pant murals.

In 1939, he joined the Leon Schlesinger Studio at WB, creating backgrounds for over two years before joining the Industrial Films and Poster Service studio, the precursor to UPA. In 1945, Julian would return to Warner Bros, creating backgrounds in cartoons for directors such as Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt. Around this time, Julian was also a layout artist for Republic Pictures TruColor.

In 1951, Julian left WB to join UPA, becoming well-known for his work in Mr. Magoo, and other UPA cartoon specials. Julian was the art director on the feature film The Tell Tale Heart (1953), creating the haunting, dramatic background paintings. In 1955 he would make his directorial debut with Baby Boogie. 

In 1964 he would co-direct as well as provide background work for the animated short The Hangman, a critically acclaimed film. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Julian worked as a part of Hanna-Barbera productions, contributing to such popular series as Herculoids.  

In 1973, he was the credited art director for the feature animated film Charlotte’s Web and in 1978, Julian worked as the production designer in the incredible animated Japanese animation Winds of Changed, based on Ovid’s Metamorphosis. In 1982 he was still creating background paintings, this time for Heidi’s Song. He continued working to create backgrounds and as an art director until he passed away in Van Nuys, California in 1995.





Personal style

Known for his incredibly vivid background imagery, painterly sometimes in a style reminiscent of Hopper, with wonderful depth and colours, Paul Julian was also a gallery artist and created the Post Office Mural in Fullerton, California. 

Honors and awards

In 1980, ASIFA awarded Julian with a lifetime achievement award in the field of animation, earning the Winsor McCay prize. 

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