Born into an artistic household in Colorado, Chris Sanders grew up drawing and penning short stories. Although Chris drew throughout school and served as the cartoonist for the Arvada High School newspaper, he hadn't considered art as something he could do for a living. But when his grandmother found a random article about the California Institute of the Arts (or CalArts) in the Denver Post, everything changed.
Chris applied for and was accepted to CalArts' Animation Program, and went on to work for Marvel Productions, and then Disney Studios. He worked as a story artist on The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, before he was made head of story on Mulan.
Near the end of Mulan, then-Head of Feature Animation Tom Schumacher asked Chris if there were anything he wanted to develop. "I remembered a story from eighteen years before that I had tried to write as a children's book, but had given up on, because I couldn't compress it into a short story format. Over a sushi dinner at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort, I pitched that story -- a tale of a strange forest creature, shunned by all, and unaware of his own origins. Tom liked it, and when he suggested I relocated the tale of the lonely little monster into the human world -- Lilo & Stitch was born."
Chris wrote, boarded, and directed Lilo & Stitch with Dean DeBlois. In 2006, Chris left Disney Studios to join the filmmaking team at DreamWorks Animation. When he was given the opportunity to direct How to Train Your Dragon, he jumped at the chance.
At DreamWorks, Chris also wrote and directed the comedy-adventure feature film The Croods with Kirk DeMicco, which was released on March 22, 2013.
Today, Chris writes, draws, and inks from his home in Los Angeles, California, which he shares with his wife, Jessica Steele-Sanders; his daughter, Nicole; Brody, an English shepherd; and Sparkle, a bossy little stray cat who comes in through the dog door whenever she pleases.