Jackson Risner finds his place in the world of animation

Colton student shares inspired animations on his popular YouTube site

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J. Dollins

Senior Jackson Risner’s YouTube channel, “Jackson’sToyWorld 101,” currently has over 6,500 subscribers. What’s his secret to success?

On December 12th, 2020, Jackson Risner posted a video on his YouTube channel called “Snorky Vs Bingo (my Version).”  It received over 1.2 million views, and he found himself with a hit.

Since then, his channel, “Jackson’sToyWorld 101,” has gained over 6,500 subscribers.

For the uninitiated, animation is one of the hardest genres in which to create content. To animate is a time consuming process that can test anyone’s patience. For Jackson, while working with animated videos is a labor of love, it also pushes him where he has the greatest challenge.

Jackson struggles with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), which makes focusing a little more difficult for him. Explaining his experience, Jackson shared, “Sometimes when there is something going on, or there is something like in my head, sometimes I would, like, get weird and stuff, you know.”

Thinking on it a little harder, he finally said, “It’s hard to explain, but I just think randomly.”

Still, he has found his place in the world of animation, despite the challenges.

Finding his place hasn’t always been so easy.

In middle school, where he attended Del Vallejo Middle in San Bernardino before enrolling in Colton Middle, Jackson recalls having a difficult time with other kids.

It’s hard to explain, but I just think randomly.”

— Jackson Risner, Grade 12

“When I was in middle school, people picked on me, and they made fun of me,” he said. “And I didn’t like it.”

One of his escapes from the bullying was animation. Since he was a kid, Jackson loved drawing cartoon and game characters, such as Pikachu, Kirby, and Sonic, who are his favorites. He also loved watching cartoons and Pixar movies growing up, which furthered his love for animation. 

As he got older, he continued to use characters from his childhood in his animations because these were characters he grew up on and loved.

Jackson created “Jackson’sToyWorld 101” and posted his first video on YouTube on April 22, 2017. He has been regularly posting videos ever since. The most popular videos on his channel include “Snorky Vs Bingo (my Version),” and a “Sonic the Hedgehog 30th anniversary tribute” video, which received 760,000 views.

Getting into animation changed Jackson’s life and how he views himself. And being the only animator here on campus makes him feel a sense of pride.

I drew a lot of pictures as a little kid. Spongebob, Mario, Sonic, and Kirby, and I also draw Pikachu sometimes.”

— Jackson Risner, Grade 12

Still, there are always those who love to spread hate online, and because Jackson shares his videos on social media, he often runs into hateful comments. Thankfully, they are balanced by kind and supportive comments from his fans. Jackson chooses to ignore the hate and focus on positivity.

Not only does he get support online, but he gets support from his friends and family which he appreciates, and further uses this support to create videos. Here at Colton High, one of his biggest supporters is his English teacher, Chad Hackworth, who has built a family environment in which Jackson feels loved and accepted.

“I feel appreciated,” Jackson said about being in Mr. Hackworth’s class. “Because I’m actually his favorite student. Don’t tell any of the other kids in his class I said that.”

Someday, Jackson wants Colton High to have classes that help other students like himself work toward becoming animators.

As for himself, he hopes to break into the entertainment industry as a hand-drawn animator. He dreams of posting another hit video on his channel, too.

Jackson also wishes he had told himself earlier that getting into animation would be a lot of dedication, hard work, drawing, and talent. Still, he believes his hard work and effort will help him overcome his struggles with autism and ADHD so that he can become the animator he knows he can be.