Russell Hicks

Russell Hicks to take over Top Draw Animation

The former Nickelodeon exec and Curiosity Ink CCO will head up the studio starting in early 2022, when longtime MD Wayne Dearing retires.
August 23, 2021

Grom Social Enterprises has tapped former Nickelodeon president Russell Hicks to take over as managing director of its Top Draw Animation studio. He’ll succeed Wayne Dearing, who is departing in 2022.

Dearing founded the Philippines-based 2D animation production and service company 22 years ago, and is set to retire once the leadership transition is finalized early next year.

Hicks, who is based in LA, has been working at Top Draw Animation since April when Grom acquired his shingle Curiosity Ink Media. The acquisition was finalized today, and Hicks will continue to manage the prodco’s original film, TV and publishing projects, including preschool train series Baldwin.

Before he opened Curiosity Ink in 2018, Hicks served as president of content and production at Nickelodeon from 2012 to 2017. Prior to that, he was Nick’s CCO from 1998 to 2012, playing a key role on tentpole series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Henry Danger and The Loud House.

California-based Grom Holdings (Grom Social’s parent company) purchased Top Draw in 2016 to increase its capacity for in-house content production. Top Draw currently employs more than 400 artists, and has generated a TV animation slate consisting of more than 2,000 half hours, with titles including Tom & Jerry and Monster Beach. Over the years, it has also done service work for the likes of Disney Television Animation, DreamWorks Television and Nickelodeon.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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