12 Questions about a Junior Storyboard Artist Wonderful Journey
Heewon Jeong is a Junior Storyboard Artist who would like to share her journey so far.
What’s your name and where did you grow up?*
I am Heewon Jeong, and I was born and raised in South Korea. In 2017, I moved to Florida for college. After graduation, I have been living in Oregon for more than a year at this point.
Who do you work for and where?*
I am a junior storyboard artist! I draw boards for animated feature films at Laika in green Oregon.
What age or when did you realize you wanted to get into the industry?*
Art has always been my thing, but around 15-17 is the time that I seriously considered animation jobs for a living. Before that, I did not know that you can make art for a living. In high school when you need to choose college and a major, I did tons of research and found out that I can pursue my dream career as a junior storyboard artist.
One of my best childhood memories is going to a DVD store with my family to get a newly released animated series or film. From that, making stories and merging them with art is always my way of communicating with the world and expressing myself. When I had to decide on the left of my life, ‘animation’ came to my mind first.
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?*
I went to an art school, Ringling College of Art and Design majoring in computer animation. The curriculum is more focused on computer animation, 3d animating, modeling, and some other technical stuff. Luckily, they have some storyboarding classes and that was mostly where I gained knowledge about storyboarding and cinematography. Also, we had a chance to make our thesis film from scratch to the end which helped me a lot to understand the whole animation pipeline process.
I also took some online storyboarding classes. Especially these days when we have more access to the internet and are more diverse than before, I think online classes are an awesome way to learn anything animation-related. You can focus on your specific field like animation, modeling, color psychology of business logos, storyboarding, and more. Most of all, you have to learn things by yourself, too. Watching tons of series and films, analyzing them like why the director uses this angle, and what that shot is trying to tell the audience.
Now I am working as a professional junior storyboard artist in the feature animation film industry.
Tell me a little bit about how you started as a Junior Storyboard Artist*
In my last year in college, my biggest goal is to break into the industry and get some experience. I fixed my portfolio many times and got feedback from friends, faculties, and professional artists in the field.
For those who have no experience, and look for getting into the field, internships are a good path to start. I applied to many places and could not make everything well but thankfully, I got accepted for the junior storyboard artist internship at Laika. That is my first animation-related job.
What area of animation do you work in and what is your key strength?*
I am in the ‘Story Department’ in a feature animated film company and work as a junior storyboard artist. Thanks to my school experience, I have basic knowledge of the whole animation pipeline, however, still, my main interest and strength is storyboarding. Planning about how the shots flow altogether, what the audience should know visually for the specific moment, and what the shot can tell the audience are all my things.
Best advice you ever received in the animation industry?*
Keep practicing! I know finding the right balance between work and your life should come first, but if you aim to work in the animation industry where things change so fast and move to each project with a different style, you always have to study. Widening your world and exploring new styles is a plus in the end. Practicing also means studying all the upcoming media.
I understand it is almost impossible to catch up on everything, but still, the more you see, the better you will be. It does not mean you should always draw, sometimes just watching stuff can help you improve more.
Biggest influences in your animation career? outside or inside the workplace?*
Inside the workplace, my team had such a huge influence. Before getting into the industry, I mostly worked by myself, never realizing the importance of teamwork. As I work with co-workers more, I learn that teamwork always should come first since animation is a work of collaboration. You also will work with other departments, however since teammates are the people you meet the most and they are the people who do the same work as you, you will learn a lot from them.
What are the best and worst aspects of working in the animation field?*
First of all, I can make money doing what I love to do. It might sound like a cliche but still, it is true. Being able to like your job is kind of a privilege.
Besides that, you can work on many different projects! You can meet diverse people, experience different styles of shows and learn many things that you will never know if you work only for one. Also, it is a creative industry, therefore you will have more chances to explore your world and contribute to what is in your brain.
Are you working remotely or in the office & do you think animation projects can work remotely? any challenges/benefits?
I work in the office every day! They both have pros and cons for both remote work and office. I also worked for one or two freelance jobs, which are only done remotely. I think it depends on each project and circumstance of the company but in most cases, I think it is possible! Some challenges include that you cannot immediately talk things to your co-workers.
However, I think that challenges can be fixed and there are more benefits to remote work. There are so many talented people all around the world and if you choose remote, you can work with them without any restriction of location. Those people have diverse backgrounds and stories. That can add diversity to the work, too.
What goals or dreams do you have within the animation industry?*
Someday, I would like to direct a film or a show (when I am no longer a junior storyboard artist). I think anyone who is or wants to be in the animation industry would have a similar goal or dream like this. Surely, I love working on stuff that starts from others’ ideas. It has its perk and you will learn much more than you thought, but anything that starts from you has something.
What do you do to unwind from the animation world?*
I love reading books and watching movies! You might tell it is somehow associated with animation-media stuff. The book I am reading these days is Albert Camus’s The Plague. The stranger is one of my favorite books so I am reading more of Camus’ books. You can tell I love classic novels. About movies, I love all genres and that is somehow an extension of studying animation. Therefore, I always try to watch more various movies.
What’s your website so people in the industry can check your work*
What social channels can people connect with you?*