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We can't create the most awesome kids television in the world without the most awesome artists in the world.
We offer aspiring artists, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, the opportunity to hone their artistic skills while working on our
2D and CG animated television shows. We seek out talented designers, painters, and story artists
with unique and/or under-represented voices.

There are three creative avenues to pursue: General Design Track, Storyboard Track, and CG Generalist Track.
Each track provides hand-on experience working with directors, supervisors, and lead artists on our productions in your chosen discipline.
All tracks are open to any qualified artist who has not yet had production experience.

Please note: Website updates coming soon! Follow our socials for most up-to-date information.

• Follow The Artist Program •

Important Dates

Applicants that were not selected will be notified by the end of December. Please note: notification dates are subject to change.


You must be 18 years or older to participate. Participation in the Nick Artist Program is a full-time job. You must possess and present evidence of identification and United States employment eligibility (valid for the duration of the Program). If you have previously applied to the Program and have not been selected, you are welcome and encouraged to apply again. However, you are required to submit an updated portfolio or storyboard, supplemental materials, and/or reel each time you apply.



If you love bringing stories to life through characters, backgrounds/environments, props, and color then the General Design Track is for you! 


If your passion lies in visual storytelling, then the Storyboard Track is for you!


If you want to add dimension to storytelling through CG Asset Creation or enhance a storyline in CG Post-Production, then the CG Generalist track is for you!
What We're Looking For


We are looking for talented  and well-rounded artists with unique and/or under-represented voices.

In general, we recommend that you present your best work and limit your work accordingly. Focus on quality rather than quantity. 

Your portfolio should show diversity in skill. Organize your portfolio by highlighting your main passion first. Include an appropriate number of images to showcase your skills (a minimum of 5 images and a maximum of up to 25 images).

Please submit work such as:

  • Character designs

  • Environments

  • Props

  • Color and paintings

  • Sketches and works in progress, as well as completed compositions

  • Life drawings

  • Animal sketches

Submission Materials:

  • Portfolio 

  • OPTIONAL - Reel 

  • A URL to your blog or online portfolio/reel

  • One-page resume 

  • Half-page biography - Tell us your story!


We are looking for great story artists with unique and/or under-represented voices. 

In general, we recommend that you present your strongest work and limit your work accordingly. Submit original material only (your own personal work) - no storyboards of commercial material will be accepted. 

Your submitted storyboard can be few sequences or a short film that highlight your storytelling, focusing on either comedy, action or action/comedy.  Make sure that your storytelling in each shot is clear and understandable. 

While there is no limit to the number of panels to include, you should only include enough panels to showcase your skills.  Submit only what you feel will best convey your ideas. Focus on quality rather than quantity.

Your storyboard should communicate your skills in the following areas:

  • Storytelling & Story Structure

  • Staging

  • Composition

  • Perspective

  • Proportion

  • Clarity (others can understand what you're trying to convey)

  • Clear action in an action sequence (if applicable)

  • Set-ups and pay-offs of jokes

  • Character acting ability (e.g. capturing conversation)

  • Appropriate use of Cinematography

Submission Materials:

  • Storyboard of personal work: a short film or sequences that highlight your storytelling, focusing on either comedy, action or action comedy (.pdf)

  • OPTIONAL Supplemental work: a portfolio and/or sketchbook images that highlight your skills and/or a reel/animatic 

  • A URL to your blog or online portfolio/reel

  • One-page resume 

  • Half-page biography - Tell us your story!


We are looking for talented and well-rounded CG generalists with unique and/or under-represented voices. The CG Generalist Track will branch into two areas:

  • Asset Creation (Focuses: Character and Set Model/Texture/Rigging)
  • Post-Production (Focuses: Lighting/Compositing/FX/Animation)

In general, we recommend that you present your best work and limit your reel/portfolio accordingly. Focus on quality rather than quantity. 

Minimum Requirements:

  • College Degree not required
  • Demonstrate required skills and aesthetics.
  • Be proficient in Maya and Photoshop plus the working knowledge for your areas of focus:
    • Asset Creation
      • Rigging: Python scripting is a plus
      • Modeling:  Mudbox or Zbrush
      • Texture:  Mari or Substance
    • Post-Production
      • Lighting/Compositing: Nuke
      • VFX: Houdini is a plus
  • Must submit a demo reel that demonstrates the required skills and show diversity in skillset
  • Have strong understanding of visual aesthetics and animation principles.

Pro Tips:

  • Organize your reel by highlighting your main passion first.
  • Be short, simple and interesting… 2 minutes is good. No more than 3 minutes
  • Focus on visuals… No need to add music unless it really adds to the story
  • Submit original material only (your own personal work)

Your Reel should communicate the following skills in your chosen areas of focus: 

  • Asset Creation (Choose at least 1 areas of focus no more than 2)
    • Modeling:  typology, surface, shape language, edge flow, polycount, and translating 2D designs into CG.
    • Texture – Physically Based Rendering (PBR) techniques, variation of styles, translating 2D designs into CG, color theory
    • Rigging: character rig set up, movement, facial expressions, coding and tools
  • Post-Production: (Choose at least 1 areas of focus no more than 2))
    • Lighting/Compositing:  Lighting Principals, CG Light Rig Setups, Rendering and Compositing
    • VFX: FX, Simulations, Explosions, Bringing 2D ideas to “life” in CG
    • Animation: Acting, Timing, Poses, Expressions

Submission materials:

  • A demo reel (1-3 minutes) that demonstrates the required skills and shows diversity in skillset
  • Reel/Portfolio breakdown describing your contribution to a scene or an asset. (We love that CG is a collaborative art, tell us what you did in each piece)
  • OPTIONAL: Supplemental work such as: Character designs, Backgrounds, Sketches and works in progress
  • A URL to your blog or online portfolio/reel
  • One-page resume 
  • Half-page biography - Tell us your story!

Submission Specs


  • All image files must be .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, or .zip files and in the RGB color space.
  • The image file can be no larger than 1240 x 1240 pixels.
  • The file names for your images should be in the following format:
    • YourInitials##.file type (e.g. JXD05.jpg)
  • The image file names should not contain any characters other than a-z, A-Z and 0-9.
  • The file name also has to be a continuous string of characters - it cannot contain any blank spaces. If you get an error while uploading, please try uploading a different file format.


  • Reels should be 2-3 minutes in length with an emphasis on your best work.
  • Please note that videos uploaded must be smaller than one gigabyte in size.
  • All video files must be AVI (preferred), Quicktime (.mov), MPEG (.mpg, .mpeg), Windows Media (.wmv), and Flash Video (.flv, .f4v).
  • The file name for video files should be in the following format:
    • YourInitials.file type (e.g. JXD.mp4)
  • Your file name cannot contain any characters other than a-z, A-Z and 0-9.
  • The file name also has to be a continuous string of characters - it cannot contain blank spaces.
  • If you get an error while uploading, please try uploading a different file format.


  • Preferred: .pdf file of entire board
  • Optional: .jpeg or .jpg of entire board
  • No commercial properties please
  • The file names for your images should be in the following format:

    • YourInitials#.file type (e.g. JXD05.jpg)
  • The image file names should not contain any characters other than a-z, A-Z and 0-9.
  • The file name also has to be a continuous string of characters - it cannot contain any blank spaces.


  • Animatics should be 2-3 minutes in length with an emphasis on your best work.
  • Please note that videos uploaded must be smaller than one gigabyte in size.
  • All video files must be AVI (preferred), Quicktime (.mov), MPEG (.mpg, .mpeg), Windows Media (.wmv), and Flash Video (.flv, .f4v).
  • The file name for video files should be in the following format:
    • YourInitials.file type (e.g. JXD.mp4)
  • Your file name cannot contain any characters other than a-z, A-Z and 0-9.
  • The file name also has to be a continuous string of characters - it cannot contain blank spaces.
  • If you get an error while uploading, please try uploading a different file format.

Submission period is open July 1 - August 1

Start early! We recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to complete the application submission process. Give yourself at least two weeks prior to the August 1st deadline to complete your submission.

If you are experiencing problems with the application, please contact Survey Monkey Apply's technical support team by clicking the "Help" link (circle "i" icon in the upper right hand corner of your user account page).

Please Note:

Submissions that do not adhere to the guidelines outlined on this site will not be considered for the Program.

Thank you for your applying to the Nickelodeon Artist Program. Good luck!

Click here to begin the application process: (Nick Artist Program)

- Nick Artist Program -


Is the Program a full-time obligation?

Yes, the Program is a full-time position for up to 6 months; however, employment is on an "at will" basis. Due to the intensive nature of the Program, you may not hold other employment or be enrolled in school on a full-time basis during the Program period if it will interfere with any aspect of or time commitment to the Program.

Is it necessary to have professional artistic experience to apply for the Program?

Although professional artistic experience is not necessary (i.e. having worked as a character designer), a strong artistic background is encouraged. Keep in mind that a great portfolio and/or reel will showcase your potential and passion for your craft. Working knowledge of related software, computer and Cintiq experience is also a plus.

If I work for Nickelodeon or other Viacom employers am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, all Viacom employees are eligible to apply for the Program.

Will I be able to upload my application prior to July 1st or after August 1st?

No, you will be unable to upload your application prior to July 1st or after August 1st.

Will you confirm receipt of my submission materials?

You will receive a confirmation email when your application has been submitted successfully.

Can I submit my own original idea for a pilot or animated series along with my portfolio and/or reel?

No. Only materials requested in the submission guidelines will be accepted.

Does it help my portfolio and/or reel to include Nickelodeon characters?

No, in fact your portfolio and/or reel need not include any Nickelodeon characters.

Does my portfolio need to include anything in particular?

Your portfolio should show your best work, but be edited accordingly. Organize your portfolio by highlighting your passion and unique vision first. Include a variety of skills that showcase your talent: character design, environments, color, props, paintings, life drawings, animal sketches, and samples from your sketch book.

How many images should my portfolio include?

Include an appropriate number to showcase your skills. You must upload a minimum of 5 images, but no more than 25 images.

Does my reel need to include anything in particular? How long should it be?

For your reel, focus on quality rather than quantity. Each discipline is different and you should assemble your reel accordingly to show your skill within that discipline. Be sure to showcase your best work. Reels should be 2-3 minutes in length.

Must I submit a resume even if I have not worked as a professional artist?

Yes. As a part of the review process, all applicants must submit a work resume and an autobiographical summary. Applications that do not include both of these items will not be considered.

What should be included on my resume/CV?

Your resume should include your key contact information. It is helpful to include your blog or website if they demonstrate your work as well. Include your work history, including movies, titles or projects you worked on. Also, include software applications, scripting language you are familiar with, and your educational focus. Hobbies and references are helpful also.

When will I be informed of my application status with the Program?

The notification dates are as follows: Semi-finalists will be notified by the end of September, Finalists will be notified by the end of October, Chosen Artists will be notified by the end of November. <br> Please note: notification dates are subject to change.

What is the interview process?

Upon receipt of your submission materials through FluidReview, your work will be reviewed shortly thereafter. If chosen as a semi-finalist, you will first be called for a phone interview and potentially, a second in-person interview. If chosen as a finalist, you will be called for a panel review. PLEASE BE PATIENT. DUE TO HIGH VOLUME AND THE NATURE OF THE NOTIFICATION PROCESS, WE WILL BE UNABLE TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR STATUS.

Will I be able to receive feedback on my submission?

Due to the high volume of submissions to our Program, we are unable to provide you with such feedback.

How many Artists are hired each year?

The number of artists selected for the Program varies from year to year based on the needs of the Studio.

If accepted into the Program, when do participants begin the 6-month Program?

Artists begin the Program in January.

Will I need to relocate to LA if I am accepted? Are moving/housing costs provided?

The Program takes place at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, CA. Yes, artists who are accepted will need to relocate to the LA area. For participants coming from out-of-town, air-fare and one month's accommodations are provided however all transportation (once in LA) and any moving costs are the individual artist's responsibility.

Current Artists

Samuel Pagan
Samuel Pagan
2021 CG Generalist
Jasmine Reyes
Jasmine Reyes
2021 Storyboard
Carl Edward Mongan
Carl Edward Mongan
2021 Storyboard
Anh Bui
Anh Bui
2021 General Design
Dominique Evans
Dominique Evans
2021 General Design
Samuel Pagan
Samuel Pagan
2021 CG Generalist

Samuel Pagan is a Puerto Rican artist that specializes in Lighting and Compositing. He was raised in the city of Mayagüez around sports and music. Coming from a geographically small place, Samuel sensed that the world was enormous; therefore he became a very curious person. His parents didn’t have many opportunities growing up, therefore had an enormous desire to feed their son's curiosity and encouraged him to try everything and to get as many life experiences as possible. With a lot of hard work and sacrifices, they encouraged Samuel to try out a variety of things in school including learning English, playing soccer, going camping, competing on the marching team, playing the clarinet, joining the swim team, and even training as a juggling performer.

When he reached university he maintained his curiosity of the world and explored many different career options before finding his true calling. He started at University of Puerto Rico on a choir scholarship, but he majored in Engineering with the intent of building a real-life Iron Man. [WK1]Even though he was in a good position to fulfill the engineering career, he still craved other interests. He changed his major to English literature, then studied French in Quebec, Canada. He went on to study Cinematography and flirted with Graphic Design. These many experiences guided him to find his true passion for animation.

He transitioned his studies to Atlantic University College in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico to pursue a degree in Digital Animation. He got involved in as many projects as he could, one of which was a local film festival where its top participants were rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles to see “Hollywood.” This was his first time in L.A. and he spent the week touring amazing studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Paramount, Universal Studios, Sony Animation and, of course, the Nickelodeon Studios in Burbank. This introduction opened his eyes to the possibilities and gave him clear perspective on what he could one day become.

After graduating from university, he joined local animation studio, Gladius Studios, along with 13 of his college friends. For the next 2 years, he honed his CG skills working on commercials and even some animation series as a Visual Effects Artist, all while developing a specialization in lighting and compositing. However, he hadn’t forgotten his dream of working for a big studio and when he saw the Nick Artist Program opened opportunities for a CG Track, he challenged himself to apply. Samuel is very excited about his achievement of getting into Nickelodeon and exploring animation outside of Puerto Rico. He is eager to get involved in big projects and continue his journey around the animation world.

Jasmine Reyes
Jasmine Reyes
2021 Storyboard

Jasmine Reyes was born and raised in the Bay Area suburbs to a loving and loud Filipino family. Jasmine’s early days were riddled with crayon scribbles, early anime, and a home packed with their parents, two sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents! Growing up in a rowdy, multi-generational home was often full of over-crowded rooms and crying babies, but they found themselves constantly surrounded by faraway stories of beautiful islands, family members they hadn’t met, and tales they could only dream of. Since they were a child, Jasmine had always seen storytelling as a way to connect and understand the world around them. And from that point on, they had always loved storytelling.

And once the wonders of cable were introduced into their life, Jasmine was hooked. Through cartoons and animation, they had found the stories that they had always craved for. Jasmine saw themselves in Miyazaki films, wished for Fairly OddParents, and dreamt of becoming a Sailor Scout and fighting evil by moonlight. This began their journey into art. It naturally occurred with copying everything they saw on TV, and as a child, that meant drawing everywhere and on everything–which included the walls of their rental apartment. Their love for drawing and cartoons grew tenfold throughout the years. They were inspired by the creators of these amazing shows and movies, and after some research, they began to realize that animation was a possible career path. However, no one in their immigrant family had pursued entertainment arts before. After too many nights of research, a handful of existential crises, and lots of convincing to their parents, they took the blind leap of faith into the world of animation and never looked back.

Jasmine graduated from high school and built up their skills at community college. While working towards an Associate’s degree in Animation, they found what they were most passionate about—storyboarding. With a new sense of determination and newly packed bags, Jasmine made their way along the coast to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. While at Art Center, they simultaneously sat in all the storyboarding classes they could find, took classes at Brainstorm, and attended storyboarding courses online. Once their time at Art Center came to an end, they found themselves suddenly thrust into navigating the big, daunting world of professional freelance animation.

In the midst of freelancing, Jasmine decided to apply for the coveted Nick Artist Program. With a few weeks filled with too many cups of matcha lattes, they created a new storyboard, put together all their favorite comics and illustrations, and pressed the submit button. To their surprise and a string of several phone calls and interviews later, the last phone call finally rang—they made it! Jasmine is forever thankful for their parents, sisters, family, friends, mentors, and pets that continue to support them along their path. Jasmine’s journey is just beginning and they can’t wait to grow and experience all they can with the amazingly talented and lovely people at Nick!

Carl Edward Mongan
Carl Edward Mongan
2021 Storyboard

Carl Edward Mongan was an obsessive child with a flair for the dramatic and a knack for the bizarre. Sports were not his strongest suit, and not from a lack of trying. Carl Edward’s parents signed him up for almost every sport, and at the end of the season decided “I’m not doing that again.” He was actually asked to quit karate due to his talkative nature during meditations. This suited Carl Edward just fine. He preferred to draw.

In elementary school, Carl Edward filled wide-ruled notebooks with Star Wars fan fiction rather than doing the morning journal entry questions that the teacher put up on the board. He went to Halloween Horror Nights in the fourth grade (without ever having seen a scary movie before). Carl Edward went back to his Catholic school with drawings of the slashers he had acquainted himself with the weekend prior. His rendering must have been decent because Carl Edward was banned from drawing at school. So, naturally, he decided to keep it up.

Drawing was a through-line during his schooling experience. Carl Edward drew on every piece of paper that came his way, much to the frustration of teachers who were just trying to teach him basic math. It was so much faster to illustrate what he wanted to say rather than speak his thoughts out loud.

Then throughout middle school and high school, Carl Edward invested his creativity in theatre and improv performing, basking in live reactions. Laughs were preferred. From time to time, he’d find himself in trouble for “upstaging” costars, adding in unrehearsed bits. During one performance, Carl Edward’s only scene was to enter and kiss the feet of an evil queen, so he brought a Febreze bottle onstage and sprayed the queen’s feet for a solid minute.

When it came time for college applications, Carl Edward hadn’t considered art as a viable option. Yes, he had taken many art classes and participated in art contests, but at his academically driven school, art was not taken seriously as a path for higher education. His interest in art was obvious, but how to proceed was unclear. Rewatching stop motion movies like “Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Chicken Run” helped Carl Edward see animation production as tangible and accessible through the arts he already knew. The handmade quality reminded him that people do this work — and that it’s an art form that can be learned. A clear connection between all his interests was forged. With a month left until submission deadlines, Carl Edward pivoted from an anticipated English degree and pursued animation at California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA.

At CCA, Carl Edward discovered storyboarding. It was the part of the pipeline that resonated most with his previous experiences — a playground in which he could inhabit every character, build limitless worlds, and simply draw a story!

Carl Edward graduated with high distinction and was honored to be the commencement speaker for the class of 2020.

During his last year at college and into the summer after graduating, Carl Edward joined a Berkeley non-profit called Afi Health, where the team created short pediatric videos to inform children of their various medical conditions. As someone who grew up with acute asthma and severe allergies, Carl Edward took this as an opportunity to utilize his learned skills and let medically struggling children know “you’re going to be alright”.

Post-graduation, Carl Edward moved to Sierra Madre, CA. He worked a few random jobs — the wildest as a receptionist for an understaffed dog hotel where a husky named Loki opened gates and doors for his oversized friends.

Now, Carl Edward is an obsessive young adult still with a flair for the dramatic and a knack for the bizarre. He is grateful for family and friends who supported him and for those who discouraged him. Carl Edward will continue his journey as a storyboard artist in the Nickelodeon Artist Program.

Anh Bui
Anh Bui
2021 General Design

Anh Bui was born and raised in Haiphong, a small city by the ocean in Vietnam. She grew up spending her days outside playing soccer, catching dragonflies at the paddy field, exploring abandoned houses, building forts out of mattresses with her sister and cousins, and other neighborhood kids. Growing up poor, there wasn't much imported entertainment provided, so she entertained herself with activities that sparked her interests and curiosity in her everyday surroundings. During Anh’s 4th year of elementary school, her family finally got a TV, so she was exposed to all kinds of fun channels. Anh started watching cartoons like Tom & Jerry, SpongeBob, Phineas & Ferb, Even though she couldn’t understand most of the content because there were no subtitles, she found them to be very fascinating.

As an introverted and shy kid, when Anh saw her sister and cousin drawing, she realized it was a form of communication for her to express herself, so she started drawing and making her own comic books. Her parents weren’t supportive at that time, mostly because they were worried about her academic future. Anh’s sister and cousin obediently stopped drawing when their parents told them to focus on school instead. However, Anh secretly stuck with art as her primary interest because she was never good at traditional school.

Back then, Anh wanted to become a comic book artist because it was all she knew, but then after watching Big Hero 6 in 2014, it completely blew her mind as she realized it was a comic book coming to life! She admired how much effort, hard work, time, and dedication that thousands of people had put into a film. She imagined herself being a part of that animation scene, a part of something bigger than herself. She understands she’s more passionate about the process than the end results.

At that time, the animation industry wasn’t a thing in Vietnam, so Anh decided to go study abroad in the US when she was 15 with the hope of becoming a better artist, and sharing her vision with other like-minded people. In search of a career path, she researched the career of a storyboard artist that she admired, she even emailed them to find out where they went to school and, surprisingly, got a reply back! Anh wanted to follow that artist’s career path so she made that happen by getting the highest scholarship offer for an international student from Columbus College of Art and Design. After the first year, she had an unexpected opportunity to move to LA, to be closer to the animation community. Anh decided to take a risk and she packed all her stuff in one small suitcase and left college along with her friend.

Once in LA, Anh illustrated a children’s book that was published in early November 2020, in addition to commissions work here and there. She continued her online training on Schoolism, and spent her free time exploring LA, meeting cool people, and falling in love with motorcycles after she met a group of bikers at a local bookstore. By the end of the year, good news came: She got accepted into the Nick Artist Program. Anh knows her journey has just begun, but she knows she’s not alone on this road and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Dominique Evans
Dominique Evans
2021 General Design

Far away from the Los Angeles landscape, in a small South Jersey town resided an offbeat child named Dominique, plagued with an overactive imagination and gifted with little adult supervision. Rather than obsessing over paints, pencils, and paper, she obsessed over two bright, electric boxes: the computer and the television. From playing as superpowered heroes in video games to watching cartoons about the lives of non-human protagonists, the more speculative the fiction, the more she was enraptured. As she grew older, Dominique subliminally absorbed not only a taste for science fiction and fantasy, but an understanding of the status quo present in even the most innocuous content. After investing so many years on the internet, she found a platform that bolstered her creative writing hobby further: fanfiction. Writing for pre-existing worlds progressed into writing and drawing her own characters and by high school years, she had a realization. This burgeoning urge to draft her own works merging with a dissatisfaction with the limited scope of stories reflecting people like her encouraged Dominique to diversify media through her own writing and illustrations.

By the conclusion of high school, her commitment to a career in visual storytelling earned her acceptance into a handful of art schools and she set off to Moore College of Art & Design as an illustration major. Majoring in illustration introduced Dominique to the field of visual development, yet she could feel the distance from her goals in both her physical location and the non-specific curriculum structure. In hopes she would narrow the focus of her college experience, she added a concept art class to her schedule, invested a merit-based grant into an internship at Moondog Animation Studios, and tailored her senior thesis around development art. Despite all these efforts, upon graduation she still found herself a bit, well, career-challenged, and for the next several months Dominique chased after sporadic illustration opportunities with the anxiety of impending loan payments looming over her.

With financial hardships exacerbating an already stressful living situation, Dominique applied to the Americorps program City Year at the recommendation of a friend, and her service year in Philadelphia was the first of many turning points. After a year of balancing high school classroom support during the day and freelance comic artist at night, she still found herself without an entry way into animation. She made a decision to return to City Year, with one major change - she would transfer to the Los Angeles site. Living within the backyard of premiere animation studios had never been so within reach, so she took all those saved City Year stipends and migrated to the opposite side of the country.

As she transitioned from New Jersey to Los Angeles, Dominique conceptualized a plan: she would submit an application to the Nick Artist Program as a trial run, receive a rejection, and in the aftermath build a solid portfolio that would guarantee acceptance in the following year. In hindsight, this plan makes her laugh, incredulously at that. During the process of her application, that initial plan would constantly be tested and challenged, and ultimately it failed. One application submitted while sitting on a barely furnished apartment room floor lead to several phone and virtual calls, various bouts of crying, an existential crisis, and lastly a triumphant acceptance to join the upcoming the Nick Artist Program Design track. As far away from the Los Angeles landscape as she was, Dominique persisted with this ambition to break into animation, to illustrate for a living, and to simply, wholeheartedly create - not just for herself, but for the many kids escaping into the stories broadcasted on their computers and televisions, just as she did.

Read Bio

Artist Program Alum

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
India Boeckh
Kizzy Whitfield
Li Cree Hurt
Marisa Torres
Shannon Parayil
Evon Freeman
2011 Artist Program Alum

Evon's first words, at least from what her parents tell her, were "junk food", her favorite thing to do was not listening to instructions, and she was really good at taking things apart, and not being able to put them back together. Thankfully she at least learned to speak a few more words since then.

She was brought up in a multiracial family, with a Taiwanese mom and Caucasian dad. They were raising her to be a scientist or doctor or one of those jobs that makes a lot of money and parents always want you to be. Unfortunately it was soon clear that she had no desire to be a doctor and her abysmal math skills knocked out scientist.

As a child her mom would often take her back to Taiwan with her, if you've never been, it's really hot and humid there in the summer and no one wants to go outside. So to occupy her time she bought some how-to-draw books from the corner bookstore and started doodling. This was the beginning; and it was all thanks to boredom. So thank you boredom!

In high school she took as many art classes that she could fit into her schedule, pottery, photography, art, and computer graphics. Graduating during the dotcom boom made her decide to go to college for Graphic Design, however, she soon realized that she much preferred the art side of the job. After landing a job at Electronic Arts for character design, she decided to go back to school so that she could continue her career in art and design.

She then applied for the graduate program at the Academy of Art and got into the visual development program at the school. The program was one of the most enriching places she had been and her advisor Sherrie made sure that she got the most out of it.

After the spring show at the school and attending CTN she applied for the fellowship program at Nickelodeon and after a day of crazy interviewing and yummy sandwiches she was moving down to Burbank.

Chase Standley
2011 Artist Program Alum

Chase grew up in Pekin Illinois with a full head of creativity and hair. During his childhood he found a love for art through drawing football players and Spiderman while at home and drawing the war scenes from the movie 'Ants' on the back of homework sheets while at school. He spent most of those days going to school then coming home to draw for the rest of the day.

In High school his attention began to shift from tradition drawing into digital. Taking up Photoshop, he felt as if a new world had opened up and for the first time he was introduced to digital artist via the Internet. It was also during this time he became increasingly shallow and vowed that all other forms of art aside from video game art was rubbish.

After High school Chase enrolled into Illinois Central College where he became more open to others styles and regained his previous love of the old animation shows and movies he used to watch when he was younger. Looking closely at the designs of the characters and backgrounds inspired him to take up the whimsical designs that animation offered.

After spending a year and a half of community college He decided it was time to go to art school. After looking at the rates of the schools he soon realized it was extremely unrealistic to be able to attend. So he began to look for alternatives, luckily he was able to find The Concept Design Academy in Pasadena California, where after 2 semesters he found out about the Nickelodeon Artist Fellowship.

When he applied to the Nickelodeon Artist Fellowship, his semester at school had ended and he was not sure if the fellowship would fall through so he bought a plane ticket home, which fortunately turned out to be a bad idea. Chase now plans on taking this opportunity to show his dedication to art and hopes on being able to take advantage of the fantastic opportunity nickelodeon has to offered.

Keiko Murayama
2012 Artist Program Alum

Keiko grew up in Japan, watching anime, reading manga, and drawing characters. In junior high and high school, she started going to conventions and being a member of a comic drawing club. Her father hated that his daughter was being such nerd. Her mom, on the other hand, didn't care. After graduating high school, she didn't know what she wanted to do so her mom said, "why don’t you go study in America?" She took the advice, and moved to Texas to attend University. She majored in Art, but she was still searching for what exactly she wanted to do. Then one day, she was watching TV mindlessly, and on came this show, Samurai Jack. It was love at a first sight, (one way love perhaps.) The show was so graphic, cinematic, with beautiful BG and shape-oriented characters. She never seen anything like that back home; it was the biggest and the best culture shock ever. Next day, she was at the computer room looking up the art school in California, the center of all the entertainment.

She studied at Art Center College of Design. Studying there gave her even more respect for the skills and imagination it takes to make great cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, El Tigre, and my favorite, Mighty B! After graduating she worked as a graphic designer, a vis dev artist for Motion graphics, and a colorist in publishing. But during all these jobs, she still worked hard to get into my dream career in animation, and she have applied to Nickelodean many, many times over the past few years.

This year, her friend from school told me about the Nick Fellowship program, and of course she had to try. To be honest, she was very very surprised to be picked as a finalist. When Karen called her, she was so happy and shocked, repeating "Omg, really??" Then came the most nerve racking and exciting part – panel reviews. This process was quite official, but all the review boards were nice, and Karen and Amber were there to help all finalists do a good job. She was so nervous during the process, and she couldn’t quite remember what she said in there! All she did was to be honest about where she came from and express her passion for art. She must have been a super awkward goofball in their eyes... but hey, she got chosen as a trainee! Now, she is determined to work hard and learn hard, for herself and for everyone who chose her to be the part of this awesome program.

Samantha Kallis
2012 Artist Program Alum

Despite having been born in New Jersey, Samantha (for reasons obvious to anyone who has ever lived in New Jersey) considers herself an Angelino at heart. Being of Swiss and Russian heritage, she inherited the Swiss’ love of cheese, chocolate, hiking and timeliness, and the Russian people’s particular talent for enduring long winters. Also, she looks bizarrely good in funny fur trapper hats.

Samantha grew up in a family of artists surrounded by art; and, perhaps because of a prolonged exposure to paint fumes, has always known she was destined for a career in animation. It was no surprise to anyone when she announced her intentions to go into the "family business", though she did sense their slight disappointment when her family all asked at one point or another, "Wouldn’t you rather do something where you can actually make a living?" Despite their somewhat hypocritical misgivings, nothing could deter Samantha from her chosen path.

Jumping head first into her quest to become a professional artist, Samantha, at the tender age of thirteen and much to her parent's chagrin, enrolled herself in nude life-drawing classes at the local art college. After getting over the initial shock that the models were, indeed, naked – like, really, naked – Samantha decided that this this was the school that would help her achieve her animation dreams. (...Not because of all the naked people, but because of the awesome art teachers.) That local art college happened to be Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. It would be the place where Samantha would spend the next eight years of her artistic life, from Saturday High classes to eventually enrolling as an undergraduate student in the Illustration major. Art Center taught Samantha the important skills she would need to be professional in the animation industry: how to function on two hours of sleep a night, how to safely wash oil paint out of your cat's fur, how to survive on a diet comprised entirely of microwavable ramen... oh, and how to draw funny, insightful, charming and heartfelt pictures.

Since graduating with honors in the Spring of 2010, Samantha has been a part of a number of exciting projects in the entertainment industry, including an award winning documentary, a children's book for the iPad, and a feature animated film. In all of her professional experiences, Samantha strives to learn new skills, make new friends, seek out the next great adventure... and boldly go where no artist has gone before!

So, when Samantha heard about the Nick Artist Program, it sounded like the perfect next great adventure. Samantha sent off her portfolio, crossed her fingers, held her breath, realized holding her breath for three weeks was unrealistic, learned to paint with crossed fingers, and eventually giggled uncontrollably and embarrassingly when she was accepted into the program. Samantha plans to make her mark on Nickelodeon, hopefully not by accidentally drawing on the walls, but by offering her own unique contributions to the Nick team!

Let the adventure begin!

Darrell T. Watson Jr.
2013 Storyboard Track

Darrell was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He dreamed of playing professional sports until his Uncle Leroy and high school football coach, Shawn Sullivan, suggested that he should not neglect his love of ability to draw cartoons. During his final year in high school he attended the California State Summer School of The Arts (CSSSA), an artist summer camp for high school students. At CSSSA is where he realized art is much like sports. To become great at art, or sports, you have to consistently practice, dedicate yourself to learning the proper techniques, and love the process. Also during CSSSA is where he learned that he really loved animation more than sports.

After studying Character Animation at CalArts, then explore Experimental Animation at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, France for a semester, and working as a gourmet coffee barista, Darrell eventually landed a job as a character layout designer on the science show “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey”. He enjoyed the job but it wasn’t what he dreamed of becoming; he wanted to be a storyboard artist. Being selected for the Nickelodeon Artist Program has provided an opportunity for him to fulfill a personal dream.

Darrell is easily inspired by music, life, and movies. Some of his biggest influences are Motown Records, his family, Akira, “The Last Dragon”, “The Little Mermaid”, and Sailor Moon. He believes stories help us to connect, empathize, appreciate, and enjoy someone else’s world. Much like Jim Henson, he hopes to create stories that allow people to see the world’s differences as a positive thing.

Lane Garrison
2013 General Track

When Lane was young he had no idea that he wanted to work in animation or even as an artist. He knew he loved watching shows like Samurai Jack, Rugrats, X-Men, and anime and that he enjoyed emulating all of the wacky things within them. He also knew that he enjoyesd doodling, but at the time it was just another fun thing he could do along with sports, school, music, and adventuring.

A general interest in all things continued through middle school and high school along with his love of cartoons and drawing; which went so far as to earn him an award for Best Illustrated Comic in a High School Paper. As graduation approached, however, the career Lane imagined was not one of art but of marine biology. He visited Scripps Institution of Oceanography in preparation for his future as a champion of the sea… and then promptly accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Arizona where he enrolled as a mechanical engineering student.

College continued to be a place of adventure and exploration as Lane found himself constricted by the engineering regimen and switched first to Philosophy and then to East Asian Studies. While pursuing this new degree, Lane studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan where he apprenticed as a ceramicist. He also joined his school's art club where a true interest in 2D art took hold.

When he returned to the States he enrolled in more traditional art and 2D classes where he met his art mentor, David Christiana, who invited him to join a summer art program in Italy. Here, seduced by the beauty of the Italian countryside, he took visual storytelling and illustration courses that solidified his love for art.

After graduating, Lane had every intention of entering a Master's Program for art when he ended up winning the Imaginations contest held by Walt Disney Imagineering. He found himself will-o-the-wisped away to Los Angeles where for the first time he was fully exposed to the world of animation. He never realized that it was possible to live creating the shows he had loved as a child and at that moment knew there was nothing he would rather do.

Having never been trained in animation Lane quested for books, references, and reached out to local artists in order to learn the trade while he worked at Walt Disney Imagineering. And then he drew. And drew. And drew. Exploring as many techniques and styles as he could.

When his friend suggested that he apply for the Nickelodeon Artist Program he jumped at the opportunity to put all of his hard work to the test. Nickelodeon was not only the home of many of his favorite childhood cartoons, it was also a diverse studio where the creative spirit was alive and well. When he didn't hear back after a few months he didn't let it faze him and worked with his friend, Rafi, on creating a comic called "Thoughtstronauts" to push himself. When Nick contacted him he was completely blown away and the following process was one of the most intense he had ever experienced. He was a bit worried about his new mohawk hairdo but it was welcomed along with him into the Nickelodeon fold. He is bursting with excitement at the opportunity to work alongside so many amazing artists in such a nurturing environment and can't wait to learn and be a part of such an incredible Program!

Sylvia Liu
2013 General Track

Sylvia has loved art ever since she was a child. She also loves cheese and her two dogs, Angel and Milo. She was born in Texas riding horses and running barefoot outdoors. Being an only child left her a lot of time with her imagination and she spent hours every day in the big field next to her house, dreaming she was in a magical land. Through her art, she wanted to share with everyone the world she created in her mind.

She was lucky to realize her passion after winning her first coloring contest at a local market during kindergarten. From then on, she spent her time drawing Sailor Moon, unicorns, and anything she could think of. Sylvia's parents were supportive and let her make a huge mess with mounds and mounds of paper. Her family moved to California when she was in 4th grade and she continued to look for ways to become a better artist.

After graduating high school she was inspired by the "Skillful Huntsman" art book and applied to Art Center College of Design the next year. Getting into the "Orange Dot," aka Art Center, changed her life. She learned about the different fields in entertainment design such as video games, film, and especially animation. She met an instructor named Jeff Turley and found that she loved animation and decided to pursue visual development because of her love for story. Life at Art Center was crazy and a lot of work; she found herself pulling all-nighters and sleeping on the couches in the hallways. Always determined. Always tired.

After four terms, she had to leave school for financial reasons. She needed to help out her family so she worked at various places including Hasbro on the "Transformers Prime" TV show. During this time, she met a lot of cool people and some that had worked at Nickelodeon. She grew up with Nick shows, her favorites were "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters”, “Spongebob Squarepants”, and “Hey Arnold." Since she loved these shows as a kid, she really wanted to be at Nickelodeon and create great shows that other kids could enjoy too.

Sylvia wanted to apply to Nickelodeon for a while, but was never confident enough in her portfolio. After meeting a friend at a party, Keiko Murayama, who had just won a spot in the Nickelodeon Artist Program, she felt encouraged and confident. She applied the next year, and was so shocked to actually get in. The interviews were really intense because she gets nervous in front of people, but everyone was very nice. She can't wait to contribute to shows that the next generation of kids will love!

Meet Lisa

Lisa Vandenberg
2013 Storyboard Track

Growing up in the arctic tundra of Colorado, Lisa allowed her imagination to run free. You kind of have to when snow is all there is to look at. She grew up with her parents and three little sisters, all of which were blessed with the elusive math brain. Being the oldest child, and therefore also the ‘test child’. Lisa was given the freedom to pursue her artistic dream without any expectations of greatness. She wrote stories about creatures such as ‘Pigelechicken’ (pig/elephant/chicken) and Foxrabbicow (fox/rabbit/cow).

Lisa overcame her shyness about explaining and sharing her ideas after being sent to therapy because of them. There, she learned how to articulate her ideas more clearly, being forced to repeat a story in different ways. During this time, Lisa saw her first episode of “SpongeBob Squarepants” and became obsessed with it. Lisa made sure to watch episodes everyday and decided then and there that she would one day work where SpongeBob was made.

Middle school and high school were spent practicing and drawing cartoons while she waited to become old enough to go off to an art college. She spent those days creating webcomics about soap opera stars and tax collectors.

Lisa went to the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, where she studied 2D Animation. She met classmate, Rebecca Schauer, who shared the same kind of twisted humor. Together the two began creating animations no one else cared about.

The morning after graduation Lisa immediately packed up her car and moved out, dragging her friend Becca along. They moved to California to pursue their dreams of animation and storytelling. After a year of being in California, continuing to work on webcomics and an animated web series, Lisa tried to branch out into indie video games. However, she decided to finally apply to her dream job after feeling confident enough about her work.

Still not convinced that she is here out of some kind of “mistake”, Lisa will try her very best to become a contributing artist at Nickelodeon and assist in creating shows that will inspire kids to follow their passions the way SpongeBob did for her.

Elaine Wu
Elaine Wu
2014 General Track

As a child, Elaine always expressed an interest in the arts; whether it was braiding bracelets, or making paper dolls (she must have made a hundred of them, each with their own stories and families). When she was 4, she started to learn to play the piano, and her teacher would always ask her to think of what the music made her imagine, whether it was an image or a story, and try to channel that through her playing. These experiences made her gravitate towards story and character-driven content, like the cartoons on Nickelodeon!

Having played piano for so long, Elaine thought she would be a music major in college, but after watching “Spirited Away” for the first time, she felt more inspired by animation than by the piano. She was blown away by the film’s story, visuals, and music and she realized that in animation anything is possible. When she told her parents that she wanted to study animation in college, they panicked (a lot), but luckily they were very supportive. In the fall of 2009, Elaine entered Ringling College of Art and Design as a Computer Animation major, and it was life changing! She had to work really hard to catch up to her wonderfully inspiring and talented classmates, but she loved every sleep-deprived moment.

At Ringling, the Computer Animation majors are taken through a generalist program, where they learn all aspects of the pipeline and it was difficult for Elaine to decide what she wanted to focus on. Since the curriculum was filled with only 3D courses, she found time to squeeze in painting late at night. She scrounged up a visual development portfolio during junior year and was incredibly fortunate to get an internship at Blue Sky Studios. From that point on, she knew that designing and painting was what she wanted to do!

When senior year came, Elaine had to devote 100% of her time towards making a 3D animated short film and unfortunately there was no time for designing or painting. Despite this, she was very excited to make a film called “Chicken or the Egg” with her roommate / best friend and partner in crime. After graduation, she realized that she hadn’t painted or designed in a year and was stuck in a funk. During this time she got to work as a 3D artist and illustrator at Brand New School and JibJab Media Inc. and also took classes at Concept Design Academy, which gave her the push she needed to start creating art she enjoyed.

Elaine’s mentor from Blue Sky Studios gave her lots of great advice, and she worked hard to improve her portfolio and applied only to places she really wanted to work at – one of which was Nickelodeon. She first heard about the Nick Artist Program through a friend and thought it was an incredible opportunity. The application and interview process was intimidating and nerve-wracking, but after a whirlwind of events she is thrilled to be working alongside so many friendly and wonderful artists! She is excited to see how much she will improve during the Program and is so thankful for this opportunity!!

Celestino Marina
Celestino Marina
2014 Storyboard Track

Celestino was born in Mexico City and raised in Laredo, Texas. Even though he had drawn his whole life and loved it, Celestino discovered his love of storytelling when he was going through middle school and high school. Inspired and fascinated by the people around him, he began to draw cartoons about his friends, teachers, and family. They all soon became characters of their own within the cartoons and even though not everyone would be pleased with making an “appearance” in the stories, he still managed to accidentally develop an audience. This was when he began to consciously discover the magic of storytelling. When he realized that his simple cartoons could provoke some sort of emotional response from others, it was all over. For better or worse, it became the only thing he could ever see himself doing with his life… even though he’d always wanted to be a professional wrestler.

When the time came to choose something to study, he found animation to be the perfect storm, combining everything he ever loved within one medium. He studied at the California College of the Arts in Oakland; where he was mentored by an amazing group of professionals. Their wisdom and generosity was very impactful. While in school, he realized that what he loved most about animation was the same thing he loved about drawing: the medium’s potential to tell stories! Having had a tremendous passion for film his whole life, it would be no surprise that the most fun he’d ever have would be found in making films like ‘Amigo’ alongside his friends.

A few days after graduating, Celestino somehow found himself animating on ‘The Dam Keeper’, an independent animated short, with an amazing group of artists and professionals. In this project, he discovered how truly awesome collaboration could be. He was completely surrounded by fully devoted and passionate individuals who always delivered on the highest level possible, making the production an incredible experience.

Almost a year later, he’s now a part of the Nickelodeon Artist Program. Having grown up on great Nick shows like ‘Hey Arnold’, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’, and later discovering ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’, he is truly excited to be a part of the stories that are being told on television as well as working with and learning from the amazing folks at Nickelodeon. There is so much that can be done, so many stories that haven’t been told, and so many people to entertain in this world. He truly loves how stories can, in a way, document one’s life and introduce people to completely new things that they’ve somehow always known, all the while still broadening their perspective.

Angelica Russell
Angelica Russell
2014 Storyboard Track

As a wee young Jelly, Angelica started out with aspirations to be a vet, a doctor, and a fire fighter. She was six, and clearly just wanted to be everything she saw in her picture books. She then realized that while they were respectable careers, she didn’t want to put down animals, put down people, or put down fires.

Ever since she could hold things in her grubby little hands, Angelica was drawing comics, stories, and using every trip to the doctor’s office as a chance to steal their note pads and make a new flip book. Although many things changed in her life, the one constant thing was cartoons. If she wasn’t watching them, she was drawing and making her own. She was always filling up sketchbook after sketchbook, notebook after notebook, creating stories and comics to sometimes share, but not always… most of the time not.

Eventually, Angelica decided to “go green”, and made use of her parents computers (not that she knew what that slogan meant, as a kid in the early 2000’s.) She loved to work digitally, even though all she had at her disposal was a mouse and a touchpad. This was alright at first, but since she drew so much, it was troublesome for her parents who actually needed to use their computers. When high school rolled around, her parents helped her buy a laptop and tablet, on which she promptly installed Photoshop and Flash. Angelica took every art class that interested her, and with the support of her family, friends, and teachers, her dreams of working in animation grew. She also played soccer and played the flute in marching band. She was a very busy little bee.

When the time came to go to college, she applied to fancy art schools to study 2D animation. However, the cost to attend these schools was too expensive, so instead she tried a small Chicago school that was more affordable and closer to home. It only offered 3D animation, and Angelica hoped that since it was just another form of the medium, it would still feel the same. Turns out, that wasn’t the case. After a year of misery, she took some time off, and then applied to the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and she was accepted. She then said goodbye to family and friends, and hello to Denver and its rocky Colorado mountains.

At RMCAD, Angelica made some of her most cherished friends, including Artist Program Alumni, Lisa Vandenberg. Since she had to work to pay for school, Angelica had very little free time; so it’s really a miracle that she made any friends at all. After graduation, she set her eyes further west… on sunny California to work toward landing her dream job.

However, before the move, she and her boyfriend took a month long excursion to travel through Europe. It was just what was needed to cure post college burn out. It recharged Angelica for the new adventures that laid ahead on the west coast, and highly recommends it to anyone who might be on the fence about taking such a trip. After moving to California, months were spent taking classes and grinding away on a new portfolio. Angelica did some freelance illustration and made more terrific lifelong friends in LA! These new friends, and old ones alike, all told Angelica one thing: “The Nickelodeon Artist Progam! APPLY! DO IT! GO GO GO JELLY!”

The rest was history, as some might say. Amidst the chaos of life, the stars aligned and she fandangled her way into an amazing dream job at Nickelodeon!! There are countless people that span across states and times, from childhood to the present, that all played a part in making Angelica the artist she is today. She hopes they know who they are, because to name them all, as well as how they helped her along, would be another page and a half of long winded banter and this bio is really long already!

Laura Price
Laura Price
2014 General Track

Ever since Laura was a wee lass in the boonies of southwest Virginia, she’s always wanted to be an artist. Growing up, Nickelodeon cartoons had a huge influence on her life. She remembers long family dinners during which she strained to see the television in the next room in anticipation of the newest “Spongebob Squarepants” episode. By the ripe age of twelve, equipped with braces and rainbow toe socks (they were cool, I swear), Laura received her first drawing tablet. She only used it for the crucial things: embarrassing fanart, and character designs for her Neopets. She wished that she could design cartoons professionally someday, but didn’t know jobs like that existed!

Ten years later, Laura is still just a big kid at heart who watches cartoons like nobody’s business. She attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a degree in fine arts and French. Since Illustration and Animation weren’t offered at her school, Laura spent most of her time on side projects, teaching herself digital painting. She was discouraged from drawing cartoons or painting in Photoshop by her professors, but she didn’t let that get her down! By her third year of college, she realized what she needed to do was work in the animation industry. So she practiced and practiced, and challenged herself to reach the quality of art she saw in professional portfolios online.

Since graduation, Laura was selected for an artist residency in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts, as well as an assistantship in France. She taught English at a high school and traveled around Europe for a year; her adventures were a great inspiration for her art. While abroad, Laura was chosen for a one-on-one Motivarti mentorship with visual development artist Craig Elliott. Craig taught her all about the animation industry and helped her improve a ton. Laura is so excited to have been invited to participate in the Nick Artist Program, during which she will be trained for a specific role on a show. It’s an amazing learning experience and a fantastic way to begin her adventures in the animation industry, and she is so thankful for this awesome opportunity!

Jerry Suh
Jerry Suh
2015 General Track

Back in the good ol’ 90s, Jerry’s mom, who had a great sense of humor, gave her daughter an English nickname from the cartoon “Tom and Jerry.” Jerry has always identified with “Jerry” ever since, and knew she was bound to work in cartoons.

When Jerry was in second grade she knew she was serious about cartoons. But of course, how serious can an eight-year-old kid be? But she and two of her cousins started a project to make a comic of their own. Her cousins finished it in about a month and moved on with their lives but Jerry just couldn’t let go. It took five years of drawings and thoughts to finish her first comic, and by that time Jerry knew she had to do this for the rest of her life.

Two years later, she broke her piggy bank to print her comics to sell to the public. When she saw people giggling while reading her comic, she experienced overwhelmingly positive feelings, which people casually call “happiness”. Jerry was convinced that she wanted to live an artist’s life.

Scared to be a “starving artist” at first, Jerry attended Cornell University to study architecture. She found it difficult to devote endless hours to her architecture assignments. Then, she realized that it was actually more difficult to ignore her true passion, animation. So she transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where she studied 3D animation with wonderful friends and professors.

After countless sleep-deprived nights, Jerry was accepted into Pixar to intern in the Technical Department. She was fascinated to see how every single pixel was devoted to storytelling. Although she learned so many valuable skills from amazing mentors, she found herself wanting to adapt these techniques to her passion for design. It was intimidating to change her focus from 3D to 2D in the last year of college, but she stuck with her belief that if she continued to stay true to herself, there would be always a way.

There were many up’s and down’s but Jerry is more than happy she found her way to Nickelodeon. She still vividly remembers the day when she was 14, she sat down in front of the TV watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” wondering what it would be like to be an artist for the incredibly creative animation. If only she could time travel and tell her younger self that someday she would be working for the studio that inspired her so much… She is excited to join the Program and learn how to infuse story into her designs from the amazing artists at Nickelodeon.

Jerry truly believes it’s a blessing to be passionate about something and pursue it. She is thankful to have made it so far and to have discovered who she really is as an artist. She is looking forward to cherishing every moment along her ongoing journey.

Marcos Cohen
Marcos Cohen
2015 General Track

Marcos was born in Venezuela, and ever since he was young, he always showed an interest in the arts. Painting, drawing, and clay modeling were among his most favorite daily activities. He really developed an enthusiasm for color and painting by watching his Mom, an avid artist who focused on oil painting. But it wasn't until his first visit to the movie theater, at the age of four, to see Disney's “Cinderella” that he discovered animation and its connection to art.

Ever since then, Marcos never stopped watching cartoons, and his fixation for animation grew and grew. He drew every day at every moment, even during math class, so it didn't take long for his teachers to find out about it, but instead of reprimanding him for that, they decided to keep him busy doing various creative projects around school. Marcos's friends and teachers always encouraged him to pursue a career in the arts, but the most viable way to make a living as an artist in Venezuela was through a career in graphic design, so that was the path he took.

After working in graphic design for a few years, Marcos had the opportunity to move to the United States to finally pursuit his dream of working in animation. After learning a new language and working at non-artistic jobs to save money, he decided to prepare himself to attend CalArts, which turned out to be a great school choice for him. He made good friends, found great mentors and was able to scored internships at awesome companies such as Disney Animation Studios, Jib Jab, and Pixar. Marcos constantly pushes himself to improve his skills, so he has complemented his studies by taking additional art classes at Concept Design Academy and

Now Marcos is part of this year's Nickelodeon Artist Program, and he is enjoying every single moment of it. “Rugrats”, “Ren and Stimpy”, and “Avatar: The last Airbender” are among his most beloved Nick shows. Marcos thinks that hard work and dedication are the keys for achieving your goals and that everything is possible as long as you put forth effort and discipline into what you do and, more importantly, believe in yourself. Marcos is very excited about being here at Nick, and he's very enthusiastic about the experiences that this Program will bring.

Mallory Carlson
Mallory Carlson
2015 General Track

Mallory’s first memory is being a chubby three year old and drawing all over her brother’s bedroom door with a crayon…and then she ate the crayon. While that crayon is long gone, her love of drawing remains. One of her favorite activities was going to the public library in Ventura County, where she grew up. She always headed straight for the “How to Draw” books. “How to Draw Puppies” was definitely her favorite.

She always knew that she wanted to be an artist of some kind, but it wasn’t until elementary school when she watched “Hey Arnold”, that she knew she wanted to work in animation. Mallory thought it was so cool that Arnold was in fourth grade, and so was she! She really related to everything he went through: fifth graders really were huge and intimidating! It was then that she decided she wanted to help tell stories like that someday.

In high school, her classmates knew Mallory as that “dorky girl who draws stuff,” and she was a hot commodity for group projects. Mallory drew on anything within her reach, and had even started dabbling in using the computer to draw. At first, she used a mouse, and she’s still not sure how she was able to do that.

When it came time for college, it was no surprise that Mallory wanted to major in animation. She looked into Cal State Fullerton’s Entertainment Arts program, and it sounded fantastic! Illustration, life drawing, and animal drawing, oh my! She packed up her stuff and headed down to Orange County to start her journey. From the very first art class, she was hooked! She jumped on her Wacom stylus and rode off into the night, leaving pixels in her wake.

College was amazing, but it couldn’t last forever. After graduating, Mallory continued to improve her skill sets, by taking online classes. She learned new skills, received helpful feedback and critiques, and made great artist friends along the way!

It turned out that getting her magical dream job at an animation studio wasn’t so easy. She ended up freelancing and teaching a Photoshop class to pay the bills, but she couldn’t ignore her dreams of working in an animation studio. So, while freelancing, teaching, and taking online classes, Mallory also worked feverishly on a new portfolio.

She knew that she wanted to apply for the Nickelodeon Artist Program, and she watched the submission period draw closer. Was her portfolio ready?! Over the last year her art had improved, but she still saw things that she wanted to work on. Determined, she decided that she would probably always feel the need to get better as an artist, so she might as well go for it!

Somehow, despite Mallory being sure they had made a mistake, she was selected as a finalist! During the interviews, getting to see the Nickelodeon Studio was a dream come true, and she may have danced around a little. It was an intense process, but she made it through! The day the call came in, Mallory tried to stay calm…wait, what? She got a spot?!?! She couldn’t believe it at that moment, and she has spent every minute since trying to convince herself that this isn’t just an elaborate dream.

April  Amézquita
April Amézquita
2015 Storyboard Track

As the saying goes, good things come in small packages. This not only applies to mail, but also to April – a tiny girl with fluffy curly hair and a huge imagination. Some say April was born with a pencil in one hand and a cookie in the other. Regardless of this myth’s merit and her insatiable sweet tooth, it can be said that she had an amazing ability to draw, draw, draw, and draw some more. April became notorious for covering every sticky note, scrap of paper and homework assignment with drawings.

Her parents recognized her passion and supported her interest in digital art. As an architect, her father had left over drafting equipment, and gifted April with two of the biggest tools of the trade: A copy of Photoshop 6.0 and a Summasketch II drawing tablet. While the tablet had a corded stylus, no pressure sensitivity, and was larger than half her body, April was excited and eager to translate her drawing skills into the computer. Starting from the 6th grade, April drew like never before, and began to explore the blossoming online art communities of Neopets forums, DeviantArt profiles and online tutorials.

April took every art class offered in high school, ranging from ceramics to AP Studio Art. She came to the ultimate decision to pursue art professionally by applying to art colleges. Through a flurry of application materials, rushed portfolios packages, and lots of email correspondence, her hard work paid off and she was accepted into Otis College of Art and Design. April was beyond excited to begin her studies in Digital Media, and moved from San Diego to Los Angeles.

It was in her first elective course, Visual Storytelling for Entertainment, that she learned about storyboarding. At last! She found there was an actual name and profession for what she loved to do the most – bringing stories to life! She discovered that many of her original comics and illustration projects over the years easily translated into this medium.

At this point she firmly decided to focus on storyboarding. Although there was a lack of story-specific courses, she reached out to professors, professionals and alumni to round out her education. As April continued to develop her artistic skills, she also gained self-confidence and independence through various campus leadership positions.

After graduating from Otis with a BFA, she took a much-needed break to spend time with her family and pampered dogs. She delved back into all the popular TV shows, movies, video games, comics and anime she had so dearly missed during her stressful finals. She began to apply to jobs in the animation industry, including Nickelodeon’s Artist Program. When she heard back from the program, she was surprised and blown away! Incredible! She had been selected as a semi-finalist! Weeks passed, and then another surprise phone call! WHAT?? Now she was a finalist! After intense evaluations and multiple interviews, she was honored to accept a position in NAP’s Storyboard Track. April continues to be amazed and star-struck as she swipes into the Nickelodeon building without being kicked out for trespassing. And so begins her journey into the industry she has always dreamed of, one step at a time.

Cai Willis
Cai Willis
2015 Storyboard Track

Cai always loved watching TV growing up, and would exclusively watch animation. (Honestly, they were a little bit of a brat about it.) Luckily for their parents, Nickelodeon offered tons of animated content to quench their unending thirst. It was during that gilded era of “Ren and Stimpy” and “Rugrats” that Cai’s ambition to work in animation was solidified.

They knew they wanted to be an artist, but where to begin? They ran to their mom’s bookshelf and began the most intense research a seven-year-old could muster: they looked up “animation” in the dictionary. Next to the definition, there were twelve drawings of Bugs Bunny on a strip of film that added up to just one second of animation. Cai knew that they could barely finish one picture in a day, let alone twelve! They immediately started drawing anything and everything. The pause button on the family VCR wore off from how many times they’d stop VHS tapes to draw their favorite characters. Their dad, who is a painter, helped them explore all sorts of mediums, and set up the occasional still life that they would paint together.

In third grade, they created a comic about a half-horse, half-rabbit superhero, which grabbed their classmates’ attention. Many portrait requests were made, but the demand was too high to keep up with! Cai had to demand compensation for their efforts, and soon they were sitting on a throne of nickels and extra ice creams. (They "sold out" early.)

Throughout their high school years, they always took any available art classes and entered their work in many galleries and competitions. This garnered notice from several art colleges who offered them bountiful scholarships. However, Cai was unsure about the artist life due to one too many “you’ll be starving” speeches by a few discouraging adults. So, they ended up going to an engineering school to study architecture. After a year or so, they were miserable (and had accidentally glued one too many model trees to their hand) so they accepted Savannah College of Art and Design’s scholarship offer and transferred there.

It wasn’t long before they got an internship at Nickelodeon on “SpongeBob SquarePants”! The talented people creating the show were so hard-working and passionate, Cai couldn’t help but be inspired to create something of their own. They developed their first animated film, “East and West,” a story about two creation gods who battle to see who is supreme! After their internship ended, they traveled to Hong Kong to do location research with their crew. Many of their adventures traversing the hidden alleyways and magnificent monasteries influenced the final vision of the film.

Upon completing their film and graduating, they moved out to L.A., buckled down, and took a storyboarding class with Tron Mai at Concept Design Academy to improve their portfolio. They applied to Oddbot Inc. and storyboarded a few pilots there, but still had an itch to work in TV animation.

They moved into an amazing house filled with wonderful artist friends who encouraged them to apply to the Nick Artist Program to continue to pursue their passion! And now that they're at Nickelodeon, they hope to continue to work with amazing people in the animation industry!

Daniella Rosu-Ortiz
Daniella Rosu-Ortiz
2016 General Track

Daniella is a self-taught artist from Mexico City. She was always the weird kid that preferred to play with art supplies instead of dolls. As an only child, cartoons were her constant companions and were a positive influence on her life. It was no surprise that when she found out her beloved characters were drawings (that by some kind of magic were able to move) she decided she had to be a part of their world.

When it came time to choose a career path, universities in Mexico offered very limited opportunities to study animation. Daniella reluctantly followed her family’s advice to pursue a degree that offered “more opportunities” and she began her studies in Industrial Design. She couldn’t ignore her passion for art, so she continued drawing and painting every chance she had.

As luck would have it, through her university, she was presented with an amazing opportunity to participate in a unique program for Animation and Character Design. Her participation in this program revived her desire to pursue her childhood dream. She began to teach herself Visual Development by watching tutorials, reading books and analyzing artbooks. This arena of filmmaking became her love and passion. The idea of working on designing environments, characters and worlds to support a story excited her like nothing else before.

She went on to graduate and put her education to work as a designer at an advertising agency. While this wasn’t fulfilling her creative desires, she eventually discovered that this experience would be a great asset in visual development. She had become accustomed to a “problem-solving” approach and gained an understanding of addressing character and story needs. Daniella dealt with concepts of function, movement, structure and drawing fundamentals. On top of all this, she spent all of her spare time honing her artistic skills as a freelance illustrator.

With the support of her family, she decided to dedicate herself for one year to working on her portfolio full-time. She quit her job and created brand new content, specifically to apply for the Nick Artist Program, and despite her own disbelief she made it to the end. She still has to pinch herself every morning before coming to Nick; working here was her biggest dream! She is doing her best to make the most of this opportunity and hopefully will inspire other artists to follow their heart, even with no formal training.

Najja Porter
Najja Porter
2016 Storyboard Track

Najja has always found a way to escape through animation, even before she knew what to call it. Once her family discovered cable television, Nickelodeon became her main source of entertainment. She memorized how to draw all of her favorite characters, launching her passion for illustration. That passion found its way onto many empty patches of dirt, chalked up streets, clothes, and even her bedroom furniture, which did not please her parents. Throughout her childhood, her family moved from city to city and she often found herself friendless and even homeless a few times. Sometimes drawing was the only thing she could do to stay sane. In every school she was enrolled, she quickly became “the girl who draws”. It was this need to express herself that gave her the drive to pursue art as a profession in order to give the next generation of fans something to dream about.

After high school, she set course for the University of South Florida, where she studied graphic design, the closest major offered in fulfilling her dream of learning animation. She held on to her hopes of entering the animation industry and figured she’d work on it in her spare time. Quickly she discovered that the constricted and rigorous graphic design coursework offered her no time to work on her passion projects and was not something she could tolerate for four years. With the support of her peers and professors, she decided to face her fears, follow her heart, and apply for art school. She transferred to the Art Institute of Tampa where she graduated with her BFA in Media Arts and Animation.

Najja got her first industry job working alongside some of her fellow alumni at Echo Bridge Pictures, a small animation studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. Working at a small studio, she found herself doing many different tasks such as designing characters, backgrounds, layouts, and animating on shows like Major Lazer and Axe Cop. Her biggest thrill was seeing her name in the credits on TV! When production wrapped, she kept busy with commission work and found herself “California dreaming” and yearning for a place, somewhere over the rainbow, where her work would be seen and her time valued.

Najja soon discovered that Nickelodeon, her initial source of artistic inspiration, had an Artist Program. The thought of working at her dream factory was almost inconceivable! There was certainly nothing to lose and everything to gain in applying. Upon waiting to hear back from Nickelodeon, she decided to take a chance and follow her dreams of being where the magic happens. She packed up all of her belongings into her little wagon and set forth across the country to the promised land of California (ironic how not much has changed since 1848). Just as she was getting settled in L.A., she received the congratulatory phone call from Nickelodeon, the studio that was now changing her life for a second time.

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Jake Kim
Jake Kim
2018 Storyboard Track

Jake has loved drawing and watching cartoons for as long as he can remember. When Jake was 5 years old, he saw his brother drawing in a sketchbook and tried to copy what he was doing and was hooked. Even after his sibling moved on to other interests, Jake’s love of drawing persisted. When he started elementary school, Jake continued to draw non-stop, and lucky for him, his teachers encouraged this habit.

Jake was born in South Korea, and at age 14, he moved to Dallas, Texas with his family. Starting out, they didn’t have much furniture, but they did have a television in the living room. Every Sunday, Jake woke up early in the morning to watch cartoons on the kids’ WB channel to learn English. As Jake watched his cartoons, he drew his favorite characters in his sketchbook. He eventually thought it would be fun to make a comic book featuring his own story and characters. Just a few months later, he showed his comic book to his friends, and to his delight, everyone loved it! He imagined it would be so wonderful if he could grow up to work in the animation industry and create stories that would entertain people.

In 2011, Jake moved to L.A. and attended Otis College of Art & Design. He knew that his end goal was to get a job at an animation studio, but he wasn’t sure how to get there. In his sophomore year, Jake met a fellow student who showed him a storyboard he had been working on. At that moment, Jake knew that this is what he wanted to learn and do for rest of his life.

Jake wanted to change his major to storyboarding, but there weren’t any classes available during his junior year. That’s when he realized that he had to take matters into his own hands (literally). He watched Youtube videos to learn the basics. He studied story portfolios of students from different schools and asked questions to any and all storyboard artists he could find. He also went to CTN Expo to meet working artists and get portfolio reviews. Jake realized that practicing and getting feedback was the best way to develop his skills and he believed that if he kept at it, he could fulfill his dream of becoming a storyboard artist.

After graduating, Jake took a day job in a sushi restaurant. Even though he was working a full-time job, he never stopped developing his portfolio. He used his two-hour break each day, to work on his storyboards. He took additional classes from Concept Design Academy and continued applying for storyboard jobs and trainee/mentorship programs. In 2017, after applying to the Nickelodeon Artist Program for his 4th time, his prayers were finally answered, and he joined the Artist Program as a storyboard artist.

Abigail Muñoz
Abigail Muñoz
2018 General Design Track

Abigail couldn’t have been much older than six when she began to explore the world of animation. It all started on one fateful afternoon, when she was pressing buttons on the remote control while watching a cartoon on VHS tape. One button caused the film to play slowly, frame-by-frame, drawing-by-drawing. Fascinated by this discovery, Abigail started trying this with all of her movies, and she began drawing her own characters in motion. It was only a matter of time before she’d try making her own animations – using her mom’s sticky notepads to make flipbooks.

She didn’t know about all the kinds of career options in the field of animation, but she did know one thing for certain – nothing made her happier than drawing, and she began telling adults that she wanted to be a “cartoonist” when she grew up. Her teachers seemed to agree – Abigail was not exactly the most focused of students (she much preferred to get lost in her imagination than pay attention) but there was one area where she excelled in, and that was in art. Her parents soon realized that nothing would ever change their daughter’s mind – becoming an artist is what she truly felt she was meant to do.

And so, Abigail dedicated her life to the pursuit of this goal, and got sidetracked only briefly in her pre-teen years, during which she fantasized about pursuing music and becoming a rock star instead. Once back on track though, she spent high school studying art books and watching animation documentaries when she should’ve been doing her school work, but she managed to graduate anyway, and went on to Academy of Art University in San Francisco. There, she majored in Visual Development doing what she discovered she loved the most – designing characters and the worlds that they live in – and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2015.

Abigail’s first art job was working as an independent contractor alongside Facebook’s art and animation team in Menlo Park. There, she spent seven months strengthening her character design and illustration skills while providing artwork for a variety of projects, including Facebook Stickers. After her time there was done, she went on to teach a Pre-College course at Academy of Art University.

Abigail applied to the Nickelodeon Artist Program in the summer of 2017, and couldn’t believe it when she received a call letting her know that she was a semi-finalist. After the next few months of interviews, she received the news in December that she was the chosen artist! A lifelong dream had led her to this moment – and now, she will continue to learn and grow while doing what she loves the most. She is still obsessed with rock music (though she’s long accepted that rock stardom isn’t for her) and has discovered her other passion - traveling by herself to far-off places, while taking only the essentials: her backpack, and her always-present sketchbook.

Anna Hill
Anna Hill
2019 Storyboard Track

Contrary to popular belief, Anna is an artist who was born right here on earth. Her family, originally from Chicago, bounced around the country before settling in greater New York in the 90’s. There, she grew up burdened with a heavy case of middle child syndrome and a chronic need to make cartoons in whatever form she could-- illustrations, comics, and the staple for any animation-based origin story: tiny post-it flip books.

Year after year in school conferences, her teachers would tell her parents the same thing: she could be an excellent student if she stopped staring out the window, and stopped drawing in class. However, it was never going to happen. By her teen years, between sneaking over to her friend’s house to watch old Simpsons re-runs (a show banned in her household) and pouring over art books that were stolen from the library (due to late-fee related crimes), Anna became enamored with animation.

As high school drew to a close, her dad, having come from an artistic background himself, encouraged her to pursue art as a career. Motivated by an itch to experience life outside of New York, Anna decided to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she majored in 2D animation. There, she discovered what excited her the most about animation: storyboarding. In 2016 she received her BFA, and set out to follow her dream of breaking into the animation industry in Los Angeles, California.

But dreams don’t ever come easy. Anna spent what felt like eons stuck in an endless cycle of applications and rejections, including in 2017 when she was “thank-you-no-thank you’d” as a semi-finalist for the Nick Artist Program. She worked a dead end service industry job. She moved four times. It felt like career purgatory. As time wore on, her dream of breaking into the industry only seemed to become more and more unrealistic.

Finally, her persistence paid off when she landed a job storyboarding 2D shorts for an educational company. There, Anna was able to spend time strengthening her boarding skills and learning everything she could about working on a production team. But she had a gut feeling that she wasn’t done with Nickelodeon.

In the summer of 2018, she applied to the Artist Program for the second time. Several months of interviews and one congratulatory phone call later, Anna now walks into the Nickelodeon building every morning thankful to everyone who encouraged and helped her along the way! She is so excited to work alongside the incredible artists at the studio who share her insatiable passion for storytelling.

Sarah Jaques
Sarah Jaques
2019 Design Track

Sarah was a very curious child growing up. As the spawn of a musician and artist-turned-accountant, she was always encouraged to explore and nurture her creativity. Her younger days were bursting with music, art, tall tales, and an alarming amount of fish sticks. While visiting her uncle in San Francisco, she begged her parents to take her to the Cartoon Art Museum. Even though she was already an avid fan of cartoons, seeing the exhibits break down the steps of making an animated film, made her realize that cartoons combined everything she loved to do most; drawing, storytelling, and music. Sarah left San Francisco with a newfound passion and zoetrope in hand.

Despite all this, Sarah never really considered that art was something she could do professionally. Weren’t artists supposed to be starving? For most of her childhood, Sarah’s intense love for literature and writing had her heart set on the high stakes, high-earning position of an English teacher. But art continued to make a grab at her attention. If she wasn’t hunched over her desk reading and writing, she was hunched over her desk drawing and painting.

When it came time to seriously think about what to do after high school, Sarah - casually - looked up careers in animation. A whole new world of possibilities opened up and she practically applied for art school right then and there. The last years leading up to her graduation were ones filled with art, sweat, and a determination to get into art school.

Sarah decided to study 2D design for video games and traditional animation at Laguna College of Art and Design. Being able to experience the world of both games and cartoons gave her the opportunity to explore quite a few different paths—working on the stop motion short "Un Garcon et sa Bête," interning at Gallery Nucleus, and collaborating with USC students to make video games.

During her undergrad studies, Sarah took a class dedicated to layout, where she quickly learned that animated TV production was where she wanted to be. After a - very dramatic - period of reflecting on her childhood (which included consuming an alarmingly large amount of Nick cartoons), she knew that Nickelodeon was precisely where she needed to be. She stumbled upon the Nick Artist Program during her research, and it seemed almost too good to be true.

For her senior project, Sarah knew that she wanted to combine her love of world-building and animation to create a portfolio worthy of Nick. Many long, caffeine-filled nights later, Sarah graduated May of 2018, with her short The Nights of LA as well as a design portfolio. She applied to the Artist Program, with crossed fingers and a lot of nerves. After a summer of teaching art and months of full-time barista-ing, she got the call. She was in! Sarah is determined to work hard, sweat that creative sweat, and do her very best, as she revels in the fact that she finally has the chance to make her mark in a place she only dreamed of as a child.

India Boeckh
India Boeckh
2020 Design Track

India was a typical Florida kid. She spent her childhood outside exploring nature and galivanting with the neighbor kids. If she wasn’t out catching lizards or digging for worms, she could be found inside drawing. Drawing was an obsession for India from the moment she could hold a crayon. Her parents still have her first illustration, titled “Varying scribbles resembling a Stegosaurus.” Her interest in art continued into middle school where she would draw things for her friends in exchange for snacks and would collaborate on handmade comics during recess with students from different classes.

As a child, cartoons were India’s favorite thing to watch. Saturday mornings were coveted. When her parents revealed to her that making animations and cartoons was a job, she knew that she didn’t want to do anything else. Drawing became her only focus, and nothing would deter her from pursuing it. Fast forward to high school, India’s commitment to art had not dwindled in the slightest. While all her close friends were getting ready for college, they wanted to be pharmacists, engineers, and doctors. India never felt the need to go to a typical academic university and knew that art school was where she wanted to be. She attended Ringling College of Art + Design and majored in Illustration. While at school she discovered there are many different avenues within animation under the umbrella of visual development. Through artbooks and new animated content that was becoming more readily available, her love for environments and backgrounds grew. By the end of sophomore year, she wanted to curb her focus on environment design and background painting for animation.

After graduation, India did freelance work for a multitude of different companies (mostly ad agencies). She was grateful for the experiences with these companies but knew that this wasn’t the type of art she wanted to do. She knew she was still in love with animation and wanted to tell stories and create worlds. A few months later she got a post-grad internship as a Character Design Assistant in Orlando for 6 months with Disney Creative Group. With that under her belt, she was determined to continue on this track and break into animation. She decided to take the leap and moved to LA.

Once she arrived in LA, India attended conventions, talks and explored the city. It was amazing being surrounded by art and creatives and was eye-opening exploring what was available to her in the city. India applied to the Nick Artist Program, and while waiting she worked freelance gigs. By the end of the year, she heard the good news: she had made it! She now is doing what she always dreamed of, and is excited to continue to work around such talented people.

Kizzy Whitfield
Kizzy Whitfield
2020 Storyboard Track

Kizzy is a Zimbabwean American artist that loves stories about flawed characters and amazing adventures. She is a big fan of comedy and loves to make people laugh, whether it be from telling hilarious jokes, or her own contagious laughter. She is determined to create works that have the world slapping their knees. When she isn't busy being silly, she is working hard on creating characters and worlds for not only herself but for others to enjoy as well.

Born in Oklahoma City, she grew up as a military brat. Her family was always traveling and moving around making it difficult for Kizzy to make lasting friendships. At 9 years old she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which made it hard to be social and confident when it came to making friends at school. Once she got home though, she would turn on the TV to her favorite cartoons and instantly feel better. The animated characters always felt like friends to her, so she grabbed her pencil and paper and began to make her own. She created “friends” that reminded her of herself and had the personalities that she was fond of. She would often lock herself in her room for days drawing, only to be “grounded” and sent outside to play by her parents.

When she was 19, she wanted to go to art school to learn more about animation but wasn't able to afford it. So instead she turned to resources like YouTube and “art of” books, which allowed her to explore a wide variety of styles and techniques from the masters like Hayao Miyazaki, Anna Cattish, and Yoh Yoshinari.

In lieu of art school, Kizzy took classes at local community colleges toward an English degree thinking she’d find stable income working as a teacher. After several years of bouncing around to different schools due to her family’s military lifestyle, Kizzy discovered that none of her credits were transferring or building toward her certificate. She decided that her time was better spent pursuing her dreams of working in animation and took a full-time job as a school nurse to save up money to move to Los Angeles. However, after two years, she was nowhere close to her financial goal. She didn’t think she’d ever be ready to leave home, but her father told her, "If you wait 'till you're ready, then you'll never be," and it’s the best advice she has ever received.

Kizzy landed in LA and immediately got to work, building a new portfolio and making friends and connections with people that shared her interests in the animation industry. Being immersed in this new community motivated her to continue learning what takes to become a successful artist. Now her dreams are becoming a reality as she takes her first steps into the Nickelodeon Artist Program, making her 9-year-old self proud.

Li Cree Hurt
Li Cree Hurt
2020 Storyboard Track

According to her family and friends, Li was born with a sketchbook and pencil in hand, ready to create and share stories with the world. As a child, she grew up in Jersey City bouncing between two households along with her two sisters. While her family situation was difficult, the three sisters always came together to use their imagination to escape from their troubles and doubts. Whether it was watching cartoons or performing doll soap operas, there was never a moment where Li wasn’t creating worlds and characters. One day on a family outing to the Tribeca Film Festival, Li watched a Japanese animated film called Brave Story. That movie would be the single piece of media to completely change Li’s world. It was the first time she saw a character that was from a divorced household on screen. She felt an uncontrollable desire to create similar stories where anyone can be the protagonist and go on adventures. So, from that moment on, working in animation became her ultimate dream.

Throughout middle school and high school, Li studied as much as she could in order to attend an art college. In 2014, she was accepted to Montserrat College of Art’s animation program in Beverly, Massachusetts. Halfway through college, Li studied abroad in Niigata, Japan for one summer and the trip opened her eyes to a whole new world. While getting lost in train stations and rice fields, Li would document her encounters with new people, food and local cats. When she returned for the next semester, Li took her first storyboard class and fell in love with the craft. She never realized that there was an actual job in animation that allowed artists to simultaneously draw and tell stories. It was the perfect fit for her, and she knew she would become a storyboard artist. The next summer, Li did her first internship at Sesame Workshop in Manhattan and worked on Sesame Street as an animation revisionist. At the end of 2017, Li successfully completed her final semester and graduated with a BFA in Animation and Art History.

For the next two years, Li continued to work in freelance as a 2D animator and storyboard artist for indie projects on Kickstarter and Youtube. In 2019, she took her first trip to California with her older sister. Li couldn’t help but feel like California was where she needed to be so she could further pursue her dream, so it was time to make the Big Jump! Upon returning home, Li caught wind of the Nick Artist Program from friends and social media. She whipped up her best storyboards and sent her application and crossed her fingers.

Fast forward to September, Li received a call from Nickelodeon and was informed that she passed the first round. She was over the moon about the news and couldn’t believe it! The next couple of months were intense and nerve-racking, but once Li received that final congratulatory call, she couldn’t stop herself from crying with joy. Now Li wakes up every morning excited to work with so many talented artists at Nickelodeon. Not only that, but she is also eternally grateful to her family, friends and crazy dog for encouraging her to never give up and to follow her dreams.

Marisa Torres
Marisa Torres
2020 Design Track

Marisa Torres was born into a loud Cuban American family that relocated from Miami to the suburbs of Sugar Land, Texas. Feeling out of place amidst the cowboys and gunslingers, she quickly developed the habit of drawing as a means of escape. As a kid, Marisa and her family made frequent trips down to South Florida and made sure to stop at any and all theme parks along the way. While exploring the many worlds these parks had created, Marisa discovered the importance of storytelling and transporting people into different worlds. During those trips, she began to fall in love with the magic of creating stories and wondered how she could be a part of it.  


Every day after school from elementary to junior high, Marisa and her sister would run into the house, throw their backpacks down and dive for the TV remote. Hooked on shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Fairly Odd Parents, Marisa was unknowingly already studying the art of cartoons. During these years, Marisa continued to grow her passion for drawing; taking art classes throughout school and even competing in local art contests. At graduation, the time finally came for Marisa to decide what career path she would take. It wasn’t until a conversation with a counselor at the Academy of Art in San Francisco that she heard the words “visual development” for the first time. That was it! 


Just like that, Marisa picked up her things and moved to California in 2015. She studied at the Academy for four years where she learned everything she could from character design to color scripts! She graduated in May of 2019 and soon after learned from some classmates about the Artist Program. Having just graduated with no professional experience, she thought it was too far out of reach. With other things in mind, she and her boyfriend set forth on an adventure to move down to L.A. 


Marisa realized very quickly that finding a job was a much harder task than she had expected. For months she handled little freelance gigs here and there while continuing to work on her portfolio. During this time, she created a series of personal projects that reflected her life in both Texas and Miami. After a few months, she finally caught a break. In the fall of 2019, Marisa got the opportunity to join Disney Publishing Worldwide as a background painter. Her first real job! This opportunity would prepare her for what was coming next. With the Nick Artist Program deadline only a day away, a friend happened to remind her to apply. Now with a fresh portfolio and the confidence of her new professional experience, she decided to give it a try. After months of long interviews and waiting, she finally got the call. 


Marisa is excited to be at Nick and hopes to use her love for design and humor to tell stories that bring people together. 

Shannon Parayil
Shannon Parayil
2020 Design Track

Shannon Parayil is the youngest of three children, born and raised in the ever-raining Washington state to an Indian immigrant family. One of her earliest art memories was coloring in Montessori when she was 4 years old. Her teacher saw her scribbling aimlessly with markers on a piece of paper and taught her how to draw straight lines, make shapes, and color them in. Little Shannon’s mind was blown. Someone had helped her approach her art in a brand-new, she would continue to pursue that feeling in all her artistic endeavors.


Chasing that sensation, Shannon began taking art classes during elementary and middle school that helped her improve her artistic skills. She moved on to watercolor and oil painting classes in high school. With an otherwise normal high school experience when it came time for her to go to college, she realized hadn’t put much thought into what she wanted to do with her life. She figured she would go to a nearby college and wing it. That’s when her father shocked her by suggesting a career in art. So, in 2015, Shannon took the leap and enrolled at DigiPen Institute of Technology, a college where artists, coders, game designers, and sound designers come together and make video games and animated films. There she learned everything about how they are made; most shockingly that 2D animation was created frame by frame, each image drawn on a separate piece of paper.


By her sophomore year, she still felt directionless as an artist and as a person, but that all changed when she joined a 2D animated film team. She was surprised to discover how rewarding collaboration was to not only her own artistic growth but her personal growth as well. She suddenly felt invigorated to give it her all. Shannon worked on many aspects of the film from producing, to storyboarding, to 2D animation, and editing. It was like she had woken up. She stayed up until all hours of the night to work on her film, drew until her hand hurt, and even trudged to school over winter break in the snow, in flip flops, uphill both ways. It was so much fun. She was free to discover and create something with her own hands.


From there she went on to her senior 2D animated film team, which combined the love of teamwork she fostered during her sophomore film with the stakes and pressure of making something that pushed her artistic limits. Getting the chance to tell a story about a young Indian girl in her senior film got her excited about making stories that allowed people to see a part of her and her culture. It was cemented in Shannon’s mind that the animation industry was where she needed to be. Shannon focused on visual development and color styling during her senior film motivated by her previous training in painting and design and the specific way that color tells and elevates a story.


After graduation, she applied to visual development and color styling positions in the TV and feature film industry. With a series of rejections at her feet, Shannon dove into self-improvement as an artist, pushing herself to network with artists online, taking on new personal projects, and even moving with her friend to California to get closer to the industry she wanted to be in. With many new art pieces under her belt, she put together a portfolio for the Nick Artist Program. After a whirlwind interview process, Shannon received the call that she had been selected for the program. Exhilarated and grateful, what she takes away from this opportunity is the value of pushing through fear, trying new things, and never forgetting her love of the collaborative process behind making great animated films and cartoons.

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