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BACK

WE ARE THE ARTISTS

We can't create the most awesome kids television in the world without the most awesome artists in the world. We provide a salaried position for six months to aspiring artists and offer them the chance to hone their craft in a totally hands-on way; by learning from artists who are currently working on one of our series.

The Artist Program offers two creative avenues to pursue: The General Track and Storyboard Track. The General Track offers hands-on experience working with established color, background, character, and prop artists, while the Storyboard Track offers hands-on experience working with lead storyboard artists.

• Follow The Artist Program •

Artist Program Upcoming Events

Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov

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Important Submission Dates

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

HOW TO APPLY

You must be 18 years or older to participate. You must possess and present evidence of identity 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.

PICK A TRACK

GENERAL TRACK

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

STORYBOARD TRACK

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

What We're Looking For

GENERAL TRACK

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

Required Materials:

  • Portfolio (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .tif, .tiff or .zip) and/or reel (AVI, .mov, .mpg, .mpeg,. wmv, .flv or .f4v)
  • A URL to your blog or online portfolio/reel
  • One-page resume (.pdf, .doc, .ppt, .xls)
  • Half-page biography (.pdf, .doc, .ppt, .xls)
  • Completed and digitally signed application form
  • Completed and digitally signed Submission Release Form and Schedule A

STORYBOARD TRACK

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 should highlight your strengths. Your storyboard can be action‐oriented and/or comedic. 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 yours skills. Submit what conveys your ideas best. Focus on quality rather than quantity.

You can submit work such as:

  • Character designs
  • Backgrounds (including sequences)
  • Sketches and works in progress
  • Comic books
  • Animatic
  • Animation reel

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 (if applicable)
  • Character acting ability (e.g. capturing conversation)
  • Appropriate use of Cinematography
  • Any supplemental materials should further highlight your storyboarding skills.

Required Materials:

  • Storyboard of personal work: a short film or sequences that highlight your storytelling, focusing on either comedy, action or action comedy (.pdf)
  • Supplemental work (all are OPTIONAL): a portfolio (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .tif, .tiff or .zip), reel/animatic (AVI, .mov, .mpg, .mpeg,. wmv, .flv or .f4v), and/or sketchbook images that highlight your skills
  • A URL to your blog or online portfolio/reel
  • One-page resume (.pdf, .doc, .ppt, .xls)
  • Half-page biography (.pdf, .doc, .ppt, .xls)
  • Completed and digitally signed application form
  • Completed and digitally signed Submission Release Form and Schedule
assemble Packet

GENERAL TRACK

Portfolio:

  • All image files must be .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .tif, .tiff 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:
  • FirstnameLastname#.file type (e.g. JaneDoe05.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.

Reel:

  • Reels should be 3-5 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:
  • FirstnameLastname.file type (e.g. JaneDoe.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.

STORYBOARD TRACK

Portfolio:

  • All image files must be .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .tif, .tiff 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:
  • FirstnameLastname#.file type (e.g. JaneDoe05.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.

Reel/Animatic:

  • Reels/animatics should be 3-5 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:
  • FirstnameLastname.file type (e.g. JaneDoe.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.
send it

GENERAL TRACK

We recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to complete the FluidReview submission process. We advise that you give yourself at least two weeks prior to the April 1st deadline to complete your submission.

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

Please note: Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines cannot be submitted through FluidReview and will not be considered for the Program.

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

STORYBOARD TRACK

All submission materials should be completed and uploaded into our online submission system, FluidReview. You will need to create a login and password to set-up your own user account.

- Nick Artist Program -

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is the Program a full-time obligation?

Yes, the Program is a full-time position lasting 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. Necessary 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 March 1st or after April 1st?

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

Will you confirm receipt of my submission materials?

You will receive a confirmation email from FluidReview 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 3 - 5 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 status with the Program?

The notification dates are as follows: Semi-finalists will be notified by mid-April, Finalists will be notified by the end of April, Chosen Artists will be notified by early May, All others will be notified, by mail, by the end of May. 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 with the Program's Vice President. 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?

We can accept up to two artists into the General Track and two artists into the Storyboard Track per year.

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

Artists begin the Program in July.

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. Round trip 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

/assets/img/FeaturedMemberProfile_Elaine.jpg
Elaine Wu
2014 General Track
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Celestino Marina
2014 Storyboard Track
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Angelica Russell
2014 Storyboard Track
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Laura Price
2014 General Track
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!

Read Bio

Artist Program Alum

2011 2012 2013
Darrell T. Watson Jr.
Lisa Vandenberg
Lane Garrison
Sylvia Liu
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.

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.

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!

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