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Meet Jackie Khanh Doan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Khanh Doan.

Jackie Khanh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and for as long as I can recall I knew that art was my passion. Growing up I would draw on the walls, headboard, wherever I felt; expressions that my parents have retained to this day. At the age of 13, I came to the United States to pursue education, tackling obstacles along the way but I never lost sight of my artistic roots.

When I was in high school, my teachers noticed that I have a talent for art and they would continue to encourage me to pursue my dream by giving me art books, taking me to visit art colleges and having me attend art lectures. I guess I was lucky enough to have so many people believe in me and guide me to the right direction, and for that I’m thankful. So I decided to take my chances at an art college.

I received my degree in Motion Media Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia. The school and the people at SCAD have helped in shaping who I am as an artist. I graduated in 2015 and have since been applying those skills at We Are Royale, an LA-based creative and digital agency in Seattle, Washington.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I can say for sure that I am indeed so blessed. I have an incredible group of supporters, which are my family, friends, my spouse and talented coworkers who always encourage my creative career. I cannot lie and say that there are no challenges or hardships in my years of pursuing art. As an immigrant, I came to this country with a great language barrier that I had to overcome.

I remember my first ever English assignment was reading the first two chapters of The Odyssey by Homer, and I could barely make it through the first page. There were mountains of paperwork that I had to get through to apply for school, for my employment; for even traveling to see family. These things are obstacles that I have to jump through in order to do what I love, which is Art and it is worth it.

There has been a tremendous loss in my life, losing my dad to cancer when I first started my job after college. He was the person who always believed in me and my art. He would hang up every piece of art that I made since I was a child, displaying them around the house with pride and joy. I wish I could have more time with him to share more of my art and talk to him about what is going on in my life.

I am at a stage in my life where I’m figuring out my next step as an artist. In order to continue growing, I have to explore new concepts and areas of passion, which don’t always go smoothly but I’m out there giving it my best.

Tell us more about your art.
I am currently a staff designer at We Are Royale and have been since 2015. We Are Royale is a design-driven, creative and digital production company with offices in Los Angeles and Seattle. We execute on a wide range of creative solutions including global brand launches, marketing campaigns, or interactive digital experiences. As a designer, I get to work with incredible clients such as Oculus, Facebook, Nike, Sephora, etc.

I have learned so much from the artists and designers here. My role as a designer includes generating ideas, designing style frames and creating assets for creative jobs. I specifically focus on 2D graphic designs including character illustrations, typography and digital compositing.

I also apply my knowledge in motion graphic design to my personal works. Currently, I focus on whimsical digital illustrations, hoping they bring joy to others. I consider myself an anime lover and want to share that love with others. Recently I have been traveling around the country with my husband, attending comic conventions in order to share my art with people. It’s a way that I get to interact directly with and meet people face to face.

I feel grateful seeing the happiness people experience when they connect with a mutually loved character I designed. Sometimes, younger students and new artists would approach me to seek for advice of how to start an art career and I’m always happy to talk to them through the process.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I guess I consider myself to be a brave soul. I’ve learned that from my mother the most because she is the hardest working woman I’ve known. She took risks to find success for her family and instilled some of those traits in her children. Through her example, I have learned how to put myself out there, pursuing new challenges head-on. Having the courage to display my art to the public and being willing to receiving criticism has helped me grow as an artist.

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Image Credit:

We Are Royale, Oculus, The Pokémon Company.

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