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Meet Nancy Kim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Kim.

Nancy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was a kid, I was pretty introverted and really loved activities that involved staying inside. I mainly read comics, played games, wrote stories, and drew in my sketchbook for hours until I saw the sunrise. During that time, I also had a close friend who I would create characters with, and together we would brainstorm the rules of the world that they lived in and what that would look like. Because of this, I grew to really love drawing characters and eventually led me to pursue art as a career.

Luckily my parents were really supportive about my decision to become an artist and enrolled me in art classes to help me improve my skills. It was there I discovered the existence of and when I was told that I could draw art for games and make money from it, I was instantly sold and the rest was history.

If I was going to become a concept artist, I was determined to give it my all. I went to the Art Center College of Design for Entertainment design which I had heard was once of the best places to study for concept art. I learned a lot from my peers who became some of my closest friends, and they really helped me a lot to get to the place where I am now.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not.

Attending Art Center was some of the hardest years in my life. When I was in school, I had a lot of self-doubts and firmly believed that I was one of the worst artists in my class. During my first few terms, I tried to be optimistic and used that feeling of incompetence as a drive to work harder. I pulled multiple sleepless nights, rarely went out, and spent most of my time working on my assignments. Even if I spent some time with my family or friends, there was always this guilt nagging at me that I wasn’t using my time wisely, and it made it difficult for me to enjoy my time away from work.

Overtime it burned me out and I slowly found myself hating art. After my first internship ended I decided to give myself a couple of weeks to take a break away from art and live my life and it was the best decision I had ever made. I not only felt happier, but the experiences that I had gave me so many new ideas and I couldn’t wait to draw again. Although it took some time, I eventually learned to stop caring so much about what other people thought of me and to just focus on making art that I wanted to make.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a Concept Artist in the entertainment industry that specializes in character design. I currently work at Riot Games on the thematic development team for League of Legends. Most of my work centers around designing and expanding the League of Legends universe. Although my job requires me to be able to adjust to different styles, most of my personal work is stylized with a blend between fantasy and contemporary fashion. I love storytelling through my characters and expressing that through their design whether it’s through their expression, their gesture, down to what they’re wearing and holding. Design can tell a lot about the character’s history and what they’ve been through, and my goal as a concept artist is to make sure I can convey that in an interesting and engaging way.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would probably try to just live in the moment and not be so anxious all the time about the future. Although it’s great to have long term goals and to strive towards them, I think it’s just as important to nurture the time that we have right now; spend time with the people you care about, play that game you’ve always wanted to play, meet new people, go on a hike, or just stay in and read a book if that’s what will make you happy.

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