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Meet Oliver Akuin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oliver Akuin.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have been drawing ever since I was five years old. I remember going on family vacations and doodling on the hotel memo pads that were by the phone in our room. That’s all I needed! I would sketch cartoons that I loved, like The Ninja Turtles and Animaniacs. I eventually got confident enough to create my own characters. They were silly and unique. I knew right then that I wanted to do this all my life!

I studied animation at Woodbury University in Burbank. I improved my technical drawing, drafting and overall art skills, as well as my computer skills at school. In the early 2000s, Animation was transitioning from hand-drawn to computer-based productions, so I was lucky to get studies in both. Also, during this time, I managed to make the right connections and land an internship at Cartoon Network, Burbank.

After graduating in 2005, I went to work in 2006 at Cartoon Network. This was a nerve-wracking time because this was my first industry job. I started off as a production assistant. Being a PA helped me a lot on how a production runs from beginning to end. It was an educational experience.

After that first year, I managed to work my way up to an artist gig. I have done many jobs throughout my years, from animator to designer to animatic editor. I’ve been humbled to work with some of the best artists and crews at the best studios, such as the WB and Cartoon Network. I’m lucky to work on some special projects such as Adventure Time and Summer Camp Island. Along with my 9 to 5 job, I like to make time to paint my own art. It’s a good break from all the animation work!

We’d love to hear more about your art.
I enjoy painting/designing illustrations! I either paint with gouache watercolors or I paint digitally. I like to depict everyday life in my work. I want anyone who sees my art to relate to the concept of my work. My topics often include the mundaneness of life like sitting in traffic, being at the supermarket or people just hanging out. I was always interested in that aspect of human nature. Everyone goes through it, no matter where you are from.

Also, as the son of Filipino immigrants that migrated to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, I also love to give my roots a shout out in my illustrations. I do a lot of LA and Filipino themed pieces. It’s a nod to my home and my family. I have a lot of personal reasons to create art and with all that said, I also love to do fan art pieces also! It’s what I used to draw as a kid and it has never left me. Topics in pop culture, the 80s/90s and sports are common in my illustrations!

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
I have three pieces of advice for other artists. 1) Keep drawing and creating new content! Bringing your sketchbook or tablet around everywhere is a great habit to have. You never know where you could find that spark of inspiration. The more you draw, the more pencil mileage you’ll have and the better you’ll get! 2) Show people your work! The more the better. Post your work on Instagram or your website. It doesn’t matter in what stage of the art piece. It can be a sketch or a fully rendered illustration. You never know who’s going to see it and like it! 3) Go outside your comfort zone and try something different. If you don’t like drawing hands, draw ten pages of just hands! If you don’t like talking to people, go to a sketch meet up. You’ll meet people just like you who love the same thing you do!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see my artwork on website: www.oakuin.com and my Instagram: @oakuin. You can catch the shows I work on at Cartoon Network. Mainly, Adventure Time and Summer Camp Island. Some of my original pieces are sold at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra and Gallery 1988 on Melrose.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.oakuin.com
  • Email: otakuin@gmail.com
  • Instagram: oakuin
  • Twitter: oakuin

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