New group selected for the 6-month program, now in its 13th year, which offers emerging talent from underrepresented backgrounds a chance to work on productions, participate in workshops, and learn from lead artists working across Storyboard, Visual Development, and CG Generalist tracks.
Nickelodeon has announced the selection of six new participants for its annual Artist Program, overseen by the Paramount Office of Global Inclusion. Currently in its 13th year, the program is designed to provide a launchpad for emerging talent, offering opportunities for unique voices from underrepresented backgrounds. The participants will work at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank.
“We are pleased to welcome the newest cohort of artists and storytellers to this year’s Nickelodeon’s Artist Program,” said Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion, Paramount and Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, Nickelodeon “For over a decade, this initiative has cultivated the next generation of creatives by offering the support and tools needed for future careers across the entertainment industry. We are thrilled that many alumni from the program are placed in both full-time and freelance positions across our brands at Paramount and other media companies.”
During the six-month program, these aspiring artists will work on productions under the guidance of a creative mentor, participate in workshops, and learn from lead artists across Storyboard, Visual Development, and CG Generalist tracks.
The 2024 Artist Program participants are:
Brian Duran (Visual Development Track) is a half-Salvadoran and half-Taiwanese visual development artist from Southern California. Growing up, he was always fascinated with art and spent most of his childhood cultivating his passion by drawing alongside his older sister. He continued his journey at Art Center College of Design, where he discovered his love for storytelling. With his work, he strives to share intimate stories inspired by his culture and personal interests in hopes of offering unique perspectives that people can resonate with.
Heather Patterson (Storyboard Track) is a Los Angeles-based creative and full-time cat aunt to two domestic shorthairs. She grew up in a household full of adopted kids, and in school, she learned how to create things - animations, video games, ads, and gourmet dormitory instant ramen (the secret, an egg). To expand her horizons, she left the humid heat of Texas for the dry heat of LA and worked for six years as an advertising art director. Patterson’s dream is to work on stories she really needed as a kid – narratives that teach kids that their uniqueness and weirdness are the best part of them.
Kelly Copeland (CG Generalist Track) is a CG Artist from San Antonio, Texas, who specializes in all processes of character creation for 3D Animation. She pursued her passions for art and technology in the Visualization Program at Texas A&M University, where she primarily focused on 3D modeling and rigging. Upon graduating (during the height of the pandemic), she decided to go back to school and work on a master’s degree, where she dove deeper into her understanding of all things 3D and developed new interests in look development and hair creation for characters.
Mai-Han Nguyen (Visual Development Track) is a Vietnamese American artist based in Washington, D.C, with a background in Fine Arts. As a kid, she would run to the library at recess to check out books–either Princess Fairy Tales or Horror stories and read them obsessively. Her love of the art found inside those books led her to study Printmaking at Boston University, and ultimately, to pursue Animation after graduation. As a Visual Development artist, Nguyen aims to design beautiful worlds tailored to the stories that occupy them.
Meibol Moran (Storyboard Track) is a proud Ecuadorian American artist and storyteller from a big immigrant family. Moran made a name for herself in grade school as the kid who always drew all over her jeans and wrote stories instead of studying for math tests. After having her mind blown by the incredible worlds of Avatar: The Last Airbender, she chose to pursue a career in animation at Ringling College of Art & Design and graduated with honors in May of 2023. Moran prefers drawing on appropriate canvases now, but still has the avid imagination of a kid.
Trinity Akins (Storyboard Track) hails from the lively state of Michigan. Akins developed a deep love for cartoons from a young age, spending hours drawing and creating comic books for people to enjoy. In high school, she took charge as the epic president of the anime club. College life unfolded at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, where Akins honed her abilities in storytelling. Fast forward to current day, Akins has transformed into a spirited guest art teacher, not afraid of putting her students to the test! Trinity aspires to ignite creativity and imagination in others through her storyboards, inspired by the cartoons that sparked her own imaginative journey.
Previous Artists Program alums include Roger Hernandez (CG Generalist, Big Nate); Sarah Jacques (Art Director, Santiago of the Seas); Jasmine Reyes (Storyboard Revisionist, Big Nate); Anna Hill (Storyboard Artist, The Loud House); Marisa Torres (Visual Development Artist, Santiago of the Seas & Rock, Paper, Scissors); Bikram Singh (Storyboard Artist, SpongeBob SquarePants); and Katarina Perez (CG Generalist, Max and the Midknights).
Outside of Nickelodeon, program alumni have also gone on to work freelance and staff positions on productions for various networks, including CBS, DreamWorks, Netflix, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Hulu, and Cartoon Network.
For more information about the new artists and the program, visit @nick_artists on Instagram and nickartist.com. The next submission period opens July 1, 2024