Section:

Simon Baek: background layout artist interview

Simon Baek

Background layout designer

Titmouse Inc. background layout artist Simon Baek talks about his internship with Pixar, learning at the ArtCentre College of Design, and his aspirations for the future, including developing the animation industry in South Korea…

Simon's website

3dtotal

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Simon

Hello, my name is Simon Baek. I am a visual development artist and an illustrator, living in California. I just finished my BFA at ArtCenter College of Design, on the Entertainment Art program. I worked as an art intern at Pixar before my graduation, and I am currently working at Titmouse Inc. in Hollywood. I worked on a feature animation film while I was at Pixar. Now I am working in the TV animation industry. My job title is background layout designer at Titmouse, and I paint backgrounds as well.

3dtotal

What was the workflow behind your latest image? Where did the idea come from?

Simon

The latest works I have done are practice paintings created for fun. You guys can check my recent works at @Baeksimon on Instagram. I was planning to paint some sceneries, and I was inspired while I was watching a documentary about Japanese culture. I am recently learning composition again in my workplace, and I wanted to practice my skills. Some sceneries from this documentary inspired me without any notice. I just thought it might be fun to paint that scenery.

When I am out of ideas or motivations, I look for other artists’ works to make myself inspired. I think it helps me to draw and paint something passionately.

Tips for composition are thinking about V-shapes and Diamonds. Each stroke or object is planned out to make the viewer’s eyes move toward the focal point. Placement of these objects in V-shapes makes the composition more appealing

3dtotal

What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?

Simon

I always face challenges in every work I do. Most of the time, the challenges I faced were related to colors, values, and compositions. I have to plan out everything to make a fantastic establishing shot. Recently, I have been polishing my composition skills at Titmouse. I’ve learned how to make composition lead the viewer’s eyes more effectively to the focal point.

Tips for composition are thinking about V-shapes and Diamonds. Each stroke or object is planned out to make the viewer’s eyes move toward the focal point. Placement of these objects in V-shapes makes the composition more appealing.

If you place a large shape, a medium shape, and a small shape, then it will create different heights of placement. To make a variation in composition, try to make your eye move with V-shapes. You can see some of that in my recent three practice paintings.

3dtotal

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

Simon

While I am working at Titmouse, I plan out my portfolio after work. I think I use my free time to think about what my next project would be. After I polish my story for the project, I bring that to my art director for advice during lunch at work.

I think it is essential to have passion and motivation to work on your project. I know that it is tough to work on your own during free time after your daily work is done. Your willingness to create a fun project is necessary to begin with. The hardest part is always execution. To execute, I think it is essential to find a fascinating topic that you want to paint. It should be something that makes you excited while working on it. Otherwise, you will get bored quickly.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Simon

My artistic ambitions are to learn more knowledge about art and share this knowledge to others in the future. I want to build my animation studio that can represent my home country, South Korea. I want to help develop the animation industry in Korea and teach people what I learned and gained through my experiences.

3dtotal

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

Simon

I do have a lot of favorite artists, but I will mostly mention the people that I have met in real life that I have learned from. Woon Young Jung is a visual development artist at Dreamworks, and his work inspired me to work in this field. He was my idol when I started my first semester at ArtCenter.

Tom Gately’s drawings helped pioneer my current gesture sketches. I did not meet him, but his works influenced my drawing the most. Noah Klocek and Carlos Felipe Leon helped me to learn in-depth about lighting and colors. I met them while I was working at Pixar. Khang Le and Bill Perkins were both my professors at ArtCenter. They taught me so much about composition, and it helped me to build up the basics.

I think I am grateful that I have so many mentors who helped to build up my skills, and I am thankful that I have a lot of artists who have inspired me.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Simon

Please look forward to my works in both feature and TV animation. I hope I can work for amazing and fun projects in the future. I will bring more tutorials about paintings and how I approach them next. I’m grateful that I had a chance to share my experience with you guys.

Fetching comments...

Post a comment