My journey to becoming a Children’s Book Author and Illustrator
At Pixar, I didn’t make any art. I wasn’t very good at art. I was good at making spreadsheets. Art was just a dream. My role at Pixar was to make reports and production schedules. But working at Pixar was a life changing experience. I saw how a group of people who LOVED what they did, made the most beloved stories in the world. I felt so lucky to be a part of it all.
Jobs, Jobs and NO JOB!
Then something really unexpected happened. I won the best portfolio show!
My job as a lead artist was to lead the team and make assets for a game called, “ItGirl.” At the time, ItGirl was one of the hottest games on Facebook. Players would buy virtual outfits. The game at it’s peak had 1.5 million daily players. ItGirl was a cash cow for the company and it all depended on selling virtual clothing items and creating virtual stores. I managed the team and we produced lots of glimmery clothes. It wasn’t what I had imagined for myself when I quit Pixar to become an artist. I was still working on my stories at night but it was frustrating. I was stuck. I was miserable. I hated doing mindless work all day (making assets) while I had creative problems to solve and not enough time to devote to it.
I GOT FIRED.
I FORGOT TO MENTION…
My Dad never wanted me to go into art. Like all parents, he wanted the best for me and he didn’t want to see me struggle. But the struggle is what I’m most proud of. I’ve stuck to it. I had a dream and I took a chance. I hear other success stories and it’s the same. You never know until you try. You have to have faith, grit and fortitude.
My Dad is also one of the inspirations for what I do. I remember how he was so frustrated with his manufacturing job. He was an avid reader, a writer and an intellect. He was so talented and intelligent. Yet, day after day, he went into a production line to work because he had a bigger responsibility. He was a family man. Mom and Dad have made the great sacrifices so that Art and I could chase our dreams.
Arree Chung is an author/illustrator and the founder of Storyteller Academy. Arree’s Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award.
Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.