Chloe DeJong became interested in art at a young age. While she wasn’t sure if it could turn into a career, her mom encouraged her to pursue it anyway. Not only has it proved to be a viable career path for DeJong, her journey has taken her to places she never expected.
Upon graduating from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s Online Illustration Program in 2017, DeJong’s initial goal was to illustrate children’s books. But when a big opportunity to work in animation presented itself, she had to take the leap.
In February 2018, DeJong started an internship at Fox working on the long-running animated TV show, The Simpsons (maybe you’ve heard of it).
“I happened to meet the right person at the right time,” DeJong explained.
In her role, DeJong assisted the production staff by performing a variety of tasks, from simply helping the team stay organized, to stamping exposure sheets, switching out scripts with updated rewrites, and pulling reference information (such as model sheets and video clips) from the show’s vast databases for the production process.
As an intern, she also got the opportunity to see the show’s production in action. In addition to learning about the production team’s process through her daily tasks, she was also allowed to sit in on meetings and observe directors and storyboard artists work through scenes, problem-solve, and engage in the creative process of bringing an episode to fruition.
While completing her internship, DeJong also enrolled in two online classes at RMCAD through the college’s Renew Program, which allows alumni to survey classes in their degree program for free.
“I was able to get into two classes I never got the chance to take during my time at RMCAD and they both benefitted me greatly,” she said. “My skills have grown exponentially over the past few months through my coursework and my internship.”
Her participation in the Renew Program, paired with her internship experience are a testament to DeJong’s dedication to continuing to learn and grow as an artist—something that is critical for creative professionals.
Because of that, it’s no surprise that when asked what advice she’d give to current students, she enthusiastically answered, “Draw every day!”
“It’s so important because it really does make a difference over time,” she said. “It’s also important to make the most out of each class you take and try to find opportunities to incorporate your style into each assignment so you can feel confident placing it in your portfolio. Don’t stop creating and experimenting and use every opportunity you get to add new pieces to your portfolio.”
Now that she’s completed her internship, DeJong is looking for the next big thing. While she’s shifted her focus to character and prop design, she still is very interested in the world of book publishing. As a single mother, DeJong says that her son is one of her biggest inspirations, and hopes to “translate his adventures and growth” into children’s books.
“There are some artists [who work on The Simpsons] that are in the process of publishing or already have published children’s books,” she said. “I’ve been able to talk to them, and I’ve been really encouraged by what they’ve said about my own work.”
Most importantly, DeJong isn’t limiting what she can and can’t do as a creative professional.
“You never know where your art will take you,” she said.