Illustrator Spotlight: John Kim

John Kim featured image

A veteran Illustrator and Animator with the TechChange team, John Kim has been responsible for conceiving, illustrating, and animating some of TechChange’s most beautiful and engaging educational content. From self-paced courses to short animated videos, if you’ve enjoyed a TechChange creative product in the last two years, there’s a good chance that John had a major part in bringing that into reality.

So it was a pleasure to sit down with John and learn a bit more about him and his work!

Q: Could you share a bit about your background? What originally interested you about joining TechChange?

I’m born and raised in Maryland, the land of the blue crabs! I graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2014 with a bachelors in Illustration. I was very interested in TechChange’s animations and thought it would be an amazing experience to join them.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on? Has there been anything particular that you’ve enjoyed or found interesting?

My favorite project that I worked on was the Indianapolis Zoo animation to help encourage the conservation of orangutans. It was my first time actually doing 2D frame by frame animation by hand. Now it has opened new doors for me in regards to working on personal projects. I never realized I said orangutan wrong…

Q: How has your role changed since you first joined TechChange? Are there any skills or ideas that you’ve included in your approach?

At first I was only creating Illustrations for TechChange’s online courses and animations, but I also now help with animating and video editing, including on the YouTube series for Data Day to help our learners better visualize and understand everyday data.


Q: What was it like to travel to Mozambique to meet TechChange partners and film subject matter experts?

It’s very corny to say this, but traveling to Mozambique really changed my perspective on life. It was my first time traveling to Africa and I was not sure what to expect. There were/are many things that are happening around the world that I am not aware of and to see the aftermath of a disaster was conflicting for me. I feel like I learned more about myself in Mozambique than I have in any other trip. Also to be able to travel with two amazing colleagues made the trip amazing. I felt like a C-list celebrity in Mozambique with all the stares I got from the locals…

Q: You’ve worked on a massive variety of projects across multiple styles and student needs — how do you keep pushing yourself to try new techniques and approaches?

I’m pretty harsh on myself when it comes to criticizing my work. Most times I’m never really satisfied with what I produce, and feel like there are always things I feel like I could of done, but was not able to figure out. I try to learn from all the pros and cons of what came out of the final product and use them to grow as an artist.

Q: What’s the team like? What are your favorite parts about working at TechChange?

Everything! It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with such great people who are so CRAZY! It’s great to be able to be in an environment where you can act like yourself without any fear of being rejected. Everyone is open to new ideas and are always accepting of one another.

Q: What is one thing that you’d love to learn or do in the next year?

I would love to explore even more styles and animation styles to learn from. It’s always so rewarding to be able to see your work evolve! Also, I would love to be able to take better photos. I’m still a novice and I am excited to gain more experience.

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

My siblings and I have all the same initials. I’m not sure if my parents were just lazy or they thought it was funny. JK!

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