In celebration of Asian Pacific American heritage month, we are highlighting one of the artists from Southeast Asia who was behind Disney’s hit Zootopia! Her name is Fawn Veerasunthorn.
As a story artist whose role was to visualize scripts into panels of drawings, Veerasunthorn relates to protagonist Judy Hopps in trying to pursue her dream.
“She has to leave her family for the first time to go for her big job in the city. Coming to the states, I wasn’t really sure if I can actually follow my dream. So, I kind of understand what she was going through. It took me a couple of tries before I got to Disney,” said Veerasunthorn.
Veerasunthorn, a graduate from Columbus College of Art and Design, began her career at Walt Disney Animation Studios four years ago working on Frozen. She had dropped out of med school in Thailand to pursue her dream as a Disney animator.
“People here are very talented and they let us learn something new all the time. We need to learn far more than just animation techniques. We also need knowledge about all sorts of different things to be able to create a good story. For ‘Zootopia’ we had to learn about animals, for ‘Frozen’ we had to study the science of ice and now we’re looking at the culture and life of the South Pacific islands for the upcoming project ‘Moana,’ Veerasunthorn said in an interview to The Nation.
Veerasunthorn was assigned to the project by Josie Trinidad, Head of Story, to storyboard the exposition of the movie, particularly Judy Hopps’ childhood as she grows up in Bunny Borrows, and develops her aspirations to become a cop in Zootopia. Indeed, Veerasunthorn was the story artist behind the scene where Judy says goodbye to her parents and siblings.
“Josie told me to think of my feelings when I said goodbye to my parents at the airport on my way to study animation,” said Veerasunthorn.
When Zootopia had its global release, a special line of artwork created by Veerasunthorn was released showing Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps in famous Southeast Asian landmarks including Malaysia, Philippines, and her very own Thailand. What a great way to reimagine the bustling Zootopian urban landscape into different cities!
Check them out below:
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