CHOOSING a tertiary institution after school, and a career path by extension, is one decision you have to make at an age when you are at a crossroads in life.
And knowing that your choice would massively impact your future just adds to the pressure.
Young people in this situation would turn to their parents for guidance (they are paying the course fees after all) as well as check with friends and peers on what they plan to do.
“Pursue your dreams with friends who have the same ambition,” advised Lim Jenn Yu, 42, the chief creative officer of KL-based Appxplore and iCandy Interactive Ltd in Australia.
Lim, who found camaraderie at The One Academy (TOA) where he graduated with a Diploma in Communication Design majoring in illustration, shared: “My course mates and lecturers at TOA became part of my life. We motivated each other to go beyond the limits of our imagination. This was something I truly appreciated.”
Lim’s path to TOA stemmed from a comic book. He was impressed with the artwork and found that it was created by Tatsun Studio established by Tat Sun Hoi, the founder of TOA. That made up his mind about enrolling in TOA in 1996.
“I was an illustration student, and TOA enhanced my observational skills by training me in unique sketching techniques.
“I also learned all the foundations of graphic design, typography, photography, among others.
“Upon graduation, it was easy for me to adopt all the new industry trends and technological advancements, as a digital illustrator, concept artist, motion graphic designer, video editor, photographer, 3D artist, UI/UX designer, game designer. Till today, I still continue to adapt to the industry,” he said.
Wong Cheng Fei, 44, founder and chief executive officer of Petaling Jaya-based Lemon Sky Studios, also has roots in TOA.
A Diploma in Illustration graduate in 1996, Wong recalls that during his days at TOA, “renowned artists from the industry were involved in our discussions and classes as guest lecturers, and as students we could benchmark our work against the industry’s standards.”
Wong said the syllabus at TOA is constantly updated to ensure relevance in the industry. “It was expanded from traditional art and design to digital animation, visual effects (VFX) and games,” he said.
Lemon Sky is currently working on various AAA games for companies such as Blizzard Entertainment, Sony, EA, Square Enix and Naughty Dog, as well as animation projects for Disney and Nickelodeon. Other projects include War Craft Reforged and Command & Conquer Remastered.
“We have over 100 employees, who are also TOA graduates, working on these projects,” said Wong.
Johnson Ting Sinyu, 29, who graduated from TOA in 2012 with a Diploma in Illustration, said that being around people who shared the same dream and aspiration inspired him.
“That continuously fuelled my passion to become an artist. Also, dedicated and experienced lecturers were always there to make sure that I was on the right path,” said the art director, concept artist and collectible designer who was awarded Malaysia’s Top 10 Outstanding Creative Youth by TOA after graduation.
Paying it forward, Ting has returned to TOA as guest lecturer, to impart his knowledge to a new generation of students.
“Seeing them making their waves in the industry makes me really proud,” he said.
His advice to artists is never stop learning and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance or help.
“Artists are willing to help each other out, and there are the lecturers, so ask as much as you want,” he said.