Dreamworks & Marvel — Eric Pineda, Animation Storyboard Artist
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Welcome Eric Pineda!
Eric is a super talented animation storyboard artist with an impressive resume! Eric works for world renowned Dreamworks & Marvel, and has most recently storyboarded for Fast and Furious: Spy Racers! Today, we'll dive into Eric's creative past, starting as an illustrator and designer for apparel to storyboard artist today. We'll also discuss his love of anime, movies, and video games.
Thanks Eric for taking the time to answer these questions to shed light on your creative career path—this is an amazing resource for younger creatives who may be interested in becoming a storyboard artist in the future!
Part 1: Career Details
Let's start from the beginning, what industry do you work in?
What is your job title?
What does this career’s ladder look like?
Where should I be looking for job postings for this type of work?
LinkedIn, Indeed, Individual Studio career websites
What do you look for in a portfolio when you are hiring?
Ability to draw figures and settings well, including vehicles and props in perspective. How well can this artist tell a story with or without dialogue?
If I have no work experience, what's the best way to get my foot in the door?
Familiarize yourself with your local Animation Guild if you haven't yet done so. You will get a lot of information to help you begin your animation journey. Your portfolio is what's most important. See what professionals include in their portfolios and get your storyboard samples to that level. Take a storyboarding class or workshop and study films. There are a lot of workshops taught by storyboard artists themselves. It's also a good way to network.
Advice on choosing a business (or industry) where my creative powers are being used for good and not evil?
This is where your research skills will help you the most. Choosing a business that aligns with your morals is a decision only you can make. Research what studios are doing and if that speaks to you. Many studios are open about the type of work they do outside the office. Social media will be helpful in this regard.
What skills or programs will I need to know? What hardware or art supplies will I need?
Each production will have different requirements.The most common programs are Storyboard Pro and Adobe Photoshop. If there are background sets or 3d models used in the show, you may need to know Sketchup, Maya or Blender. For storyboarding, the basics you'll need to know in modeling programs is navigating and transforming tools.From my experience, those 5 programs are the most important ones to learn. The common setup for a storyboard artist is either mac or pc and a Cintiq setup.
What type of work will I be doing in an entry level job or internship?
My first job in animation was as a Storyboard Revisionist. You work with the director to revise storyboards handed in by storyboard artists. This varies from simple adjustments to drawings, to changing camera movements, to redrawing a scene.
What does an average day look like for a professional like yourself now?
If it's the start of an episode there is a handout meeting with the team to go through a reading of the script. After a few weeks there is pitch meeting to go over a rough draft of my sequences. Then handing off my final version at deadline. My day usually starts with coffee because I like coffee. Checking email for any updates. Then, if time allows, drawing a bit to get warmed up. Depending on how far into the episode's schedule I am, I might be rereading the script, making thumbnails, roughing out the scenes, addressing notes, or final cleanup.
Do you work for a company, own your own company, or work as a contract employee or freelancer? Are you repped by an agent?
Storyboard artists are typically contract employees. Some artists have the opportunity to stay at one studio but it's very common to move to another studio after your show's production wraps. I have worked at Marvel Animation and Dreamworks Animation.
What client or company or project are you most proud of and why?
My first full time storyboarding gig was at Dreamworks for Fast and Furious: Spy Racers.That along with the fact that it was a great team to work with will always be memorable for me. I learned so much from so many talented people.
Where do you work? Do you work in an office, your own studio, can you freelance from anywhere in your line of work?
I would be working in studio alongside other board artists pre-Covid, but as it is, I work at home and zoom into meetings.
Part 2: About The Artist
What are your pronouns?
What were you like when you were in elementary school?
I would say I was very shy. But I did get into trouble a lot for talking too much in class. I did have an interest in Disney animated shows and movies.Played a lot of video games for sure.
What were you like when you were in high school?
I was really into art and even took an AP Art class. I was definitely more aware about animation and looked into how it was done. Cintiq's were not created yet so I was discovering cel vinyl art.
Is college necessary for this role? Did you go to college?
I went to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I veered off the animation path and was looking into Illustration for Children's books.
How did you land your first job?
After learning that a creative path was possible from my high school AP Art teacher, I knew that my career would be a creative one. My first serious job was revising manga text to english at Tokyopop. I had some friends who worked there already that told me of an opening so I applied. I never really felt prepared for most of my jobs. I just knew I would do what I needed to do to get it done. For the most part thats still how I work 😂
When you were just starting out (think first job), how did you handle life and finances?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles so I have a good support system. I've worked since my senior year in high school so by the time I got my first real job I was already in the habit of balancing my schedule. However I didn't leave home until I started my own family. That is common in Filipino culture.
Everyones experience will differ but I can't speak about my first job and career without mentioning the importance of my family/friend support system I had at the time. But as far as my own perspective on an artistic career goes, I had to discover that on my own. But once I knew an art career was possible, thats what I set out to do. And it doesn't take much to see how financially successful you can be as a creative. There is animation, graphic design, fashion, and automotive design just to name a few.
Part 3: Musings Of A Creative Superhero
How has your career evolved from one industry to another?
When I see another job that interests me I research to see if would enjoy it on a daily basis and if it can support me financially. Then I find out how to others have gotten there and try to the same.
Do you have any shoutouts to special people that helped you land your first gig, or find your creative superpower?
My AP ART teacher Mrs. Lee is the one who sparked my creative fire. My good buddy and character designer Frank Gomez, took the time to explain storyboarding over lunch and that began my animation journey. Leo Riley who was Supervising Director on the Guardians of the Galaxy series, took a chance and gave me my first break as revisionist. One of the directors on Guardians, James Yang also gave me that push to jump into storyboards. I've been very fortunate in my animation career and I've only met really cool people that I appreciate so this list will go on and on 😂
Do you have a creative outlet outside of client work?
Honestly, storyboarding can get pretty intense but sometimes I might sketch a little.Outside of work I just want to spend and enjoy time with my family.
Where would the world be without creative thinkers / creative problem solvers / designers / artists?
That's a hefty question lol. I suppose we would be missing out on a lot of different perspectives. By definition, creative involves imagination and original thought. Many breakthroughs and discoveries may not have been possible.This world would be drastically different.
Do you have any groups/organizations that you support and would like to mention? Any resources that are helpful to students that you’d like to link etc?
The Animation Guild is a great resource for a career in animation.When time allows I volunteer as a mentor for Rise Up Animation. It's an organization that provides BIPOC with industry advice and portfolio reviews.
You can thank Eric for his story, learn more, and follow Eric at:
Thank you Eric !!!