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Illustrator Albert Truong a Fixture on Adult Swim Show, Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil

Albert Truong Images from Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil

Albert Truong always loved cartoons, but as is so often the case, his no-nonsense parents insisted that he take a more practical approach. Eventually he rebelled, choosing to follow his dreams as an illustrator. Thanks to his hard work and the help of the Academy's School of Illustration, Albert is currently in the middle of a very exciting project: he is a Character Designer for Fluid's new cartoon, Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil, which launches on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim later this year.

If you are even a casual fan of cartoons, you undoubtedly are an avid watcher of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, a groundbreaking collection of hilarious, sometimes controversial animated shows, which air Monday through Thursday at 9:30 PM, Sunday at 10:00 PM, and Saturday at 11:00 PM.

Wikipedia describes Lucy as follows:

Directed by Loren Bouchard and animated by Fluid, [the show] stars Jessi Klein as Lucy, who is as the title states the daughter of the devil, born of a woman in exchange for a Datsun 280 ZX. The basic plot of the show is that Lucy is now 21 and living in San Francisco and her father has tapped her to fulfill her destiny of being the Anti-Christ, whether she likes it or not.

While Lucy is living her life in San Francisco and her father living his in hell, three Priests known as the "Special Fathers" are on a mission from the Vatican to find and wipe out the Anti-Christ on Earth. Being the loving father The Devil is, he tries to stop them before they can accomplish their task.

Sounds like fun! We spoke to Albert about his work on this new show:

How did you get involved in working on Lucy?

Prior to the Lucy project, a few people from Pixar had left their positions to form a start-up company called Fluid Animation. Because of the well-established links the Academy has with Pixar, several students (including myself) were referred to Fluid. At the time, I was still very self-conscious about my work. Was it any good? "Why me and not the guy who's better than me?" "Should I accept the job even though my art is pure craptacular crap?" Pretty much what every student goes through.

But after gutting it through during the contract period, I soon found myself knee deep in work. Around October of 2003, Fluid met up with Loren Bouchard (creator of Home Movies, Dr. Katz, and Science Court) and we started development for an Adult Swim series called Lucy: the Daughter of the Devil.

What is your role on the project?

I was mainly charged with all the Character Designs for Lucy. Character Design is a tough job, and working to fulfill the vision of someone else is even harder. We went through literally hundreds of renditions for the main character, then dozens more for supporting characters, with a very free atmosphere to try this and that. I worked openly with the director and an art director for character design and matte work. After a version of a character is approved, I pass the design to the CG modeler. Depending on his/her skill, a turnaround of the character may be needed. I was also in charge of matte work and storyboards (phew!). Once again, it mostly involved working with the director and art director. Once the foundation of the story is laid in with a storyboard animatic, the real work of animating and outputting it to final TV resolution is left to the CG animators, compositors, and editors. My work is simple -- locked away in a closet with a monkey on my back screaming, "DRAW! DRAW! DRAW!"

Albert Truong Image from Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil

Are you working on any other projects?

Oh yes! Currently, I am creating art for several shows that are under development. Though I can't really specify what they are, I can tell you that they are with PBS, KQED, some folks down in Hollywood, and a slew of backing from science institutions like the Academy of Science. They are mostly development art for educational programming. These are all through Fluid, of course.

On other occasions, I've been helping out friends with needed character designs or art for open source video games and short films.

How do you look back on your time at the Academy?

Before the Academy, I was attending an optometry school in Tennessee because (as is true for many students with Asian parents) I was "guided" toward becoming a doctor. But my first year there was miserable; every lecture, every lab day, every study moment I spent doodling on paper or on school tables. I always knew that I wanted to do something in the art field, so I eventually withdrew at the end of that year and enrolled into the Academy. Ever since then, I've never looked back.

I look back at the Academy as a moment of change in my life, and I have to thank all the instructors who guided me, especially Oliver Sin, Carol Nunnelly, Lisa Barrett, Chuck Pyle, James Wu, and Bill Sanchez, to name a few...

What advice would you give to a young illustrator trying to get a foothold in the industry?

First of all: keep your life in balance. If one part of your life suffers, then all parts will suffer. Second: think "pencil mileage". Draw a lot. Draw anything -- people, shapes, phone doodles, whatever. Third: be smart about your portfolio. Know how to organize it to keep it interesting and fulfill the requirements for the job.

Albert Truong Image from Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil

What are your plans for the future?

I have always had plans for world domination (oh sweet glory that will be!), but as for my craft, my ambitions are pretty simple: concept work for video games and TV until I'm old... and then I'd like to teach. If I sell a couple of sketches or paintings along the way, then hooray for me! Truthfully, I can't really speculate as to what the future holds, but I'm sure that whatever it is, it will be swell.

For more information on our Illustration program, please visit our Illustration School pages.


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