Illustrator Albert Truong a Fixture on Adult Swim Show, 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
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
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
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
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!"
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
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
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.
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.
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