Dominique Evans’ Superpowers:
- The power of taking a chance. I think optimism is a superpower. A leap of faith regardless of anything else, like when you jump into a pool and you think—it’s going to be cold, this is going to suck a little bit—but I’m going to do it anyway.
- The power of imagination. If there’s one thing I don’t struggle with, it’s brainstorming and planning. I never run short of ideas. I wish there was a job that was just brainstorming.
- The power of humor. I’ve been told I’m funny. Even when I’m really upset, I will seek out a way to laugh. The ability to laugh no matter what is very powerful and keeps people alive.
Dominique Evans ’18 is an Illustration alum, who currently works as a visual development artist for Nickelodeon. After graduating from Moore, she joined City Year, an Americorps program in which she worked in underserved schools. After her first year, she decided to continue, but she wanted a change of scenery.
“City Year is nationwide so you can migrate to another city, and I migrated to Los Angeles,” Evans explains. “I was thinking I might as well be closer to the industry that I want to be in.”
So she packed up and did a cross-country trek—in July 2020, the height of the onset of the pandemic. During her time in Los Angeles, Evans decided to apply to the Nickelodeon Artists Program on a whim.
“I figured this would be a practice round, and I would apply again for 2022, not even considering I would get in for 2021. I was thinking there was going to be zero chance of me getting in if I didn’t apply,” she says.
But then she got a call back, notifying her she was a semi-finalist. Then she was a finalist. And then she got the call that she was accepted to the program. When she first found out, Evans felt a flicker of conflict.
“I was sad to think about leaving all the kids, and I kept thinking about the money I would be turning away for my student loans,” Evans recalls. “But everyone I talked to kept saying, ‘This is what you actually want to do! Leave!’ [laughter] So I did!”
Evans describes her experience in the Nickelodeon Artists Program as “a juggling act.” She worked as a trainee on the show Transformers: EarthSpark, while also working on an art book with other trainees in the program. She also had to create a social media series every week, and meet with the production team regularly. Despite the many responsibilities, she found that she loved it, and didn’t want to leave.
“Towards the end [of the program] I kept asking, ‘Can I please stay on the production? Can you get me a job?’ And that’s not even me being funny; I was asking them those questions directly.” Her determination paid off—right before the program ended, Evans’ colleagues told her about an opening and asked if she wanted to stay. “I was like, ‘That’s what I’ve been asking!’ [laughter] It’s my first gig, so I feel like I’m catching up with the people around me,” she describes. “Some people have full decades on me. My two art directors have been working in animation since 2011, when I was just starting high school.”
Evans realized during her first year of college that she wanted to work in visual development. Throughout her time at Moore, her goal was to create a portfolio that would prepare her to enter the field as a visual development artist.
“It’s very typical in animation to be like, ‘I grew up watching cartoons,’ but I also grew up watching a lot of reality television, music videos, just so much pop culture and media,” she says. “I knew I liked to draw, and I knew I liked animation but I didn’t want to animate, so I found the space between in visual development. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to do vis-dev.”
Despite not majoring in Animation & Game Arts, Evans took time as an Illustration student at Moore to focus on learning skills that would be relevant to her goal, pursuing a vis-dev class in the AGA department and enrolling in an academy for visual development, made possible through the Penny Fox Internship Fellowship. She also benefitted from being in a cohort of Illustration students who all possessed unique interests.
“I always think about how I had classmates who were interested in tattoo art and fine art and we were all in the same major, which means that there was something fundamental that we all learned,” she says. “[It] accumulated into knowledge I find relevant to my career now.”
For current Moore students hoping to pursue a similar path, Evans has a lot of valuable advice.
“Identify your circumstances and your interests, know your skills and your resources, and ask yourself what is within your control to get you to your destination,” she says. “Even if it’s something like financial restraint, which is often beyond your control, you can always do something. For me it was doing City Year. It was because of City Year that I was able to do the Nick Artists Program.”
Her next piece of advice? “When the glass is half full, take a sip anyway.” She laughs when she says this. “By this I mean, if you think you could do it, you might as well try. No second guessing. When I applied to the Nick Artists Program, I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I had a portfolio and I had a resume, so because I had something I just went ahead and applied.”
Finally, Evans urges students to “make peace with the nonlinear.” She says, “If you don’t achieve your goal right away, that’s fine. Make peace with not getting something immediately rather than seeing it as a sign of failure. I don’t mind the roundabout way that it took me to be where I am.”