Shannon Parayil is the last of three children, born and raised in the ever-raining Washington state to an Indian immigrant family. One of her earliest art memories was coloring in Montessori when she was 4 years old. Her teacher saw her scribbling aimlessly with markers on a piece of paper and taught her how to draw straight lines, make shapes, and color them in. Little Shannon’s mind was blown. Someone had helped her approach her art in a brand-new way, a feeling that she would continue to pursue in all her artistic endeavors.
Chasing that sensation, Shannon began searching for art classes throughout elementary and middle school that helped her improve her artistic skills. She started routinely taking a watercolor and oil painting class throughout middle school and high school. When it came time for Shannon to go to college, she hadn’t put much thought in what she wanted to do with her life. She figured she would go to a nearby college and figure it out. That’s when her father shocked her by suggesting a career in art. And so, in 2015, Shannon took the leap and enrolled at DigiPen Institute of Technology, a college where artists, coders, game designers, and sound designers come together and make video games and animated films. There she learned everything about how they are made, most shockingly that 2D animation was done frame by frame, each image drawn on a separate piece of paper.
She still felt directionless as an artist and as a person, but that all changed when she joined a 2D animated film team her sophomore year. She was surprised to discover how rewarding collaboration was to not only her own artistic growth, but her personal growth as well. She suddenly felt invigorated to give it her all, Shannon worked on many aspects of the film from producing, to storyboarding, to 2D animation, and editing. It was like she had woken up. She stayed up till all hours of the night to work on her film, drew till her hand hurt, and even walked to school over winter break in the snow in flip flops uphill both ways. It was so much fun. She was free to discover and create something with her own hands.
There she went on to her senior 2D animated film team, which combined the love of teamwork she fostered during her sophomore film with the stakes and pressure of making something that pushed her artistic limits. Getting the chance to tell a story about a young Indian girl in her senior film, got her excited about making stories that allowed people to see a part of her and her culture. It was cemented in Shannon’s mind that the animation industry was where she needed to be. Despite having dipped her toes into many animation disciplines throughout her years in college, Shannon pursued visual development and color styling during her senior film because of her past in color and design and the specific way that color tells and elevates a story.
After graduation, she applied to visual development and color styling positions in the TV and feature film industry. With a series of rejections at her feet, Shannon dove into self-improvement as an artist, pushing herself to network with artists online, taking on new personal projects, and even moving with her friend to California to get closer to the industry she wanted to be in. With all her new art pieces under her belt, she put together a portfolio for the Nick Artist Program. After a whirlwind interview process, Shannon received the call that she had been selected for the program. Exhilarated and grateful, what she takes away from this opportunity is the value in pushing through fear, trying new things, and never forgetting her love of the collaborative process behind making great animated films and cartoons.
My artbook pages:
Designed a custom iron-on path based on the theme of my section of the art book, paranormal.
Designed the cover of the NAP art book along with India Boeckh