We had the good fortune of connecting with Patradol “Dodo” Kitcharoen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Patradol “Dodo”, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. Doodling and making comic strips have always been my favorite childhood pastime. The quirky art style and humor of 90s cartoons shaped my taste and personality in storytelling. With great support from my family, I majored in animation production at Mahidol University in Thailand and was quickly drawn to storyboarding, as it allows me to both draw and tell my stories. Through my school projects, I got to try my hands on different kinds of stories and mediums beyond my usual comfort zone. All these projects allowed me to crystallize my personal style while adapting it to different kinds of narratives at the same time. The creative process and outcome were extremely rewarding and I knew that I want to continue growing my skills in this field.

After almost two years of working as full-time storyboard artist at The Monk Studio, one of Thailand’s leading animation studios. I decided to move to Los Angeles and went to USC to learn and broaden my horizons even more. I had opportunities to meet and work with such talented classmates and amazing professors.

I later trained at Cartoon Network as one of the story trainees, where I got to learn and gain more understanding about the television animation industry, as well as hone my skills in storyboarding even more. It was truly one of the most amazing and valuable experiences in my career.

I think my background and experiences so far have been strongly shaping my work personality, as well as introducing me to the wonder of the animation world and I am definitely excited to learn more and see how my style will develop.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love making playful, quirky and lighthearted illustrations or short animated sequences. I have a particular soft spot for details or sequences that can draw a good laugh from the audience.

As for my proudest work, it would be my USC graduation film, “Go! Go!” It is a 4-minute music-driven comedy animated short about an alligator’s first time in a theme park. Go! Go! is currently going on the festival circuit. It was my first time working as a director with a full team with skill sets completely outside my area of expertise (music and song writings in this case) and I am really proud of what we did.

I think people are drawn to my work, especially Go! Go!, because of the unforced feelings of fun, whether it is through little comedic moments or a character’s playful design. I want to give my viewer’s the same positive energy I put into the creative process. For example, I decided to animate most of Go!Go!’s background characters to create a sense of liveliness and include quirky details that reward those who notice them, like a character making funny faces or putting my friends in there. To me, it makes the dynamic sense of joy more tangible. To the viewer, I think it made the story felt more alive and engaging. I cannot express enough how happy I was when I saw that my film was able to give the audience a good time and receiving such great feedback from festivals.

Through festivals and screenings, this film took me to different places, connected me to many talented people and eventually landed me jobs in LA animation industry, including storyboard trainee at Cartoon Network and later my current position as a storyboard artist at Bento Box.

It was not an entirely smooth journey. I am very fortunate that I have such lovely friends and family I could turn to for personal supports. However, there are a lot of times where I have to make my own personal call on how I want to move forward. There’s no right answer and a lot of unknowns.

As we know, the animation industry in LA is extremely competitive and you need both personal competency and someone to vouch for your work to get yourself seen. On one hand, I have to keep my works fresh and improve my skills. On the other hand, I also have to put myself out there, network and keep my eyes out for interesting projects. Marketing oneself is also something that many artists, including me, find really hard to do in the beginning. Dividing time and effort between the two is a constant balancing act for me.

A lot of the stress came from not really knowing how to match your skills to the ever-changing needs of the creative market. There’s not a lot you can control beyond self-improvement and the whole ambiguity can easily tire you down. To fight that sense of discouragement, I have to constantly tap back into the joy that originally got me started with art. It’s a lot of self-reflection on what part of my creative process makes me happy, finding inspirations from works that I like and, my personal favorite, doodling silly things unrelated to work. You have to be able to remind yourself of your ‘why.’

On the upside, these constant struggles and hustling had really pushed myself to improve my work very quickly in a short period of time and to see the contributions I can give to my collaborators in various projects. It not a smooth road but an amazing learning experience.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is a fun big city with so many attraction spots and great food everywhere so it will be very challenging to pick. As an amusement parks fan, I would definitely include Disneyland, Universal Studio, Six Flags and Knott’s Berry Farm into the program. We can have a beach day at Santa Monica Pier and go hiking at Griffith Park. Huntington Park is a great place to chill. i would also recommend LACMA and the Getty Museum for some great exhibitions and galleries. Food is actually tricky to plan out but I’m pretty sure we can find pretty much everything we crave here. However, I am a huge ice-cream fan so if the friend is up for it, I would like to do take them to my personal favorite ice-cream favorite ice-cream places each day and that list includes Salt and Straw, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Bae, SomiSomi, Afters Ice Cream, Tea Master and many more! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I would like to give my big shoutout to that made my whole journey so pleasant and valuable. The biggest credit would go to my family for always being so loving and supportive. They let me pursue what I love and keep cheering on me even though they are not familiar with the animation business. That unconditional trust and support really keep me centered when I felt uncertain about myself.

I also have friends who are always there to keep me happy and sane throughout my journey, my colleagues who show me different aspects of the creative process and my professors who lead me into so many exciting opportunities. They help me stay excited with my creative journey.

Finally, there are the people who kindly provide feedback for my works. Whether it is the middle school teacher who likes my class time doodling, the artists who reviewed my portfolios or the juries who gave me comments during the festivals. These inputs have shaped me to become the artist I am today.

Website: https://www.patradodo.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dodododrawing

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/pkitcharoen

Other: https://vimeo.com/user17368584

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