We had the good fortune of connecting with Tammy Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tammy, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I first started to pursue Storyboarding as a career, my idea of “work life balance”, was just all work. There are so many talented artists out there, and I wanted to be able to create work of equal caliber. I thought that the more time I spent drawing, the better I would get. The better I got, the more work I would receive. If I wasn’t drawing, then I wasn’t being productive. If I am not productive, I’ll never make it into the industry.
Over time, I learned that I didn’t just exist to create work. I realized that taking time to do other things, such as hanging out with loved ones, spending time on other hobbies, etc, didn’t make me less productive. It allowed me to redirect my energy so that when I resumed doing work, I felt more inspired and refreshed. It help to ensure that I didn’t feel “burnt out”.
I think that the balance I have right now is ideal for me. I try to set a lot of work boundaries, such as not answering emails after 6 pm, and spending as little time thinking about it as much as possible on off days. I keep weekends to myself and use that time to recenter. This goes with all of my personal projects too. If I ever feel stuck, I switch to a different project/task.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Professionally, I am a Storyboard artist. As a storyboard artist, I translate the script visually for others. I think storyboarding is really rewarding because it combines so many principles of art and cinematography. While it helps to have good draftsmanship, that isn’t the most important part about conveying a story. The most important part is clarity. How can you tell the story so that the audience will want to see it and be involved? How can you make the audience like the characters and want to follow along on their journey? How do I set up a scene to convey certain emotions? These are just a couple of questions I think about when creating a storyboard. I am currently employed at a small studio and am fortunate enough to have had people recommend for jobs. I wouldn’t say that the journey to get to where I am was easy, but it’s not the hardest thing in the world. I’m drawing stories for kids, it’s not really rocket science, or curing cancer but like any other profession, it does have its own ups and downs.
I think the hardest part about being an artist is letting go of “perfection”. Nothing you create will be perfect. You can have a vision, but sometimes things don’t go as you planned or your skills aren’t there yet. Instead of focusing on creating the perfect piece, I think redirecting your energy towards gradually improving is much more beneficial. The only way to improve as an artist is to create foundations, build upon your work so that you can keep going. The more you practice, the easier things will come to you.I genuinely believe that anyone that wants to pursue art as a profession, can do it. It It takes a lot of time and discipline, but anyone can draw.
Aside from storyboarding, I draw comics! Initially, I shared these comics online as a way for me to tell the world about my life, who I am, and the silly antics I get myself in. This evolved into me illustrating comics about my fears, struggles and dealing with my anxiety. I’ve had a lot of low points in my journey, and found it therapeutic for me to draw out. It became a conversation between my anxiety and I. My goal with these stories is to connect with other individuals who are struggling as well. I hope that these comics reach those that need to see it, and it helps them realize that they’re not alone. We’re all trying our best in life, and if I can make one person feel less alone on their journey, then I’ve done my job.
Art is a way for me to put myself out in the world and create meaningful connections with others. We don’t exist by ourselves, there will always be people in our life. I want those who are connecting with me and my work to feel good. To understand, that I see them and I want to create stories for them. I’m lucky to have the platform that I do and would love to continue to diversify stories and uplift others as much as I can. I am still a long ways from meeting my goal, but I know I’ll get there some day. Until then, I’ll enjoy each day as it comes and learn to appreciate the journey a little bit more.

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.
I currently live in the Orange County area, and honestly, there’s so much to do. I have barely scratched the surface myself. If someone was visiting for a long weekend, they made a mistake of asking me to take them around. I’m not a big planner, and would rather go with the flow. That being said, I could plan out a day if needed!
I’m big on food and eating out, so I would suggest we go to a lot of restaurants. Orange County has so many good spots to eat, and so much variety in close proximity to one another. The Anaheim Packing House is one of spots, you could find a variety of restaurants while also taking so cute pictures. Another alternative would be, Rodeo 39! Very similar to the style of the packing house, it is a building filled with smaller vendors, food spots, and desert places! These are just two places off the top of my head, but there are definitely more great food spots.
I am also really big on museums, and I love visiting the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. They host a wide variety of exhibits and events. Since we’d be in Santa Ana, I would take them to 4th Street Market. 4th Street Market has various shops and restaurants, and will occasionally host outdoor vendor events for artists! There is also a few beaches located all along the OC, so if they love being out and about in the sun, I would suggest we go paddle boarding, or kayaking at Newport Beach. If we’re feeling extra fancy, we can rent a little boat and drive around looking at all the beautiful houses (that we can only dream of affording).
While all of these suggestions are things I like doing, it boils down to the company for me. It doesn’t matter where I go, as long as I am with good people, I know it’ll be a great time!

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?
I would be no where without the encouragement of my friends and family. I didn’t really have a strong support group starting off. But, as I continued taking classes and going to events, I was able to meet a lot of inspiring people. Whether we were in the same art field, or not, every single one of these interactions helped build me up as the artist I am today.
One group of individuals in particular really impacted me more than they know. I met them during a storyboarding class at CDA. We spent the whole quarter watching each other grow, or I watched them grow because I didn’t do a single assignment (which, now I know, didn’t benefit me at all). We didn’t talk to each other until the last day of class. We decided to push the tables together for our final critique (their final critique). Since then, we’ve stayed in contact and will message each other occasionally in our group chat. I’ve never really had a group of friends to talk about art and the industry with. And, now I have a whole support group of people cheering me on. Of course, it’s a two way street, and I try to cheer them on as much as I can as well. It’s heartwarming to know that they want the best for me, and will do everything they can to help. I can’t even express how thankful I am to have taken that class, and met all of these wonderful artists.
Along with that group, I’ve had a lot of support from my other peers as well. Even though we’re in different fields, their interest in my stories fuel me to keep going. It’s nice to be able to share my work with others, and have them appreciate what I’ve created. Sometimes it blows my mind when I think about how long some of friends have known me, and how long they’ve followed my progression as an artist. I’ll occasionally receive a message from someone I knew in middle school or high school, telling me that they think my work has improved a lot, or they really enjoyed the last comic I drew. I don’t always see my own improvement, so having people point it out feels good. And, having people connect and enjoy my work is extremely rewarding. It definitely helps on days when I’m not very sure why I’m doing the things I do. These small interactions remind me why I love it so much.
I I feel immensely lucky to have so many great individuals in my life. Whether, it’s motivating me to be a better artist, or telling me I don’t need to buy 15 graphic novels right now. They’ve all been impactful one way or another in my growth, professionally and personally. There isn’t a single person in my life that deserves more recognition than another, because they’ve all been important. Every interaction has led me to this point, and I can’t be thankful enough for that.

Website: https://tamsanity.com/

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

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tammy-nguyen-742721191/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tamsanity_

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