Shiyoon Kim is a Korean-American animator who currently lives in Los Angeles. He is a Lead Character Designer for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He has had a hand in designing characters from Tangled (2010), Paperman (2012), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014) and most recently Zootopia (2016).
Kim came to America when he was two years old. He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts drawing whenever he got the chance or got bored. One Sunday, while thumbing through The Boston Globe, his parents stumbled on an article about an Afternoon School Animation program sponsored by Warner Bros. at Rowland High School. Rowland was one of only two schools teaching animation in California at the time. Kim was in the tenth grade at the time. Seizing the opportunity, he and his family moved to California.
At Rowland, under the guidance of animation teacher Larry Kurnarsky, Kim learned the importance of story. Every part of the animation should support it. They can either push a story or hinder it. His experience taught him the power of storytelling through drawing.
Kim tried and failed to get an entry-level job as an animator straight out of high school. He decided to enrol in a Character Animation Program at CalArts. There he learned a great deal about all the aspects of filmmaking. Learning the different stages helped him develop truly solid characters for animation.
It soon became apparent that in order to truly understand one part of the process, I needed to learn everything else too.— Shiyoon Kim