LeSean Thomas is an illustrator, animator, animation producer, and director currently living and working in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his work on The Boondocks (2005-2008), The Legend Of Korra: Book 1 (2012) and Black Dynamite: The Animated Series (2012).
A South Bronx native, Thomas got his start in animation working as a co-director and character supervisor for Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks. Some of his other early production credits include storyboard artist for Ben 10: Alien Force (2008-2009), The Batman (2008), Green Lantern: First Flight (2009), as well as visual development artist and supervising character designer for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009).
Typically American animation studios only work on the pre-production and post-production of an animation or animated series. All of the animation is done in other countries, the majority of which in South Korea. After a while working in pre-production for shows, Thomas became frustrated with the lack of knowledge he and his colleges had regarding the whole animation process. Compelled to find answers, in 2009 Thomas relocated to Seoul, South Korea, to be part of the animation production staff for JM Animation.
After arriving in Seoul, Thomas had an abrupt reality check. He struggled with the drastic cultural differences and felt like giving up and flying home. However, after receiving some words of encouragement from his friend, Thomas found the determination to work through his failure. He ended up staying in Seoul for 3 years, much longer than his intended 6 months. He was hired as in-house Storyboard/Animation production artist at Studio Mir. Later, Moi Animation hired him as a producer and director on several projects. Thomas is the first American animator to be hired to work in-house as permanent, independent production staff for an animation studio in South Korea.
You can find out more about Thomas’ time in Korea in a web-documentary he produced and directed for Creative Control TV called Seoul Sessions. He was invited to the 5th annual TEDxSinchon, where he spoke about his journey and the importance of Successful Failures.
In November of 2014, Thomas successfully crowd-funded an animated TV series pilot, Cannon Busters: The Animated Series, based on his creator-owned comic book of the same name. Thomas is heading up a team of industry talents including Thomas Romain, Joe Madureira, Tim Yoon and top animation studio, Satelight. Last October a teaser was released with a promise, “The adventure begins January 2016.” Sadly missing the January window, fans are still anxiously waiting with no clear release date as yet. You can follow the progress of the series on the Cannon Busters official website.
To see more of LeSean Thomas’ work, head over to his website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.