“Along the way, I would find friends that had similar skills I would say like drawing skills, and we would group up and try to make comic books and shit like that during my childhood. So I always knew that I could use my skills to do something in the future, but I never thought of it as like—as a serious thing until I wanted to get out of normal studying and all that.”
It’s a familiar story. A kid finds a creative outlet, works at it and years later, grows up to be a world-famous artist. Well, not quite so simple.
Bert Youn, whose work you might be familiar with if you’ve watched Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, certainly had a knack for drawing as a kid.
But the story of an artist finding success is rarely a squeaky clean 3-act narrative that ends according to plan. From the very beginning, Bert’s encountered obstacles of varying sizes.
His family members were all doctors, and his father, in particular, was an engineer who’d gone to a good school. This meant a lasting pressure on the young Bert who didn’t enjoy or excel at studying. Understandably, the pressure would eventually reach a boiling point. “That led me into rebelling against my parents, saying ‘hey, enough of this. I’m going to art school,’” he remembers.
Despite the classic narrative of a family full of professionals against a kid that just wants to make cartoons, Bert was thankfully able to make his decision and follow through with it. His decision to go to a high school specialized in the arts was met with neither firm opposition nor unbridled support. “It’s not really like my parents were against any of the ideas that I had, so it was pretty easy for me. But again, there wasn’t any like full on support too, you know? They didn’t really give a shit about what I wanted to do.”