Hello, welcome to my website! My name is Nicole Leihe! From 2021-2023, I was an Animation student at Freestyle Academy. In Freestyle, I was able to branch out my creativity and become more open-minded in designing different projects. I learned many valuable skills in using applications such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe After Effects, Maya, Substance Painter 3D, and more, which I will carry into my future at the University of Southern California where I’ll be studying Game Art at their School of Cinematic Arts.
Outside of school and Freestyle, I was a member of MVHS’s Marching Band & Colorguard for all four years of high school, and served as captain during my final year. I also served as Vice President and Head of Design at SLAM Magazine, a student-run publication at MVHS! During my free time, I loved to paint, draw, dance, as well as make cards for my friends and family. Some of my other hobbies included playing games, watching animated films, going out with friends, and listening to music. I also loved dabbling in fashion and putting together unique outfits.
I’m really proud of how much I grew as both an artist at Freestyle and a student at MVHS. As a student, I grew to become more outspoken and learned to become more comfortable in public speaking and my presentational skills. I worked to reach out to my teachers for help more. I was very hardworking and dedicated to my schoolwork in high school, as I maintained high standards for myself both in and out of school. At Freestyle, I put my best effort forward and the abilities I gained as a result are priceless.
My Freestyle experience was honestly one of the best things to happen to me. Before I had joined Freestyle, I was someone who sometimes did art on the side when I could, but never had the time or opportunity to really unleash my creativity. However, when Freestyle came along, I learned how to use so many different applications and techniques, and found that my passion for art extended beyond just painting and drawing. I grew exponentially as a digital artist! My two years at Freestyle not only taught me certain skills to use, but how to creatively apply them and think outside of the box (for example, combining mediums and taking an interdisciplinary approach to art). Freestyle helped me to realize what I was passionate about – previously, although I was good at STEM and other academic subjects, they never really excited me. However, being in the Freestyle environment that let me create my own original pieces of art made me realize that I could go into a career that I actually enjoy. Additionally, my digital art also helped to boost my confidence. I was no longer as reserved and scared to speak up, as I created things that I was proud of and genuinely wanted to speak about. I’m incredibly grateful for all my teachers at Freestyle that helped to facilitate my growth at Freestyle, as it helped me set forth a direction for what I’d like to do in my career and future. It was also a valuable experience being able to be in a setting with so many other passionate and talented artists. With Freestyle, I felt a lot more confident and prepared going into college and the entertainment world, and I knew that I could do anything I set my mind to.