LCAD Main Campus

Thomas Olson


Assistant Professor

Game Art

Thomas Olson grew up in the mountains of Southern California, spending many summer days in Newport Beach whenever possible. Laguna’s Sawdust Festival and Festival of the Arts were an inspiration, and he is thrilled to now be part of the art tradition of Orange County as full time faculty at LCAD. As the Production Manager at Morpheus International, he was able to meet some of his artistic heroes while producing art books, prints, and gallery events. Inspired by their work and encouragement, he went back to school to study illustration, building a firm foundation that has allowed a robust and flexible career in freelance illustration, full time game development, and instruction. 

He has worked in the game industry since 2002. He has been a concept artist, environment artist, VFX artist, character artist, team lead, game designer, writer, producer, product director and business development director. He has worked on titles ranging from PS2 licensed platformers with Nickelodeon and Pixar; original PS3 titles at Insomniac Games; and helping launch the Backflip Studios startup by designing the look and feel of DragonVale on iOS, and leading that team for years. Thomas continues to work on personal projects and consult on commercial projects. When he is not teaching, or attending one of his daughters’ performances, he likes to be sailing, hiking, or playing games.

A life long learner, Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCLA , a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Game Design from the Laguna College of Art + Design.