Skip to main content

Rebecca Pilon

Background Artist
Mercury Filmworks
Rebecca Pilon | Coloriste d’arrière-plans
Rebecca Pilon | Coloriste d’arrière-plans
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Rebecca Pilon is a Background Artist for Mercury Filmworks.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Ottawa, ON

I now live in: Long Sault, ON

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Fine Arts (minor in Art History) at Queen’s University. Self-taught in Adobe Photoshop using online tutorials.

What I do at work

As a background artist, usually you are assigned to one show that you work on with a team. I’ve worked on a couple different cartoon TV shows like Lion Guard (seasons 1-3) and Tangled (seasons 1-2). My boss will send me a section of backgrounds for an episode. This is the line art and it look like a colouring book. It is my job to digitally colour in the backgrounds, save them, and send them back. I use a Wacom tablet and stylus and I work in Adobe Photoshop. Each section of backgrounds can be quite unique, so timing of completion varies depending on the show and scene. For example, when the character interacts with the background, everything has to be in a separate layer. Backgrounds like this that take quite a bit longer to do. If I have questions about colouring, my boss will direct me in making the right choice. I have to follow the style of the show, which someone else has designed. Everything I design has to fall in line with that style.

Usually, there is no set deadline. However, I am paid per background so it is in my best interest to work as efficiently possible. Sometimes I will get a concrete deadline if other departments are falling behind. Keep in mind that I do the background art and there is a team of other people who have different roles. For example, someone designs the episode; there are storyboard artists who make tiny thumbnails that form the storyboard for the entire episode; line artists or layout artists make the black line art; animators bring it to life; and someone puts it together at the end. We keep in touch via email and use a file transfer protocol (FTP) as a hub to exchange content.

My career path is

In high school, I made the decision to pursue art over biology. One of my favourite courses was computer science. I liked it because I got to dabble a little bit in each field (e.g. animation, creating a magazine, digital media, marketing). I also enjoyed creative writing. This really helped me with artist statements in my Fine Arts program to convey the meaning of artworks. I bought my first tablet in high school because I liked drawing and wanted to get into digital art. I taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop using online tutorials, which involved a lot of trial and error.

I went to Queen’s for Fine Arts and while I was there, I actually stopped doing digital art. As my graduation from Queen’s was approaching, I knew I wanted to be making money right after graduation. To become an artist is risky and it’s hard to know what will happen, so I really wanted something with a little more stability. I also wanted to get back to digital art, as I genuinely like it and I had been doing it for a long time as a hobby. It seemed like a natural fit to be a background artist. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts, everyone did different things. Some friends became art teachers, some completed their MFA, and some pursued completely different career paths.

Once I had decided I wanted to be a background artist, I applied to a bunch of studios in Ottawa. My friend worked at Mercury Filmworks, and she put me in touch with someone who was recruiting background artists for the start of Lion Guard. I did a background test where they sent me three tester backgrounds and I had to colour them in. I sent them back, and they liked it! So my friend created the connection, but my own skill got me in the door. I work as a contractor, so I can also pick up work with other studios during slow times as a freelance artist. There is also opportunity within Mercury to move up or change departments, to try something new if I wanted to go that route.

I am motivated by

My nieces and nephews are all under 8 and they watch the shows to support me, which is pretty special. All my life I’ve enjoyed drawing and I knew I wanted to be an artist. This career allows me to get paid for drawing, which is something I love to do anyways. I find it exciting to work on different shows, mixing it up with different scenery and backgrounds. 

One of my favourite things is that I am my own boss – I decide when I work, how I work and even how much I work. I love working from home because of the flexibility of my schedule, and I get to enjoy some alone time. I can vary my workload depending on other things going on in my life. I can also determine my own process and set up my environment for how I like to work.

How I affect peoples’ lives

It is pretty cool when you see a background that you’ve drawn show up on TV!  I’ve watched the shows that I work on and I like the messages included within the episodes. For example, Lion Guard is all about this one lion that has friends that are all different animals with varying strengths and abilities. I like that the show includes important lessons for kids about seeing the value in others and collaborating to solve problems.

Outside of work I

Exercise is a big part of my life and I like to stay active. I started yoga and I am really enjoying that, and I also run in the summer. I like socializing with friends, and the flexibility of my job allows me to travel. I started a personal blog for some creative freedom, as it allows me to create exactly what I want. I also love decorating my home and I can see myself moving in that direction with my career in the future.  

My advice to others

When I was in high school, there was a lot of pressure as we were told that our decisions in high school determine everything else - but that’s not always the case. There is so much potential for exploring different jobs and careers. You can hop around depending on your interests, or you can start a new career if you want to. Our generation doesn’t necessarily start a job at age 20 and stay in it for 50 years like our parents did. You can really forge your own path no matter what.  If you enjoy doing something on your own time as a hobby or just for fun, then you should pursue that!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • History
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Physical Education / Health
  • Science
  • Other (please specify): Creative Writing
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Always knew exactly what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Other (please specify): Loved painting

Related Topics

Explore Career Profiles

  • Anne-Marie Mulumba headshot

    Anne-Marie Mulumba

    User Experience Research Consultant

    I work with organizations to help them better understand their customers and users of their products, so we can improve that experience for them.
  • Katie Mack headshot

    Katie Mack (she/her)

    Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication

    I study of the fundamental physics of the universe.
  • Portrait de Devon Hardy

    Devon Hardy (she/her/elle)

    Program Director

    I run a non-profit program that supports environmental sustainability in the arts.
  • Portrait de Megan Katz

    Megan Katz

    Prosthetic Technician

    Megan is a prosthetic technician who makes and repairs artificial limbs.
  • Steven Ryan derrière un bureau debout avec son ordinateur portable

    Steven Ryan

    Creative Director

    Steven Ryan is a creative director with a design and marketing communications firm.
  • Sarah Raddatz

    Sarah Raddatz

    Structural Designer

    I use software to create building models in 3D and 2D formats to make plans before the construction of the project.
  • Autoportrait de Jill Stagg pris sur le chantier

    Jill Stagg

    Steamfitter Apprentice

    As an apprentice steamfitter, Jill Stagg is expanding her skills at installing pipes that carry high pressure or dangerous stubstances.
  • Mariam Jordi sur le site de construction d'un bâtiment pour la formation des pompiers et pompières.

    Miriam Jordi (she/her)

    Project Coordinator

    Miriam works with a construction company and helps make sure projects are completed on time and on budget.
  • Kaitlyn Hall

    Kaitlyn Hall

    Naval Architect

    I design ships for a variety of purposes.
  • Photographie inbtermittente des étoiles de la Voie lactée, dans l'hémisphère sud du Chili, par Rodrigo Vidal.

    Rodrigo Vidal

    Architect, Teacher

    My work helps people achieve the most comfortable temperature in their building.
  • Ella Chan

    Ella Chan

    Digital Media Outreach Specialist

    Ella uses her creativity to explain science using videos.
  • Jacob Waldbillig photo de remise des diplômes

    Jacob Waldbillig

    Architectural Technologist

    Jacob Waldbillig is an Architectural Technologist for IBI Group.
  • Christina Rosché

    Christina Rosché


    Christina Rosché is a Self-Employed Artist, located in Quebec.
  • Robb Clarke et sa fille à la patinoire

    Robb Clarke

    Senior Front-End Developer

    Robb Clarke is a Senior Front-End Developer for OrangeSprocket.
  • Sonya Ballantyne en costume de super-héros

    Sonya Ballantyne

    Creative Director

    Sonya Ballantyne is the Creative Director for Code Breaker Films.
  • Britnee Mishak au travail

    Britnee Mishak

    Print Service Clerk

    Britnee Mishak is a Print Service Clerk for the City of Regina.
  • Kassandra in the body shop

    Kassandra Bilodeau

    Artistic Automobile Painter

    Kassandra Bilodeau is a Self Employed Artistic Automobile Painter.
  • Kelsie Butter

    Kelsie Lee (She/Her)

    Motion and Visual Effects Designer

    Kelsie uses her Motion Graphics Design skills to create content for The Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club.
  • Therese Morris

    Therese Morris

    GIS Consultant & Business Owner

    Therese Morris is a GIS Consultant & Business Owner for Sirrom Technical Mapping Services (STeMS).
  • Erin Karaim à un événement de l'ASTTBC

    Erin Karaim

    Civil Engineering Technician

    Erin Karaim is a Civil Engineering Technician for WSP, located in British Columbia.