Sunday, January 27, 2008


You read it right. I finally graduated from! It was a great ceremony. I won't go on for too long on this post, but my wife and I flew out to beautiful San Francisco, California to attend. It was great to be able to make new AM friends and finally meet some of my classmates for the first time. I was part of AM's first class ever and because of work I had to take breaks between some of my quarters. Unfortunately for me, all of my old classmates (ex. David Sloss, Gordana Fersini, and Chris Caufield) have graduated a long time ago.

The ceremony was great. No really! I will just say this...Pete Doctor was our commencement speaker! For those of you who don't know him, he was THE director of "Monsters Inc" from Pixar. He also is responsible for some of the most creative animated short films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing (try to find them because they are damn good). One other great aspect of it all was the opportunity to actually meet some of the mentors in person. Rick O'Conner (ILM), Victor Navone (Pixar), and Jason Scheifler (Dreamworks) to name a few.

Overall it just felt great to wrap up school (my wife is the happiest of all) . From now on I will have to learn from experience (which is great). I have learned so much at AnimationMentor and there is still so much more to learn.

I definitely wouldn't have been able to juggle AM and full time work without my wife! She is truly a blessing :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Circle of Art

If you have ever watched Disney's "Lion King", then you walked away learning the valuable lesson about the "circle of life". I have dedicated a large amount of time in the last few years trying to improve in the art form of animation while sneaking time in for drawing whenever possible. After the last quarter ended I felt like I needed to take some time (no exact amount) to step away from the short film so that I could come back to it with fresh eyes and address any issues with a clear mind. This decision to step away created a perfect opportunity for me to dedicate time to drawing and my goal for the upcoming year to finally conquer my fear of color (yes...color scares me).

My first step was to go and see the celebration of Dutch artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC with my friend Alfredo. After checking out the beautiful work of masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt, Alfredo suggested we should take some time to do studies in the museum's Greek sculpture area. We drew for hours. It was great! What a change of pace. We were both rusty, but enjoyed every minute of it. I left inspired to get onto to inking and coloring the baseball kid from a previous blog post (update soon to come). The picture above is one of my sculpture studies (it was only a bust) from the Greek sculpture area in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How does this all connect, right? What am I getting at? This isn't some new discovery of information but more a personal rediscovery of information. The drawings I have been doing are reminding me of the importance of working in different media and the relationship that it creates between different art forms. Each art forms informs another. For example, Animation is basically taking hundreds and hundreds of drawings and playing them at certain speed to create movement. When you boil it down to it's essence you are dealing with one drawing at time, so why not practice your drawing to improve your animation? Your posing will improve. Why not work on composition in drawing? Your staging will improve. Animation is also informing my drawing. One of the things that I took away from AnimationMentor is the importance of planning. You really need to know what you are trying to say or do with a shot. What's the point? Is it entertaining? Those type of questions are helping me draw better. Why bother doing a drawing? What do I want to say with a particular image? I now realize that I need to really know the purpose of a drawing or illustration. Again, I've read this idea of planning in tons of books, but sometimes you aren't ready for a particular lesson. I am now trying to learn color, because I know it's importance in a drawing and in long format like a movie. It's valuable in a single image or thousands of moving images.

The lesson here is to embrace the experience of experimenting in other art forms. You can only improve from it. Try stepping out of your comfort zones by experimenting. Who knows, you may learn a new approach or way of thinking in an area you thought you knew by heart. Keep in mind that each medium can inform the next or vice versa.
It's a truly a "circle of art".