Friday, November 29, 2013

Beautiful Mistakes

I want to share my thoughts about mistakes. The ones I am referring to are not so much having to do with life in general, but those made on the path to success. For me, that is being a great creator. I love what mistakes have provided for me, even when they cause so much headache. I don't intend to do things incorrectly, but I am aware that they are inevitable and help me become a more efficient version of myself.

Here is a specific example: I am a beginner in 3D modelling, so as I am working on it, I know what I am doing may not achieve my desired results, but is necessary to do so I can make grand discoveries. This process can seem frustrating, but it is part of the 10,000 hours. Keeping that in mind, the difficulties can actually become a delight! If what we are doing is uncomfortable, then that may be a sign of growth. Thinking about this reminds me of the movie Meet The Robinsons, by Disney http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0396555/. In that story, the main character, Lewis, is an inventor who eventually goes onto create things of magnificence, but during the path, he kept on eating dirt until he was finally able to stand up. The philosophy of embracing mistakes is really displayed in him and his family. Essentially, they throw parties when each other messes things up:

 

I am always aware that I may be making mistakes, but as long as I remember how to handle them, there is no negativity.

Friday, November 22, 2013

CTNX 2013 Summary


Saturday, the 16th, I attended CTN in Burbank, CA, and had a wonderful time! I met so many fantastic artists, it was wild. It would have been difficult to walk around and not be impressed with the work that was being displayed. And not only did the artists' booths look amazing, but many people brought some of their own gallery with them, which was great. Every person I met was kind and offered to show their work and would ask to see others'. There was a pleasant amount of diversity available to the attendees, so I'll give you the run-down, from the beginning:










 We road-tripped from Stockton, CA!










And I saw a 1-pound Snickers on the way...








As I was walking around I saw these on the side of some buildings and learned that there is a team of artists that painted this and paint new pictures here every month, that's pretty wild!










Waiting in line...










10:00 AM, finally entering!






I was instantly smacked in the face with a rich atmosphere of raw and creative talent! It felt like a dream being around so many artists at the same time, these are the same people whose work I view online, but it feels so different in person. It was thick, like I had to squeeze in between all the skill in front of me.








Throughout the convention center there were various areas to observe live work. Here was a station where some artists were showcasing and teaching about traditional animation.








Next to that was another station where a tablet was streaming on a television while various artists took turns working so people could watch.






Just behind those two, was one of my favorite features of the convention: the live model stage. For the entire day, this lady and man would skillfuly hold poses and change costumes for artists to draw them and work side-by-side. I love this! 'Tis a very nice way to approach others, because the work is already out and ready to show around.






This was a surprise to me, and a big one! Here, we got to question Drew Struzan, the artist who has been in the entertainment industry for a very long time, making many iconic pictures that nearly all of us know. The conference was about one hour but mostly open to audience questions, so that was nice. Here are some of his recognizable pieces:











LUNCH







Sean "Cheeks" Galloway had art displayed that I quickly recognized. I have seen his work online but it's nice to see the person. He gave me a quick critique and we talked about one of the stories he did the art for called Pearl of Pandaria! Him online: https://twitter.com/cheeksgalloway






J Scott Campbell is another artist who I immediately wanted to meet. I've seen his work all over online and was delighted to have a brief conversation with him. He told me about his experience in the creation of art before we had the internet as a tool. Him online: http://jscottcampbell.com/





Near the center of the alleys was another staged display of an artist having his work streamed for people to see, while being interviewed at the same time. It was nice to listen to him talk and work simultaneously but I started feeling for him when one of his answers to a question was explaining how difficult it was to focus on the work and questions at the same time!

This was one of my favorite parts of the entire convention. The Z-Brush area was constantly full of 3D artists showcasing the numerous capabilities of the software and providing us with techniques and answers to questions. One of the artists was telling us about his 3D printer that he recently acquired and the models he was able to print with it. They are different colors, because there are different types of materials that can be used for printing. He also told us about certain ways models need to be created so that they have the ability to even be printed. From this, I got the feeling that 3D printing is still infantile and will be getting heavily improved upon in the near future. This was a special thing to witness, because I think 3D printing will be huge. 3D Modeller - Robert Vignone: https://twitter.com/polysculpture




I was really happy to visit this booth! I loved the atmosphere of this area because these folks were particularly nice and relaxed with good conversation. Not only was Chris there but many of his students too, which was very cool because they ranged from beginner to advanced. This was helpful to passers because they could have conversations from various perspectives. Chris also provided me with a nice critique. Him online: http://www.chrisoatley.com








I had spent so much time walking and talking that I didn't even know it was dark outside, so I said my goodbyes to the people, for the time being, and shoved off.

As I was leaving, my buzz was still really high with the spirit of creation. I am very glad that I started attending CTN and plan to continue as long as I can. Overall, my favorite part was simply meeting other artists, we all may be on similar paths, but it seems like we are far apart when we don't work together and communicate. I will still be contemplating my attendance, but for now, what I learned from this convention just backs my belief about how important commune is. Work becomes loads easier when we are together. I am thankful to all the people who put this wonderful event together and to all the people who attended and made it how awesome it was! I urge anyone who can to be a part of CTN 2014 =). Now back to work.

Friday, November 15, 2013

CTNX Bound

This weekend I will be attending Creative Talent Network Expo(CTNX) in Los Angeles, an art convention with emphasis on illustration and animation! This will be the first convention I make appearance at and have high hopes. Taking my first steps into the entertainment industry, mingling with other dedicated creatives, and being able to add my own ideas to the mix has me really psyched to jump into some work. Nearly all that I have done has been a solo effort and I constantly dream about being in a creative-rich environment, not only to get some fantastic work done, but just to enjoy the company and conversation of other open-minded and innovative people.

I have a very small amount of friends who are artists, so I get very excited whenever I get a chance to meet new ones. Not to just conversate similar interests, but to feed the flames of ambition. Sometimes, when I work alone for a long time, I get the feeling that no matter how skilled I get, nothing will change or it gets difficult to gauge how much I am improving. I absorb that which is around me, so if I am in a lazy and apathetic environment, I will be spending all my time in pursuit of greener grass.

So let's get juiced up for CTNX and I look forward to all the wonderful people I see there, and to those I meet in the future!

I'll be posting my activity via Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/denzelajackson

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Burden of Triumph

As I progress up through the art community, the list of people I look up to increases. I will eventually look to them as equals and we can work side-by-side, but another feeling increases with that: respect. In the past, I understood that people were more skilled than me, but I didn't fathom the path between us. I didn't understand all the focus required to reach the level they were at, which made sense because I had not found it. But I'm travelling it now, and like a safari-tour, I see all the beasts that need to be slain to achieve high-level work. So as I approach my seniors, my admiration grows because I am discovering all that they have accomplished. It seems ironic, but the closer I get to equivalency, the larger my field of view is.

While we all may be producing our own ideas, often someone else's idea is so powerful and agreed upon that I feel the longing to manifest my version of the concept. This is a way I show admiration to other artists, by enjoying their ideas enough to use them in my own work, thus, like a chain, the rich idea passes through the community more than once and provides multiple interpretations. I have made nice friends this way too because we both contemplate similar things, so by no surprise, there is more we have in common and enjoy to discuss. Therefore, I encourage you to also interpret other people's work and if it has impact and meaning, create your own version of it. This sounds like fan-art, but I am referring to the deeper meaning of people's work, rather than a specific visual design. With an idea, it needs to be analyzed and reproduced with a new vision.

Like all forms of art, many people put themselves into their work, so informing people that you like what they put out and what is good about it is a really nice thing to do, but too much sugar can make a person sick. If I only received compliments, then my mind would be saturated with the interpretation that my work is already pleasing everyone! Criticism is worth much more than compliments to the person who seeks improvement. When I receive 3 out of 10 positive reviews on a piece of my work, then that is 3 reasons to keep up the good work and 7 reasons to work harder. So I love having my flaws pointed-out and for those that do that for me, thank you very much.

Review: three ways to breath more respect into the community is to take the time to realize what superiors have accomplished, really observe other people's work(give credit where credit is due), and be honest in critiques. Hard work pays off.

Skill is undeniable.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Style of Greatness

I use to want to draw like everyone else. It seems silly but I would get 

that urge quite often. It was uncontrollable and I just didn't act on it, 

because the only thing I can do properly is be me. Coincidentally, artists 

discover similar techniques and methods which may look similar, but each 

person has a lovely interpretation and understanding of things. And when 

reality enters our thoughts and comes back out in a medium, the world gets 

more colorful. We can all add to our home's wonder. That is why I believe 

staying true to yourself is important.

As for abilities of different styles, I found that different methods of 

rendering can sway the subject towards a certain feel. For example: it would 

be difficult to draw figures with thick and black lineart and maintain a 

regal and sophisticated result. On the other hand, it may not be practical 

to render cover-quality work for the small panels of a graphic novel. What 

do you think of style limitations?

I'll write again: each person can add their personal value to the world and 

make it more beautiful. Maybe one of us will stumble upon something wild and 

become the setter of a fresh style! One of my favorite artists is Jace 

Wallace (http://wakkawa.iseenothing.com/ or http://www.jace-

wallace.deviantart.com), he draws the female form so well, it is crazy. But 

even if someone put all their effort into making their work look like his, 

if people want Jace Wallace, they will look for Jace Wallace, not the 

imitation version. 

From time to time, I still see another person's work and think to myself, 

"Damn, that distinct style is really cool and easily recognizable as his/her 

own." But I will my feelings to change, instead of envy and longing, I get 

excited looking forward to how unique my own style will be since I will not 

imitate anyone else. 




Don't pretend to be something you're not, just be who you are, that's what's 

really cool. - David Starsky

Have a good day!