[b]I am taking matte painting for the next year to build a solid base or at least that’s my hopes.
This is not a guide for you to follow but my personal reflection and thought to moving forward on what area to focus on for myself and where the strength and weak areas are. Feel free to jump in with some of your own thoughts or plans for what you want to work on this year or in the coming months and how you plan to tackle the road ahead! [/b]
I have about 50 unanswered email or messages anywhere from starters to professionals that want to switch gears a bit that vaguely ask a lot about the following. I thought I would sum it up for those in my experience. This is not advice as much as a look back at what I am doing this year and some thoughts that led me to what to focus on for myself>
The rest of this year i will be focusing on building a more Professional understanding and skill for Matte Painting rather than simply enjoying my art or growing
This includes going back to foundation painting skills and matte painting approaches through the more technical side of where Matte Painting has evolved to. I find that at the moment this is one area of the pipeline in the past 5 years that even Matte Painters seem to have trouble describing where its at now!
I’m going to give myself 4 terms before jumping into the next area of focus. I have worked as /and am confident in Concept Art< Modeling<and Art Direction so Matte Painting is really an foriegn language for me at the moment. This also lets me better understand what classes we might be missing that could be useful. At the moment. I would love a 4 week workshop or maybe 3 day workshop on shooting landscape for reference, Angles, Lighting, etc.
For me I look at: What I Know, What others currently are doing that I need to understand more/, And how often I personally need to use it, or better how I am handicapped without it. I look at the balance of how far behind I may be by not staying current with my existing skill.
I love to model, I need to learn new tools X-gen, Marvelous etc but I know enough of these to continue to jump in on my free time and self educate. I have also been a modeling supervisor so I trust my eye and understand where I need to work. For personal work its just the love, but hard to find the time, so the issue with growing is obvious as well.
For professional work I will likely never jump back into this position as its much more effective for me to hire and art direct someone that spends 80 hours a week like Jason Martin or Adam Skutt to pull off the vision needed. ( I wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to these guys today) The power of art direction with ubber talented artist is you get a very similar creative fulfillment where artists can mimic or often improve the idea in your head and take half the time to get you there letting you focus on the entire picture not a frame. I think this is the big change for me today for modelers I expect a strong modeler to have a similar design sense as a concept artists not just the ability to translate a concept. Artist I work with always deliver which is a testament to their skill and my comfort with communicating. Art direction and people skills is always a work in progress but luckily I have worked with 2400 artist and this has given me a range of personalities and self reflection to build a solid foundation. So reflecting on modeling im safe for while but will need to pick up where I can to not move backwards and likely need a refresher course or two in 2019
Concept Art/DesignAlways involves you’ll never master it just keep chasing and every other skill you acquire helps that pursuit. Any class you take will improve design and ability here. This one is easy I will always enjoy and look to learn more in this domain that never ceases to offer reward for time spent. Alexander Mandradjiev is the artist that is helping understand mood better at the moment so I am enjoying this and it’s an area easy to pick up a few hours over the weekend. More travel at the moment and random experiences is what helps most here. Mountain Climbing, Archery, Photography, Horseback Riding, Quad runners, speed boats, Paleontology Digs and Anatomical Reconstructions, have been some of the experiences I have done over the past few years to make sure my ideas and influences are coming from life not just other artists
Matte Painting! This is the skill I need to better comprehend through trial and error. After taking a few environment classes I find its not enough to push me to the type of shots I want to invest my time in. Kens class is by far one of the most rewarding classes I have sat in on and leaves me hungry to push it further. Truth is I don’t have that skill yet to do this, so choosing this years focus is easy and its something I want to pick up.
Lessons Learned from my past and building on previous knowledge
I learned my lesson with modeling. Did it ass backwards!!! I jumped straight into 3d, no sculpture background, no foundation modeling. All along the way I had to learn in tandem, anatomy, perspective, camera lens, gesture, rhythm, form, silhouette you name it. Learning this way has a few advantages but mostly takes 3x as long for someone like me to learn so the advantages are trumped by this delay in structured learning. I enjoyed every minute but after years of modeling it only took one sculpture class to find out I knew nothing about the human arm? Forearm in different poses Oh MAN especially because I had been sculpting in t-pose for years and spent years cementing weak knowledge.
Access to the best knowledge at the wrong time and why timing and order are helpfulAfter having Titans like James Clyne, Dylan Cole, Andree Wallin and Eytan Zana teach with me I went from a 2 to a 6:) hmm maybe 5, still!!..Thats more than enough return for someone in 10 weeks, which tells you how good these guys are.
I can’t help but wish I did the low end stuff that started me at 4 not 2;) That doesn’t just mean fundamentals, but mileage, traveling, taking notes in your sketchbook not just sketches painting not just for story but to better understanding. Theres a big reward for being ready when the opportunities present themself not just the desire and will but the preparation to belong.
Time management and the responsibility of managing your surroundings
Some of this was my surroundings, some focus, some intimidation, some laziness. When you are around hundreds of amazing artists you will pick up more from conversations at lunch in a few years more than most students will get from a 4 year degree. Don’t let this fool you to feeling like you can drive a harley 100mph on the highway because you understand the gears. There is the time it takes to practice or experience the skills and then there is overcoming the social awkwardness to get feedback and build skill through feedback. You learn the skills but your on a basketball court with jordan. I for one can say its really hard to try to slam dunk a ball in front of a legend that can hit it from half court. So intimidation can stunt your growth unless you face it and move beyond caring.So can trying to get fancy instead of hitting a clean shot and building from there.
Be critical but fair when it comes to where you are then work to move beyond it
I am mediocre. That’s not low self esteem, its self analyzation to say I simply haven’t had the focus or time to spend in one area to do the 80 work week it takes to knock out solid work these days. I can art direct with the best in the world. For 15 years I have worked with artist that make me look like a toddler, but its a lot like recording bobby fishers moves every day for 15 years eventually your just damn good at reading the board and the other players moves. So you can take that info and do nothing or decide how to grow it. These days I have that luxury to take the time to focus. 1 year at a time on that one skill to get a professional standard level. Mixing old knowledge with new mentorship, organization and hard work. Scuba diving taught me in my first dive that I live on an alien planer that few will be able to visit. Learning one paramount skill opened a world full of creatures in an environment hidden in plane sight that on its own makes me a 10x the artist I was before without a single brush stroke. I may never do a professional matte painting but every lesson I learn opens up a hidden ability or insight I didn’t have before. Any skill that enables your minds to communicate ideas better gives you the advantage.
Mining for inspiration is your bucket to full?
Partnering to start my own Studio
Co Creating 100+ DVDs
Organizing and Creating 200 events
100s of interviews
Became the justification for putting the joy of artwork to the side to often
If everyone around you is the best in the world at what they do, but Independently each all do different things Modeling, Rigging, Lighting, Concept, Animation Then you become a very good curator on what is quality, but for you to focus becomes an almost impossible mission. It takes a better man than me to overcome access. Like falling down the rabbit hole of pinterest where the reference mission becomes fulfillment of what you came there for and kills the desire to jump into the image. What if you could learn to paint from Craig Mullins or Charlie Wen but it meant you won’t have time to learn to model from Adam Skutt or create a Matte Painting like Alex Nice. I have never wanted to give full access to all the art classes you could take because for me and artist like me it doesn’t work! This isnt advice I don’t know you as the reader, you could be superhuman or normal and better than I am but for me it wont work. Ive worked with nearly every artist I could have dreamed of and have access to tons of learning. Your bucket becomes over full you can’t carry it without losing tons of valuable information and at a certain point you won’t be able to grow at all because your bucket if full of mixed up parts. The information we love the most tends to be the short term. The events we go to that recharge us or teach us tips and tricks but becomes like writing in the sand. Easy information is here today gone tomorrow. When I feel like a class is to hard I know I am where I should be. Im working on long term memory the stuff that is hard to learn. There are those artist who seem to be able to learn everything. I am not one of them for an artist like me its been an amazing life with access to working and learning from the best in the world. Educated in every corner, but needing to focus in one. You may find that in today’s market with endless access, you feel the same.This long drawn out write up could save you some time and move the needle towards 10 much faster I will reach.
End Part 1