Monday, May 21, 2012

My Three Mentorships

I've found in the brief time I've been teaching, that the best stuff comes from individualized one-on-one tutoring.. When I can get straight to clearing a pathway to where that particular student wants to tread, and see almost instantaneous success in the areas they want to work on, I know I've done a decent job of it.. There are few things more awesome and striking than these wonderful instances, and I had the rare opportunity to serve in this way to three great 4th year thesis students this semester; Ven LocklearLey Hazard, and Addison Rankin.  I'm extraordinarily proud of all these young illustrators, and would encourage Editors and Art Directors to take a look at their work to see if they might fit any projects or internships on the horizon..

Ven (with a Fae picking his ear), myself, and Addison (with tiny staffs and arms protruding from our heads)

Addison Rankin is a digital painter, with about the most pleasant and agreeable personality that you're going to find, and with a skill set that's far outside his age.  His digital work holds an almost Flemish feel to the lighting and contrast, and his B&W ink drawings are brilliantly alive, filled with spastic movement, intriguing costumes and characterizations..  Addison's thesis was based on creating eight portfolio pieces for a Sword & Sorcery themed Tarot deck, and his presentation followed Uncle Joe Campbell's Hero's journey from the Fool card's perspective..  After seeing all the traditional and digital painting from the school recently, I can say the work done for his cards, stands as some of the best figurative work out of every department of the school, and is at a state of finish to begin competing in the SF&F market.. Definitely keep an eye out for Addison Rankin on your journeys, and give him a holler at his website if an opportunity or two arise..

Ley Hazard is a conciliatory, but wickedly skilled digital illustrator/comic artist.  Filled with articulate surprises, and gravitating toward serendipitous creative spurts, her work is quite meticulous and shows brilliant promise in being very tight in it's line quality, and expressive in it's characterizations and metaphor..  When she brings her work to the Light, it shines with a thoughtful polish that's well worth the wait..  Hazard's thesis was a pitch for a graphic novel series called, The Catastrophe Quartet..  The stage is set here in Portland, in a simultaneously real and fantasy world, that follows the heroine through personal tragedies, her redemption through compassion, and eventual elevation from it..  Do yourself a favor, bookmark and stay tuned to her Catastrophe Quartet Blog to see how the story and illustrations develop into the first book in this emotionally and socially charged series!

Ven Locklear, out of all my first mentorships this semester, has landed a gig in his chosen field, straight out of the gate!  I needn't really go on beyond that success so few folks in this business attain, but I will.. =)  I had Ven for an Independent Studies student a semester before last, guided him through some figurative struggles, and when chosen to be his mentor, tried to impart all the knowledge I've accumulated in terms of design and color, but also characterization and creature design..  Quite early on, he was asking the same questions I'd been long ago, curious and driven by our common genre', visually progressing from week to week, which is an amazing thing to behold with any student.. When he pitched his idea for a SciFi horror themed vid game called GLOOM, I thought; this work would make a great portfolio to pitch around conventions, enter into contests, and really grab a heads-up in terms of a freelance career, but little did I know it would be a bit more.. About 3/4 the way through the semester and his thesis project, Ven found a job opportunity online, and put together 2-3 art test pieces for a vid game company in TX, on top of the work done for his thesis..  Ven, amongst pretty rigid industry competition, and in an international arena, nailed the job down before his presentation day, and knocked the actual thesis presentation out of the park. So check out this new concept artist's work in upcoming games, but until then check out all the work done for GLOOM in the mean time..

Stay tuned.. =)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dig Infinity !!

Fellow LightPusher from Portland, Jay Longfellow recently posted on AO about drawing games of the Surrealists, and it sparked up some thoughts on games and Creativity that, oddly enough I'd not really written about here on the FG Blog yet? Here's the awesome DeepSea Palm Fish Jay created, the bit on Infinity that he spurred, along with this semesters brilliant student contribution!!

"Whether it's a reliance on Serendipity, or drive to stay Creative no matter the cost, or stubborn pig-ignorance to avoid things done the "normal" way, I've always been fascinated with game "rules", breaking them, building them anew, breaking them again.. What's become apparent in the last couple years, after publishing a drawing game of my own, is the simplicity amongst complexity.. Like Jay said, "creativity within the constraints of the game’s rules".. Simplifying the Infinite, makes the "rules" of any game, make sense to me? When I graduated school, I was left with no rules, no more assignments.. I could do Anything.. Yet, that Anything shortly became daunting, and since no professional work was coming in at the time, (life-long struggle in fact) there was a need to have something external to me, to drive content.. So that I could create more effectively within boundaries of the Infinite.. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.. So, I started to play with my first couple creative games.. Like the Surrealist's games utilized free association, and the ever expanding, collaborative visual device to drive the works' content, we played with games in school as well.. Mine was a fairly complex free association word game created after seeing a performance of John Zorn's COBRA, wherein teams of musicians battle with complex musical variables to perform one off compositions.. Genius, I thought.. This could be done visually, in a very similar way.. My game was also influenced by, Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, which was used by the Talking Heads, and later became a sort of Hitchhiker's Guide or Magic 8 ball to Eno for awhile.. Musicians, Poets, Writers, Illustrators, Physicists, Sea-side Sand Castlers.. We all create in different materials and techniques, but most of us are awestruck by the Infinite in a way that we want to capture it in our Content. I love to talk about Creativity and the Brain, the reasons why we monkeys perceive the way we do, and how to work inside that Science.. Games are perfectly suited to both subjects, so forgive me the rant.. "

Here's the wicked creation one of my students contributed to the Fantasy Genesis docket this year.  Molly is a wonderfully skilled illustration major, that has some brilliant animation and cartooning chops as well..  I believe it was an Attacking Rodent Gator, but look at all of that movement!!  Great job as per usual Molly, and a scaly new addition to the FG mythology !!

Stay tuned, Folks!!  and don't forget to sign up to the mailing list!! It's about that time to choose who will pick my quarterly Charity give away!!