Dawnson Chen studied traditional hand drawn animation at Sheridan College and transitioned into 3d game art at Seneca College. He's currently living in Montreal working as an Environment Artist at Gameloft.
Why did you decide to take CGMA classes?
I use to draw and paint all the time back when I was in school, but ever since I started working in 3D it got harder to make time for it. It has been over 3 years since I really drew or paint but I never stopped looking at art online and followed my favourite artists. I miss painting a lot and I wanted to rekindle my love for it by taking a CGMA class.
What classes did you take and why did you choose them?
I chose Aaron Limonick's Environmental Design 1 class because I'm a huge fan of Naughty Dog's games and I love the work that Aaron had done on their games. I was also very impressed by the level of quality in the work done by previous students. I felt that I was close to that level and by taking the class I can do similar work too.
How did taking classes help you refine your craft and help you along your artistic journey?
I had heard a lot of what was being taught before, but in the class I got to actually apply what was being taught and do it repeatedly. Every week's assignment was built on top of the previous weeks so I had lots of practice in using fundamental design theories over and over again in all my assignments.
What was your first big gig and how did you get it?
My first big gig is where I'm working now, Gameloft in Montreal. Soon after my Game Arts course at Seneca in Toronto I landed a job as an Environment Artist at Gameloft. It's been a cool experience working in such a large studio.
Why would you recommend CGMA to another artist?
CGMA has a ton of great teachers who are working professionals; getting feedback from them is very valuable for students. Each students gets personal feedback based on their needs. The feedback that I got helped me see things that where lacking in my piece. While doing the assignments I could tell something was wrong but could not point out what, in my feedback Aaron knew exactly what was wrong and I made sure not to repeat it again on the next assignment. I also had a chance to watch all my classmates' feedback videos and I saw common mistakes we were all making.
Why is having professional feedback important to you?
Having good feedback helps me improve faster than if I were just working on my own. If I don't get feedback I might repeat mistakes over and over again not knowing what is wrong. Having someone point out what right and wrong on your work will make sure you're learning form every piece of work you do.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I had a great time taking my first CGMA class. I think online schooling is super cool, it doesn't matter where you live anymore, students can have access to some of the world's greatest artists.
We would like to thank Dawnson Chen for sitting down with us and sharing his CGMA experience. To see more of Dawnson's artwork you can visit his ArtStation page at https://www.artstation.com/artist/dawnson