What is your background as an artist? What educational experience/background did you have coming into CGMA? Do you have professional experience?
I graduated with a degree in Industrial Design but didn’t really understand what it was I wanted to do professionally until I attended FIEA, a game design program at University Central Florida. It was there that everything just sort of clicked. This is what I wanted to do. I have since worked professionally providing illustration, vis-dev, and concept design for a lot of smaller studios and projects.
Why did you decide to take CGMA classes?
Affordable classes taught by some of the most talented people in the industry? Wasn’t hard to see why this was a smart investment. You get to see their processes and receive valuable feedback that would be impossible to get short of blackmailing them… probably.
What classes did you take and why did you choose them?
Bjorn Hurri – Character Illustration for Film
Aaron Limonick – Environment Design
I pick my classes based on what I think would provide a challenging experience that would supplement my portfolio. Each of these provided unique problems that forced me out of my safe zones and helped push me farther in the direction I want to go.
How did taking classes help you refine your craft and help you along your artistic journey?
Classes always seem to provide an extra level of expectations over just working on personal stuff yet it's more open than doing professional work. On top of that you want to try and impress the teacher. To try and get that ‘gold star’. That added bit of pressure can really help motivate pushing work farther.
What was your first big gig and how did you get it?
Having a social media presence has helped me find and connect with the majority of my clients. Facebook, Artstation, Twitter, there are so many. These are tools you have to use!
I was approached a few years ago to work as a designer in a new 3D film. It was my first time working on a project of that type and it was a very humbling experience that I wasn’t entirely prepared for. In the end I consider it a positive since it revealed a lot of mysteries of film pre-production.
Why would you recommend CGMA to another artist?
Flexibility is one of CGMA’s strongest attributes, not only in terms of scheduling that respects a professional’s time, but in the diversity in offered classes. Add in affordable access to industry professionals and, baby, you got a stew going.
Why is having professional feedback important to you?
As a student coming out of school, it can be hard to find insight that is really meaningful. You can look at film and games and try to break it down yourself to varying degrees of success, but to have access to someone who understand how it actually works and can share that process with you, it’s almost cheating. And cheating feels fantastic.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
If I had any advice to give it would be to not let yourselves get too discouraged about your own progress. Keep trying hard and keep pushing yourself and always try and stay in tune with the level of work people are putting out there. Thanks!