Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 24

Schoolism LiveToronto 2015

Mullins was wearing a loose casual winter sweater (black with a few horizontal
stripes) that looked a bit too big for him, baggy comfy pants (sweatpants?). Shorter
hair than in the past. He had glasses on when painting. A very calm composure
about himself, an air of humble confidence and assurance, though a bit
uncomfortable at the amount of people. "I didn't realize there were going to be this
many people in the crowd here." Embarrassed smile when Bobby introduced him
and talked him up. Seemed fairly relaxed and in control of the entire room as soon
as the demo started. The entire room was in silence and giving utmost attention
and respect (you could feel it in the air). Mullins joked quite a lot, sometimes self
deprecating, sometimes about his image, sometimes about the state of things or at
the expense of things he didn't like (art renewal, mac computers etc). Audience
always laughed genuinely and lots at every little joke. He also made lots of
"mmmmmm"s with lots of various inflections that also caused some laughter, or he
made some faces at things that were funny. He alternated painting and talking, and
kept asking the audience if it was better for him to keep painting and not talk, or to
answer questions. The audience always yelled "PAINT!!!", but I felt it was more
interesting when he spoke, and in the end I think either the audience or Mullins
himself came to the same conclusion and he spent a fair bit of the time answering
-the demo is intended to be "halfway entertainment/teaching"
-tight line drawing over a sepia stained canvas texture...simple one point
perspective room, a high
ceilinged 19th century studio filled with paintings, clutter, a table with still life
material, a woodburning stove etc. and the painter in a chair working on a canvas in
the back of the room
-"90% of your struggle should be with the drawing", that being said, if he were to
paint the demo as a real personal piece then he wouldn't use tight lines to start like
that (done as a way of not messing up in front of audience or waste time struggling
on drawing, meant to be reliable, not a failing process)
-he showed some examples of his paintings not posted online; done 100% with
mixerbrush--all the capabilities of Painter, but the mixerbrush is "a lesson for
another day"
-recent ways of pushing his limits and exploring new avenues involve using
exploring mixerbrush in new ways and painting images at extreme resolutions like
over 10k pixels wide
-repeated stuff from gnomon vids--schedule time for failures, try new approaches
and starts etc

-"You're going into an extremely crowded market" -- he complains that the industry
is very incestuous, and you should stand out from all the competition by getting
other influences
-he praised Alberto Mielgo (and seemed a bit disappointed that when he asked the
audience only a few of us knew who he was)...says Mielgo reinvented a way of
painting in PS so that it didn't feel like other digital art before it (except perhaps
some early stuff from the 90's done with a mouse), but it works because the entire
thing is tied together by good drawing skills
-"It's not enough to learn to draw and paint, a lot of people can do that really well"
-"You need to find your own voice to get money" (he says it that way because the
statement phrased in a more "touchy-feely way" of why you need to have you own
voice like how his friend Iain McCaig says it makes him uncomfortable)
-on demo he pasted another painting he had previously done underneath the new
linework. It was another demo of an interior room, and he chose it because there
were lots of colour progressions built in already (rather than repainting from
scratch). The file he had on hand was too small and had to be blown up, says it is a
bad idea to do it like that since it gets all blurry and he would never do it if working
for real.
-wanted a way to hold 2 keys and then interactively resize the brush by dragging
the mouse, couldn't figure it out on a mac and was frustrated and spent several
minutes trying to figure out before eventually giving up (but several minutes later
someone else figured it and told him and he was very happy)
-used clone stamp tool to remove recognizable shapes or unwanted contrast in the
painting he pasted under the lines
-makes an effort to avoid blocking in the main masses of his painting, since that
would destroy the texture base...gotta "tickle" around the textures (which he says is
what photoshop was originally designed for)
-LET WHAT'S UNDER COME THROUGH--he painted with a light hand and likened it to
glazing or scumbling rather than opaque painting
-despite this attention to texture, he says he still loves using the basic round
brushes for paintings
-"boy that changes the sound when I take my glasses off!" His microphone changed
the sound, and he seemed pleasantly surprised at the odd occurrence, and was
happy to have noticed such a thing; he is intrigued by new discovery
-complains about current artists abusing atmospheric perspective or
backlighting/rimlights, and if/when people bring up to him that he's done that in his
work, he says "I did that stuff in 1990-something, I don't do it anymore." He says he
will try everything out, he even has old stuff with lensflares, but that doesn't mean
it should be done.

-he wants to do NEW things, not the same old tired stuff
-when asked (I was the one who asked!) if he thinks of the lighting or atmosphere
much at the start when he was doing the line drawing, he said no, he hadn't
considered it and was just concerned with the drawing problems (I wonder then how
much visualization he does ahead of time then...it seems he relies a lot on intuition
and following where a piece happens to be going?)
-says if he were doing the demo as a real painting he wouldn't do the stuffy sunlight
in a studio (which is what he painted for us) since it has been done so much, instead
he would perhaps paint it as a night scene, and then put a big stained glass window
on the back wall, but make sure it WASN'T backlit in any way, so he needs to figure
out how to light the materials from an unusual lighting
-"when they teach classic lighting/painting in school, they give a value scale of say
0-10, and then you paint everything in the dark as values 2-4, and the lights as 7-9,
so the light and dark shapes are really separate...then people go and paint
everything like that" He then brings up HDR photography--how come it can still read
as a recognizable image when the values are all messed up? Look at that type of
image, like in 3d when there is tons and tons of ambient light. You make good
decisions based on shapes. Like how you can use any colour so long as the value is
right, the value can be wrong and still read...you have freedom as long as the
drawing is strong. "I can light this image in 50 different ways, and it would all read
beautifully" He suggests playing with simple 3d and move the lighting around and
play with the lighting and see what looks best. You will see/learn things other than
what was taught to you in Lighting 101 at Art Center.
-wanted to play with interesting cools and warms of a metal wood stove in the demo
image, but said that there was no time to do it and seemed a bit saddened at the
lost opportunity
-The brushstrokes themselves were done in a loose accuracy...hard to describe but it
showed mastery and a confidence and knowledge, very deliberate and accurate
despite extremely loose, sort of a calculated speed of not too fast and not too
slow...often he doesn't lift the pen and goes back and forth lightly to cover a larger
area in one stroke
-"It's not easy painting in front of people...I feel like I'm doing everything I said not
to do"
-for speed he says he often colour picks directly off the canvas, but "I probably do it
too much"
-toggles off line layer to "see what's bugging it" (he has only been painting under
the lines so far)
-"I'm more panicking than painting" (said in a calm voice)

-says he doesn't want to push highlights and contrasts, unsure if he meant in

general or for this specific painting
-says his new home is near the Brandywine Museum and Andrew Wyeth's studio,
and his demo looks a bit like that
-so far he has been gradually sort of scumbling in the local values of things and
constantly jumping around to different areas of the painting, maybe only doing a
few strokes in each part before moving on
-despite the above statement, he actually zooms in on sections quite a lot to do
some accurate but loose strokes
-"A few selective darks can do wonders in the right place"
-a very busy pattern that was originally in the line drawing for the tablecloth was
beginning to be painted in when he said that the area had too many lines (since hte
highlights on the vase on the table and some other things were also lines), so he
changed the pattern to sort of a splotchy circle thing, like a cow
-"If I was doing this for real I'd hit a bucket of golf balls and think about the image
for a while", then made a few jokes about playing golf during a demo and then
explaining to the organizers that it was a part of the creative process
-decided to show a "Photoshop trick"...the back wall which had a lot of paintings
hanging on it (paintings within the painting) he said he wanted a lot of them to have
white on the canvases, so he painted the entire wall white on a new layer, then
painted the gradations of light on the wall from how the window light hit it, then
masked out the layer and painted out the mask where he wanted whites on the
canvases...so this way he gets all the right tones but doesn't paint it all manually
with small brushes
-still leaves line layer on top and visible, but sometimes takes it away, the
messiness of the painting underneath now reads more painterly without lines
holding the shapes together. For some areas rather than just paint under the liens,
he has the line layer on and looks at the drawing, then removes the line layer and
puts in a couple strokes from how he remembers...this way it is very painterly and
loose but the drawing aspect is still there
-"The lighting is a bit like Sargent's Breakfast Table...I always loved that painting"
-"At a certain point you do wanna, you know, turn off that drawing" (line layer), but
he doesn't get there in the demo
-started fiddling at a painting in the back of his painting, but quickly recognized this
and said he doesn't want to "get dragged into" any area and stopped working on it
and moved on elsewhere despite not liking it
-"there's only one thing more boring than watching paint dry, and that is watching
paint be applied" (audience got a good laugh here)

-at one point while working on the painting the artist in the painting was working on,
he laughed and said he should have made this old academic painter in this 19th
century studio working on a painting of a goblin instead of a landscape
-"sometimes you don't have to paint things you thought you had to" then used an
edge of the tablecloth as an example where there is a hard edge, but if there is no
value change you can leave it all out and the mind still reads it...also talked about
the same happening on the head when viewed from certain angles, you want to
indicate the bridge of the nose because you know it is in front of the eye socket, but
that edge may only exist in space and not value (says it's a tricky area to paint)
-"Why is this canvas here?" [discussing a canvas within his painting, highly
foreshortened and sort of in the middle and quite large] "It's so awkward...that's
why it's there." (intentional rule breaking and going against expectations and
-"Practically speaking, there is no such thing as composition"
-"composition rules are crock", he discusses how for every rule he can find many
counterexamples, therefore the rules are either wrong or very
incomplete/lacking...our understanding of perspective is so poor that you can just
say there are no rules
-advice for composition is to "stick with what you like" and if someone says it's not
good to do this or that you should just walk away from that person
-when asked on his influences, he mentions Sargent and Syd Mead as having the
biggest influences through his career (Syd more in the early stages though), but he
loves lots of things and has many influences, quickly mentions that he loves many
Russians who are sadly little known, likes Ashcan School, likes Wayne Thiebaud (but
says you need to see the originals to understand/appreciate him), seemed like he
could go on listing a lot but didn't want to spend much time thinking about it really,
instead saying it would be a better question to ask him what he DOESN'T find
interesting...then jokes that half of the stuff Art Renewal praises falls in that
category, before going on a small rant about how closeminded and stupid they are
-when actually painting he concentrates immensely and sometimes sticks his
tongue out slightly...when answering questions he usually stops painting to answer
-recommends you expose yourself to things you don't understand...if lots of people
find value in something then there is something there. Try to understand it, even if
you can't in the end it is good you tried and you may find new things that expand
-when asked about various approaches, he says he likes finding accidental things he
wouldn't have come up with otherwise, things like the program Alchemy or if you
have a line drawing, put a MASSIVE file underneath it so that you can move it
around and tiny sections of the massive file are there under the lines filling the
whole canvas and you can see cool new things

-when asked about advice for those who are fresh into the industry or trying to
break in, he stopped and thought a bit before saying to learn anatomy really, really
well--says you should know the bones and all the muscles and where their insertions
and origins are. He says he could open up Z-Brush right then and there and sculpt a
full accurate human skeleton from his memory. This is the bare minimum of
knowledge he says. You should be able to do a skeleton and then layer on the
muscles on top, no ref. You need to know all this to draw figures, he says without
knowing it you can still get good gesture and such, but you will never get GREAT
-next piece of advice is to DRAW
-also suggest learning or playing with 3d as you will pick up some new things
-last bit of advice, he repeats that you should DRAW ALL THE TIME and DRAW
EVERYTHING and to draw it any way you can think of (construction, no
construction, memory, from ref etc etc)
-he then discusses that a lot of people do concept art the same or sculpt the
same...if he asked everyone in the room to sculpt a chair then all the results would
be the same pretty much (which is a shame he says), but if he asked everyone in
the room to draw the chair, then the results would all be very different and
individual. So he says by drawing you develop your style since it is individual. He
really repeatedly stressed drawing a ton.
-when asked what he would be doing if not commissions, he said his "own" work
would be different from what he is doing now, but he honestly has no idea
what...seems lost without clients telling him what to do?
-also warns that his approach and mindset is so locked into illustration at this point
in his career that he essentially can't get out...when younger it took 5 years to stop
drawing like an industrial designer after only a bit of ID...now he has done so much
illustration he can't escape it
-warns about the dangers of classical teaching since it can be hard to undo that
-when asked about publishing a book of his work, he seemed to hate the idea since
"you can see my art on my site anyway" and the entire thing to him is nonsense
and for vanity. He wouldn't feel right to have his bookshelf be "Sargent,
Mucha....Mullins?!!!" He also mentioned that he doesn't like people looking at his
work for inspiration or copying him. That being said, there have been some
publishers coming to him and talking about a book, so it may actually happen in the
-mentions insecurities in his art, that he now takes skills for granted almost...things
he finds natural and thinks everyone can do, he has to be reminded by his wife or
others that most artists can't do it.
-research is a part of the process (while the room in his demo was invented, he did
look at some ref first to see characteristics, like the high ceilings, the clutter, the
wood burning stove)

-when asked about what makes his brushwork so nice, he pulls up his brushes and
points at them..."these ones are Jaime Jones's brushes (he worked hard to make
them), but the ones used in the demo were just the default photoshop brushes"....so
he says it's not the brushes at all that look good, it's the SHAPES and not the stroke.
He shows how he sucks at strokes and can't control the pen tablet, like he couldn't
draw a circle or ellipse on a tablet at all, and even a straight line was wonky (he
mentions others like Hampton can do those things with ease, but for him he can't).
-mentions some anecdote about how Syd Mead can do any ellipse perfectly and
freehand...and then talks in admiration of once when he was a room that Syd was
working in, and Syd's manager(?) was really angry that someone took something off
his desk and was screaming and swearing, and Syd was just painting away nice and
slow and so focused he didn't seem distracted at all by the screaming or even seem
to notice it, Syd was in his own slow and calm painting world
-when asked about the industry, he mentions work being given overseas and also
general rates getting worse, and says even though it's not what we want to hear, it
is happening
-mentions we are competing against everyone in the world. Against all these
talented people. Mentions how now we compete against those rare talents in the
billions of the whole world, rather than just the local people around us.
-"you guys have your work cut out for you"
-"the only thing I can say is to draw constantly because that's how you'll find
-"become widely educated"
-"find your joy elsewhere [not concept art]". He gave the impression that the
incestuous nature of the industry was tiresome, he wants outside influences
-"The more you know about the world the richer your art will become". Mentions he
reads large tomes on non-fiction topics. Suggests learning history, mechanics,
science, etc. When asked what historical figure was an inspiration to him, he
mentioned Newton and some other scientists, also the people who invented and
programmed Photoshop and other programs, calls them geniuses who are underappreciated.
-Bobby Chiu asked him about the truth behind an old rumour that years ago during
a demo Mullins was provided with a tablet and asked for a mouse instead. Mullins
responded that he didn't recall the exact event, it may have happened, as he
painted for several years with only a mouse...it didn't matter really since his
approach isn't flashy brushwork or fast strokes, but rather precise shapes, and at
the time the tablets he didn't like since he felt he had little control. Says the people
of the time mostly used it for cheesy effects anyhow like adding speed lines to

-he mentions that painting with gouache will teach you lots since you can't blend
with it, so must do paint all the shapes right
-when asked if has ever used clay models or other physical models to explore form
or light instead of a 3d program, he responds with "of course" and that he has tried
just about everything (though it is messy so doesn't do it as much as digital 3d).
Mentions that it is good to get out of the digital space though since even the best
3d program is still just an approximation of real life, and he compares it to life all
the time and finds deficiencies that others don't notice or assume are right. Says he
does play with clay and modelling with his daughter(s?).
-when asked about what lessons or exercises or things caused his skills to jump up
the most, he thought a bit and said two things impacted him the most...1)
understanding how light interacts with the basic forms (cubes, spheres, cones, etc),
and 2) when he was in his early 20's he got a Sargent book that blew his mind
-discussed the super-hi-res file things that got passed around...turns out to be
private commissions by some millionaire geek (got rich by using trucks to take the
inventory of small comic book shops going out of business, then sorting and selling
all the stuff online). The geek is an Edgar Rice Burroughs fanboy and writes
crossover fanfiction and hired Mullins to paint various scenes in it...meeting.jpg is
Tarzan and Jane at a fancy party in Africa meeting John Carter of Mars...
-when questioned about him teaching Schoolism courses in the near future, he said
he will be teaching, but also made it sound like he doesn't know what he wants to
teach. Mentions he has put a lot of thought into what should be taught to students
and in what order. He came up with a pyramid idea where at the bottom is the most
basic things and it gets more advanced as you move up, and the volume of each
section is how many people can do it. So the bottom level is a wide base, Tracing,
everyone can do it, even an orangutan. The next level is Contour drawing. Next is
Construction. Then Lighting on Basic Forms. These types of progressions continue
until the very top level at the peak of the pyramid, where you can paint any body
type and any object in any pose from any angle made out of any material with any
lighting on it....all perfectly without reference. He says there is no one, or almost no
one, in this level. But then he asks, what if you take someone from this level, and
make them go to the bottom level and trace an image...their tracing will be very
different from the orangutan tracing. So all the levels are connected and related
even if it seems there is a progression. And how does he fit into all this? What if the
level to teach is about anatomy...is he the one to teach it? Well, he knows anatomy
and could teach it, but it would be better to go to someone like Michael Hampton or
Rey Bustos who know more and have dedicated their lives to teaching it. The same
can be said about any other section of the pyramid. Mullins then jokes that the class
would be you pay and show up, and he just has a sign there saying "go to learn
anatomy from Rey Bustos" then when you come back there will be a different sign
pointing you to a different teacher for something else. In the end, Mullins sounded
like he had no idea what he was going to teach, despite having thought lots about
what people should learn in what order.

-when asked to pull up images (masterpaintings) onto the screen and discuss what
he liked about them, Mullins had a big smile and said that he couldn't do it now, but
it was an idea for a class..."a museum trip with Spoogedemon" (chuckled to himself
then awkwardly explained that he supposed most people missed the reference)...he
seemed very happy and almost in a far off place when he thought of a class of
looking at masterworks. Really gave the impression he appreciates master paintings
and wants others to appreciate them too and know more about them.
After the demo a large lineup/crowd immediately built itself around him and people
were shoving prints in his face to get signed and getting their photo taken with him.
He smiled uncomfortably and signed away, but you could tell he wanted to leave
and get away from all the people and attention. Afterwards he left and didnt hang
around for the afterparty with the rest of the instructors. He also didnt seem to
attend any other demos (whereas the other instructors could be seen hanging


I didnt take many notes for him since his workshop was covering topics I already
am comfortable with

He began by discussing how creativity is problem solving, but made it clear that you
need to identify the proper problems. Many times people are solving surface
problems when they should be focusing on the heart of the problem.
-light in animation has two purposes: appeal and story
-showed a Venn diagram with three sections about your image that you need to
think about in relation to the audience: How the audience is interacting or viewing
the image, How they are feeling, and What they are thinking. If you manage to
succeed in two categories you have good design, if you hit all three you get great
-showed some examples of his work and things he did to hit the goals (pretty
obvious stuff such as choosing a certain lighting to emphasize a certain aspect, like
a front lighting to make it friendlier)
-had a chrome sphere and a cloth to cover it, used that to show matte and specular
lighting on a sphere with a lamp. Also used a volunteer and lit his head from
different angles to show how it can affect our perception of a face on an emotional
level. Gives quick overview of basics of lighting and some common definitions.
-recommends learning perspective, 3d, and sculpting in order to build your minds
3d render skills (and allow you to handle things that are difficult to calculate like
cast shadows projected onto complex forms)
-suggests painting a sphere light test for each paintingpaint it out 3 times: matte
with all the light sources, specular with everything, and a matte with the main light
not included so you can get proper values of cast shadows on subject. Use these
spheres as guides for complex forms.
-for demo he already had the flat colours and just added lighting on it based on
emotional points from suggestions of the audience
-flats separated by layer (uses to get clean selections when he works above all the
other layers)
-soft ambient shadows
-used an overlay layer to bring sunlight in

-he uses a special smudge brush to remove the sloppy lay-in of the overlay layer
and to turn form smoothly
-then he paints on top
-he paints all surfaces the same matte appearance at first, then paints the speculars
on top at the end


Story beat illustration
It is a part of a bigger whole
Must have a quick read (via values/lighting)
Get an emotional hinge in there

Elements of a storybeat:

Camera (composition) viewpoint, type of lens, etc
Lighting organization, hierarchies
Character this is the cherry on top and provides a connection for the

-Helen showed examples of screenshots from The Incredibles, showing how they
achieved various feelings from the mundane to intensity. Choices such as camera
angles and colours play into this a lot.
-it is important to know what the set is supposed to say
-Ensure a clear value read this usually means it is a simple graphic composition
with large value masses
-ask yourself what the moment is aboutcharacters? the set? How does this image
fit into the whole story? Are there any keywords you want to hit (eg claustrophobia)?
Do you have an opinion on it?
- says cinematography is often neglected by artists, but is extremely important to
learn, it is something Helen is just beginning to pick up in the last few years
-for the demo she starts by writing the ideas she wants to get firstin this case
dense city, busy and lost girl
-recommends thumbnailing BEFORE any research, as this keeps the compositions
fresher and based more on your own personal experiences (she said she is using
her time in China to help with this image)
-first thing to do is find the camera angleshe did several thumbnails very rapidly
(maybe 30 seconds each), just a few simple lines and no value, very loose and to
decide the horizon line/viewpoint and such
-she chooses one and blows it up to a full sized file
-googles for reference images, says she is looking for fact, but also FEELING in the
ref (she googled things like Japanese alleyway, and used images from Tokyo and

other busy cities). Searched very quickly for images, says if it were not a demo she
would spend longer finding appropriate reference
-set up a quick 1-point perspective grid freehand I really love perspective
-people see shapes first, so use large value shapes for the main read
-I draw with paint
-wants to have a separation of the alley and street, so lays in a flat grey opaque
shape of the entire alley ontop on one layer (though still has perspective layer
-lays colour directly ontop of the grey shape opaquely and on same layer, begins
breaking up into smaller shapes and varying things, adding interest
-when asked if she has storyboards to work off of, she says sometimes but usually
nother job is to express a certain feeling, a momentdoes that before fleshing out
-when asked how many of her sets make it to the final product, she says 20-30% of
hers haveIm lucky, thats high
-paints textures manually in another document as a flat on straight view, then later
copies to main document and skews it into perspective. Did this a few times during
demo, once for a brick wall and once for graffiti on a different wall, also to skew a
bicycle into perspective. Masks out parts of it with a texture brush to integrate it
and make it feel more worn out.
-sometimes doing something wrong is better than doing something kinda right,
since the art director can point out what NOT to do
-She handles lighting as the LAST stepbut thinks ahead in the thumbnail stage a
bit on what she eventually intends it to look like. So far she is painting everything in
very neutral muted colours with ambient lighting so that other lighting effects can
be added later.
-tries to get a lot of variety in textures (materials)
-says even if you are asked to paint something you dont enjoy, you can always find
a part of it to grab onto that you like
-she flattens a lot of layers, keeping only foreground, midground, and bg separate.
But if she knows though that she will be asked to make many changes to an image
later on, she will keep everything on its own layer to make this easier.

-one of the most important lessons she was given is to build a sense of history into
a set, make it feel really lived in. She recommends looking at Rockwell to help learn
-advice: Dont be a dick
-dont be afraid to kill your painting for your art director
-so far in the demo the foreground alleyway is nearly complete, and the bg is still
the white of the canvas, untouched
-she says painting within section like this helps her, she can just focus on the one
area then and it is less intimidatinglay in the main interesting shape then break it
up and add design to it
-she paints very opaquely, almost never has to erase or correct things much after
laying it in
-says she learned to do this from an oil painting Quickstudies class, where they had
only 20 minutes to do paintings of things (still life, plein air, etc). This taught her
about confidence in markmaking.
-when asked how long she takes to do paintings for her job, she says a finished
piece can take up to 4 days, but for quick lighting keys she can be expected to
pump out 2 or 3 per day. Typical work hours of 9am to 7pm.
-I am a sucker for depth of field stuff
-only really uses 2 brushes, a squarish block-in brush and a chalky texture one. Both
are quite opaque.
-dont be a slave to the perspective grid
-when asked what she as an art director looks for in artists she mentions a good
work ethic as well as strong draftsmanship
-mentions Rodolfo Damaggio as being an incredible artist
-To add lighting to the image she uses various layer blending modesseemed like
mostly multiply and colour dodge, but she experiments and uses a lot. Uses these in
very large areas and with big airbrush or gradients.
-Helen felt the image got away from her partway through but continued anyhow for
the sake of the demoshe was disappointed in the end result (despite the general
consensus of the audience and what bobby was saying, I have to agree with Helen
that the image fell flat shortly after she began to add the lighting to it)


This demo began very much as a motivational speech kind of thing. Stephen was
really energetic and enthusiastic and talked about both his own history and just
general motivational quotes and such. He was very well prepared and talked fast,
covered a LOT of material, and had a well-organized slideshow for it all with
probably hundreds of slides, and at the end did some quick sketches in sketchbook
pro to show some ideas. He also had short clips of videos such as animations he
worked on. Despite some technical difficulties where the projector was projecting all
in pink and grainy, he managed to work through it surprisingly well and fix it on the
fly my stomping on a part of the stage that must have had a bad cable connection
underneath. Overall a very interesting and educational lecture/demo that kept you
busy constantly through either learning new things or doing exercises in your
-Belief leads to successexample of 4 minute mile being thought impossible for a
long time, then many could achieve it
-Fall forward, dont fall back. Use momentum to push through failures and learn
Reasons why you may NOT be moving forward:
-you look for shortcuts instead of putting in the work and taking the harder
(but proper) road
-you have no initiativeyou want some else to give you a push and answers
and guide youyou must self-guide and learn on your own
-you dont draw unless you are required or told to
-you dont seek out great art
-you dont study/copy other things or artists enough
-you dont listen to criticism
-youre showing your artwork to the wrong people (for example those who just
give praise and nothing else)
-you believe it will be too difficult
-you wait for approval before taking the next step and just trying
-you dont know what you want to do (you need a direction)
-youre in your comfort zone, not experimenting
-youre not OBSERVING

-Put yourself out there, keep growing, dont stay stagnant in one spot
-My belief was alwayswhy not? (he used examples from his life, such as
deciding on a whim to go into animation and makes a portfolio despite not knowing
what it should look likebecause of this his ends up standing out from the others
and it works)
-it is important to be versatileyou should copy other artists and be able to
understand and replicate their shape language
-youre gonna make it in the industry with friends (they will help you out,
recommend jobs, etc)
-theres no loyalty in this industry. Youre a nomad. Its the way the industry rolls
(talking about a companys loyalty to youonce a project is done and they have
used you how they want they will toss you out)
-between jobs he decided to publish books of his sketches, but publishers he
approached werent interested, so he learned how to self publish and it gave him a
lot of success
-you dont need to know the end result to get started. Take the opportunity to at
least try things
why not try? If it works, great. If not, move on. Its a journey and theres no
-know what your intention isdifferent mindsets lead to different focuses. Dont
try to do absolutely everything.
-Dont feel pressure, like Im never gonna make it unless I do X
-understand WHY you want something, then the HOW will become clear.
-mimicry is the prerequisite to creativitypick a small handful of artists to admire
(internet is bad in this sense since it overexposes us to so much good art we get
-you dont know what you can be until you know what you can do
Success requires 3 things:
1) Burning desire
2) Definite purpose
3) Take ACTION. Dont be just talk.
-set goals, go on journey, let things happen
-he quotes Famous Artists Course: SEE, OBSERVE, REMEMBER

-practice dailyeven if for only 15 minutes, practice

-Persistence, Patience, Confidence
-the worst that can happen is someone says no
Steps to get good at drawing:
-Draw the face lots, learn it well
-lots of life drawingbut dont just copy, try to caricature the poses and push
the essence of it, observe closely, you should be able to invent it afterwards,
you should switch media every so often and use anything and everything to
draw with
-TV Recorderuse this to pause and sketch out movementshe showed sumo
and boxing matches he paused repeatedly and drew out, try to capture the
gestures and movements
-fill sketchbooksaim for at least 5 full sketchbooks per year. Make sure to
observe well and to remember.dont just doodle mindlessly.
-Joshua Reynolds: Excellence is never granted to man but as the reward of labour
-Recommends an exercise called Caricature Pop Upa face pops up for about 2 or 3
seconds then you close the imagedraw a caricature from memory. This trains your
memory to capture the essential information (say, they maybe have a big nose and
eyes close togetherthis will be what defines their likeness)
-look for the general shape of the headis it squarish? An oval? A circle?
Triangular? Long? Wide?
-use magazines and earthsworld.com for reference for this exercise
-dont ever rely on referenceuse it as an idea
-if youre in a rut that means you need to get out of your comfort zone
-learn to recognize and fix your mistakes
Character Design for Animation:
-its not always designing new characters, often you are reworking a
storyboard and adding the design over it
-style AFTERlife/movement first, just draw it your own way
-gotta do enough drawings to pull style out of youalready inherently in you

-dont try to make stuff uppull up reference

--dont copy your roughconstantly edit it at each progressive stage
-dont worry about it being beautiful at first, work on proportions, big things
Deep dark secrets of design :P
-format (comic, TV etc)
-stylistic requirements
-what ref
-do research
-what visual imagery will guide you?
-dont overdraw the first idea
-try many possibilities and variations
-draw over and over

5 keys (in order of importance):



-let your ideas flow loose instead of getting caught up in editing

-Who is it? Where? When?

-appearance/age/physical details
-Youre a casting director as the character designer
-How does your character sit? Consider everything
-you want to incorporate some kind of feeling
-rockwell pushed things (showed examples of Rockwells photoref vs final
-Dont just stick to the reftake the idea of it, the action
-build habits of daily working on your goalseven 30 minutes per day
-Dont be competitivebe creative. Dont worry about the competition.
Design: organization of forms/shapes
-basic shapes, iconic, identifiable
-speak your own shape language
-when copying, say it in your own way
-variation of shape
-everything is designhe showed examples of turning lamp shapes and
bottles into characters, also stole shapes from fish for things
-general to particular, get the basics down
-arrange things differently, see what happens, create new perceptions (he
had photos of various blocks arranged in different ways)
-recommends watching The Human Face (documentary) by John Cleese
-distortion can lead to new ideas
-avoid the go-to
-draw through
-clarity in design through simplicity
-dont neglect negative space
-Where does the eye go?

-be aware of spacing

-Through repetition you can juggle numerous aspects of design at once
-avoid tangents to pull out clarity
-exaggeration in scale
-(this whole time he has been showing images on slides to go along with it
he showed some Erich Sokol but I missed the other names because they
moved so fast)
-emphasis by contrast

Exercise: Blind Feeling Drawing

-more useful than blind contour drawings
-look at ref while drawing without looking at paper
-rather than a slow careful contour, you draw loose and fast and try to capture the
essence of it, like for a face perhaps start and see the large forehead so scribble in a
large forehead, then move down, there are some beady eyes you do and move on
from there until everything is put in
-at this point you have a general face on your page that will have a TON more
character than if you just drew it normally, and it is probably exaggerated in ways
you couldnt do intentionally. You can now spend a couple minutes drawing over and
refining it normally.
-Dont just do this exercise (and others) one time and say oh coolno, you must


This one is a bit hard to describe since it was so different from all the other
presentationsboth in format and just how Claire is. Ill try to write what I can
based on memory and my notes, but I feel it all falls somewhat short of the actual
experience and anything I write will be full of holes from things I cant express from
memory well or things that are in my memory and didnt think to write down. The
demo started about 15 minutes late since she was doing pencil drawings and they
were having issues in filming and projecting it and having the pencil lines actually
show up on the screen properly. Bobby Chiu sat next to her on stage to ask her
questions and guide the whole thing, to help her understand questions from the
audience, and also probably just because he is a fan of hers and wanted to see it up
close. Claire sat sort of hunched over, she gave a very timid and quiet impression,
but kind and sweet. She had hollow cheeks and a thin frame and seemed to move
slowly and carefully. The demo was more of a casual interview/conversation in
which Bobby and the audience would ask her about her thoughts, her art and her
life. She was incredibly open, and spoke at length about personal topics such as her
nearly crippling self-confidence issues, her battles with why she even does art (she
almost quit!), and talked briefly of her illness, though focused more on how it
affected her than the specifics of it (she didnt want to bore us with medical stuff).
Despite the language barrier, she spoke and understood English quite well and
made many jokes. Often when describing things or explaining them she used
analogies or phrased things in a somewhat poetic wayshe claims this is largely
due to her not knowing how to articulate it well in English, but I think much of it is
just how she thinks of things. She also had some sketchbooks where she flipped
through and pointed to some drawings to say a certain thing about it. Many of them
she tried to skip over because she felt they were bad. She approaches a lot of
things in a very intuitive way, and relies on feelings instead of technical thought out
rules or processes. The first portion of the demo was just her answering questions
and talking, and then it was a while before she began drawing. The drawings were
hard to see at first, but in the end you could make out what she was doing. She did
several small drawings, and ended up giving up and putting aside the first few she
did partway through working on them, saying they were bad. When the time was up
and Bobby tried to wrap it up, Claire insisted she wasnt yet finished her drawing
and spent another 10 minutes finishing it up and talking more.
-copy yourselfreuse your ideas, and use doodles as starts for full drawings
-doodle constantly, even if it is badand if it is bad you should not feel bad because
the drawing is a part of your life you put in, it is time (she talked a lot of selfacceptance throughout her demo)
-when asked about how she draws things like cats so well and makes them look so
good, she relates a story of a man she knew who would draw buildings, and his job
was to make them look as good as possible, so he would use a fake perspective,

he pushed things and changed the perspective in ways to make it look betterthis
is how she approaches anatomy, you can fake things to make it better
-drawing is like adding pieces of clay
-there is life in animals, and she wants to capture thisshe owns cats and observes
them lots
-she is acting in a way while drawing, she feels inside her the tension and pullso
you must draw with your entire body in that sense, you feel with your body
-I just doodle cute things to relax myself
-She draws a lot in cafes, no one around her really cares much or bothers her
-when asked what inspires her, she responds If only I could know
-when youre a kid you draw just for the fun of it (she tries to do the same now,
have funshe sees drawing as playing with toys, like she draws animals now in the
same way she played with plastic animals as a child)
-lots of likes on facebook is like being rich in Monopoly
-she stopped drawing for several years due to her sicknesswhen getting back into
it she gave herself exercises. One was to buy a stack of A5 papers and choose a
single topic then draw that topic until the whole stack is filled (she started with
things like fairies since they were somewhat comfort zone for her and she could
ease back into it)
-it took 2 years to relearn to draw
-I draw on everything (though she does says she likes drawing on cheap paper
since it takes away pressurethe good paper she has sits unused on the shelf
staring at her)
-when she draws she very rarely lays in any sort of underdrawing or structure,
instead she seeks out a main line and works from there, deciding things along the
way and working outwards, but keeping in mind the main action or twist she wishes
to show
-the speed you draw changes everything (referring to speed of your hand as you
make linesshe recommends you calm down)
-I draw 5 hours a day cause Im lazy (when relearning to draw she start with 1
hour and increased it)
-often she likes to start with a patch of tones, without lines
-PUT EFFORT without worry

-There needs to be a meaning or idea in every drawingit doesnt have to be big or

important, but it has to be there. In her last drawing she drew a fairy with a hat and
the idea was she was tying her shoesa small idea, but an idea.
-if you cant accept your bad art you arent accepting yourself. You are too hard on
-when I feel there is no life in a drawing I throw it away
-I want my work to be as living as possible
-while she draws she likes to listen to soccer gamesit helps to disconnect her from
-when asked her three favourite artists she chose: Jeff Jones, Winsor McCay, and
Dino Battaglia
-play with accidents, dont aim for anything in particular
-she says she starts with cloudsfuzzy shapes or ideas, either in her mind or on
her paperso this could be a tone she lays down, or a line. Or she likes to take
another drawing and put it underneath her current page (maybe needs a lightbox)
to have a fuzzy impression of the drawing show through, and this gives her new
ideas and lets her see things in the same way you see dragons in clouds in the sky
-recommends giving yourself assignments to make yourself at ease with drawing
-when asked about how she learned to draw everything from memory so well she
didnt really knowBobby asked if she did memory exercises and she just said a
simple nope. Quite a lot of questions were answered in this way. She didnt seem
to do anything special other than draw a lot, and it is as though she doesnt quite
know how she got to where she is now or how she does what she does.
-she spoke fondly of a drawing book she received as a childit was leather bound
and had nice gold lettering on the cover. It covered a number of topics on basic
drawing and stuff on gesture and so forth and she claims it taught her lots even
though the drawings in it were crude.
-says the first 5 years as a child she never saw another child, she just spent time
with nature and at home
-when she was sick she was on her deathbed and nearly didnt make it, extreme
health problems such as kidney failure. She stopped drawing for several years, and
then had to deal with many questions of why she draws at all. Nearly quit
permanently but felt like something was missing from her life.

-she struggled with intense self-confidence issues since she needed to relearn how
to drawhow could she do what she did before, never mind do something better
than it and proceed further?
-she does tons and tons of doodles, most are trash or used to warm up, only maybe
1/10 is good, but she likes to do them and can find good ideas in them even if the
drawings are poor