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To start out our first week of class, Bob emphasized that

being flexible and being open to different career choices lead
to success. Be careful to not limit yourself, its better to not
have preconceived notions of what you want to do after grad-
uation or later in life. Its easy to get into a narrow straight
line, which can cripple your vision and your career options
in the future. As a comparison, Bob compared it to going to
a fine French cooking school and wanting to only learn how
to cook a hamburger or hot dog, without having a full appre-
ciation and desire to learn cooking.
If your skills cannot keep up with the status quo, you are
disposable, so he emphasized the importance of being flex-
ible. He then proceeded to tell us a story about someone
who wanted to be 2D animators at Disney, but then Disney
transitioned to 3D and all of the 2D animators were laid off.
That person was later working at Trader Joes as a cashier
because they couldnt adapt with the times.
People look to Art Center for structure. Art Center is the
transition from being just a kid that likes to draw to a work-
ing creative professional. On either sides of the spectrum are
structure and creativity, and its important to find a balance
between the two. The market and technology will always
constantly in flux, but what will never change is the way you
structure your work. Bob told us about when he graduated,
and the market was predominantly freelance. It was neces-
sary to start your own business and brand yourself, despite
going to art school and not business school.
He told us that although he was terrified at the time, know-
ing nothing about business, fear is your friend, and that
fear keeps you honest and on your toes. He also discussed
how the transition phase is like the big fish in small pond to
small fish in big pond saying, where although you may be tal-
ented in high school or school, when you get to Art Center
and the real workplace, everybody is at least as good as you
or better. Everybody also wants the same jobs.
As you try to get jobs after graduation, its important to take
rejection as learning experience and get back up again and
again, rather than staying down and giving up because of
fear of rejection. This industry is full of nonstop rejection
and it is not necessarily as a personal attack against your
work, but rather because you are not a good fit for the proj-
ect or are not adaptable enough (yet). Always remember to
learn from your mistakes, which while easy to say, is much
harder to do in practice.
Smartphones, while a great feat of innovation and technolo-
gy, are terrifying in the workplace. Every phone has a camera
and video capturing functionality, and if anything is leaked,
companies can lose tens of millions of dollars in the process.
Bob told us a story about a girl (not from Art Center) who
was working at a studio and posted work on her blog from
a project after she was done, and the vice president of the
studio was on the phone with her within ten minutes. She
was removed from her position and has had a difficult time
finding work ever since, as confidentiality and
trustworthiness are some of the key things to being able to
keep and find work - nobody wants to hire someone they
cant trust. On a related note, he mentioned to us that LA
models are the best in the country because of our proximity
to Hollywood - we get some of the best talent since many
people are trying to be singers and models and other similar
talents. Because they do modeling for art as a side job, they
are very intent on keeping their privacy and controlling the
image of themselves, thus the no picture policy.
There were stories of models that freaked out as soon as there
was a phone being out in their general proximity, regardless
of whether the person with the phone was actually using
their camera or just playing Tetris. With social media being
such a common tool these days, its difficult to deal with the
blurry lines of intellectual property, and messy to deal with
the consequences if anything is intentionally or even acci-
dentally spread. Bob mentioned something similar regard-
ing art - only post if if you are aware of the consequences, if
youre willing to give away.
Have a tight mouth in general and it will be easier to find
work. Confidentiality opens doors.
structurally (pt 2)
Showing up early makes you look better - if youre first to
arrive, you look like you care the most. Time management
is a priceless skill; with limited hours in a day, its import-
ant to learn how to budget your time. Being able to budget
your time can also transition into budgeting your money
since you can learn how to do more with less. Get the right
things out of this school, not just drawing techniques, Bob
advised us. Think of Art Center as work, and act like a
professional - not a student. Think of it as if youre already a
professional but in school to hone your skills.
Regarding the absence and tardy policy, he told us to make
sure to be here at 8 AM sharp, and ideally half an hour early
- tying back to your image, if you show up earliest, you look
like you are the most motivated. Its not only about your
image, but also to factor in any accidents that may happen
along the way. Flat tires, oversleeping by a few minutes, traf-
fic - everything can add up and become a tardy or absence, so
its better to treat an 8 AM class as a 7:30 AM class.
After an excused absence, its important to contact Bob as
soon as possible, within three days at most. At the workplace
as well, its important to contact whomever is in charge as
soon as you know you will be busy with something. Bob
then told us about the significance of actively seeking feed-
back. If you are stuck and dont know what to do anymore,
ask for help. If you think youre doing alright but are in a rut
of doing the same thing, ask for help. Often the people who
stay until the very end of workshops are the people at the
top, the people with the most desire to improve and
ambition - this is why they have the positions that they do.
Some production designers that Bob knows referred to the
people who dont work as hard to improve transitional, as
in they have the skills to be employable but not longevity, so
they end up floating around between studios and working
under people rather than being at the top.
When Bob was in his 8th term, he sat next down to the
department head during lunch and attempted to have an
awkward conversation - when he timidly asked if there were
any jobs out there for him when he graduated, the depart-
ment chair brusquely replied that theres no jobs out there,
the market is oversaturated. Then he paused and continued,
Unless youre outstanding, then its a different story. There
is always work for outstanding people. Remember that re-
gardless of how good you are, if everyone else is just as good
then you wont stand out. Think to yourself that if
this isnt better than who youre showing against, then whats
the point?
Are you critical enough? The most important question nec-
essary for self improvement, it is also critical to getting work
done in the workplace. When you open your mouth, if im-
portant things are said and improvements are made, you will
make money. Bob compared improvement to like being in
a race: if you are in last place, 50 meters behind the others,
the only way you will be able to win is if you speed up. If you
maintain the same pace you will still be at the same distance
behind everyone else, but if you speed up, you can catch up
and even pass them. Its important to be able to develop
things and work on your own time. Rather than pure skill,
effort and improvement are the things that count. Treat
[school] as your job, Bob told us. Its like if someone asks
you what your job is, and you answer that your job is to get
good. Like, what the heck, thats the best job ever! Your
value as a designer is defined by your ability to problem solve.
You must be aware of your audience and your clients, and
when you apply for jobs you should tailor your portfolio to
what is more likely to get you hired in that particular place
- they all have different problems to be solved. A common
problem is dealing with people that you dont like, or people
that are just difficult to work with. In school, rather than
fighting to do what youve always done, do it the way the
class asks to expand your point of view and experience. There
is always time to do what you want the way you when you
are out of the class, but you can only get the experience
that the class will give you while you are in the class. Get
what the teacher knows and ask plenty of questions. If you
are able to learn different points of views, you will be flexible
and better. Be able to take constructive criticism gracefully.
Homework should be taken a step further than classwork.
Be focused! Presentation is a representation of you and your
respect for your client or your viewer, so take it seriously.
When it comes to people who dont know anything about
your work or even art at all, they will not focus on your
work, but rather the presentation. They will criticize your
craft and everything but your work - whether it be warping
foam core, a loose tape, or a peeling edge. Its important to
not wait until the last second to complete work. Be prepared!
Some things may be more difficult for you, but it doesnt
mean that youre unable to do them. The important thing is
to try harder and learn how to do it anyway. This is part of
the importance of organization and structure in your learn-
ing and daily practice. The same second you get a job is the
second that somebody else wants your job. If you dont stay
on top of things, you will lose your job. The key to prevent-
ing this is to take initiative - do more work! Go beyond what
was asked, and people will think better of you. Its always a
good idea to do extra, since the extra mileage adds up and
can only benefit you if you do it healthily. Fill up a sketch-
book, go to workshops... whatever gets you to the goal. Dont
be afraid to use lots of paper, after all, with the tuition that
we pay, its like buying a Ferrari and not being willing to pay
for gas. Remember that Art Center is not a guarantee of a
job, but rather an opportunity. Because of this mentality,
Bob allows us to do redos for a better grade. If you do two
for every one that other people do, you will get that much
better, that much faster - hard work does not lie.
He told us a story of a former student that was miles behind
everybody else, but in one term went from awful to Art
Center average. This same student took a head painting
class and started out as the worst painter but then became
the best in the class after doing double the work and going to
workshops. Even if he never picks up a paintbrush again, the
important thing that he learned was self confidence. Your
duty is your choice, Bob proclaimed. He also told us about
another student who was a very good painter but never im-
proved at all, and proceeded to get a C+ despite being the
best in the class. When that student asked why they received
that grade despite having strong work, he replied that the
student simply coasted through the class without displaying
any improvement, which did not warrant a high grade be-
cause not enough hard work was put in. He told us a story
of when he got into the Society of Illustrators show in New
York, and found himself and his other Art Center peers as
veritable idols.
He also found himself in shock when discovering that some
of the other schools had entire semesters, sometimes entire
years to complete one painting - at Art Center, the require-
ment was to finish things by the deadline, often within a
couple weeks or less. This led into a discussion about the
differences between fine art and illustration; although the
final product may share stylistic similarities, the process to fi-
nal, or prompting and process, is completely different, with
different motivations. Fine art is internally motivated by the
self, while illustration originates from problem solving to get
a solution for a certain problem.
Even if youve never tried something before, say you can do
it, and you will have to do it. Fake it until you make it. If you
cant use InDesign during week 1 (like me), youll have to
do it anyway, because its the requirement of the class. With
any task, analyze and take it apart for a week, and then you
should be able to do it to a certain extent. Even if youve
never tried something before, say you can do it, and you will
have to do it. Fake it until you make it. If you cant use InDe-
sign during week 1 (like me), youll have to do it anyway, be-
cause its the requirement of the class. With any task, analyze
and take it apart for a week, and then you should be able to
do it to a certain extent. Take everything seriously, and most
importantly, take yourself seriously. To do well, make sure
to not fall behind. If you do happen to fall behind, catch up
as soon as you can. Sometimes throwing yourself into some-
thing is the only way to improve. If theres any work at the
end of the term, it will result in a failing grade. Save all work
for final critique.
In drawing figures, try to feel the pose and feel the antici-
pation and action. When doing homework, put your notes
next to you to remind yourself to try new things and push
yourself beyond what youre used to doing on a regular ba-
sis. Allow yourself to do bad drawings - you wont get good
unless you get bad first!
In short two minute poses, break the drawing down into
two steps: first capture the gesture, movement, and scale
with fast, loose, long lines, and then second, draw through
the form and visualize the form with contour lines to add
more sense of volume.
Drawing is communication with marks on a surface, and
has nothing to do with style. Style is imposed onto a draw-
ing. Try to feel the marks, and leave some things up to the
viewers imagination. Look for lines through the form that
are the most descriptive of the form and try to avoid un-
necessary lines - dont overdraw. Think of drawing through
the form as the inner contour, and the outline as the outer
contour. When we finally transition into painting, outer
contour does not help much. Using too much outer contour
flattens the form, which while is not a bad thing, it is not
conducive to showing dimension and shape. Fashion illustra-
tors often make good use of inside contours to efficiently de-
scribe the form. Overlaps can help indicate form and depth,
especially if the overlaps have dark accents.
During five minute poses, first use fast, loose, long, light
lines - save darks for dark accents - then draw through the
form. Use dark accents to pull something closer. You can
also accent overlaps to add depth and accent form change.
Another method is to put the dark accent on the shadow
side of the form to imply light and shadow. Your eye looks
at the speed of the mark. Where there is a fast mark, the eye
stays for a shorter period of time; where there is a slow, deci-
sive mark, the eye stays for a longer period. Drawing is about
the marks you leave out - after all, its important to stay
within budget on projects. Rather than drawing out every
detail, imply it instead. Hinting at detail is a common meth-
od used in painting to reduce the time spent. Loose paint-
ing with only a few tight marks in an area saves time and
you dont have to render as much. Also try to use contour
as accent. Emphasize without adding too much by slowing
the eye, and de-emphasize other areas that are less import-
ant. The importance of the contour exercise is not about the
appearance but rather about the sequence and the process.
Think about contrast as dark vs light and fast vs loose, creat-
ing a focal point in a picture.
Things that require 0 talent
- Being on time
- Work ethic
- Effort
- Body language
- Energy
- Attitude
- Passion
- Being coachable
- Doing extra
- Being prepared
Obtain materials:
- drawing board and paper
- soft or extra soft charcoal pencils (sharpen them before
class so you are ready to draw)
- Staedtler erasers
- conte 3B charcoal (crushed)
- flat edge razor blade
- drywall sanding screen (to grind charcoal)
- container to hold charcoal dust
- newspaper
Practice the gesture exercises from class - draw a pair of
shoes, with no background, no shading, just lines and ac-
cent. Draw one pair on 18x24 paper. Practice and choose the
best one. Put it on foamcore and shrink wrap it, and clip the
other practice ones behind the foamcore. Shrink wrap can
be obtained at the student store.
To use the shrink wrap, find a clean table or surface and
lay out the plastic. Get the foamcore, slightly larger than
the drawing (around 1/16 to 1/8 inch), and use doublestick
tape so that the shrink wrap doesnt move, with around two
inches leftover around the edges. Use a hair dryer to heat the
back, then the edges, then the front. Test it out first! Get a
binder with your name clearly printed on a cover page, and
sheet protectors. You can insert pictures into your notes. For
tips on how to use InDesign, watch videos on lynda.com.

Be ready to answer the following questions (by week 4):

- Why did you pick Art Center?

- What do you want to do when you leave school?
- Who are your favorite alumni?

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