The Massive Black Inc. workshop
As most of you know, I spend 3 days in Portland OR to give a lecture about my work - see the post above. Since I don't like flying anyway, I drew this little page to illustrate my feelings about airports and flying - especially since the standards on the plane have dropped a lot since I first started flying with 12 (no free meal on a 6 hour flight??? I had to order a lot of wine to digest that (not free either of course)).
After Portland I stepped on a plane to spend the next 7 days in San Francisco.
I had a wonderful time in the Hosteling International downtown hostel (I recommend it highly if you want to save money in a friendly atmosphere - great staff and facilities). The city welcomed me with cloudy and rainy weather, and the first 4 days I had no chance of seeing it anyway because of the Massive Black concept art workshop.
Just a little summary for those who don't know what concept art is: It is the wonderful art that is created before a movie or computer game is produced, in particular productions with imaginary elements (fantasy, horror and sci-fi).
Massive Black is one of those studios hired for tasks like this. They invited other studios along, such as Steambot (located in Canada) and SixmoreVodka (located in Berlin). The artists of those studios filled 4 days with lectures and workshops.
(Portrait painting and life drawing going on at the same time)
(The lecturers are being introduced at one of the stages)
I don't know the exact number, but I would guess around 200 young artists visited the event. I met a lot of young students who's dream it is to work for the industry - many of them very talented people. I specifically want to thank Ash and Amanda, two young artists, who gave me a ride to my hostel after the day ended.
(Below: Amanda (middle) and Ash (right) were good comapny at the workshop)
I attended so many workshop and I took so much advice with me. I learned about speedpainting (loose, digital painting exercises at the computer), tips for the industry, for concept, layout, portfolio, work process, etc.
I learned about how design a couple of weapons really quickly (I followed the digital process as best as possible on paper) and how perspective actually works on a mathematical level.
Below: Coro, one of the founders for Massive Black, shows some quick techniques to design weapons)
(Below: this is just an excerpt of my notes for the perspective workshop. I learned crazy things, man: About ground,- eye,- and horizon level, about measuring points and measuring bar, etc.)
Some of the most important things I took with me is something one can apply to any field in the creative industry: Work with an idea, with a concept - when you create an image (and this applies to concept art in particular) make it believable (even though it is imaginary). This is so true - I see so many artists who are able to create beautiful drawings/renderings, but they don't think about story, function or concept.
(When I listened to Coro giving feedback to artists he was very honest to them. I remember him telling this young guy "Dude, your drawings are beautiful but you can't DESIGN".)
There were many other good advices, but it would take me too long to write them all down. I also must add that I was slightly out of place with my work at this place - most people there render totally realistically. I still get a lot out of concept art - a lot of the principles are applicable to my way to work. And I got a lot of good feedback by people, in particular by the Steambot founders, Joel and David.
In this workshop, we created an image based on a random subject generated by their "Random Subject Generator".
The generator spit out the sentence "Batman jumps prison guard at pavement", so all of us drew this scene. Since I don't trust myself with realistic painting, a did what I was good at. A winner was chosen in the end to win a signed concept art tutorial book by Joel and David, but I had to leave early for my ride home. David told me the next day that he thought I would have won. DARN IT!
That is why he drew me this little drawing in the copy of my book I purchased:
I could go on about this workshop forever. But I don't think anybody has made it that far in the text anyway, so I will post more impressions about the workshop along with drawings. Just this much I can tell you: This workshop made me think.
(Below: portfolio review with David from Steambot)
(Below: Scribble stuff)
(Below: Some other aspiring artists I met at the workshop (or at the afterparty in this case) - from left to right: Flabio (Switzerland), Jan (Germany/USA), Chris (USA))
(An amazing lecture on character design for MAGIC, Silent Hill, Wheel of Time, LOTR-online and many other projects)
(a lecture on how everybody started out in the business)
At the way back to New York I felt inspired and drew a couple of rough layouts:
The city itself
After attending none stop workshops for 4 days, I had only one day to actually see the city. I booked two tours in a row with the hostel, one to Muir Woods the famous, gigantic trees) and one trough the city. I will not write too much, but let some of the pictures talk for themselves.
By far, my favorite stop were the Muir Woods, a 224 ha forest with the Coast Redwood trees (they are the smaller version of the gigantic Redwood trees in another part of the state) - the forest felt like I traveled millions of years back in time and I expected dinosaurs to cross my path....
(A nice viewing spot of the pacific).
(Yes yes yes very touristy)
(More Muir Woods)