Creative Women's Mini-Con

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Hello! What are you doing on Saturday, September 29th??  What you should be doing is going to the Creative Women's Mini-Con in Sacramento!

The Creative Women's Mini-Con celebrates women creators and will be show casing a lot of local artist and creators.  Its a great event that's been running in Sacramento for a few years now and I'm so honored to be a part of it and be able to meet other women creatives working both in and outside of Sacramento!  This year Mariko Tamaki co-author of one of my favorite graphic novels "This One Summer" (and currently at Marvel) will be attending--maybe I just haven't found the right people yet but Sac always feels so far from the rest of the art and animation world, it is great to see creators from even outside Sacramento joining!

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For me, this is the very first con I've ever tabled at--and I'm super excited (and just a little nervous!!) I've been working on a new series of illustrations for prints and stickers about "Mostly-Imaginary Adventures".  In the last few years I've been super focusing on my art and animation and I have HUGE case of wanderlust (like all millennials, I think).  I love traveling and I love being out of my comfort zone but I haven't been able to truly get out of it in so long! So until I can find a little time to escape Sacramento I'll have to settle for imaginary adventures! 

For this con, you should all come out because I'll be tabling with mostly new work that has yet to be seen finished!!! (some of it is above :) ) So come out and check it out (and support me so I can someday take a real adventure and draw about it)!!  I also hope to attend more cons in 2018 (if any are still open???) or 2019 and start meeting others in animation, comics, or illustration--its only out here!

Here's where you can find the con details--

Creative Women's Mini Con

Saturday, September 28th 11am - 5pm @ Empire Comics in Sacramento

Facebook Event Page

Address  (or see the map below!)

1120 Fulton Ave, Sacramento, California

 

Podcasts Round up!

A few years ago I started listening to podcasts, mostly at work and I LOVE THEM!! Its like storytelling without the pictures and I completely get the appeal of radio shows now!  Usually they're more interesting than what's on TV and you can find one of just about any subject.  Usually I start listening to them when I need to get some work done that's more technical--like in-betweening or working on digital painting and illustration, basically--it keeps me in my chair working for at least an hour straight and I can usually get into the mood of animating or drawing after an episode or two.  If I'm working on something like planning a shot or composition or coming up with ideas I usually find podcasts too distracting (and know that's not the time I should be turning one on!!) but sometimes when I'm tired from working my day job but still need to get some animation done and will turn one on until I can get into my project.

Here's a few that I'm really enjoying right now!

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ANIMATION ADVICE & INDUSTRY:

  • Animated Journey by Angel Entzminger
    • This is a great interview animation show about how different people got into and made their way through the animation industry.  Not only are the podcast interviews really interesting but Angela also goes over events happening in animation right now.  Especially good if you want to feel like you're not alone in your weird-meandering journey of animation!
  • Ink & Paint Girls by Cassie Soliday
    • This podcasts interviews women working in the animation industry.  The interviews are from a wide variety of women working in all aspects of animation from large studios to very small and veterans in the industry as well as new comers--interviews are always super informative and interesting and especially good if you want to learn about different positions and career routes in animation
  • The Art Side of Life by Iva 
    • Another excellent interview podcast--she interviews more well known artists and always has a very positive spin about learning and developing your craft in animation.  Especially good if you're feeling a little down about getting into the industry and need a positive outlook
  • The Art Corner by Anoosha & Vicki
    • This one only has six episodes and seems to be on a break but I was really excited every time it updated!! Part advice-part interview, it was a new podcast that was developing its structure and was always refreshingly informal and gave really good, specific advice about the industry and being an independent artist.  I recommend their two part series on having an online store --it was a really in depth look about it and super informative from two people who have a lot of experience with it--(psst--come back!!)
  • Cartoon Saloon Podcast
    • I LOVE this podcast! Its super unique in that the head of the studio set out to interview everyone at the studio about how and why they got into animation.  Cartoon Saloon is a studio in Ireland and it was so interesting to hear different perspectives about art and the industry from another country--they seemed to have a much better work-life balance and outlook in the Irish industry and I loved that almost every one I listened to had come from a different career and started animation 'later in life'  --this one is especially good if you're feeling like you're a little too late/a little to old to get into the industry....or are feeling a little jaded about animation
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Right now I'm also really into adventure podcasts!! (I could seriously list a million podcasts for you to listen to but here's a few good ones for when you're maxed out on animation info!)

ADVENTURE & COOL PEOPLE

  • Dirt Bag Diaries Want to hear about death-defying, crazy and life changing adventures?? This podcast is for you--its done storytelling style rather than interview for the most part and guest talk about their wild experiences and adventures in the outdoors.  Especially good if you're feeling like an adventure but can't leave your desk right now.
  • Out There  by Willow Belden--This one pretty similar to Dirt Bag Diaries--about people traveling outdoors and getting out of their comfort zone.  I liked this one because most of their guests were women.  Its also told storytelling style and good if you want to get lost in someone else's adventure.
  • Real Talk Radio with Nichole Antionette -- Nicole interviews interesting an inspirational women (and some men) from all different careers and walks of life.  Its always interesting to hear how someone else built a career, over came obstacles or does crazy stuff like ultra running.

 

Ground Zero Animation Expo - Recap pt. 2

If you haven't read part one yet--you can find it here!

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Not only was Ground Zero an excellent place for learning about the industry from professionals currently working in it, it was also a great place to meet your animation peers!  After Saturday's show, everyone attending the conference was invited to meet up at a local Brewery.  Again, I went by myself--I'm an extrovert ...even if I'm quiet sometimes. I wasn't super stressed about attending this.  However, I tend to have a hard time striking up conversation with others I don't know, particularly if they're already talking in a group.  Eva did a great job organizing this and rounded up everyone she saw from the conference to sit near each other at the end of the bar--which was awesome because I was having a hard time telling who had come over from the conference!!  I ended up striking up conversation with lots of interesting peers and tabling artists that night and stayed until the end.  I've never been to the after-hours social events at CTNx, but after testing the waters here I'll be sure to try that in November as well!

Overall, this was an excellent conference and an awesome experience.  Especially as someone who lives outside of the LA area, its nice to have a conference in between trips to CTNx--although there are lots of animation events happening in Southern California all the time, its hard to make time or travel for one day or week night events, this is just Saturday and Sunday ...if you drink a lot of coffee you wouldn't even have to take time off of work!  This year, I'm going to apply the advice I've learned at Ground Zero, to bring a new reel to CTN to get more feedback, and then bring a new reel to the next Ground Zero...and so on, forever.  If you feel overwhelmed by a large and crazy conference Ground Zero a good place to go, its easy to get lost in the sea of people herded through the Burbank Marriot each year and hard to find the time or space to really make conversation with anyone.  I felt like i had plenty of time to chat with artists and peers and really enjoyed the 'networking' aspect of conferences I've been avoiding for so long.

If you're looking to go next year here's some tips! (mostly things I'd do next year to be more prepared)

  • Think about what you'd like to know about animation industry or different careers before you go--there will be a lot of time to ask questions!! This time I asked a lot of people about entering the industry or how they develop their portfolio projects so that it doesn't turn into a life long project.  I got some great specific advice! But I think if I'd gone a few years ago I wouldn't have had those questions ready--think about what you'd like to know!
  • Bring Business cards--I am SO glad I forced myself to make them even though I had to pay for rush shipping--I gave out almost half of what I ordered...it was worth it
  • Next time I'd try to pack a lunch--there was just McDonalds and Food 4 Less near the site...you can of course drive but I was lazy...I ate french fries like 4 days in a row...but I'll take responsibility for that life choice
  • Show up early! (but after me!)--you wont be stressed, you'll get a good swag bag, you'll feel superior to those who showed up late and didn't get a swag bag (just kidding)
  • If you want to figure draw, do it in the morning--the tables will be there all weekend but the model was only there for a bit--and both days the model looked awesome! I missed most of that.
  • If you're tired go sit in the bleachers and draw the other attendees, once you leave school you'll realize there's only so many places where this seems normal/not creepy
  • I'd get more sleep--and drag more people with me!  I could have split my room with 3 other people and put some on the floor too! It would have made it like $30 bucks a night a person...which is dirt cheap...we could have all gone to Disneyland on Monday (or at least Downtown Disney)...#goals

Ground Zero Animation Expo - Recap pt. 1

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This weekend I attended Ground Zero Animation Expo in Stanton, CA (near Anaheim).  It was an awesome experience that was incredibly well done and provided an excellent way to meet both professionals and peers in the animation industry.

Ground Zero Animation Expo was started by Eva Sowinski and just finished its third year running.  Its a much smaller and more intimate conference than CTNx (every November in Burbank) and has a much different atmosphere as well as different goals.  Eva explained where Ground Zero began as well as the vision for the Expo on this Ink and Paint Girls Podcast-- definitely give it a listen!  I found it on my drive back to Sacramento and it was not only inspiring but also really summed up what Ground Zero is about (...but that should not be a surprise because she made it!)  Here's a few notes on my experience--I'd definitely encourage anyone looking to break into the industry, learn more about it, or simply loves animation to check it out!!

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My journey to Ground Zero start very early in Sacramento Thursday morning--after a run to the store for snacks, coffee, and a ridiculously large breakfast sandwich I was on the road!  I decided to drive to this conference by myself, because even though its 5+ hour drive to Southern California from Sacramento I didn't know anyone else from Sac doing animation and most of my cohort at school has already graduated and sought other opportunities--I was feeling pretty animation-lonely out here!   Even though I'm an extrovert, I don't tend to do as well at professional conventions or meetings--meeting my art-heros and other professionals just makes me nervous! So going by myself was also a way to force myself to get out there--if you don't bring anyone with you, you can't hide from all the people you don't know!  To make this seem less daunting, I stopped by at a friends house in LA and had an awesome weekend catching up and taking her goofy dog to the 'dog beach' and then we ate everything in LA in 24 hours...which was awesome and I was much less stressed.

Ground Zero started at 10 am on Saturday...so naturally I showed up just after 8:30am  (if you've been to CTNx you know why I showed up so early!!...also lets be honest, only the first so-many people were going to get a swag bag and I wanted one).  I was the first in line for about half an hour and at first felt a little strange...like now you all know I'm REALLY excited ...Eva took my picture for social media and then finally some more people showed up at about 9am and then it felt less strange--by the time it opened I heard there were 50 people in line.  

There are a few things that are unique to Ground Zero that I really liked--first of all, its not an expensive conference--if you just want to walk the floor, shop tables, and meet artists--IT'S FREE! and if you want to just go to panels its only $10 for unlimited panels a day.  You can also purchase workshops and reviews (which I don't think were more than $20) and are 100% worth the money!  If you are new to the industry and want to go to a conference, even if you have to travel--this one is a good choice! (also, its only 15 minutes from Disneyland, if you run out of things to do (I didn't) you can go there...make it vacation!) 

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Another excellent thing about Ground Zero is the size, its small--I'm not sure how many people were there over the weekend, but I could walk the floor and move freely without bumping into anyone and there was no need for crowd control or much people herding.  Being a small conference meant that if you wanted to talk to an artist at a table, you could without feeling like you were bothering them or distracting them from a sale.  I walked the floor at least 5 times a day in between panels and workshops and I assume others did as well.  Everyone seemed as excited to chat as they were to sell artwork and it was much easier to strike up conversation at this conference than CTNx where people are bumping into you or getting in line to buy things or ask questions and its pretty chaotic. In addition the workshops and panels are all small AND long--each was about an hour in length and only had a normal-sized classroom full of people at most.  That meant that for workshops, the information was in-depth and informative and there was plenty of time for questions.  I went to Amanda Jolly and Andrea Gerstmann's workshops and both gave great talks that were full of very useful and specific information.  I normally don't ask questions in the large lectures or workshops at CTNx (even if they are small) but I felt much more comfortable asking at Ground Zero because their emphasis was on learning and entering the industry--rather than CTNx which has a mix of veterans, current industry people and people hard-core-searching for a job. 

Ground Zero also felt more relaxed than conferences I'd attended in the past.  For the Panels, I went to a Character Design one with Stephen Silver and Amber Aki-Huang and a Storyboard Panel with Kris Wimberly, Casssie Soliday, and two other artists who's names I did not catch :( both began with the artists talking about what they do and how they got there and then they opened it up to questions from the audience.  Every panel I went to had lots of thoughtful questions from everyone in the audience and excellent advice from the artists.  The panels were also geared towards learning, explaining the careers and talking about career paths.  Artists took a lot of time to help explain aspects of the job or the industry they'd wished they'd known before they entered. 

I felt like I’d missed my chance to enter the industry and was running out of time but every panel and workshop I went to stressed that there was no right time or age to get in and that it was never too late.

All of the panels and workshops that I attended also had an emphasis on animation 'being a marathon, not a sprint'.  Nearly all of the artists expressed not only the hard work it took them to get into the industry but also that taking time to break in WAS NORMAL. Coming out of a competitive graduate program where I had initially struggled to learn animation and also being one of very few people at my school who worked full time while competing the program, I was feeling very out of place before attending.  I felt like I'd missed my chance to enter the industry and was running out of time but every panel and workshop I went to stressed that there was no right time or age to get in and that it was never too late.  Several panelists talked about how it took them over 5 or 7 years to land their first art job and that all of that is NORMAL! This was also echoed in my portfolio review with Tiara Little, I was super nervous about the review and I shouldn't have been.  Unlike the recruiter reviews at CTNx, this was just for information and she genuinely wanted to help attendees to where they wanted to be in the industry.  She had good advice and encouragement and it was overall a good experience that in hindsight I should have been a lot less worried about--I'll work on that next time.

Continue to part 2!

The Thesis...& Sticking with it

Spoiler Alert--I finished and graduated in December! But when I went back to re-read some blog drafts I thought this was still a good collection of thoughts on what my thesis experience was like.  I am working on a blog series about working on a large project/film and what I learned from it and how I'd do it differently for the next film (and there will be a next one)

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At the moment all parts of my thesis feel like animation triage.  I'm fighting the urge to abandon the entire project and start something new everyday but unfortunately (or fortunately) they wont let me stay in this program forever.  So I have to find a way to fight, fix and struggle through all of my mistakes from previous semesters.  I hate it!!  But it got me thinking of what we learn when we stick with something even when it's frustrating and choose to finish a hard, imperfect task rather than start over from scratch. 

I want so badly to take everything I know from THIS film and start a new, fresh film with no mistakes.  I feel like I have learned everything I could have learned from this project and now I need to take those skills and try again (and also bury the current film in my pile of unfinished projects).  But that's exactly why I shouldn't stop--the longer I work on this film the more I realize that when I want to stop working on it and 'move on' before its finished its more from fear of making something bad than it is from wanting a new challenge.  In reality every time I think that I have learned everything I could possibly learn from this film, it shows me otherwise and I gain a new understanding of the material and animation as a craft. 

Redoing the scenes no longer feels like spinning my wheels but rather significant changes that drastically improve the film.  But now I'm fighting against my lack of planning--lets be honest. I avoided my planning because it was hard and scary and I really thought I couldn't finish the film.  When I started, I couldn't even imagine the steps I needed to take, it was like someone handed me a child or a house plant (basically the same thing right?) and I had no idea what to do with it, if what I was doing was right, or if it was even worth the effort.  I should have dove right in and failed, over and over and over again (not that I didn't inevitably fail anyway) but I should have failed in my work, rather than the failure to execute it.  If I am ashamed of any portion of this thesis project, it wold be that I failed to take the risk, I took the safe road, I hesitated and waited for approval.  I waited for someone else to tell me that I was an animator, rather than simply animating and letting my volume of work speak for itself.

But that’s exactly why I shouldn’t stop—the longer I work on this film the more I realize that when I want to stop working on it and ‘move on’ before its finished its more from fear of making something bad than it is from wanting a new challenge.
— Me

So I wont quit.  I wont give in to temptation to start over and not have anything to show for years of work.  I'll stick it out and salvage the film from what I have and learn better to avoid those mistakes because I had to spend the time righting them myself.

Here's some things I've learned from sticking it out on this film:

  • I have so much more to learn about authentic acting and overlapping action
  • Breakdowns aren't crazy drawings to make the action 'more interesting' (read: Complicated)--they simply connect an action--SIMPLE!!
  • In my next film I'll do all of the keys for all the scenes before I start inbetweening (and string it back together in After Effects to make sure they link up)
  • I don't like watching my own work--even when I think its okay--timing out my animatic feels like torture
  • pay attention to camera angles and how scenes cut together
  • SLOW DOWN & PLAN--it will actually make things go faster
  • I love the process of animating and I find in-betweening somewhat meditative (even if its not supposed to be like that)
  • I am now starting to see what good action really looks like--and how to get character to start looking like their alive and not just moving

If I had moved on a year ago to a new project, I would have been stuck with stiff and lifeless animation, I think that going back and analyzing the scenes and the animation over and over again forced me to address issues I would have otherwise never addressed.  Being told it 'still doesn't feel right' was what I needed to hear--and taking it back to zero each time, was probably what I needed to do, as frustrating as it is!  I had to analyze my own mistakes and try new approaches to the same work to stop making the same mistakes.

So maybe the next time you think about abandoning a project because you've learned everything you can learn you'll stick it out and see what else is left.

SF Ice Cream Museum

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Earlier this month I super needed a break--while I have finally figured out a schedule for my work-animation-life-non-balance I after some serious work between my east coast trip in July and October, I needed a wild break!  A friend of mine was lucky to get through the online system to get tickets so we were able to get a group into the Ice Cream Museum in San Francisco.  It was a super fun day, filled with a mission burrito, a fancy waffle, wine, ice cream and a lot of plastic sprinkles but I wish this had been more like a museum! There as only one wall of facts (and I don't remember them!) It was basically a giant instagram photo op, but it was still a lot of fun! Here's some pics (no drawings cause we were too busy and being pushed through so the line would move).

I think that they extended their run in SF--so if you want your own insta-photo Op Check them out at https://www.museumoficecream.com/san-francisco/

It was really fun and totally worth a trip to SF but I didn't learn very much about ice cream...also they were seriously lacking in chocolate samples! Consider yourself warned :).

August & September Recap & Some Thoughts on Improvement

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September is coming to a close and I definitely feel like I'm racing towards the finish line for my thesis (count down to 90 seconds of full color animation has begun!) September feels like its been a pretty productive and successful month, but I am definitely feeling the rush and panic of being in the semester again.  Even though summer has almost the exact same schedule as fall (animation every weeknight and then marathon work sessions Wednesday and Saturday) the summer still feels more relaxed.  This week low motivation and burn out were definitely on my mind enough tough I feel like I've only bee working for three weeks (but really its been an intense schedule since I got back from my Pittsburgh trip.

Here are some highlights from August and September

AUGUST

  • Weekends Short Film warped (I helped out in coloring the animation and some very simple compositing for this film back in July--it was an awesome experience! & I am also credited on the website...and the film too!)
  • Completed tie-down of 3 scenes (minus a few edits I'm still working on)--Including a HORSE!
  • Read "Steal Like an Artist"  which was an awesome confidence boost about sharing art  work and helped me start thinking about how to be more professional about my work

SEPTEMBER

  • Completed tie down on horse run cycle & made major improvements
  • Progress on two backgrounds
  • Re-analyzed my shots & strategized about what's best to finish before reviewing this semester
  • Made schedule for when the review/presentation materials will be completed this semester
  • Found time management schedule that *mostly* works for me
  • Listened to two awesome podcasts about young women creating their own careers & navigating life that really got me thinking (Millennial & Real Talk with Rachel Antionnette)

Links I'm Lovin' !

Hi Again! Here's some more links I'm SUPER into and why I love 'em 

  • Figure Drawing (some Nudes) -- Here's a YouTube Channel of figure drawing poses. I had completely forgotten about that until I was searching through my link file.  I will probably try this out tomorrow, I have really been feeling like I need to get back to basics!
  • Bobby Chui -- Drawing Exercises - Composition -- Here's a video where Bobby walks you through an exercise! This is something I will be revisiting later as well! I completely I forgot that I saved all of these resources for when i was 'stumped' unfortunately anytime I've been stumped I didn't think to open this page!  
  • Toniko Pantoja -- Intro to Breakdowns-- I love his youtube channel, even though the posts aren't super frequent.  This one in particular really helped me to understand how breakdown poses work and how to get varied action and change the timing/feel of your piece with just the breakdown pose. I struggled with breakdowns and inbetweening until sometime last year.  They just didn't make sense to me! 
  • Animation Desk Tumblr - Storyboarding Response -- Here's a response from a boarding artist that was reblogged by the Animation Desk Tumblr.  Usually you hear the same advice over and over again (because its true!) but I think this response really got what the person was asking.  And is good advice I think for anyone (like me!) going--okay I know drawing is important and learning the film terms, etc. but how do I get a better understanding and level-up faster.  This artist recommended watching youtube film critiques and other stuff about film making (in addition to watching actually movies and drawing of course!).  That wasn't something I had thought of and is a good way to absorb information when your brain feels full at the end of a long week at your day-job or school or whatever.

Art & your demon

 The talk also encouraged us to draw our own demons, here's mine -- EVIL Amber!  Always tellin' me not to do stuff, post stuff or talk to people about animation...stop that!

The talk also encouraged us to draw our own demons, here's mine -- EVIL Amber!  Always tellin' me not to do stuff, post stuff or talk to people about animation...stop that!

Before I left for my vacation, I listened to a live lecture by Lucy Bellwood and Jessica Abel about fear, making art, and freelancing as well as  creative life and all the craziness that goes with that.  A few points in the talk really resonated with me.  One of the most obvious ones was a poll that opened at the start of the talk.  Jessica started a poll with the audience before the talk began, asking "What does your demon stop you from doing?" and while I checked all of the above, mine actually stops me from FINISHING work most often.  I have thousands of tiny sketches but the thought of finishing and being judged by the work is terrifying, it might be 'wrong' or have errors and then everyone will know that I am a hack --or that's what my demon keeps telling me anyways.

The talk was excellent and gave me a lot to think about.  In the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about how I want to present myself after graduation and how to go about making the transition into a creative illustration or animation career.  This talk really identified SO many of of the ways that I had been struggling and helped me to see that EVERYONE feels this way, even professional artists and its more about showing up, doing the work and putting it out there than it is about being the 'perfect artist'.  It made me feel better about publicly presenting myself as an artist, especially online.  Lucy stressed that online presence is so much more about PROCESS and building a community of your peers than it is posting perfect work to attract the illustration/animation 'Gods'.  Lucy also suggested that the audience read 'Show Your Work' and 'Steal like an Artist" to help those struggling to either put themselves out there or get started (or BOTH!).  I read "Show Your Work" over my vacation because at the moment I'm most interested in how to get over the fear of posting finished work (err...well finishing it at all)!  It was an excellent (and short!) read.  Many of the points it makes were actually mentioned in the talk but the book is able to go into more detail and helped to put working as an animator/illustrator into perspective.  You don't need to be perfect, you just have to let people see how you work and let them into the process of what you're making and why.  

You can see a recording of the talk here.  And equally as awesome but unfortunately I probably can't link back to it is--Lucy Bellwood hung out after the talk to answer remaining questions! I was left with so many thoughts about realizing my animation/illustration dreams when I left the chat room and hopefully I can begin putting some of those things into practice soon!

Here's a few ideas I went through when trying to figure out what my demon might look like.  At first I thought it might be 'Evil Hershey' (one of my cats) because some days he's my nemesis and he likes to stomp all over my artwork with his brother smokey! I realized that I'm really more of my own worst enemy that Hershey is...and he probably just wants a hug anyway.

PitTsburgh & East Coast Adventures

 Just takin' a selfie with this guy in the Pitsburgh airport! (btw--its the 2nd best airport in the country...or that's what the sign told me)

Just takin' a selfie with this guy in the Pitsburgh airport! (btw--its the 2nd best airport in the country...or that's what the sign told me)

In the past few years I taken one long break (well, long-ish) from school and work for an adventure with friends.  I think the only way I can relax completely and process the feedback I've been getting from both school and my day job is to leave all my responsibilities behind and get physically away from everything, eat A LOT of food and try some new and interesting things!

This year long time-college friends and I met with a couple members of our gang who recently moved to Pitsburgh, PA for work.  It was great to reunite with them and hang out as one big group again! I'm an extrovert so having 8 days of non-stop chatting and eating was just what I needed to recharge!  

Here's a short recap of our adventures over the last week!

We checked out the the "Cathedral of Knowledge", which was probably as close to Harry Potter as we'll get in the US!  Its a beautiful cathedral on campus that has classrooms and study space.  Several of the classrooms were decorated by different cultural groups--when I first heard this from my friend I was imagining posterboards and construction paper but they are REALLY elaborate and beautiful with elements that were imported from different parts of the world.  I can't believe that you can actually have class in them because they feel like a museum! (but maybe if my classes were in them I'd have paid more attention :-p.

 Cathedral of Knowledge, looking down into the study space--can I live here??

Cathedral of Knowledge, looking down into the study space--can I live here??

Below is a us walking around and a couple of the rooms and details from the room (more of this place is coming soon!) This was probably my favorite place in Pitsburgh!

 

While we mostly wandered from food location to food location, I DID manage to get some sketching in while everyone else played Pokemon Go (I think I will never understand the appeal of that game!) but at least it meant we stopped for a few minutes and meant we drove all over the city of Pitsburgh.   Below are some of my sketches of all our adventures and the distracted Pokemon players!

To balance out all the Pokemon we also checked out the Andy Wharhol Museum (apparently he is from Pittsbrugh, who knew?!) which was actually super interesting.  I'm not a huge fan of Andy Wharhol but I really enjoyed seeing a museum devoted to the work of just one artist.  I could see the development of his process and ideas and how his art changed over time both as he aged and developed as an artist and as a response to events happening in the world around him.  Even though I'm not a huge fan, I think it helped me develop a greater appreciation for his work and I enjoyed seeing how he began to develop his more abstract ideas, which is something I would like to do more in my art--be a bit more experimental and let myself explore more rather than just settling for what I think others would like.  (More on this on my Vlog--COMMING SOON!)

I was very pleasantly surprised by Pittsburgh, PA! It's a beautiful city with such a long history!  Coming from California and seeing the range and age of all the buildings was really exciting.  I love history but California's material history is so recent compared to PA.  In the evening we took a little tram up a mountain (?---maybe its a hill) to check out the city from above ...but we didn't stay too long because it was actually cold up there!  

 Gettin' a very large German Beer!

Gettin' a very large German Beer!

From Pittsburgh we took off to visit some friends in NEW YORK! (after taking a quick stop in Philly to eat a cheesesteak and take a look at the Liberty Bell!)  In New York we checked out the Met, ate cookies, walked forever and visited with friends.  It was an excellent weekend and much needed break!

FINALLY! Me and Diana looking super tired after spending a day in the airport and having our flights re-arranged, delayed and ultimately CANCELED! But we did get to take an adventure to the Pizza Shop from Spiderman 2 and explore the city a little more so it wasn't that bad. After an hour and a half walk all through New York we were pretty hot and tired but the pizza was AMAZING!!

Now that I've filled up my extrovert reserves, I can't wait to get back to my thesis and really get to work! Unfortunately because our flight was canceled on Wednesday, I'm now a day behind and not fully adjusted to time on the west coast! (we got in at 3am CA time, so about 6am NY time and I can not sleep on planes!) Still a super fun weekend though!

July Recap

I just got back from a wild and crazy moving day with a few friends.  These friends have literally moved me from every apartment I've ever lived in and let me sleep on their couch in the in between times so I returned the favor this time.  It was one of days that reminds me why these are my people--moving was not exactly smooth, some plants and a bookcase didn't make it out alive but it was more fun than it was stress...but mostly it was just hot....and they bought me food and cake afterwards which could have also improved my mood.

My July has felt less productive than I would have liked.  I feel like this one scene is taking me forever (because it is!) but I should be able to finish it before I leave on a mini-vacation at least start the tie down on a second scene--that leaves me about one and a half scenes behind.  However, looking back through my journal notes from the last year I think what tends to happen is my summer months move a little slower in progress (but maybe with more consistent results?) as I am processing my critiques and gearing up mentally and physically for the next semester and then I dive into the semester like a crazy person and try to come out a live!

Here's a recap of July progress on this thesis film -thing...

The good:

  • One scene cleaned up
  • 2nd largest scene tied down with issues addressed
  • all scenes in rough (except the intro that was corrupted on an old HD)
  • One background color corrections completed

The Less good:

  • Scenes are taking longer than I anticipate to tie down (especially when there is a horse)
  • Did not meet pre-vacation goals
  • still trying to shake post-semester burn out
  • A little worried I'm moving through my tie down too fast 
  • Worried about maintaining exercise & a normal-ish bedtime for next semester ....or if I even care...?

I think that my August will go better and I'll actually come back feeling refreshed from my vacation and ready to pour all of my efforts into finishing my thesis and come out at the end one tired but happy heap of an animator and then FINALLY be able to focus on updating and maintaining my website/blog/etc.

 

Links I'm Lovin'

Hi! So I've had a list of links I love on my computer for over a year, I've always meant to share them with you but it kept falling to the wayside, so! I'm going to post a few each week for you to enjoy! I hope you find them as helpful as I do.  (some of these are older because they've been lurking in my folders of inspiration for a while)

  • Show & Tell (Megan Hunt) -- Megan Hunt published her maker's manifesto back in 2016.  Written as an excercise for herself, she explains what she wants to achieve in her illustration and why.  Its beautiful insight into the thought behind what she makes and I saved it as something to do myself later (another blog post??) because int he past I've struggled to explain what I'm trying to achieve with my stories and not being able to articulate it I think hurt the stories in the long run.  I think if I had event old myself what those stories were about and what I wanted to achieve, I'd have done much better.  Things floating around in your mind are never as helpful as those that you put on the paper.
  • Studio Moments (Allen Ostergar) -- While this hasn't been updated in a while, Allen Ostegar illustrated life working in the studio through funny little quick sketches,  It was a fun glimpse into what being in a studio would be like.  And I love studying his quick sketches!
  • Frannerd! (Fran Meneses)  -- I think Frannerd is an excellent example of building a brand and I love watching her Youtube videos and checking out her blog and Instagram.  She is very personable on camera and comes across genuine as well as gives great advice on how to get started as an illustrator (I should take some of it!)
  • Lucy Bellwood Demon's Kickstarter (Lucy Bellwood) --I have been following Lucy for a while and she gives great advice on creative content and managing your business as a creative.  As well as working on some really interesting boat and adventure projects! She just launched a kickstarter that over funded in less than 12 hours I think..Crazy! ...she must be doing something right!

 

Hello again!

Today I my thesis program director that “For SURE! I want to graduate in December”  So... That’s it I’m committed!  over 5 years in grad school (I’m part time btw!) and I am done, I just needed to set a day and make the deadline.  Even though my animation has been going MUCH better since last year (and probably the last time I wrote in this blog), completing that deadline will be HARD! (really hard!) But at least now it seems achievable.

 

While now I know that even though it will be difficult December IS a realistic deadline (should everything go as planned and I stay focused/motivated)   However, what’s not helping me feel confident about this deadline is  that I’ve been in a funk of animation/grad school burnout and exhaustion for probably over a month.  There’s no other way around it --I AM DONE.  I want my life back, I want to see my film finished and most importantly I want to move on to other projects and develop some new ideas! So there I said it, for everyone to read and hold me to it! I WILL finish by December and you can watch that playout here--in my blog, where I’ll finally start updating it regularly (and also on a youtube channel soon!).  Catch what its like to do grad school & work full time, from someone who’s finally started to figure it out. (Maybe)  

 

Sometimes you have to just decide to do the hard thing, just decide to find more confidence in your decisions at work or decide to finish your thesis and decide to BECOME an animator.  I have struggled for a long time when it comes to defining myself professionally.  I work as a Graphic Artist but would also like to be seen as creative illustrator and animator.  But for some reason when someone asks I shy away from the creative part and use lots of ‘umms, kindas and I’m still learning’’s  I want to feel sure that I am good at those things before I claim that I could do them professionally but the longer and deeper I research this career the more apparent it is becoming that people who are successful didn’t just wait for others to tell them they were good, they just started--good or bad.  So here I am, starting again.  Follow along for a more regular look into find out how this thing goes, my thoughts on animation, and any tips i can offer along the way.  I am not an expert yet, but I think a lot about animation and DO a lot of animation (even if you haven’t see it yet!) and I think it’s time I started owning up to that for real--I’m an animator.

 

SO--For the rest of 2017 I will be posting regularly as well as updating my portfolio and website. Please be patient as I try new things in the layout and organization!  ALso stay tuned for thesis progress updates and other projects as I try (for real this time!) to build my own creative life!!

Creative Mornings Sacramento

CREATIVE MORNINGS SACRAMENTO!

Sacramento has FINALLY gotten Creative Mornings.  I have been watching lectures from creative mornings since 2009 after I graduated from UCD.  They were a good way to stay connected to design and art while I tried to regroup after graduation during the height of the Great Recession and having to withdraw from animation schools due to the cost and start looking for employment.

Here are some notes from a couple of the talks I was able to attend! I hope I go to more later on in the year when work is a little less crazy! Its a great way to meet other creatives and hear about other's big projects! I always leave feeling inspired to start something new (which is actually probably not a good thing...because I have too many ideas already!)

Taboo : Amal Iqbal
 
 
 

This talk was an inspiring look at how religious and cultural taboos helped to shape her as a designer and how she went on to create a unique studio (Studio FIG) that combines fashion, graphic design and interiou design to conquer more taboos in the design world!  Check out the talk here! (I'm somewhere in the audience!)


Melody Stone - Stories

This talk had a completely different feel! This was the first talk that I attended and it was super interesting take on finding stories in your everyday life, asking questions and staying curious!  And in turn developing a career out of those questions.  It definitely still has me thinking about what the story behind the weird things I see in Sacramento are! You can watch her talk here!