Where I'll be in 2019 (and where I’ve been..oops!)

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I FORGOT TO POST THIS :( so I’m a little late —- Hi Everyone! Its been a little while for this poor blog—I’m sorry you’ve been neglected! The end of 2018 was a whirlwind and had a lot of new artwork going on! I loved it but it also left me pretty stressed & burned out, only to hit the ground running for 2019. So if you’re wondering where I disappeared to, I was just deep into making more art & animation!!

I have plans to talk about how my 2018 shaped up but I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, so that will have to be in its own blog. For this one I’d like to share some of the opportunities I’m working on now and where you can find me in 2019!

ANAMON STUDIOS:

Attending Ground Zero Animation Expo last year really spurred me to be more active in the animation community and put myself out there more, rather than hiding behind my desk wondering if I was good enough. So when a Women in Animation mixer was scheduled for last Summer? early fall? (I’m not sure!) I took advantage and made the trek out to SF just to meet and talk animation with others!!! I ended up meeting an awesome studio working on a short film—yay! Anamon! A month or so after the mixer they contacted me to help with some Vis Dev work—its all volunteer right now but its an awesome experience with a production pipeline for 3D and they an excellent job of fostering teamwork & collaboration even across several countries! Right now, I’m working on some lighting keys for them — Its a challenge and I’m so glad that they’re emphasis is on education because I’m learning a lot and really being pushed in this position.

ALASKA ROBOTICS CAMP: (April 26)

Last week I returned from the Alaska Robotics Comics Camp! It was an amazing experience I completely recommend to anyone feeling lost in their career and in need of a community. In Sacramento there’s not a whole lot of other illustration/comics/animation artists around so it was amazing to hear from others trying to build a creative career and also just get to know others in the industry! I met so many wonderful people and spent a week in a beautiful city, learning about its history, politics, and comics and I hope I can come back next year! I post a few photos and a short write up on my Patreon. Did I mention that I created a Patreon? Oh yeah, I did that too! Comics Camp definitely gave me the push I needed to ramp up my art as a business and just do it, cause no one knows what they’re doing anyways—try it, make it up as you go!

GROUND ZERO ANIMATION EXPO: (June 8 & 9th, Anaheim, CA)

This year I’ll be tabling at Ground Zero (and attending!!) its amazing I can’t believe this one either! If you haven’t heard of this convention, check out my previous blog post about my experience last year. It was excellent and a truly welcoming event with lots of room to talk to and learn from other artists. I can’t wait to be more involved this year and see what new things they’re bringing to this young convention! For my table I’m trying to get together more prints and an art book! (as well as some new animation—that’s a lot!)



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

 

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)

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!

Previews & Story Work

Here are some quick previews of some things I'm working on in between my finishing my thesis backgrounds this month.  I'm trying to develop some work for a Story Portfolio so I'm actually trying to turn this stuff into a bit more finished looking work than my normal sketchbook pages--if I still like the drawings & ideas when I look at them by the light of day that is!  

Here's one I still liked:

These were some sketches of me trying to explain the merits of stage acting v. film acting (and why Stage & B&W films are better!) to Matt, who wasn't buying it--I'm gonna say I won that argument (Matt may still not agree with me :-p).  And the top sketches are what happened when I Matt came to watch Abominable Bride with me--I was SUPER excited & he was well...asleep ..or bored I'm not sure which--something about not getting the 'hype over Benedict Cumberbatch' ....maybe if he'd stayed awake he'd understand ;-p.