Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Illusion of SLEEP!

With the exception of it having a postage sticker on it and filling out the application- I AM DONE!

The rejoicing may begin! Portfolio is on it's way!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goodbye, Disney.

"Animation doesn't work without someone who believed, and Roy believed."
- Peter Schneider, the former president of Walt Disney Feature Animation

"Two of Disney's pet projects in later years included efforts to save the peregrine falcon, which was inspired by a nature film he made, and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he helped carry out the dream of Walt and his father to build and sustain a top arts college in Southern California."

This man was more in my heart than even I knew. Goodbye, Roy. We will try to continue your mission and passion, knowing that it means more than most will ever understand.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Little Update

Still working on drawings, trying to FINISH pieces, which is proving slower than I'd have preferred...

One letter of rec down! One to go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Illusion of Sanity

A smidge over a month to go... Portfolio Time!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dusty Illusions

Old posts from the forums... Stuff I'd like to keep in mind for various reasons.

But then again, the fine artists don't seem to take the time to learn any technique at all. It's all theory for them. I just personally respect a piece of art a lot more when it has thought behind it along with an equal amount of skill used to create it.

This goes for my program, too. A lot of people are so eager to get right into "art" mode but are too lazy to grind it out and learn technique/craft/skill. How can you possibly understand how to push the boundaries of an art form when you are so arrogant to disregard what has been done before you?

Picasso was revolutionary in art history but he worked his ass off to understand design, painting, drawing before trying new things. I agree with that philosophy. I think what I get frustrated about is that I see too many people around calarts bullshitting their way through school and I'm often left wondering what the hell everyone is raving about.

Mario (again):
Anyway, there is animosity towards the students (like myself) who have the mindset and expectation of getting a job right after school because to many people, this path has less artistic integrity to it. It's the same old story. The commercial artists vs. the independent artists. Neither is right or wrong. it's just what you choose to do.

Mario once again:
great thing about Pixar is that they have the trust from the public unlike most other studios. They decided to put out quality and that's what people associate with their films. Even when times are shitty for CG animation, the one studio that will remain successful is Pixar. Everyone back home who watched Cars recently said they loved it! Even with all the criticism that people will throw at Pixar they will prevail without a doubt. I have the greatest respect for them because of their dedication to quality.
(Sure wish he would post on the forums again)

May add more later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

3D Illusions

"Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world."

-Walt Disney


I just saw an ad for Toy Story and Toy Story 2- playing TOGETHER- in theaters IN 3D!!!!!!!!
Both films for the price of one! Can you believe it?! SO AWESOME!

Starts October 2nd and for TWO WEEKS ONLY! Midnite showing- HERE I COME! ... if they have one... And if it doesn't even play in this damn city- I WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! I must see these films! IN 3D! XD

I feel like a little kid all over! XD Hehehehehe

Monday, August 3, 2009

Troubled, Worried Thoughts

I am so conflicted lately.

I know no one really reads this- this is almost more just for me to put it down somewhere and try to get all of this out of my head... Otherwise, I think I might go crazy.

All I can think about is school, art, school, art, school, and art... Also, my mind seems to finally be starting to wake up from it's hibernation. (This would be almost 3 years now it's been asleep.) My mind is starting to perk up in the late hours of the night/ early hours of the morning- the time back in high school that I was MOST active with my art.... When I got all my good ideas, when I did my best work. To be possibly coming back into that is a thrill I cannot even begin to describe. It almost gives me hope that should I be accepted to a school- yes, at this point I am not even just saying one in particular- that I may perhaps fulfill what I will need to do. I am so completely aware of the amount of work that will be expected of me. And though I relish the idea of it- of working on something that ISN'T my job- I worry that I may be getting too old to do it with the zeal of my younger days and fellow artists.

But I am also struggling with this whole concept of style and where I am going with my work. It's like- one minute, I will be so completely THRILLED at something I've drawn, then the next second, it seems, I am back in the dark, wondering what the hell went wrong between the drawings... I like some of the experiments I've been doing, but also it kind of feels like it's not "me". Like maybe I am trying too hard to do something else. I dunno... I'm also bored with the "classical" work I've been doing. Like- "Oh, okay- ANYONE could have done THAT! How blasé!" And yet- this is the kind of stuff that back in high school I would have given up my LEFT HAND FOR!

Have I perhaps come that far? Or have I not moved an inch? What am I doing? Where am I going with all of this? What is it that I am trying to say?

Or do I truly have anything worth saying at all?

Again- as no one truly reads this journal, as of yet, these questions are more for me. To try to understand myself and my work, what I am trying to do and where I am trying to go with it. They are questions that MUST be answered before I jump into that void, otherwise I am lost to the blackness.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Drawing- Always Drawing

I feel like I am not drawing enough. I joined the Art League of Houston today, so now, I will officially be attending life drawing sessions twice a week (including The Artery every Wednesday) and Dr. Sketchy's (you know, for the fun of it...) once a month. And I am so totally not drawing enough... I need more. I filled 100 sheets of newsprint and had to buy a new pad of it today and I still feel like I am not doing enough.

I'm just not drawing enough. I should be doing more somehow. And none of my stuff seems any good. feh... I like some of it for a little while, then I'm just like- enh! How the heck am I going to come up with enough pieces to show schools at National Portfolio Day in October- LET ALONE MY ACTUAL PORTFOLIOS to submit for schools- if all my stuff keeps looking like crap?! *slump* Why did the year have to start flying by on me? It used to drag and draaaaag, now I'm looking at due dates in less than four months!!

Gawd, it really does seem like forever ago when I was in this EXACT situation for the first time... Wow! Time sure can fly on you! A smidge over a year ago is when I joined the zoo, started going to Dr. Sketchy's for the first time and felt like I could breathe again because I was drawing once more. NOW look at me! Drawing lots, filling my sketchbook (probably will finish this one by the time I submit it) and thinking, thinking, thinking about school constantly. I truly can't wait. I want it so badly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Portfolio Review Notes

So I called Libby Hux at CalArts today during my lunch break and finally managed to get her in person. She had my file right there because she knew I was going to call and she gave me the notes off my portfolio from the Admissions review board.

The first note was a bit longer I think than the rest, or maybe this is several notes- whatever!
- Figurative work needs more vigor. (Part of this I already knew, but it's also good to hear it, too. I know I need to address the "vigor" part... because currently I have no idea what I actually need to DO to fix this...)
- Perspective work is good but you need to loosen up. (This was mildly unexpected, but also- GOOD TO HEAR!)
- Nice animals and layouts. (Need to analyze what exactly this means, really... Not 100% clear, but worth looking into and still trying to improve on.)
- Needs more life drawing experience. (Again, sort of already knew this, but very good to hear.)

The other note on the portfolio was:

So... yeah... Libby said that the notes were overall good, but I am well aware of what my weaknesses are and what I need to address. So, now that I know this information I am forming a plan.

The Plan:
- Attend my Analysis of Form class- RELIGIOUSLY!
- sneak into "sit in" any figure drawing classes offered during Summer Session at AAU
- Attend my Figure Drawing class during Fall semester- RELIGIOUSLY!
- try to go to Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School in San Francisco every month
- draw the buildings of AAU (dorm, etc.)
- draw any other buildings I like in SF
- go to Golden Gate Bridge and draw that a couple of times
- start a sketchbook !!! (I haven't been able to keep on up since my art block)

When I asked Libby if there were any other things I could do to "improve" upon my portfolio through presentation, etc. she said I should go to one of the National Portfolio Days. After joking about the schedule and the improbability of being able to get to one, she suggested swinging by CalArts and meeting with her. Guess what... She's ON! I'm going to find a way to get down to Valencia once I start up school in SF, get a good direction and GO FOR IT!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Different Opinions

"I prefer that animation reach into places where live action doesn't go, and it seems like all of animation nowadays is trying to go where live action is."
Don Bluth

Okay, so occasionally, fighting with your Admissions Advisor over the classes YOU ~want~ to take versus the classes the school ~recommends~ you take CAN be lots of fun! XD

Academy of Art recommends Introduction to Computer Graphics for Animation and Analysis of Form for their Summer semester. The Analysis class actually sounds okay, but what's the use of "
in-depth study of classical drawing principles to achieve heightened realism in drawings" WITHOUT A FIGURE DRAWING CLASS?!?! XD "Concepts include light and shadow analysis, modeling of form, the 5-value system, form/cast shadows, composition, perspective and value pattern. Students work on still-life, drapery, plaster cast studies, and nude figure drawing using charcoal media." Well that's fine and dandy, but I don't want to wait until Fall to take my Figure Drawing class... I only have until Late November to churn out the next portfolio for CalArts.

*shakes her head* I have been sooooo careful these past few months to ensure that people who could not know about me and CalArts didn't leak out... now I have to tread softly for the next year- ALL so that AAU doesn't find out that I am using them to apply to CalArts. It's going to be so stressful... but this is what I wanted. This may be just what I need...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to NOT Get Accepted to CalArts!

Wasn't sure if I was going to post this, but now I think I should... Maybe if only to help those who want to apply to CalArts. If I had had access to something like this when I was applying, I might not have made so many mistakes. Presenting my Rejected 2009 CalArts Portfolio, in the order presented. Once I hear back from CalArts portfolio review, I will add more notes.

The first image, I really wanted to kind of BOOM!, stand out or something. I really liked both of these drawings, so I threw it in front. While I still like them a lot, I see now that I should have "finished" them and not left them as is.

In my mind, the next step was to logically present my pieces in a "time"-ly manner... These were 2 minute sketches. I realize now that neither show any kind of form of the figure.

I liked both of these when I did them as well, so in they went as well. I look now at the one on the right and OH GAWD! It is so FLAT! I have a lot of work to do in the next year.

Again, drawings I thought might stand out from the crowd. I truly like the one on the left, even though it is DISASTEROUSLY awful- no hands, bad shading, the WORKS! The one on the right is even worse, so let's not even discuss that one.

I was proud of this one when I attempted it. None of my art teachers ever really pushed this technique, so of course, it is horribly underdeveloped and not all that good anyway.

These are really and truly awful now, I see that. They are outlines- no shapes or lines plotting the figure. Not to mention that they are UNFINISHED! I would venture to say that this is a BIG NO NO!

The next one, I truly liked the IDEA of, and I may have been so in love with the IDEA of it, that I failed to realize that it, too, is UNFINISHED!The next three are, ONCE AGAIN (are we seeing a pattern here?) UNfinished, show NO structure and are pretty much DEAD! Oh yeah, have we noticed yet that I have as of yet STILL included no color?

This piece I still love and you can't stop me. It is a detailed study I did of one of my favorite sculptures. If I do not get this drawing back in one piece, CalArts may never hear the end of it. Pencil with red pencil undersketches- 4 hrs.

Lion & lioness at the zoo. Lioness (18"x24") in graphite & VERY proud of... may frame it. Smaller paper in charcoal.

Elephants at zoo. (18"x24") in graphite, smaller sheet in charcoal

Drawings of my cat, Tibby (9"x12"?). Lacking compositional design.

Misc. animals at the zoo. Mostly cut from pages that were awful. Still lacking compositional design. Not all that excellent either.

First of my Architecture pieces. Interior architecture of Houston's Katz's restaurant. Included the original red pencil sketch and below it, a "finished" vellum inking with greyscale (yup- still no real color!) markers.

The second is the interior of my favorite sushi restaurant in Houston- Little Miyako's. SEVERE perspective on this. Again, included the original red pencil drawing and below it, a "finished" ink drawing.

Final piece in my portfolio- Exterior architecture of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Houston, across from the Museum of Fine Arts. Spent about 6 hours sitting in front of the building doing this & another 20 plus fixing the perspective and inking. Plan on coloring it when I get it back.

All in all, I should have probably known that I would not be accepted my first try. But here are some of the things I am now aware that I did WRONG!

1) I matted each and every drawing on a piece of matboard, double-sided to save money. This is an OLD-school method of presentation that no one really does anymore. Hence, I will be purchasing a slip-pocket portfolio for next time.
2) My figure drawings STINK! I will be making sure that I learn how to do them better for next time.
3) I included NO COLOR! Granted, I don't know HOW to use color, frankly- it scares the shit out of me. So I am making sure that wherever I attend my next classes, I will be tackling color with a VENGENCE!
4) I submitted UNFINISHED WORK! DO NOT DO THIS! Show only your ultimate VERY best! Two years of art block for me should not have been an excuse.
5) I submitted NO supplemental materials. No flipbooks, no animations (the only one I had is so old and such crap, I was too embarassed.), and no sketchbooks. Next time, this will not be the case!
6) Will add more later as I come to grips with it all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Crushed Illusions

"Dear Amanda,

I regret to inform you that, after a thorough evaluation of your application, we are unable to offer you admission to the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts for the Fall 2009 semester.

Please understand that the admissions process requires that very difficult choices be made, and that these decisions are final. We are unable to reconsider admissions decisions after they have been reached. However, under no circumstances should our decision be understood as a reflection on your ability or potential. CalArts is dedicated to offering small classes with professional artists/instructors, and the large number of applicants we receive each year makes it impossible to accommodate every talented applicant.

Thank you for your interest in CalArts and for all the time and energy you invested in your application. We wish you the best in your academic and creative endeavors.

Molly Ryan
Director of Admissions"

So it appears that I will be moving to San Francisco this year. My honest-to-goodness best wishes to all those who have been accepted and those yet-to-have-been accepted. I know you will do amazing things in the year to come and I look forward to seeing them. I will try to learn everything I can in the year I must now wait to try again and I only hope that after that year has passed, I will be worthy of your company.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Small Illusions

wow... you guys, I actually LOST my own blog... I suck!

Anyway- slight update on the college front. Unfortunately, no letter from CalArts yet. What I ~DID~ get was a phone call (during work hours, after I have repeatedly asked them not to do) and a voice message from my admissions advisor from Academy of Art University regarding my portfolio grant I sent off about a week ago.

I have been awarded $2010 for the Summer semester!

So I need to hear back from CalArts by the end of March or they give my money to someone else...


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Illusions.

"Animation is tremendously resilient. Animation will recover, as art always recovers. There's always cycles of good art."
Ralph Bakshi

The First CalArts Acceptance letter was received today. Unfortunately, it was NOT by me...

Soon now. Very soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Disillusion of life!

According to an anonymous source:

CalArts has finished reviewing portfolios for the Character Animation program. Now letters are expected soon.

As soon as I know something, you will know something. Technically though, I am trying not to think about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

puddle's Illusion of Life blog!

Animation is about creating the illusion of life. And you can't create it if you don't have one.
-Brad Bird

Today is February 22nd, 2009. In less than a month (optimistically), I will know whether or not I am moving to San Francisco, California or Valencia, California to begin my life as an animation student. This blog's purpose is to document my path from wanna-be animator to animation student to (someday) professional animator.

Realistic prediction: I will be rejected my first try at California Institute of the Arts and will be "forced" to attend Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Whereupon, I will continue submitting my portfolio every year to CalArts until I am accepted into their Character Animation program.

Optimistic predicition: I will be ACCEPTED to CalArts (YAY!) and will move to Valencia to begin the next four toughest years of my life with the most amazing artists in the country.

Currently, I simply am suffering from the waiting game. Regardless of where the fate of the next year of my life resides, I will post my progress, failures, updates and all the little squishy stuff between the toes.