Character artist getting started

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Jkoseattle
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Character artist getting started

Post by Jkoseattle » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:02 pm

Hi, this isn't offering or asking for a job, but seemed like the best place to post it.

My daughter (24) is a professional fine artist who wants to work in animation/gaming/film, digital arts. She's extremely accomplished in terms of drawing, moreso than most of her contemporaries, but she hasn't swam in those waters like people who have only done this kind of thing ever. For example she did oils for a year, had a bunch of shows of charcoals, did t-shirt designs, and a lot of commissions, much of which was digital. She's good on Procreate and Photoshop so far. She's working on her portfolio now, and has some comics work and a storyboard, but she doesn't know how to break into that pond, get to know people, get experience, etc. She wants to be a character artist ultimately. We are paying for a communal work space for her and in exchange she plans to build up her portfolio with character design and maybe also do some freebie or near-freebie projects.

What would any of you suggest she do in this situation, to ultimately become a character artist?

Here is her website:
https://www.madelineowenstudio.com/portfolio
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
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jahnocli
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by jahnocli » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:03 pm

Here's my two pennies. Firstly, if there are evening classes in life drawing in Seattle, I would enrol her in one. (I'd be amazed if there weren't any). I took a look at her portfolio, and it's ok, but it lacks any real understanding of anatomy, and the best way to learn is to study the human body. Secondly, I'd take a look at the itch.io website, which hosts a large number of game jams. Many people participating in these events are looking to form teams, and visual artists for characters and backgrounds are often in demand. She could also take some online lessons in, say, composition and perspective. Udemy has a good selection -- but wait until they do some offers -- frequently the price of courses drops to $10, when they become good value for money.

Just so you know I'm not blowing smoke up your ass (I think that's the expression!), I went to art school, I taught art and photography in schools and colleges, and I trained teachers to teach art and design. That was my first career! After that I worked on contracts as a graphic artist, programmer and writer for a large number of projects in Europe and the United States for twenty years. Now I'm retired. So this is just some advice from an old duffer -- feel free to take it or ignore it as you see fit!.
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
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neeters_guy
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by neeters_guy » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:44 am

I would repeat jahnocli advice about figure drawing since this is an essential foundation for character design. I wouldn’t worry too much about shading or rendering. The emphasis is on how construction lines effectively communicate personality.

Books I recommend:
Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield
The Silver Way by Stephen Silver
Creating Characters with Personality by Tom Bancroft

It also helps to see the portfolios of professional animators, for example, Scott Peterson, a former Disney animator:
https://www.goldenstreetanimation.com/character-design
https://www.goldenstreetanimation.com/f ... ng-classes

Her portfolio should include well-done turnaround and poses/expressions sheets.

I offer this as a dedicated amateur, so please take this in the spirit that it’s intended. Good luck to your daughter.
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Maestral
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by Maestral » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:18 pm

I believe she could also try 'blind drawing' - while drawing, one is looking only in the model/reference/landscape... a subject of a drawing but does not look at the drawing itself.
Helps in eye-hand coordination and I usually perceive this practice as a neat self-system-check. No matter how silly it may sound and no matter how messy those drawings look like - it makes fundamental errors obvious and it should be kept away from psychoanalyst due to a ton of rather intimate info. I believe it's for the best to take a closer look at these a day or two later since it's not really about the subject but about the one who drew.

Also, I would advise an in-depth introduction with each of "...animation/gaming/film, digital arts". These 4 are relatives but just as they branch from Art, each of them has its own branches and leaves. She'll need to be rather more precise in setting goals/aims since positions in each of those teams (no matter how similar they might look) are pretty much different and specific in production.
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Jkoseattle
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by Jkoseattle » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:56 pm

Thanks all. I'm surprised and I know she would be quite dismayed to hear she doesn't have an understanding of anatomy. She's been going to life drawing for years, and as a teacher, she's been trying to drill understanding of anatomy into her students every day. So I think I'll not tell her anyone said that :-).

So these don't look good enough yet?
[ur]lhttps://www.madelineowenstudio.com/portfolio#/illustration[/url]
https://www.madelineowenstudio.com/portfolio#/gestures

She does know she's very sparse on actual character designs though, and she's working on adding a lot of that to her portfolio. This is a pretty new decision on her part, trying to get away from just selling stuff at shows.

Yes, I've wondered if she should focus on one aspect of the digital arts scene. Seattle has a ton of gaming outfits, but way less in animation and film. She's not a gamer though, and I've suggested that if she doesn't embrace it as a consumer at all, maybe it's not the right tribe.

Thanks again!
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
hayasidist
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by hayasidist » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:27 am

Has she considered Concept Artist, rather than Character Artist?

If this is any help at all: http://getinmedia.com/careers/concept-artist-0 http://getinmedia.com/careers/character-artist
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jahnocli
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by jahnocli » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:14 am

Jkoseattle wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:56 pm
Thanks all. I'm surprised and I know she would be quite dismayed to hear she doesn't have an understanding of anatomy. She's been going to life drawing for years, and as a teacher, she's been trying to drill understanding of anatomy into her students every day. So I think I'll not tell her anyone said that :-).

So these don't look good enough yet?
[ur]lhttps://www.madelineowenstudio.com/portfolio#/illustration[/url]
https://www.madelineowenstudio.com/portfolio#/gestures

She does know she's very sparse on actual character designs though, and she's working on adding a lot of that to her portfolio. This is a pretty new decision on her part, trying to get away from just selling stuff at shows.

Yes, I've wondered if she should focus on one aspect of the digital arts scene. Seattle has a ton of gaming outfits, but way less in animation and film. She's not a gamer though, and I've suggested that if she doesn't embrace it as a consumer at all, maybe it's not the right tribe.

Thanks again!
Hi,
Well, yeah, I do tend to jump into (hopefully constructive) criticism with my "bastard" head firmly screwed on...! If people ask my opinion I'm usually not shy in giving it. In my defence, I didn't see those life drawings the first time around. They're OK, but most of them are kind of static. Even if you're just using a phone, you can have a bit of attitude, or you can show some action:

https://imgur.com/a/mnlB9LW

I'm not a gamer myself -- it's just an environment where there are frequent requirements for artistic input that you don't get elsewhere...
Good luck to her anyway -- it's a crowded field, but it sounds like she's got sufficient determination to succeed.
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
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Jkoseattle
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Re: Character artist getting started

Post by Jkoseattle » Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:53 am

Hi again all, and thanks again for all the feedback. She is expressing interest in the Vancouver Film School, which is apparently a highly regarded place for people getting an education to get them actual animation jobs. But I don't know anything about this. Has anyone ever heard of the Vancouver Film School, and if so, what is the prevailing opinion of it?
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
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