It's taken a couple of days, but I think I've finally caught up on sleep enough to organize my thoughts on the CA London Workshop from this weekend. First off, I think overall it was a success and that there was a lot to be gained from attending, but that it wasn't without its faults.
First off, some of the highlights. Kekai Kotaki gave a pretty cool painting demo on day one, followed by a very interesting examination of his professional career and advice on breaking in from Jason Felix. There was a launch party session at the Coronet that night, but I skipped it due to being pretty drained from a long week getting ready to head to London. Day two saw a couple more demos, including a session on matte painting by Levi Peteffry and an AMAZING overview of Z-brush (and again a discussion of his career) but the phenomenal Brett Briley. Day two also saw the first life drawing session which was great as Mark 'Taro' Holmes was wandering the crowd giving tips and feedback on life study techniques. Day three then saw the first of the two fundamentals sessions hosted by Jason Manley on colour theory and the elements of design. These were really quite interesting, although it was apparent just how much was trying to be jammed into these sessions. Day three also saw Virgine Bourdin from MPC give a talk about the visual FX process for film which was amazing, as well as further advice on portfolio preparation and submission. Day four saw more art fundamentals with Jason, followed by a brilliant seminar on the legal side of the creative industry led by Jeff Rose. This in itself was worth the price of admission, and led to some interesting insights on IP protection and development (as well as quite a few industry horror stories from Jason!).
Perhaps the stand out sessions from the whole weekend were the inspiring talks from Phil Holland. These ranged from discussion of his career path, through to colour theory in film, cinematography and other core fundamental topics. I came away with pages and pages of notes from his sessions!
However, as I suggested at the start... the event was not without it's faults. Primarily, the event suffered from a somewhat amazing lack of organisation. There was little semblance of a schedule or indication of even who was demonstrating on the various screens broadcast on stage at any one time. Demonstrators cancelled at the last minute (not that this was a major catastrophe, but still a little annoying) and others filled in with seemingly little idea at times of what they were actually planning to do. The venue as well was less than accommodating, keeping us stranded outside for 3hrs on the first day whilst an admin error was rectified. They also stiffed attendees over the bar, and searched our bags for bottles of water (which we had to replace for £2 from the bar!), which was a bit shrewd to say the least.
I'd say the overriding piece of advice that came from all of the discussions and lectures was the importance of flexibility. Approach every opportunity with an open mind and do not be afraid to switch up; to add some 3D alongside your illustration skillset or vice versa. It's amazing how the various specialties overlap and often lead to doors opening further down the line. The second major theme that came out of the weekend was the importance of personal projects... although to the OA crew this will not come as a shocking revelation ;-)
I think one of the things that has left me feeling a little underwhelmed was probably more down to my current position. I hadn't prepared a portfolio, and wasn't really looking for critique or review, as a) I'm in the process of building one and b) have an amazing circle of trust at Oatley Academy. Also, I'm still massively uncertain of what it is I actually want to do in the industry (!). So the emphasis on networking with pros and seeking reviews and critiques was a little bit wasted on me at this time. If this had maybe been a year or two down the line, I'm sure it would have been invaluable!
So all in all a good weekend that wasn't without it's problems, but well worth the trip. I'm now looking forward to keeping in touch with some of the new friends I made whilst there, and more importantly to getting back to painting and drawing :-)
|Phil Holland's Colour Theory Lecture|
|Jeff Rose discussing legal protection of IP|
|Raphael LaCoste dropping on Skype to discuss Assassin's Creed|
Labels: ConceptArt.org Workshop