Monday, October 27, 2014


"How do you show vanity?" Claire Keane said as my jaw dropped. The digital screens around the room showed a painting that was clearly inspired by Klimt but was somehow a version of Mother Gothel - a concept for Disney's Tangled. My eyes widened and I heard Chris utter a noise somewhere between a laugh and a choke. Either he saw my jaw on the floor or he was geeking out just as much as I was.

My mind buzzed with the words that Claire uttered.

"How do you show vanity?"

I had been struggling with this for weeks. My main character for my graphic novel, Silharai, is an extremely vain unicorn princess. I had filled up at least two sketchbooks trying to make a character design that looked vain.

And here was the answer! Right in front of me. The pale Gothel was surrounded by golds and yellows. Something about her screamed possessive, rich, & snobby. I had not thought about the environment much in my two sketchbooks. I had focused only on the shape, negative space, and anatomy. This opened my mind to so many possibilities. Suddenly, I knew what I needed to do. Finally!

That was how Saturday, October 25th, went for me. I attended ProWeekend in Nashville, an event put on by TaughtbyaPro. The guest speakers were Claire Keane, Ruben Aquino, and Tom Bancroft. It was phenomenal. Two days later and I'm still bouncing in my chair with excitement.

Claire Keane:

Tom Bancroft:

A few things I learned:

- I am not the only one who doesn't like to listen to music while I'm working! Ruben Aquino likes silence too! I am not alone in my noiselessness!

- I was lucky and the three animators answered my question during the Q&A section. I was nervous because I had rushed and thought they wouldn't understand what I meant, but Tom somehow knew and reworded it the way I intended to ask it.... gotta love those awkward moments. I had asked "How do you be prolific?" and of course, the easy answer is 'just do it!', but what I really meant was "How do you produce when you don't have much time? What's your strategy?" Their answers surprised me.

Ruben Aquino, surprisingly, told everyone that he was a great procrastinator. This is the guy that plans everything out. But he explained that by planning so much, it can be difficult to start a project, but once he's in a groove, he can go for hours.

Claire said that she really just puts pastels to paper and (very animatedly) described how she would just go and go and draw and make things bigger and draw more... her answer spawned a story from Tom about how Glen Keane would also do the same movements when he was drawing the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. That was a moment that you really needed to be there to experience it. Many laughs for the over-the-top crazy drawing gestures.

- Every job has something worthwhile. Tom and Ruben talked about how they each worked at a print shop before being hired as clean up artists. This really spoke to me because I work at a print shop. There's still hope!

- Talking to people I don't know isn't as hard as I thought it would be. I mean, we all had nametags, so clearly, we were supposed to be doing some mingling. I met so many wonderful people. There were many great artists. I talked so much with random people about projects and art stuff. It was truly inspiring.

Speaking of Inspiration, I met my teacher and mentor, Chris Oatley. This guy works so hard and does so much. He is a wonderful person, teacher, motivator. It was because of him and his course, Painting Drama, that I even had the courage to go to this event. If you're looking to learn more about being an artist, please please please check out, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Oh yeah, and GO PLAID PEEPS! Plaid rocks!

After such an amazing experience, I'm all fired up to work on my novel. More sketches and character paintings coming soon - especially some colorful and vain character concepts! And possibly some environments.

Thanks guys and I hope to meet more amazing people at ProWeekend next year!

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