Search form

Advice for a Traditional Artist

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Advice for a Traditional Artist

Hello everyone! 

I'm seeking some advice today from the seasoned vets on this forum. :o) I'm twenty-seven years old and looking into starting my career in the animation industry. However, judging from what I've been seeing in the job market and from word-of-mouth, I fear that my background and education may be at a disadvantage here. I am a classically trained artist, specialized in human anatomy and painting. Unfortunately, the art academy I attended didn't have ditigal animation courses, which at the time, didn't seem like a disadvantage, but now, it certainly seems to have turned into one.

I've compiled a few of my recent paintings and drawings here for your review of my skill level:
Most of my recent work is large scale mixed media (acrylic, watercolor, casein mix). 

So, what I'm looking for today is some ideas as to what I can do to further my knowledge and become a more competive candidate in this industry?

Are companies willing to take on entry-level employees with a background such as my own?

Or would it be a better idea to return to school and further my studies?

Thank you all for your time! I really do appreciate your thoughts.


Marcella Uva's picture
"Why did you wish me milder? would you have me False to my nature? Rather say I play The man I am." William Shakespeare, Coriolanus

"Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am."
William Shakespeare, Coriolanus

Edited by: Marcella Uva on 09/18/2014 - 8:32am

Take your skill-set and apply it to creating samples that are like kind of work that the studios produce.

The tool chest you use isn't necessarily limited. If you work specifically in wet-media, there's no reason you could not transfer that same aesthetic approach to digital media, such as Photoshop. The tools and methods might be different, but where you put down the colours will be pretty much the same.
Expand your subject matter, show a range of genres and try to develop some sensitivities for a couple of them.

Most animation is genre based, with said genres changing sometimes from project to project. Let's say you have an interest in horror.......parlay that interest into samples of whimsical/ comedic horror, or sci-fi horror......or pieces that convey certain/different  traits or ambience. How would you approach horror in a child's cartoon concept?
How would it work, to your mind, in a broad-daylight setting? Or in a out-of-the-box setting, such as a kitchen, or a hospital, or an airliner?

See, most artists hired these days are, in reality, problem-solvers.  To an employer, an artist's implicit value is in addressing something anticipated/unanticipated and having the skill-set/talent to solve the matter.  How to make something unappealing into something appealing, for example.
To be competitive, the better ideal of your work should be not to just depict, but to go beyond that and to entertain.  To invoke a mood or a feeling for a certain instance or moment.  Artists who can do that precisely and consistently tend to keep getting hired.

Drawing and painting can be considered the flagstones of the foundation for this sort of thing.  You can draw and paint already......I think you just need to apply those skills in a direction or a couple of directions.
If the studios are doing cartoons, do cartoon samples--but at THEIR level.  If they are doing concept art for a sci-fi property, so you can visualize characters, props, or locales in the same manner......and make them novel. Be prepared to show them things they have never seen before.
Yeah, that's daunting...because it's so open-ended.
Start the journey by looking at material that interests you and building ideas off of that. That is how you'll build up your own visual vocabulary and will be able to branch out into other genres you don't normally travel in.


"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

I'll be happy to answer any

I'll be happy to answer any questions as I'm sure have you them because I didn't release a lot of information.