post-semester, MLG, DreamHack, GESL

Sections
I. TAD
II. Esports
III. Comics
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I. TAD
I made it out alive with only 2 F’s haha, but i passed the classes that i cared about, and a handful that i didn’t. I am a little cynical with art education at this point in my life, and I’m growing more stubborn too. I regret doing full-time this semester, and if I could go back, I would’ve definitely chosen part-time. There were a lot of classes that I would’ve loved to invest more time into this semester, but simply could not between real life commitments, poor self/time-management, and just the weight of certain classes being more impressionable than others.

In particular, Comp n’ Color (that is, Composition and Color I) helped fill a great void in my artistic learning, and it’s really helped me understand how to start an image, with how to properly thumbnail and how to properly group shapes in the thumbnails, as well as nuances in developing compositions. The thumbnail sheet that I showed in the last blog entry is probably a better testament to my understanding of the concepts learned in the class than my actual final Flat Shape Project image.

However, If I only did part-time, I might have missed out on everything I learned out of FIG101, because if I were to have done part-time, i probably would not have selected FIG101  (because on paper, the class sounded super remedial for me). If Comp n’ Color taught me how to start an image, FIG101 taught me how to finish one.  Concepts such as subtle value control, edge control, and creating focal points using the two aforementioned really helped ground my image-making ability. I think everyone thought that FIG101 gave out the most work, but realistically, it wasn’t necessarily the most work but the most consistent. Most of the homework took no more than 1-2 hours to complete, 3 if including breaks. However, it was the fact that it was given on a regular basis that forced students to either consider it a burden, or to consider everything else from other classes a burden. For me, I think there were only a few weeks where the homework for FIG 101 was hard (the week after the week after spring break, and the weeks where we had distortion homework). Everything for that class clicked probably two or three weeks before the end of the semester, and between the lecture and the constant practice probably has helped me become a lot stronger as an image-maker and painter.

As for the other classes… Form/Light  and Linear Perspective were really interesting to me at the start of the semester, but as i started putting more time into Comp, Figure and Media, I mentally dropped those classes from mind. Figure102 Anatomy Lab was very technical, but for my stubborn ass, was remedial. I didn’t score high on the final for it despite that fact because i hadn’t spent any time practicing nor did i submit any “finished” drawings, so accuracy might not have been top of the checklist for me to accomplish. I think it’s very bad of me to approach any class with a “been there, done that” attitude, but like with Form/Light and Linear Perspective, as I got deeper into comp, figure, and media, I started zoning out Anatomy Lab (i showed up for class still because i think Marshall Vandruff is one hell of a teacher/lecturer and has an awesome speaking/singing voice). Photography class was like the secret bonus level at the end of the week, where Brent would give us some entertaining music from his era (like the great legendary Tony Bennett) and we’d share our interesting adventures with our cameras. That was a refreshing class. Media class was kind of slow at the start, I felt like I was already at a point in my art education where I was beyond graphite and charcoal. That’s so first year of college, man — Oh wait… TAD semester 1 is supposed to be a first year of college equivalent. Things started picking up for me in that class once we got to ink and George Pratt came in and we were allowed to do mastercopies from Frazetta. FRAZETTA. Oils felt pretty comfortable for me because of what I learned from studying under Danny Robbins, and I might have over-invested on the oil color master-copy which caused me some suffering in other classes during that time period.

The one class that i did not enjoy at all was Sketchbook I. There was at least one other student I spoke to who also thought the class was kind of lackluster, but for me specifically, I had the worst case of the “been there done that” syndrome for that class. My time back at VCU was highlighted by two semesters of sketchbook burn out. I can understand how this class might have been good and helpful for students who aren’t accustomed to working in sketchbooks as a place for ideation and problem-solving, but for me, none of the assignments resonated other than a few from pre-midterms. I pretty much gave up on the class after midterms and decided my time was just better spent focusing on the work for other classes.

Here’s some artwork.


Comp n’ Color final: Flat shape project. I initially thought to use the zealot thumbnail from the thumbnail sheet  but after reviewing it in class, I decided that the mothership thumbnail lent itself to flat shapes more easily. I would’ve loved to render the f— out of this composition in a Noah Bradley/Bierstadt/HudsonRiverSchool landscape painting style and put rimlighting all over the place.

final gesture drawings for FIG101

final shape drawings for fig101. i feel like this set is leaps and bounds better than my previous sets. the teacher agrees with me.


final long pose drawing for FIG101.

surprisingly, I got the most out of the FIG101 class than any other class with possibly exception to Composition and Color I.


Everything else i did for Form and Light after the midterm isn’t worth showing. The lectures were really good for this class, but the assignments weren’t particularly exciting for me. This one I never turned in on time even though I did all the math and calculations for early on when it was assigned. I finally manned up around finals week and handled the “3D” part, since this was one of the required turn-ins for final. Pen tool, while a staple of Adobe Illustrator, is one of the most underrated yet very powerful tools in Photoshop.

here’s my Bierstadt master study for Media I from a couple months back

My friends and I went to the beach, I got sunburnt.
I finished this last piece just in time for father’s day. It’s a watercolor portrait of my dad. I don’t particularly like watercolors at the moment because i haven’t achieved a level of mastery where i can get the medium to do what it want it to, and i’m sure i would like it more if i were at that point, but for now not so much. I’ve seen what watercolors can be capable of in the hands of a master of the medium, but right now there are more pressing media to master.

Read on for sections II and III
Continue reading “post-semester, MLG, DreamHack, GESL”

crunch

It’s the end of the semester and i’m really feeling the pressure. About a month ago I really hit a point where i stopped caring about half of my classes in order to focus more on the other half (ironically the classes i really started focusing in on are the reverse of the classes i thought would be the most useful to me when i started). John English, if you’re reading this, I am definitely in favor of making foundations 1 into two separate semesters! I kinda wish I originally signed up for part time right now actually… and pending finances, I may end up just doing part time next semester, if attending at all (finances pending). Still, gotta make the most and best of what remains with what I got on hand.

here are some thumbnail sketches for Comp n’ Color that I whipped up last night and am feelin’ kinda proud of.

brush strokes are kinda loose. Right now, Luke “Mr–Jack” Mancini and Noah Bradley are probably the biggest influence on my compositions, color choices, and digital mark-making.

hah, my dad threatened to kick me out of the house next year too, so i better get my ass into high gear and pull my portfolio together and land that gig at blizzard or something.

here are some figures from this week:

Blizzcon 2011 retrospective

Live in concert!

For being my first time attending a Blizzcon live, it is certainly the best Blizzcon for me to have attended. I had watched the via virtual ticket last year, and even then, it was a blast, with notable exception of there being no TAFKAL80ETC show at the closing ceremony. In preparation for this year’s event, I purchased another virtual ticket, in addition to the charity dinner ticket, knowing that there would be so many things to see at this huge event. To see it all is impossible, but having the virtual ticket at least gave me VODs of critical panels and stage replays that I would have had to cut out in order to glean as much information and wisdom from the legendary Artist’s Stage.

My trip began Thursday morning in the East Coast, in morning hustle and bustle of Richmond, Virginia. Steel birds ferried me from Richmond’s tiny airport to Dallas’s megalith, and again to LAX, where the transit arteries were ever clogged. My buddy Dan Zhang drove up from San Diego to meet me at the airport, but was delayed by the traffic. We made it to the convention center by around 7:15PM PDT. I was almost an hour late for the beginning of the charity dinner, and Dan had to wait out a huge queue for the standard badge pick-up.

The charity dinner was rather interesting in the most positive way. They had accidentally printed two badges for me (I wish I had known, I would’ve let my friend have that extra badge, haha) and when I entered the ballroom, I met none other than Greg Street, lead systems designer of WoW, at the cheese and crackers table. Some of the really cool Blizzard employees I got to meet with that night include Chris Sigaty (producer on SC2, also guitarist for the Chieftains), Dustin Browder (lead designer SC2), Mike Morhaime (President, co-founder), Frank Pearce (co-founder, and VP of executive production), John “JP” Polidora (Artist, creative development), Wendy Vetter (lead dungeon artist, WoW), and Chris Metzen (VP, Creative development). I said to Chris Metzen, “Hey I’m really looking forward to the Sons of the Storm signing tomorrow,” to which he replied, “Oh cool, by the way when is that?”

“10:30,” I answered, to which he then said “Oh damn, I have a panel at that time, no wonder they didn’t invite me to the signing.”

Chris Sigaty, Dustin Browder, JP Polidora, and Wendy Vetter gave some really good insight as far as breaking into the industry, and especially at Blizzard. Had a lot of fun speaking with Chris Sigaty also on the topic of heavy metal (I mentioned to both him and Mr. Morhaime that I looked forward to their performance on Saturday). I conferred with Dustin Browder on the issue of GOMTvT and also had a geek out session with him on the GSL October Finals and also the Global Battle.net Invitational. Mr. Browder informed me that speaking with Day9, Tasteless, and Artosis, they had all said that IM_MVP was going to win, but reminded him that SlayerS_MMA had a thin chance, having beaten MVP in the GSPA finals.

Dan and I stayed over at his old RA’s place for Thurs-Friday nights. Cool tidbit here is that his old RA’s roommate is in fact a Blizzard employee, on the web team.

Day 1 begins with us scoping out the different stages, and deciding mostly to camp at the RTS stage and Artists’ Stage. I took some pictures of the pro-gamers and even snagged one with Day9. I watched the opening ceremonies on the screen from the RTS stage. Pandaria was very exciting to me, as a long time Warcraft and Samwise fan familiar with the Pandaren, and the new trailers for Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was very engrossing as well. I spent most of the day in Hall A, where the Developer stage and Artists Stage were located, easily bouncing back and forth between the two. It was very exciting to see the new units for HotS, the Blizzard Art Gallery, and to see Luke Mancini and Samwise Didier do live art demos. I even caught a picture of Rene Koiter costumed as Jim Raynor! I gave Samwise a print of my Elite Tauren Chieftains fan art, and he seemed to really like it.

The GSL October Finals that night was spectacular. I happened to sit right infront of renowned photographer Zemotion at the front row on the floor, where we were within 10 feet of Tastosis! It was hard getting out of the crowd when my friend called me to leave. Cheers to MMA for taking the win!


Day 2 began with us getting to the convention center late, because our host woke up a little too tired, and also my friend was not interested in most of the morning panels/matches. I missed the Sons of the Storm signing, so I planned out to try and stalk each individual Son to get their signatures (I had gotten Samwise’s the day before, along with Luke Mancini’s). At the WoW art panel, I got to meet Wendy Vetter again, Gary Platner (lead environment/level designer), and also Mark Gibbons (aka the Red Knuckle). Alas, no silver sharpie on hand, so I was unable to get his signature. By the end of the main activities of that day, I had managed to get Glenn Rane, Peter Lee, and John “JP” Polidora’s (whom I had met at the charity dinner) signatures. I missed the Battle.net Invitational finals, due to my quest to get signatures, and also due to my attendance at the realm meeting area (where I did get to meet long time internet comrades Vigaro, as well as an old guildmember from over 6 years ago). The personal highlight of the event however, was being able to see TAFKAL80ETC– i mean L90ETC, live in concert. To be honest, I am not as familiar with Foo Fighters as maybe 90% of the people filling the main stage for the closing ceremonies were. But I was more than geeked out over Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. Halfway through their set, two drunk dudes helped me get to the front of the section of the standing pit, even almost picking fights to do so. They declared me “hardcore” and “deserving” of a front row standing spot because I was actively fist pumping and singing loudly along to all of the songs. I am very grateful to these two drunk guys, because I have some awesome pics to show for it. They’re mostly of Samwise though. 
full picture gallery can be found here