"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song" -Maya Angelou
The weekend started out with an inspiring keynote speech from legendary animator Glen Keane. He told us that we tell a little part of our own story when we draw something, and we cannot help it. Only if we avoid our inner voice does our work come out unoriginal and bad. In closing he revealed that he still thinks that any day now someone is going to out him and say "Hey! You're not actually an artist". Every artist can attest to this, we are all faking it (or we feel that we are) and hope no one catches on.
Many talented artists held workshops and we were lucky enough to see more than a few of them. My favorite pieces of advice from this weekend: director Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, Hotel Transylvania), speaking about creating Samurai Jack, said that not everything can be an 'A', you have to make a conscious decision to have 'A', 'B' and 'C' shows (or painting, animations, etc) because you cannot put 100% in everything, so therefore you know you will always have something good; concept artist Ian McQue (Rockstar) said "If you don't show your work to anybody, it doesn't exist"; and designer Joe Bluhm (Moonbot Studios) told us that he can draw anything that he can take apart and put back together.
At the end of the first day of the convention, my roommate and I did some gesture drawing. Live models could be found at any point of any day, with a herd of artists sketching away.
My favorite booth there was one for an upcoming short film called "The Ottoman". It's a 3D film with a beautiful 2D aesthetic about what the world would be like if the Ottoman empire still existed today. The team is both passionate and talented. They are currently kickstarting right now (they have some great rewards too). Check out their kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1027198543/the-ottoman-animated-short-film
We were fortunate enough to receive many helpful portfolio reviews from concept artist Piero at Firaxis Games, Nickelodeon, concept artist Jason Scheier and Powerhouse Animation. All of which gave great advice and have inspired us to make so much more art.
In closing, CTN animation expo was a great experience. I think it's most valuable for recent grads and students, but nonetheless there is something for everyone there. I'm glad I went, now back to work!
I just started a Tumblr, check it out here: http://meghanboehman.tumblr.com/
And here are some great resources suggested to me at CTN:
Neil Campbell Ross