Added 1 new painting and updated a couple of older ones that I kept working on. I don't know what I'm doing with these things but if you live in the Bay Area I will be showing my work in November. I will send out e-vites and invitations soon.
Am I a hypocrite for recommending that you resist going back to school while I consider going back in the fall myself?
I've been out of school for four years. I worked for a year at Curious Pictures in New York as a background painter and character designer which was a good experience but in general I've had a really hard time getting jobs in animation. A few weeks ago in March I had an interview at Dreamworks in Redwood City where they told me that despite the merits of my work it lacks a certain "dreamworks-ness." When I told them I was considering attending CalArts in the fall they expressed mixed opinions on the school. They offered a lot of praise for SCAD and some online training programs. When I was in touch with Dan Hansan one of the department heads at CalArts Character Animation he said that several graduates had trouble finding work because they hadn't taken the initiative to really master digital tools and CG animation techniques. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't essentialize the importance of going to CalArts or any other school. What's more important is the creative initiative you take on your own. In my case, I'm a pretty traditional, old fashioned worker. While my way of doing things may have hindered my chances of getting a job in animation I have my first solo show of paintings scheduled for the month of November here in San Francisco and I'm finishing up my first children's book. Since my background was in Illustration not film I've been considering the importance of going back to school in order to learn all the methods and practices that are unique to animation. When I went to CalArts last weekend both Libby Hux and Maija Burnette offered me high praise for my portfolio. And while exploring the department I felt like I had the skills to really perform at the highest level. I don't say these things to stroke my ego but as a way of valuing all of my experiences and efforts the past four years which was largely in the margins of the animation industry. Also I would say that the big animation studios prioritize applicants who closely match the way they already do things. Of course your work has to be original but it also has to prove that you can function in what is already a well oiled machine. Aside from the cultural draw of these companies and the spirit of genuine creativity, It is a business first and foremost.
When I read your post I strongly identified with some of your mental back and forth and I wanted to post my honest response.
I studied Illustration at RISD and graduated in 2007. I completely understand the draw of the big film studios. The possibility of being wrapped up in a Lucrative studio environment that makes films that people have actually heard of is exciting. But I would not recommend going back to school so soon after graduating from a place like SVA. I know it's frustrating to send portfolios out year after year and never hear anything back. If that's happening to you then you need to expand your search. there are a ton of places other than Disney, Pixar Dreamworks, Blue Sku etc... If that's your ultimate goal then keep working towards it but try to identify other opportunities.
I just think it's really important to live independently outside of school. Do your work. What will you do when no one else is looking?
I was recently accepted to the Character Animation Department. I have a lot of my work up at ijbader.blogspot.com and a lot of gesture drawing up at
I plan on visiting on April 9th. Hope to see some of you all there.
Animatedbuzz is a network for young animation artists who aspire to become animators, story artists, or visual development artists in the animation industry. Animatedbuzz was created by Mario Furmanczyk, a Calarts alum and Disney animator.