Jenn Ely Mentorship

Thumbnails for possible scenes
Thumbnails for possible scenes

Only a crazy person would be in a full time college program, be working a job and decide “Hey I should take another class!” Fortunately I am a crazy person and this is exactly what I did.

It was absolute serendipity a friend of mine recommended this podcast to me called the Chris Oatley Artcast (LINK) and he happened to be interviewing a Visual Development artist for Laika named Jenn Ely (LINK). It was a great interview I highly recommend listening to it (HERE) but it ended with something very interesting. They announced Jenn would be running an internship program through the school in a few weeks.

sketches of possible styles for the kid
sketches of possible styles for the kid

So I applied, and against a lot of other applicants (this was nerve racking stuff I tell you) I was chosen among the top 20 and our class was created. Man was I just the giddiest girl that day what a thrill and an honour.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the course, I’ve never had a mentor before so I was ready for anything. And what we got was more than I could have ever asked for.

In short the course ran over 9 weeks, we met up on Saturdays via conference call where we were all able to video chat/screenshare with each other. We worked on one major project for the whole run of the class which was basically to reimagine a fairy tale in a completely different world with different characters. From that we would draw 2-3 scenes from that would strongly convey the mood, style, setting and pacing of the story. Each week we would get a lecture on a different element of design (composition, colour, etc.) and would critique our homework from the previous week, then get an assignment to build on the last weeks progress.

Jenn (http://jennifer-ely.squarespace.com/) is a tremendous teacher and one of the best critiquers I have ever had the pleasure of sitting in with. She is a master of her craft and has the ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and kindly (a big deal seriously for those of you who have never been torn apart with “constructive” criticism). In crit she could explain what her opinion is, why she has it and what you could do to improve your work. But she never made anyone feel as though they HAD to do anything, she just had suggestions and ideas for us to move our work up to the next level.

Value Studies
Value Studies

I’ve been through University and College but taking this course, running back through the basics, was so incredibly helpful. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older now and I’m taking these things more seriously. Maybe it’s just good to get a refresher sometimes. But I feel like I’ve never been in a better place to be making art.

Now I need some sort of seamless transition into the Oatley Academy. Yeah that’ll do. Nailed it.

This program was being run though an online school called the Chris Oatley Academy (https://chrisoatley.com/) where this flippin amazing guy named (you guessed it) Chris Oatley inspires the crap out of everyone. Chris joined us for a class and man it was like a hit of adrenaline that guy can get anyone pumped to get moving at create something amazing. And he does that with everyone! They have online courses that I would highly recommend they’re open all the time to anyone. If not to just improve your drawing skills – to be a part of their community! Holy smokes I have never seen anything like this community. If you’re feeling like you are alone and stagnating with your art – just join this community there are so many super active people who are there and ready to cheer you on. Chris has made something really special and I’m glad I’ve found it.

In closing –because woops this got long – wow. I am so lucky and so happy I found this mentorship; I had a great time, met some amazing artists, and learned a lot. 🙂

Keep scrolling to see my two finished drawings!

 

 

 

Value studies
Value studies
Colour studies
Colour studies
Colour studies
Colour studies
Final drawing
Final drawing
Final drawing
Final drawing

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