Guest Post-Brian Krumm-3 Reasons You Must Attend the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass

So often we hear about these conferences and classes for artists to continue their education.  Many times with high admission prices and we wonder if they are worth it. We feel grateful that we can offer you insight from a trusted source who has attended an event we advertised and can give an informed review of his experience.

We posted a while ago about a wonderful opportunity for artists to take a Masterclass with veteran Pixar artists in Miami. (Post here)  We were lucky to have a reader and on the rise Illustrator that was able to attend and give us some feedback on their experience.

Brian C. Krümm is a freelance Illustrator with a promising career in front of him and a portfolio full of imagination under his arm! He informed us of his intention to attend and graciously offered to provide a review for us of his experience. So without further adieu let’s see what he thought!

3 Reasons You MUST Attend the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass


Why should you go to the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass?  Here are 3 reasons:


1) Learn

2) Experience

3) Network


To kick off the recent 2-day Masterclass in Miami, instructor Matthew Luhn gave us the following warning: Our time together is going to fly, and by the end of this course, you will never watch a movie or read a book the same way again.  He wasn’t joking!  The cost of enhancing your story-telling is $499, and it’s more than worth the investment of your time and money.



Here’s how the class breaks down:


Day 1:  Animation with Andrew Gordon

Day 2:  Story Development with Matthew Luhn


The friendly folks at VanArts, who present the event, politely request no audio, video, or even blogging about the class.  So out of respect, I won’t disclose the magic revealed throughout the course.  Instead, let’s talk about those 3 reasons you MUST attend the next Masterclass.

Learn —

Many would agree Pixar is the Mount Olympus of story-telling and animation.  Learning from Pixar is analogous to Michael Jordan coaching you at basketball.  Andrew Gordon is a master of animation who will divulge methods to push, pull, and tweak every element of a character’s face to convey emotions in ways you may have never realized.  Matthew Luhn’s forte is story development.  At several instances he asked the audience for movie suggestions and within seconds, he would break down the story premise, clarify the main character arc, and illuminate several hidden meanings which affect the viewer on a subconscious level.  By the end of day two you’ll have gorged yourself on a feast of information.



But the course isn’t just about digesting information.  It’s about heart.  One of my favorite experiences during the class was when we watched a rough storyboard sequence from the opening scene from “Up”.  It established Carl and Ellie’s relationship over the years.  After the 4 minutes… the entire room fell silent.  We were spellbound, and many of us nearly brought to tears.  How could a 4 minute animatic, with no dialog, be so poignant?  Matthew Luhn explained it all in simple terms, but honor has bound me not to repeat it.  Once you understand the magic, the concept becomes easier than you might imagine.  In my opinion, this is the “gold” of the Masterclass.  It’s something that will have a lasting impact on my vocation as an artist and storyteller.  From my experience illustrating children’s books, visually telling a tale is much more than an arrangement of well-drawn figures and scenes.  The characters in a memorable story must also have that special quality which connects to the heart of the reader.  Pixar has mastered this.



At the end of the day, you’ve spent around 8 hours laughing and learning about story and animation.  But you’re not alone.  You’ve just shared the experience with hundreds of other cool and creative people who are just as excited as you are!  The opportunity to network at the event is extraordinary.  I spoke with one guy who worked at Disney for 8 years and is now an animation director for a video game company in Orlando.  I met a woman who works at a local TV studio.  Someone else invited me to attend a networking event at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale.  Events like the Masterclass are a wonderful opportunity to meet amazing people within our industry, share work and experience, talk shop, and socialize.  Remember, use these events to your advantage because networking can lead to fantastic opportunities.


Pictured above; Joshua Gutter(Masterclass student), right; Matthew Luhn

In summary, the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass in Miami was phenomenal!  Pixar may be famous for their amazing computer generated films, but the foundation of their success is based on a few universal truths which can be applied to every medium of storytelling.  Whether you’re creating a CG film, writing a graphic novel, illustrating a children’s book, or telling a tale ’round the campfire, Pixar’s Masterclass will open a world of magic to you.

For more information about upcoming Masterclasses, follow the link for a schedule for the remaining 2012 Tour.



Hi, my name’s Brian C. Krümm.  I’m an illustrator and children’s book consultant, and I help people turn their ideas into children’s books.  Currently I’m illustrating a picture book about dealing with bullying, and I’m applying many of the techniques learned from the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass.  Here’s a sneak peak of one of the spreads.


All artwork is copyright Brian C. Krumm



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  3. David Gardner

    Thanks for a helpful review, Brian. I’ve missed the classes for this year — rats! — but am on the mailing list for future events. And I love your artwork for the “bullying” book. Good luck with it!

  4. Steven Lee Tomsik

    Loved the articles & story on the master-class. The examples were especially helpful. I have prior committments & budget constraints, so I can’t attend this year, but I’m glad for the information, update & view of what the industry is doing in this specialty.

    Perhaps you could give some thought to extend all of this to our colleagues in, Spain, France, Belgium, Latin America. with minimal language support (by lines or opening paragraphs translated). I think they would find this whole thing very adaptable and useful to their local art-styles, their preferred path of development, and their current commercial efforts. And, they might have some neat stuff to give us in exchange.

    • WilsonWJr

      Hey Steve, In what way are you suggesting we extend this? Do you specifically mean the conference or the recap of it? Are you simply suggesting that we provide multi language translations of our posts? Please clarify if you can. Thanks!


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