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PDX CreativeMornings lecture with Nelson Lowory UPDATED

This past Friday I attended my first CreativeMornings lecture here in Portland, Oregon at the Portland Art Museum. CreativeMornings is a free monthly lecture series for creative people. Oh by the way, they serve free breakfast, donuts!

Here is a link to the lecture

The lecture I attended was by Nelson Lowory who was the winner of the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Production Design for his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox. Some of his other stop-motion works include Corpse Bride (Art Director), Fred Claus (Digital Effects Artist) and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (Visual Effects Matte Artist). Just to name a few. Mr. Lowory talked about how the film industry has changed with the invention of the computer and 3D printing. The first Technology piece that changed the way he worked was PhotoShop. He then moved to 3D programs, but with all of these innovations he still enjoys making his sets out of paper or what ever other materials he has laying around. Even when 3D printers came around he would still start with paper elements, just to get the layouts right then as the 3D printed models were completed he would replace the paper version. Sometimes the paper mockup would even make it into the final scene, as in the commercial he worked on for the Sony Xperia where Lowory used old cardboard wine boxes as details in the background. Here is a link to the Sony Xperia TV ad, Made of Imagination. Nelson compared the sets he builds to his love of building with legos as a child. We all had something as children that inspired us to create.

If you’re interested in attending a CreaviteMornings meeting, here are some of the locations they are currently located in. Check out their website, as they are always adding more cities. Mr. Lowory had a lot of knowledge and insight to pass on and I can’t wait to find out what the next lecture will be about.

Did you know that for the movie Coraline the movie studio Laika created a 3d printed face for every mouth movement. The production of ParaNorman has printed over 30,000 faces. In comparison, Laika’s last stop motion movie, Coraline, only used about 12,000. Nelson showed us photos of Laika’s facial expression library and how they store them. If you would like to know more about how Laika uses 3D Color printers. Here is a good article I found.

Breaking In-Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference 2012

Believe it or not, there are multiple ways to get the knowledge, skills and networking that can prove integral to getting published.

There are many annual conferences throughout the year that are dedicated to providing knowledge and information to burgeoning artists and writers. Those that are hungry to learn more about the industry they want to break into. Many of us are familiar with the conferences that are put together across the country by organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators). But did you know that there are others?

For example, the 2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers  Conference.  This conference is put together yearly by Industry Professionals looking to pass on key information to our community. Will Terry, an Educator, Illustrator and Writer of multiple Children’s Books who has taught at this conference has this to say in regards to it,

“I’ve had the privlege of teaching in the past for WIFYR back in 2009 and 2010 and let me just say that this is one of the best conferences for writing and illustrating in the country! People fly in from all over to attend and space is still available. In past years the conference has sold out so it’s not too late! I’ve talked with quite a few editors about this conference and many applaud it as one of the best in terms of quality of teaching as well as atmosphere. Their dedication to bringing you relevant and current information is really the key to their success.
There is a direct correlation to those who attend children’s book conferences and those who get published. You simply can’t do it on your own. You need to immerse yourself in the culture and expose yourself to the methods being taught by professionals. Think of it as a crash course in exactly what you need – not something you’re likely to find at your local college. If you can swing it this is well worth your time! ” 

So let’s heed the advice of a seasoned professional. If you are able to, make plans to attend the conference.

It runs from June 18-22 in Sandy, Utah. If not this year then maybe next! Keep your calendars open!

Follow this link to the website and to get more information on which courses are full and which still have space available!

Pixar Masterclass in Miami

Pixar logo

Artists from Pixar are coming to MIAMI this summer for a Masterclass in Animation and storytelling!

VanArts is proud to present an Animation & Story Development Masterclass, with instructors Matthew Luhn (Head of Story) and Andrew Gordon (Animator) — both from Pixar Animation Studios. This exceptional 2-day event takes place in Miami on July 13/14, offering participants a rare and exciting opportunity to learn from the industry’s top talent.

Geared toward animators and storytellers — experienced professionals, students, and enthusiasts alike. This masterclass provides you with the tools needed to help create your own stories and feature-quality animation, plus offers a great opportunity to meet and network with others in the industry.

Follow this link for location, cost and registration information.

Follow this link for an interview with Matthew about the Masterclass and what can be expected!

More about the instructors after the jump!

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2011 SCBWI Oregon Conference recap

Day 1


Over this past weekend I went to my first SCBWI conference here in Portland Oregon at the Shilo Inn and met a lot of great illustrators. It was a weekend full of ups and downs. Lots of great information with a few duds thrown in as well.


Friday started out promising enough, it was a bright and sunny day here in portland with a nice complimentary continental breakfast for the attendees. That was followed up by learning they had split up the illustrators and writers for the first day. It was a good feeling to know today was going to be all about us illustrators. Leading off the day was a keynote from Susan Sherman, Art Director of Charlesbridge Publishing. Susan talked about her process for making picture books and she spoke about how her career started and all the amazing artist she has worked with. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak I definitely would do it, lots of good info. But the real jewel of the talk for me was towards the end when she showed us how she dummies up a picture book. The mock up showed how she thought the type might flow on the page so the illustrator can rough out their sketches around the text. Very cool stuff, even though it was an aha moment and a duh moment at the same time.


After Susan was finished we heard from a wonderful illustrator animator here in portland named Ward Jenkins. Ward had a wonderful talk about his process for making his illustrations in Photoshop. A lot of things I already knew and a few I didn’t. It was great to see how another illustrator set up his files and his work space in PS hilariously named “wardspace” (You know, its a play on workspace but its wardspac… Nevermind). After such great talks from Susan and Ward, comes our first dud presenter of the day and that’s really sad for me to say because it was the thing that I was most excited about all weekend. Interactbooks gave us mostly a sales pitch for their company’s new product as opposed to the promise of being able to make simple interactive books quickly and easily. I did hear a little excitement from some older ladies but for me I felt with such a great idea the product was not yet there. More on this in my day two recap.

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IRA Convention

Part of what we want to do here as a group is expose the vast number of resources that are available to those wishing to break into the Children’s Market. There are a number of events and organizations that seek to do this and open up opportunities for not only exposure to the greater intricacies of the community but also great networking opportunities. One such group is the IRA (International Reading Association).


Since 1956, IRA has been a nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions committed to worldwide literacy. More than 70,000 members strong, the Association supports literacy professionals through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism, and professional development activities. Our members promote high levels of literacy for all by:

* Improving the quality of reading instruction
* Disseminating research and information about reading
* Encouraging the lifetime reading habit

They have annual conventions as well that feature multiple authors/illustrators from the Childrens Educational Market. Please go their site and consider membership and research what they have to offer to you as an author/illustrator within the Children’s Market. This year the International Reading Association 56th Annual Convention will be in Orlando, Fl. from May 8-11th. Publishers represented include but are not limited to; Scholastic, Mcgraw Hill, Pearson and Simon and Schuster.

Visit their site for more information about the IRA in general.

Visit this site for more information regarding the convention.

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