MASON TO ANIMATION
Hi everybody and welcome to Courtney Mason Illustration!
My goal is to translate written and verbal ideas into visual imagery that is colorful, compelling, and clearly communicate the objectives of the client. I pride myself on my versatility and am confident in my abilities to tackle any challenge both effectively and efficiently. I am open to creative opportunities in a variety of markets such as but not limited to Graphic Design, Advertising, Editorial, Book Publishing, and especially Post Production for Entertainment.
My "dream job" is to someday have a career within the animation industry. The holy trio or trifecta of skills will be in character design, storyboarding, and character animation. I have experience in experimental animation, stop motion, claymation, 2D and 3D animation using Autodesk Maya, Photoshop, and Final Cut Pro. In 2011, I received a grant from the Women's Education and Leadership Fund to conduct a study of animation through research and practical application. I learned the fundamentals and foundations of 3D animation through the Ianimate Advanced Character Animation Program and I am continuing my education through Animation Mentor School for Character Animation online starting this upcoming fall 2012.
I am very much a team player, but also a self starter and driven towards success. Since I was a child, I was an entrepreneur, a quality I believe I enherited from my father. This sense of leadership and drive has always helped me optimize every opportunity and has given me confidence in the value of my ideas. While I am very dedicated to clients needs before my own needs, I always feel like I have something to learn and something to give.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Hope some people might chuckle at that last remark, but I am dead serious! You shall see :)
Anyways, I am at the point where I am illustrating the biggest crisis in the entire story. Though there are a lot of sub-conflicts this one is the most heart wrenching. The villain feels betrayed, and in his rage...tries to kill the woman he loves the most, while our hero makes his way to save her, he is too late, and witnesses her last moments of life. I'm not going to tell you what happens but here is what I got so far.
The first image of this reference montage is my models posing. One is my boyfriend, the other is my friend. I wanted a low vantage point, because the scale of our hero is much smaller than human size, and I thought it would be more dramatic this way. I chose rim lighting because I wanted it to be a night scene, the moon acting as a light source. The second image to the right is a widescreen view of what I roughly in vision the painting to look like. It is a combination of digital painting, photography, and landscape painting. I wanted to brightest highlights to fall on the two figures, since their interaction is the focus. I put our hero in the foreground cast in shadow for the most part because he is an afterthought. I wanted him to also to be slightly bigger in scale, so the viewer knows he is just as important if not more important as the other figures in this scene. The background is a painting of the jungle at night...it was difficult to find a quality photo reference for this because there is not a lot of jungle night photography evidently. And seeing as I am a one man operation, can't exactly fly to the tropics to shoot my own reference. However, I am not going to directly copy this artist's work, but it best represents the type of atmosphere and colors I wish to paint myself. The bottom left image is the entire work done by the artist, and to the right of that image I have my initial value and composition study that I did using digital and graphite.
I'll post the final painting when all is said and done. wish me luck!
step 1: The reference. I am constantly photographing images and information to draw from. The first image of the sequence is compiled of several photos. The figures in this piece are me, my brother, and friend...we had to base jump in order to get this shot from a waterfall that was 50 feet high. The things I do for my art...
step 2: The drawing. A drawing has to have a good sense of value to differentiate between the foreground, middle ground, and background. This gives the image dimension and depth of field. It is important to establish this early on before you add color
step 3: The under painting. Establishing the key color relationships from the get go. Just flat color washes of warm and cool colors.
step 4: The final rendering with color. I sort of go over areas that I feel I need to punch up with value. I also try and refine small details in this last phase and make sure that the values are working well with one another.
step 5: The prototype. Just for fun, I did this in photoshop, so the client could get an idea of what the finished product would like like on a publication. This assignment just so happens to be for the summer term cover for my university. We compete against our classmates for the cover! If we win, our art is published, and we are are paid, just like a real illustration job. Pretty neat!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Missing an entire week of class, although relaxing at the time, is proving to be a very serious set back. The week we missed was crucial to our development of ideas, and although we have literally no time to gather reference for our illustrations, I have 3 due in 2 weeks.
one is a character design for my mythological creature which I have created for my narrative.
the second is the cover for the summer term catalog cover and if chosen is published and we receive $
the third is for the children's book...my double page spread
In addition to prior obligations, I have taken on more artistic obstacles. But these in particular I thought were worth my time.
One is a commission for an alum and friend of mine who lost her grandfather fairly recently. I know that this one man was her "someone" in her family that she loved above all others, and I can only imagine what she is experiencing. She came to me to ask if I would be willing to do a portrait of him for her and after hearing stories about him of course I couldn't say no. So I hope I can do him justice for her and honor his life accordingly.
The second is the TOMS "style your sole" event, which will be held this Saturday from 1-4 pm. The event sponsors local artists to decorate purchased pairs of TOMS and personalize them for each customer. We are given half an hour to decorate each shoe. The proceeds go towards a pair of shoes for a child in need. One for one. It's a really great cause and I hope to gain exposure and I am looking forward to helping out.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I showed my portfolio to a layout artist, who suggested I do 100 sketched drawings opposed to 10 fully rendered paintings. He made a valid point and I respected what he had to say but I did not like how quickly he skimmed the pages of my work (like it was an OK magazine or something.)
Another rigging artist I found less intimidating to talk to, and she was very helpful and encouraging. She was young and beautiful and very humble about everything which I found refreshing.
Overall, it was worth the commute to get there. The group of students I brought with me were all sophomores and we are talking about forming an animation club/group at the University. Unfortunately, by the time I get it up and running, I will be graduating. But at least I would have left of legacy and inspired some kind of advancement in animation here at UHART.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
this particular piece was intended to accompany an article about obesity in america!
here is the outcome of 2 days of work...
I used graphite to draw it out initially. than traced over my sketchy sketch to create a fine line drawing. Than the drawing was scanned into the computer, where I used digital paint in photo shop to do a color comp or two. Than from that color comp I began painting. I been playing with mixed media lately since I am indecisive and never had the freedom. For this one I used water color, pencil, water color pencil, acylic fw inks, colored pencil, and pastel. YEAH! I know right?
the pastel was kinda a happy accident. I am not very fond of painting backgrounds...and this one I definately made too many streaks...soooo I was going to air brush over it. But the air brush machine was locked up...so plan B...PASTELS! why not? I am far more confident in pastels than anything else. Worked out pretty well I think. We will find out this week during my crit.
one done...3 to go!
Friday, September 23, 2011
I think this is a silly question, because I'm pretty sure everything and everyone we as artists have ever encountered has influenced us in some way.
So far the hardest part of my senior year (or just general art career) is choosing what kind of artist I want to be. I wouldn't say I have a certain consistent style, but I do have tendencies. I like rendering...I like neutral colors...I like mixing wet and dry media...I like animals and humans...I like humor...I like character...I like problem solving. But how do I do everything I like in a style that people are gunna buy?
I think the better question is...what artists would I like to hang out with for a day! I gotta say, if I was to have a party and could invite anybody I wanted, I would invite...
Peter De Seve'
The reason? These guys are awesome. I want my work to look that good...some day soon. I have been helplessly enchanted by their work (like a teenage girl is to Justin Bieber's pre-mature sex appeal). And I am pretty sure if we did hang out, I would absorb some of their juicy talents and techniques. And than maybe I'd have a better shot at the dream :)
Seeing as I am not banking on this meeting of the minds, I guess I will just have to study their work and practice until I'm just as good.
Friday, August 5, 2011
There is a lot more that I have learned since my visit to Dream Works and online instructors that has made me rethink my process. I figure if this is really what I want to go to school for, might as well learn everything!
Because of this, it is taking an obscene amount of time to model but I am figuring it out...slowly.
P.S. new fave website...not facebook...not blogger...but LYNDA.COM! It is amazing and teaching me so so much!
Friday, July 29, 2011
I fell in love with everything I saw more and more, radiating overwhelming good feelings as I continued to roam the campus. I felt at home...that this is the right place for me. Literally, my heart was surging through my chest. We spent the late afternoon by the pool, and that night, I got in touch with Alice Wong, a UHA alum from the illustration program and a current grad student at SJSU. We met up at a sushi place called Kazoo in Japantown for sushi. Her insight on California life, the animation program, and the industry itself was sensational. She explained everything with so much spirit and charisma that I couldn't help but hang onto every word she said. She told us her story of how she adjusted to west coast living, the initial obstacles she had to face, and all the wonderful things she has learned in light of difficult situations. She was open to all my questions and gave me an un bias perspective on everything, which was very helpful. After dinner, I met their new puppy (a beagle named Bagel) and their room mate, whose boyfriend works at Blue Sky.
Later, we went to a nearby small Italian restaurant with HUGE portions. My artichoke bisque coupled with a baked brie in honey with grapes and crackers was delicious. We returned back to our canvas cabin, got cozy, and fixed ourselves some wine and gossiped a little bit. I found myself drifting off into sleep, but waking up now and again to hear what sounded like some frisky kitties. It was pretty funny at the time...definitely didn't envision falling asleep to the sound of lions roaring and grunting, but I eventually got used to it.
Day 5: Dream Works here I come! Today I met with my Ianimate professor Bill Tessier to grab lunch and tour the studio that houses my dream career. In order to get onto the campus, we had to get special VIP passes (which I kept and will scrap book eventually). After those were made, we walked along the pathway, and it was than that I became overwhelmed and awe-struck by how truly dream like the atmosphere was. The campus was abundant with beautiful fountains, coy ponds, exotic flowers and ivy which weaved along the archways and around the winding paths. The main courtyard was surrounded by benches and tables (for lounging and dining), an outdoor grill, and table games. The grounds themselves were filled with young brilliant people; I didn't see one face over forty years old, but the the majority were young males in there 20's-30's.
The rest of the day I transcended from nirvana and we grabbed dinner at a place in Valencia called "The Elephant Bar" which was a fun animal themed restaurant (couldn't help but keep up with the elephant theme). And had some great appetizers and a cool beverage. The town of Valencia was upscale...kind of reminded me of West Hartford...but with palm trees and much more spread out.
Day 6: Cal-Arts tour today was interesting to say the least. We got onto campus around 11 AM and had an info meeting specifically tailored to the film/video department and what major programs we were interested in. Although I do want my masters, the program for undergrad character animation sounded exactly like what I wanted to do. She explained it as "highly narrative linear way of storytelling through character." Experimental sounded a little more painterly, which isn't to say I wouldn't also be interested in learning as well, but mainly I want to focus on one aspect of animation and that would be character. Our tour guide was over dramatic and condescending to say the least (that's an understatement, but I'm just being honest) which was a little bit of a turn off. The very cool thing about this school was that it was founded by Walt and Roy Disney in the 60's after the making of Snow White for the purpose of collaborative arts. It is also the birthplace of Pixar, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Tim Burton, and many other great directors and artists. I got to walk through their character animation department, knowing that the 9 old men and Walt Disney himself used to roam these hallways, and that within itself was inspiring. What wasn't inspiring was the tuition price...and the acceptance rate...and what I would have to do to get accepted, let alone go there, would take me forever and a hefty penny. So, maybe not the best choice for me...but I will try not to be biased and keep an open mind.We spent the remainder of the day shopping at Valencia's giant Good Will and a very cool oriental themed warehouse that I loved!
Overall, I have to say this is the most inspiring and enlightening trips of my life (and that is saying something considering the places I have traveled in my life time.) I think I learned as much about myself as I did about the programs and the industry. My heart swelled where I felt I was the right place...around the elephants...at DreamWorks Studios...and at SJSU, and driving through the winding back roads of California. I now have my direction. I have seen the promise land, and it is good. I know what I have to do to get there. And I will fight to make it mine. I will have to start a new chapter of my life...leaving the people I love behind and the things I know to be familiar and safe. But its a choice I can't help but make. I have to do this...because if I don't put 110% into this pursuit, I will be letting down a life time of dreaming. My inner child inside me will die and suffocate in some dead end 9-5 job, and I won't let that be my reality.
I have been very blessed with family and friends to support my passion. Nobody ever told me to become a dentist, or a teacher. Everyone who my art has touched or inspired have been so encouraging. It's those people who believe in me that get me through the long nights in the studio when my energy and creativity is drained. And I cannot thank them enough for that. My mother, my life coach and practically my art manager planned this entire trip for me. Because she knows how much I dream of a life in California, a life making art for pixar or dream works...a life that includes palm trees. It tears me apart thinking I will be so distant from her, and my dad, and my brother. But I am hoping the ones who love me most will follow me.
if not physically to California, at least keep in touch :)
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
This is my first summer living away from home and the experience made me realize how blessed I am to have such a great family who supports my big dreams. Living on my own has taught me how to be independant, but also brings to my attention all those little things I have become accustomed to that I take for granted when I am home. The big trees, the backroads, the street signs. My mom and I sitting in our kitchen talking about everything and anything. My dad waking up far too early roaming around downstairs. Even my brother, coming and going with the social tides and music fests.
Not much has changed, and yet everything has changed. The house is full of so many knick knacks from Grandpa, all of which is taking about a century to sort through. My dad is now the ring leader of his own family circus ever since grandpa passed away, so this father's day in particular is the most difficult he as an individual has experienced.
All and all, It's great to catch up with family and friends.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I prefer to...
focus my attention is extraversion, people, things, and the world around me
process information intuitively from patterns and the big picuture and focus on future possibilities
make decisions based primarilty on feeling, values, and person-centered concerns
deal with the outer world through judging, living in an organized orderly way
my qualities are....
warm, compassionate, and supportive
loyal and trustworthy
highly attuned to others, their empathy enables them to quickly understand emotional needs, motivations, and concerns
guided by personal values in decision making
likely to value harmony and cooperation, tend to look for the best in others
curious about new ideas and stimulated by possibilities for contributing to the good of humanity
usually seen by others as sociable, personable, gracious, expressive, responsive, and persuasive
My potential strengths are...
relationships. because they are so important, ENFJ's are outgoing, friendly, and genuinely concerned about the welfare of others. They tend to be idealistic and use their own personal values to rule their lives. They are caring, warm, and enthusiastic people, with great energy for projects or causes they believe in.
Great diplomats, ENFJ's are usually able to communicate in ways that make others feel excited about their ideas. They work hard to develop and maintain harmony in all their relationships. THey are intrigued with new possibilities, especially those that make positive changes, help other people, or generally make the world a better place.
My potential weaknesses are...
being direct and honest in an attempt to avoid conflict is a challange, because ENFJ's are so concerned with being liked, they would talk around the issue. The result is that they may sacrafice their own needs and make choices that are not in their own best interest in order to please others. They may chose not to see the facts that contradict their own idealistic view of other people and then end up dissapointed or hurt.
ENFJ's are also very eager to have things decided and projects finished, and they sometimes rush through the information collecting stage and make hasty or flawed decisions. Wanting to always appear capable, organized, and in control, they may hesitate asking for help or admitting they need to start over. Approaching projects with a clearer sense of logical steps necessary to make them a sucess will hlep them avoid making mistakes or commuiting to causes they might regret later.
interestingly enough, the results I find to be dead accurate. And furthermore, these descriptions only reaffirmed that the career path I am taking would be the best possible enviorment for me. I will always be around creative people, and if I can get people excited about my projects and ideas, than I have the potential to advance myself.
On the other hand, this also pointed out flaws that I have slowly become aware of. I do make decisions on impulse, and do not consider all the research and facts before I dive into a project. I take criticism too personally at times, take on too many things at once and get overwhelmed, get bored with reptitious tasks, let conflicts build rather than being upfront, and see people as I wish they were, rather than for who they really are.
So, needless to say, I have some work to do. But if being a people pleaser and being idealistic are my worst flaws, than I have to say I am pretty pleased.
I get to meet with the other scholars, Rebecca, and my Dorothy Goodwin coordinators to discuss what to do with this new found self discovery. For me, it has re-fueled my fire, and made me once more confident in the path I am taking and where I am going from here.
So...now I am back to work! :)
Friday, June 3, 2011
Luckily, third party perspective can simplify a lot of clutter in my mind. Today me and Dennis met for the second time. I told him I had my narrative and basic storyboard but it was unresolved and the compositions needed work.
So, we worked backwards, 9 frames for the intro, middle, and conclusion. Talked about how to plan a shot, ways in which to best communicate to the viewer the story in a clear and innovative way. We also composed how the timing of the shots would go, which ended up roughly 2 seconds per frame.
We talked about Character designs, what to emphasize, and what to condense. So, I am close to where I need to be at this point, but far from starting the labor intensive project itself.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
- draw from life
- understand form
- construct forms inside out
- story board
- figure out the timing of the shot
- plan out amount of frames
- put in key frames
- put in extremes put in passing positions
- test it out
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Technical difficulties are...(insert explicit word here #$%*)
1. Registered under the wrong username (Jennifer. Sanborn) resulting in the confusion of my teacher and my classmates, and Jenn herself, who thought most of the messages from ianimate on the upcoming course to be SPAM
2. Being unable to connect using adobe acrobat connect…because I thought I was having some major technical difficulty, but it turns out that that I logged in at the wrong time. (9:30 pm Pacific time) soooo here I was thinking that clearly Mac Pro was at fault, when it was my poor reading.
3. Maya/digicel sketch book are not the easiest to learn. And the file formatting isn’t either
anyways, I ought to be finishing my finals. But I was very excited that I actually got my technology to work...FINALLY!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Well, after a very long application process (involving finding a mentor, collecting a mentor narrative, mentor vitae, my transcripts, my resume, and writing my own narrative and project proposal) and a few weeks of anticipation, I finally heard back from the Dorothy Goodwin Summer Scholars Program sponsored by the Women's Education and Leadership Fund here at the University of Hartford.
They had double the amount of applicants, and I was thrilled to find out that I was one of the few selected for this scholarship program. I literally jumped up and down for about 5 minutes straight. It was pretty epic to say the least. Funny, before I submitted this application, I was debating actually finishing it, and doubted myself. Than I had a dream that I got it...and so, in a way...it was destiny :)
Now you ask...what does this magical scholarship program entail? Well, it means for 10 weeks in the summer of 2011, I will be working with my mentor Dennis Nolan (watercolor god/wizard at animation and illustration) on a project that investigates the translation of 2D drawings into 3D animated short films.
check out the link about to find out more!
Spring break is also approaching. Dennis and Bill (my teachers) are traveling to Cali with the MFA program to tour Lucas films and Dreamworks studios...jealous. As for my spring break, I will be going to Arizona to visit my best friend at ASU, and hopefully taking off the edge of what was one of the busiest months of the year.
At the moment, I am working on a Cole Phillips inspired fade away illustration. It's ok...not one of my favorites yet. It needs some serious work. I also have thumbnails due tommorrow. Guess I am not sleeping.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Two competitions for the Goldfarb Juried Show and the Society of Illustrators are coming up in early February which I will apply to!
I am taking four studio classes in addition to my two academic courses! Figure modeling, animation and multimedia, intermediate acrylic, and intermediate oil illustration. All of which so far seem very challenging and exciting!
But most of my excitement stems from the phone call I just received...get ready for it...MY FIRST ILLUSTRATION JOB! I will be illustrating two children's books for my Aunt Kim. And I am getting paid. Life is good. Hopefully I will receive some college credit for it as well.
Now I got lots to do, and a lot of art supplies to buy :(
guess for now I'll be broke...but vigorously sketching!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
most of which consist of....
-polishing my resume
-brainstorming for major projects
-organizing my portfolio
-finding an internship
-finding a job
I am also applying for a grant, so I can do a 10-week project with a mentor! Wish me luck!
In other news, I spent the week in Florida :) 20 hours driving down really fueled my inspiration for all this personal growth. Can't wait for the semester to kick off!
Until next time, I'll be yet again...sketching!