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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

works in progress: the crisis

So,  for my myth and legend class we have finished our stories.  Mine is obscenely long and getting more and more detailed.  Though I don't have a lot of time to continue working on it I am making time anyways (mostly because I am obsessed with it, I worked super hard on it, and I am pretty sure I will publish it one day and than sell it to be made into an animated movie!)

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 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!

the progression

so, this is the progression from start to finish of how I have been working...I have many thumbnail sketches and squiggly drawings that I do before I take reference, but here is the step by step process after the composition and idea are squared away.

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!