Two (or three?) weeks ago, I had the privilege of learning from these guys. It was an awesome experience- one that I will carry with me always! Paul Tobin wrote a great explanation on the muddycolors blog on the design process he uses at weta, and in it he basically covers what we did in the workshop, so this post is my take on what we did and what I came out with.

We were given a story. The movie “Krull” was the basis- yet what really mattered were the archetypes of the story. We were allowed to do anything we wanted. I chose to make an environment in a kindly, fantasy oriented theme for my story. Something along the lines of Princess Bride or even an animated film.

With this in mind, I began sketching all different types of the “Seer’s Emerald cave.” However, the basis was that this place had to be a solace that held magic, and had a special area where that magic happened. It also needed to be hidden, thus safe. This was the home of a wise and quirky (maybe crazy) “wizard.” From there, I had free reign to sketch.

At first- the sketches were bad and I felt pretty lost. The constraints and freedom blended together was hard to take! It felt a little like algebra… We were all pretty fried at the end of each day.

Finally, I came up with the idea of a sunken ship as the “cave,” and maybe it could be in ice! Ice quickly turned into a swamp where the boat could have a deep bayou feel- wind chimes included. I made 3-4 versions of my composition. From there Paul and Nick gave me the go ahead to finalize my first try at the drawing. All that in day one!! (My sketchbook for that part of the project has been packed and sent home, but I’ll add  it in a few weeks after graduation.) However here is the final sketch:


Day two I refined my drawing a little and scanned it in to paint. All day Paul and Nick were giving me tips for painting and photoshop tricks that quickened my work. They did a lot of painting on my final piece, and I learned so much just from watching what they added and the decisions they made while painting. It went a lot faster than I imagined, yet was still detail oriented.

By Day three we all were pretty far in our work, so we got some awesome lecture time from Ian McCaig! It was great to see his design process in tandem with the Weta team. It was basically this- “stoopid” drawing with all the ideas. Reference research of any objects that related to the ideas. He used a water bottle, mannequin legs, and a model for creation a squid/bad/underwater character. It was amazing- in 20 minutes he had a creature/character that could have gone straight into Star Wars. It was impressive.

After that we worked until the end of the day. Paul kind enough to give me an awesome portfolio review with lots of ideas that I will use after graduation.

The piece at the end of the day was really satisfying. I will still go in and add a few more details, but for a 3 day workshop- I definitely got the work in!! I learned so much and I feel like I understand the concept art process SO much better.

Wrecked Ship copy2



The Workshop- Incredible:

The Speakers- Amazing: http://paultobinart.comhttp://www.nickkellerart.com

The Friends- Fun and New!