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Lessons on Networking from CAMP

Over the past weekend, I was lucky enough to be gifted a wonderful trip to CAMP by Mike. It was an experience that I will never forget. 



I never went to summer camp as a kid so coming to CAMP at a beautiful YMCA campsite was a wholly new experience. I never knew what it would be like to be dropped into a group of strangers and expected to talk and network. I have been to a few networking events in our field, but they were always in a space where I would know at least a few people and where I could rely on that person to keep me company in case. This was the first time where I would be plopped in with a bunch of other creative entrepreneurs and just have to make friends. I was nervous as hell. 

CAMP is a cross between a business conference, networking event, and a traditional summer camp. Every day we had fun activities like Campfire inspirational talks, classes that we got to choose, and Yoga twice a day! The variety of events ran the gamut, from Block Printing and Stenciling to How to create an effective newsletter. It’s run by the amazing Sonja Rasula who also runs the Unique USA craft shows.

In a lot of ways CAMP reminded me of Conventions and Networking Events that a lot of creative Entertainment artists go to all the time. 



At CAMP we weren’t allowed to have our phones or any other method of internet communication, so it wasn’t easy to pull up somebody’s work on your iPhone. I found this to be a really great thing because I got to meet people without having to immediately pull out my phone and stick my nose in it.



When attending any conference, or convention or anyplace where you will be networking with your peers I had a few thoughts after CAMP that I thought I would share. 

Lessons I learned at CAMP

1) Get your pitch DOWN 

Whoever you are, if you have a business or if you’re an artist, knowing who you are, and who you want to be, and being able to get your pitch down to only a few sentences will help a lot. For me, I hadn’t fully formed my pitch before going and I found it evolving every day I was there. At the beginning it was all about what I thought the other person would find most interesting about me, but as the days went on, I found myself tailoring my message to being about who I wanted to be and presenting myself as the vision I had for myself. This was incredibly empowering and has helped me to focus my efforts after I have returned home. 

2) Don’t put down what you do

Being at CAMP, I found that I was always qualifying my artwork. “Oh I’m an illustrator, but my work isn’t cool.” I found myself always trying to downplay my own work. I think I was so nervous to be surrounded by all of these highly successful and creative people that I didn’t want them to think I was on their level. At the end of the trip, I was kicking myself and I realized that what I was doing was worth holding up with pride. Even if you meet people that you admire, you should always carry yourself head held up high. It changes your whole perspective if you lift your gaze just a bit. 

3) Unplugging can be invaluable. 

I noticed a lot of the people at CAMP were natural introverts. It was a difficult thing for everyone to be very open and excited about everything, but it was also great to pull ourselves out of our own work and take a look around. If we were all allowed our phones I don’t think that we would have made friends as quickly or been as engaged with the activities. Were there awkward moments where I wish I could bury my nose in my phone? Sure, but being without it was incredibly empowering. I found afterwards that I didn’t really need it and connecting with nature and other creative people was much better in the end. It forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to participate in a real way with every conversation I was a part of. 

Obviously I learned a ton of other things at CAMP, but I’m glad that I could share this with you guys! I hope that these tips will help you in the coming Convention season and will maybe get you to consider going to a program like CAMP or CTN Expo! (and maybe leave your phone at home) 

 

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us Pick some Tees!

Picking shirt designs is like deciding your favorite child(or so I’m told). We’ve decided to enlist the wisdom of the crowd and turn to you to help us get to the bottom of this. We’re sharing a total of 16 designs over the next two days. Today we’ll have two sets up on the blog and put the remaining two sets on our facebook page and our instagram.

Look. Vote. Help us out!


I’ve always heard it’s what’s on the inside that counts and we’ve made a few shirt designs exploring innards.


My mother told me not to play with my food, but I wonder if it’s okay if my food does it by itself?

More Art Questions Answered

Once again we look into our mailbag of reader submitted questions! If you have anything on your mind about art, the industry, breaking in, etc, feel free to shoot us a line. Perhaps you’ll see your question featured on the next monthly Q&A.



This Month’s Questions 

I want to maintain a personal habit of consistent practice so I can improve my work. What do I need to do in order to learn what I need to learn efficiently?
Will Kelly
Tennessee, USA

Create a project for yourself and define due dates and deadlines. I’d recommend picking a pre-existing story - as a visual development artist, you are never working on your own story - and setting a firm end date - ie this project will take 3 months. Working on a project it allows you to focus on all parts of the process - characters, environments, props, etc. You can also tailor your project to focus on what you want to improve on - props. Finally, make regular contributions to your project. Start off small and use little successes to propel yourself into taking risks.

What subjects would you recommend (or did you find extremely helpful) in informing your art practice at art school? And, do you find that the principles you learnt from them still applicable now to what you do as a visual development artist?
Roxanne Quiliquite
Sydney, Australia

I learned a lot about composition from my graphic design/typography/printmaking classes. I personally recommend taking graphic design classes because many of the same principles apply to illustration/picture-making.

I was wondering if for you guys personally, whether you decided on a personal style consciously, or if it came naturally to you as you went along. Also, did it help you more to look at many different references while finding a style?
Vivien W
California

Style comes from two places - there’s the natural way that you do things and outside influences that affect it. There’s a balance and conflict between the two - sometimes things don’t quite seem to work well or sit right on the page. For us we only try to enforce a common style when we both work on a sequential project. In other cases we explore, play, and do whatever looks good to us. We of course look at other artists and try new things, but don’t really pursue adapting their look.

Have you seen…

all the Oscar nominated animated Shorts & Features? Who’s your favorites to win?

Victoria’s Frozen artwork featured on Io9?

A delicious, one eared, Cheeseburger cat

A delicious, one eared, Cheeseburger cat

My Daily Paint Sketch Challenge

I’m a fan of creating personal challenges in order to better myself - as an artist and as a person. Recently I’ve been doing these paint sketches which I’ve been sharing on my instagram & our facebook page. If you’d like to follow along, I’d recommend looking there.




Have you seen…

the Shape of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut? It’s pretty interesting and I like the idea of it as a visual person.

Vashi Nedomansky’s article on the evolution of the dolly zoom? A must for film nerds.

Happy Nerdy Valentine’s Day

Here’s an unused greeting card concept that I had kicking around. We’re all big fans of all sorts of games, movies and media. I wanted to combine that into an image.


Love Hurts

They say “Do what you love. Love what you do.” We believe it’s more complicated than that.



It devalues hard work and persistence. It suggest that what we do is easy - that art is magic that flows from the tip of a pen or stylus. That’s far from the real truth.

It’s not surprising that making good art takes a lot of work and practice. However, the idea that commercial artists are mercenaries, is. We are all guns for hire or hoping to join their ranks. “Do what you love” suggests that we are our own master, but it neglects the many people concept/visual development artists serve. We make art that gets molded, steered and guided. And we should not forget its not often for love or craft, but to chase box office, marketing researching, etc.

Your job is the wrong place to try to find your love of what you do(they however are a good source of money). Like a good mercenary you need to get the job done. That said, don’t give up loving art and don’t keep churning away at work.



5 Ways to Not Fall into the “Love” Trap

  • Be open to collaboration - Don’t be precious about your designs. Projects are always a collaboration.
  • Think outside the box - Try new things out. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Find Opportunities to Learn - Practice your craft on your current assignments or on your own time.
  • Don’t be afraid to move on - If you’ve learned everything you can at your job, don’t be afraid to take the next step. Staying longer only hurts you in the end.
  • Have Fun/Don’t take it too seriously - After all it’s just art.

Have you seen…

this video by Cal Newport: “‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice”

the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? It’s one of our favorite texts on work translating into returns.

Some of my art from “The Lego Movie”

About two years ago I had the great opportunity to work on the Lego Movie. I had a great time and it was loads of fun. Here’s two pieces I dug up. I need to poke around my hard drive and find some others.






The prompt I got was “office building meets Mordor.” I have a few more versions and takes on this concept that I’ll share next week!

Lessons on Networking from CAMP

Over the past weekend, I was lucky enough to be gifted a wonderful trip to CAMP by Mike. It was an experience that I will never forget. 



I never went to summer camp as a kid so coming to CAMP at a beautiful YMCA campsite was a wholly new experience. I never knew what it would be like to be dropped into a group of strangers and expected to talk and network. I have been to a few networking events in our field, but they were always in a space where I would know at least a few people and where I could rely on that person to keep me company in case. This was the first time where I would be plopped in with a bunch of other creative entrepreneurs and just have to make friends. I was nervous as hell. 

CAMP is a cross between a business conference, networking event, and a traditional summer camp. Every day we had fun activities like Campfire inspirational talks, classes that we got to choose, and Yoga twice a day! The variety of events ran the gamut, from Block Printing and Stenciling to How to create an effective newsletter. It’s run by the amazing Sonja Rasula who also runs the Unique USA craft shows.

In a lot of ways CAMP reminded me of Conventions and Networking Events that a lot of creative Entertainment artists go to all the time. 



At CAMP we weren’t allowed to have our phones or any other method of internet communication, so it wasn’t easy to pull up somebody’s work on your iPhone. I found this to be a really great thing because I got to meet people without having to immediately pull out my phone and stick my nose in it.



When attending any conference, or convention or anyplace where you will be networking with your peers I had a few thoughts after CAMP that I thought I would share. 

Lessons I learned at CAMP

1) Get your pitch DOWN 

Whoever you are, if you have a business or if you’re an artist, knowing who you are, and who you want to be, and being able to get your pitch down to only a few sentences will help a lot. For me, I hadn’t fully formed my pitch before going and I found it evolving every day I was there. At the beginning it was all about what I thought the other person would find most interesting about me, but as the days went on, I found myself tailoring my message to being about who I wanted to be and presenting myself as the vision I had for myself. This was incredibly empowering and has helped me to focus my efforts after I have returned home. 

2) Don’t put down what you do

Being at CAMP, I found that I was always qualifying my artwork. “Oh I’m an illustrator, but my work isn’t cool.” I found myself always trying to downplay my own work. I think I was so nervous to be surrounded by all of these highly successful and creative people that I didn’t want them to think I was on their level. At the end of the trip, I was kicking myself and I realized that what I was doing was worth holding up with pride. Even if you meet people that you admire, you should always carry yourself head held up high. It changes your whole perspective if you lift your gaze just a bit. 

3) Unplugging can be invaluable. 

I noticed a lot of the people at CAMP were natural introverts. It was a difficult thing for everyone to be very open and excited about everything, but it was also great to pull ourselves out of our own work and take a look around. If we were all allowed our phones I don’t think that we would have made friends as quickly or been as engaged with the activities. Were there awkward moments where I wish I could bury my nose in my phone? Sure, but being without it was incredibly empowering. I found afterwards that I didn’t really need it and connecting with nature and other creative people was much better in the end. It forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to participate in a real way with every conversation I was a part of. 

Obviously I learned a ton of other things at CAMP, but I’m glad that I could share this with you guys! I hope that these tips will help you in the coming Convention season and will maybe get you to consider going to a program like CAMP or CTN Expo! (and maybe leave your phone at home) 

 

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us pick what t shirts to print! Let us know what you guys like! #tshirt #vote #illustration #art

Help us Pick some Tees!

Picking shirt designs is like deciding your favorite child(or so I’m told). We’ve decided to enlist the wisdom of the crowd and turn to you to help us get to the bottom of this. We’re sharing a total of 16 designs over the next two days. Today we’ll have two sets up on the blog and put the remaining two sets on our facebook page and our instagram.

Look. Vote. Help us out!


I’ve always heard it’s what’s on the inside that counts and we’ve made a few shirt designs exploring innards.


My mother told me not to play with my food, but I wonder if it’s okay if my food does it by itself?

More Art Questions Answered

Once again we look into our mailbag of reader submitted questions! If you have anything on your mind about art, the industry, breaking in, etc, feel free to shoot us a line. Perhaps you’ll see your question featured on the next monthly Q&A.



This Month’s Questions 

I want to maintain a personal habit of consistent practice so I can improve my work. What do I need to do in order to learn what I need to learn efficiently?
Will Kelly
Tennessee, USA

Create a project for yourself and define due dates and deadlines. I’d recommend picking a pre-existing story - as a visual development artist, you are never working on your own story - and setting a firm end date - ie this project will take 3 months. Working on a project it allows you to focus on all parts of the process - characters, environments, props, etc. You can also tailor your project to focus on what you want to improve on - props. Finally, make regular contributions to your project. Start off small and use little successes to propel yourself into taking risks.

What subjects would you recommend (or did you find extremely helpful) in informing your art practice at art school? And, do you find that the principles you learnt from them still applicable now to what you do as a visual development artist?
Roxanne Quiliquite
Sydney, Australia

I learned a lot about composition from my graphic design/typography/printmaking classes. I personally recommend taking graphic design classes because many of the same principles apply to illustration/picture-making.

I was wondering if for you guys personally, whether you decided on a personal style consciously, or if it came naturally to you as you went along. Also, did it help you more to look at many different references while finding a style?
Vivien W
California

Style comes from two places - there’s the natural way that you do things and outside influences that affect it. There’s a balance and conflict between the two - sometimes things don’t quite seem to work well or sit right on the page. For us we only try to enforce a common style when we both work on a sequential project. In other cases we explore, play, and do whatever looks good to us. We of course look at other artists and try new things, but don’t really pursue adapting their look.

Have you seen…

all the Oscar nominated animated Shorts & Features? Who’s your favorites to win?

Victoria’s Frozen artwork featured on Io9?

A delicious, one eared, Cheeseburger cat

A delicious, one eared, Cheeseburger cat

My Daily Paint Sketch Challenge

I’m a fan of creating personal challenges in order to better myself - as an artist and as a person. Recently I’ve been doing these paint sketches which I’ve been sharing on my instagram & our facebook page. If you’d like to follow along, I’d recommend looking there.




Have you seen…

the Shape of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut? It’s pretty interesting and I like the idea of it as a visual person.

Vashi Nedomansky’s article on the evolution of the dolly zoom? A must for film nerds.

Happy Nerdy Valentine’s Day

Here’s an unused greeting card concept that I had kicking around. We’re all big fans of all sorts of games, movies and media. I wanted to combine that into an image.


Love Hurts

They say “Do what you love. Love what you do.” We believe it’s more complicated than that.



It devalues hard work and persistence. It suggest that what we do is easy - that art is magic that flows from the tip of a pen or stylus. That’s far from the real truth.

It’s not surprising that making good art takes a lot of work and practice. However, the idea that commercial artists are mercenaries, is. We are all guns for hire or hoping to join their ranks. “Do what you love” suggests that we are our own master, but it neglects the many people concept/visual development artists serve. We make art that gets molded, steered and guided. And we should not forget its not often for love or craft, but to chase box office, marketing researching, etc.

Your job is the wrong place to try to find your love of what you do(they however are a good source of money). Like a good mercenary you need to get the job done. That said, don’t give up loving art and don’t keep churning away at work.



5 Ways to Not Fall into the “Love” Trap

  • Be open to collaboration - Don’t be precious about your designs. Projects are always a collaboration.
  • Think outside the box - Try new things out. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Find Opportunities to Learn - Practice your craft on your current assignments or on your own time.
  • Don’t be afraid to move on - If you’ve learned everything you can at your job, don’t be afraid to take the next step. Staying longer only hurts you in the end.
  • Have Fun/Don’t take it too seriously - After all it’s just art.

Have you seen…

this video by Cal Newport: “‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice”

the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? It’s one of our favorite texts on work translating into returns.

Some of my art from “The Lego Movie”

About two years ago I had the great opportunity to work on the Lego Movie. I had a great time and it was loads of fun. Here’s two pieces I dug up. I need to poke around my hard drive and find some others.






The prompt I got was “office building meets Mordor.” I have a few more versions and takes on this concept that I’ll share next week!

Lessons on Networking from CAMP
Help us Pick some Tees!
More Art Questions Answered
My Daily Paint Sketch Challenge
Happy Nerdy Valentine’s Day
Love Hurts
Some of my art from “The Lego Movie”

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