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Pablo Carpio | pablocarpioart.

1 Artillery


3 Edge Control



6 Icon Manila
8 12 13
3 4

7 IFCC 15 10

8 Industry Workshops 11

9 LiK: MeetUp

10 Non Stop

11 Pixelatl

12 Playgrounds

13 Promised Land

14 Splash

15 Trojan Horse was a Unicorn

If you would like to ad your event or have a suggestion for an addition contact us:
Artillery: St Petersburg | Russia | June 2018

CTIAF: Cape Town | South Africa | 2nd–4th of March 2018


Edge Control: Toronto | Canada | August 2018

FUTURO: Varna | Bulgaria | August 2018

IAMC: Paris | France | 16th–18th of March 2018


Icon Manila: Manila | Philippines | August 2018

IFCC: Zagreb | Croatia | 28th of May–2nd of June 2018

Industry Workshops: London | England | September 2018

LiK: MeetUp: Taipei | Taiwan | March 2018

Non Stop: Madrid & Barcelona | Spain | 8th–12th of May 2018

Pixelatl: Cuernavaca | Mexico | 4th–9th of September 2018

Playgrounds: Breda | Netherlands | 9th–11th of April 2018

Promised Land: Lodz | Poland | September 2018

Splash: Prague | Czech Republic | September 2018

Trojan Horse was a Unicorn: Troia | Portugal | September 2018

For details check out the calendar at Since not all dates are set yet, the order inside the months is alphabetically.
Picture this: the most talented animators, illustrators, games creators, sound de-
signers, concept artists, all in one place. And you? You being able to pick their
brains, see how they did it, how they started, what they studied, how they became
famous as well as what amazing projects they are tackling at the moment. Imagine
an even play field. The ball is now in their court but it could just as easily pass to
you, or the person sitting next to you. This, is the essence of Playgrounds! A meet-
ing hub for some of the most remarkable digital artists but also a place where they
can interact with students – the talents of tomorrow, and fans. A series of events
that have inspiration as a currency.

For ten years the Playgrounds Festival has worked as a connector between makers,
industry, the educational system and audiences. It provided a stable fundament to
boost new and relevant developments in the moving image fields, showcasing
the most innovative productions involving animation, visual effects and sound de-
sign. Every year, during events spread over two to five days, thousands of visitors
and artists would be welcome to join the series of workshops, presentations and
masterclasses. During these years the festival also started including cutting edge
audio visual installations, exhibitions featuring props, sketches, illustrations and
VR projects. In order to reach wider audiences, locations have always been dis-
tributed all through the Netherlands, while strategically aiming at cities playing an
important role in the design and innovation landscapes.

In 2017 Playgrounds changed the rules of the game and it dramatically expand-
ed. It not only showcased talent but also nurtured it. Through the Playgrounds
Next project it created opportunities for a set of young talents to gather resources
for creating and exhibiting their works. The festival artists talks were split into the
Playgrounds Session events and spread all through the year. All culminating with
the intensive festival in autumn, Playgrounds 2017: The Art Department, featuring
more than 40 artists traveling from all corners of the world. So Playgrounds spread
its wings and spread its forces. It stopped being just a festival; it became a way of
thinking, of creating, of being. Imagine everything, we said. And thus we turned
the creative world into our Playgrounds! Thank you for joining our Playgrounds!

Leon van Rooij

Director and curator Playgrounds

Leon van Rooij studied animation at the

Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg. He has
worked as an art director, animator and VJ
on commercials, projections and special
events for several studios. He is the found-
er of Playgrounds – International Digital Arts
Festival and a former curator at the STRP Bi-
ennial in Eindhoven. He also advises institu-
tions and organisations on post-digital cul-
ture, jury member at Het Gouden Kalf (Dutch
Film Festival) and he teaches animation and
interaction design at the bachelor and post-
graduate departments of AKV | St. Joost in
Breda the Netherlands.


6 Our History And Our Future

10 Speakers
20 Schedule
22 Map
24 Playgrounds Next
26 Interviews With The Next Talents
32 Playgrounds ...
33 Sponsors
34 Main Titles By Sava Zivkovic


38 #LetsTalkArt: Pablo Carpio

46 Review: The Weekend Of Love
50 Lecture: Lip Comarella
54 Interview: Drink & Draw Berlin
62 Interview: Thomas Brillante
68 Interview: Even Mehl Amundsen
74 Interview: Maxx Burman
82 Lecture: Björn Hurri

94 Artillery
102 Edge Control
112 IAMC
116 Icon Manila
120 IFCC
124 Industry Workshops London
128 LiK: MeetUp
134 Non Stop
138 Pixelatl: El Festival
144 Promised Land
148 Splash
154 Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn

2 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 3

Image: ©Sava Zivkovic
4 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 5
Image: ©Sava Zivkovic
Founded in 2006 Playgrounds has quick- talks by music video mastermind Dougal and co-workers. In 2017 his Playgrounds
ly established itself as the leading festi- Wilson (Coldplay, Goldfrapp, The Streets, has evolved into a major two to five day
val promoting the innovation of the cre- commercials for IKEA, John Lewis), indie conference in multiple cities reaching up
ative image, in The Netherlands. With animator Jordan Bruner (Hem and Par- to 4.000 professionals in the industry.
notorious line ups featuring legends amore, Paul McCarthy, commercials for
like Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park, Starship Travelbird, Google), production studio Following our own motto, in 2017 we
Troopers, Star Wars), Pierre Coffin (De- Platige (Watchdogs 2 for For Honor, Prey imagined everything and embarked on
spicable Me), Nelson Lowry of Laika for Ubisoft), visual artists Lernert & Sand- a new adventure. Alongside the confer-
(Paranorman, Coraline, Kubo and the two er (The Sound of Cos for Cos) and a cut- ences, Playgrounds organizes all year
Strings), and Neal Scanlan (Oscar win- ting edge performance by Nonotak. En- round a series of international sessions;
ning creature and animatronic expert for suring diversity is one of our main goals, inspirational events with the best and
Babe, The Force Awakens) among others. as we constantly search for ways of rep- brightest artists and animators, extraordi-
Playgrounds takes pride in bringing the resenting each creative sector. But, more nary filmmakers, game, sound and graph-
biggest creative names in the film indus- than this, we believe that inspiration and ic designers. We have had these fest-in-
try and showcasing their talents in an in- collaborations can spring from unusual a-box Sessions in Amsterdam, Rotterdam
timate setting. sources. The festival is also taking cre- and Breda. MediaMonks, The Line Anima-
atives out of their comfort zones, out of tion Studio, Merijn Hos, Justin van der Lek
And that’s not all. Apart from inviting their regular crowds and brings them to- and many more addressed audiences
guests from the film industry, Play- gether to ’play’ and interact. On a level in cosy venues and afterwards went ful-
grounds explores the creativity of other ground. On a playground. ly Dutch and joined them for beers. We
digital media outlets as well. Last year thought it was an incredible opportunity
alone it hosted a concept art seminar, Eleven years ago founder Leon van Rooij to connect to our visitors throughout the
portfolio meetings, an expo with original put up a condensed, one-day program year and hear their views on the state of
artwork and many workshops and mas- of international creative geniuses to in- the industry during these events. And we
terclasses. The program contained artist spire and support his own colleagues simply loved the interactions!

6 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Photos: ©Playgrounds 7

With the branching out and expanding of duction stages of media and animation UPCOMING EVENTS 23rd–25th of Nov 2017
media, so much now requires lots of mag- projects. We’ve gathered creative minds 19th of October 2017 Parkloods – Antwerpen – Us by Night.
nificent art works being designed and of concept art, set design, art directing, EYE – Amsterdam – KLIK & Play. Our Belgian friends Us by Night asked
built in various stages of the production. model making and animation. All in a Animation film festival KLIK and Play- Playgrounds to co-curate the festival.
Together with cultural centre TAC, Tem- 40+ international line up of artist talks, grounds join forces in a wicked industry We are happy to complete a killer line
porary Art Center in Eindhoven, we’ve exhibitions, industry workshops, demos, day. up with Marsmallow Laser Feast, Aaron
been collaborating to find ways to put a paint-overs and portfolio reviews. Duffy, Ferry Gouw and more. Us by Night
spotlight on these amazing works. 21st–29th of October 2017 is a three day festival combining the best
In other words, prepare for a visual feast TAC – Eindhoven – Dutch Design Week of both worlds, amazing artists and a ex-
Throughout the year we have been show- and join our celebration of the creative Playgrounds Expo // Sense of Smell. hilarating night market.
casing art projects of talented Brabant image! Behold our Playgrounds! During the Dutch Design Week we’ll cre-
professionals in a number of exhibitions ate an exhibition with the good people Fall 2017
at Playgrounds Expo. Super-creative arty of Sense of Smell. We promise an ex- Playgrounds Sessions – To be announced
designers Staynice put up a wicked mu- citing and immersive experience, come
ral, Vera van Wolferen created hand made and see, hear and feel yourself! 9th–11th of April 2018
sculptures out of Balsa wood, cardboard Chassé Theater – Breda – Playgrounds 2018.
and paper and for the Dutch Design Fall 2017 Playgrounds 2018: And we’ll be back in
Week we’ve prepared a very special proj- Railway station Breda – display cases – our hometown in the spring with a 3 day
ect involving the Sense of Smell. Playgrounds Expo // Vera van Wolferen conference and festival. Love to see you
& Bram Knol. all there!
With our main event this fall, Playgrounds Playgrounds Next talents Vera and Bram
2017: The Art Department, we’re trail- will create an expo for the display cas- Spring 2018
blazers again! In a 2 day conference, es Breda has on its railway station. Pas- Amsterdam - Playgrounds 2018 - tba.
we’re shining the light on the creative sengers will get a look into their unique
processes happening in the pre-pro- worlds and craftsmanship. All rights reserved – tentative program

8 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 9


We meet the people that make sure a factory for Philips. Nowadays the big Anthony Christov Marauder Film, Tokkun Studio, Ubisoft
the ’magic is real’, that we forget we are halls are home to a series of concerts, True definition of an “animation legend”, and last but not least, Axis Animation.
spectators and seamlessly immerse us in festivals and symposiums. The building’s this astoundingly talent concept artist Axis Animation creates hyper-real ani-
the narrative - The Art Department - and past and hidden stories breathe through collaborated with some of the biggest mated experiences designed to trans-
take this opportunity to find out how do the design and architecture and we ex- studios in the industry: The Walt Disney port viewers to never-before-seen worlds
they do it. Today we focus on this phase pect it to fuse brilliantly with our talented Company, Universal, Warner Bros and like in Assassin’s Creed: Identity and Des-
in the process of film making where tons guests. The Klokgebouw is set in Strijp-S, 20th Century Fox. Titan AE, Land Before tiny: Rise of Iron. Bram is also illustrating
of creative work is generated even be- a very creative area in Eindhoven with Time and Rescuers Down Under are just for Wizards of the Coast on their famous
fore a single movie shot is being filmed. splendid restaurants, art museum MU, some of the noteworthy productions he trading-card game Magic: The Gathering.
pop up stores and many creative hubs brought his contribution to as well as
Concept artists, props makers, anima- where design talents meet and work. some of Pixar’s most well loved produc- Bo Zonneveld
tors, background visuals, character de- Eindhoven itself is known for the top de- tions. Art director for Finding Nemo and Young and talented Berlin based concept
signers, robotics... some of the biggest signers and creative environment it nur- Wall-E, character and environment de- artist, Bo was the winner of Dutch Game
and most talented names in this field tures. Add to this the fact that it has its signer for Cars and production artist for Award in 2013 for the independent game
will be unraveling secrets of their artistry, own airport and it’s only one hour away The Incredibles... not a dreamt up, impos- The Flock. He once flirted with the idea
how they approach projects and collab- from Amsterdam and you can see why sible resume but actual highlights from of becoming a musician but happen to
orate with other creatives. Big Hollywood we love it so much. Anthony Christov’s spectacular career. stumble upon concept art illustrations
productions, indie films, games, VR expe- from the World of Warcraft and became
riences, these masters of design and ani- So who can you expect to meet during Bram Sels | Axis Animation irrevocably in love with the field. And
mation have seen it all and we’re beyond Playgrounds 2017: The Art Department? Bram Sels and is a freelance visual de- the concept art world fell in love with his
excited at the opportunity to pick their Our long time friend and host Fons velopment artist and illustrator from projects! Among numerous AAA projects
brains. The conference will take place in Schiedon will guide you through the pro- Belgium. He has been active in the en- like Trixter. Bo Zonneveld also collaborat-
the Klokgebouw building in Eindhoven. gram and below, here we’ve compiled, tertainment industry since 2012 working ed with One Pixel Brush, and worked for
Set in a historic industrial complex built in alphabetical order, all the artists con- on several incredible IP’s, most of them Atomhawk as an illustrator.
in the late 1920’s, it once functioned as firmed at this point. feature films. His clients include 3dtotal,

10 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 11

Chris Rosewarne and his personal Daily Deviation project aries of technical and artistic excel- line, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Citizen
Chris Rosewarne is a British concept art- on DeviantArt. Danar is currently work- lence. Founded in the early 2000s, they and Call of Duty. He is an adept of “work-
ist and illustrator working in the film and ing at One Pixel Brush but his list of past quickly made a name for themselves ing smart” (as opposed to just “working
television industry. His fast cinematic ren- clients include companies such as Fan- releasing the multi-platform Shell- hard”) meaning: “think about what you
derings and industrial prop designs have tasy Flight Games, Guerrilla Games and shock: Nam ’67 game. It was followed need to work on, focus, organize, learn
brought him to projects internationally Monte Cook Games. by Killzone, their breakthrough project, about time management etc. as it will
from L.A. to London and many studios which also got them to be acquired greatly speed up your learning process”.
across Europe. He worked on sever- Darek Zabrocki by Sony Computer Entertainment. In
al high-profile film productions such as Stole our hearts with his mesmerizing 2015 they released Horizon Zero Dawn Jesse van Dijk
Reign of Fire, The Brothers Grimm, Skyfall, visuals for Assassin’s Creed, Need For a game that not only ended up selling A Dutch art director we take great pride
A Good Day to Die Hard and Dark Shad- Speed, Maze Runner and Destiny 2, but more than 2.6 million copies in the first in for having managed to take the ’giant
ows. In 2012, he received an Emmy nom- this Polish concept artist has many more two weeks alone, but brought Guerrilla leap’ and gain international fame over
ination for his work with Jellyfish Pictures “tricks” up his sleeve. Like being one of Games recognition and acclaim as in- the ocean in the US. With talent root-
for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects” on the three founders of Level Up! - a highly novative storytellers. ed in industrial design, he first made it
the series Inside the Human Body. successful free online learning platform as concept artist working for Guerrilla
connecting more than 120 000 artists. Jan Urschel Games’s Killzone, only to capture the
Danar Worya Darek is originally from Gdansk, Poland. He has an impressive track record as a eyes and hearts of and be
Like many of the talents currently taking He has started drawing when he was 3 concept artist, having collaborated with invited to join the team of the interna-
the concept art department by storm, and has continued to do so ever since, companies like Paramount Pictures, War- tionally acclaimed smash hit franchise:
Rotterdam based Danar Worya had a reaching the stage when he considers a ner Bros, Lucasfilm, Tristar, Framestore, EA, Destiny. More importantly however,
eureka moment when realizing he could day is wasted without a drawing in it. Marvel Animation and Ubisoft, to name a once he was over the ocean he con-
make a living out of painting dragons. few. While working as a concept designer tinued to excel and develop which
Two projects helped him transition to the Guerrilla Games came later as a career option, his unique prompted him do be called “one of the
next level: being asked to create some They are one of Europe’s leading game talents got him involved in various notable best video game concept artists on the
illustrations for the Star Wars franchise, developers, known to push the bound- projects such as Ghost in a Shell, Border- planet” by

12 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Image: ©Jan Urschel 13

Jort van Welbergen claimed feature animations such as Big variety of sources like Japanese drawing proper tools to be brought to life and
A Dutch freelance concept artist passion- Hero 6 and Paranorman. styles, French comic artists and Art Nou- captured. Mediamachine connects the
ate about making realistic and scientifi- veau. Loish’s clients include Coca-Cola, creators with their instruments. By dis-
cally accurate designs. Extensive research Leon Tukker 21 Draw, Sony and Guerrilla Games. tributing the most high end and recent-
and designs based on scientifically strong Dutch master of digital painting and ly developed motion graphics software
foundations are key to Van Welbergen. extremely talented concept and envi- Martin Rezard and video hardware, they make sure art-
He has worked on Horizon Zero Dawn for ronment artist and illustrator, Leon has When he was just a teenager seeing Em- ists have an entire arsenal of products to
Sony Guerrilla Game and Star Citizen for worked for clients as Paizo Publishing, pire Strikes Back prompted him to pur- bring their dreams into forms accessible
Foundry42. We’re proud of having him as Paramount Pictures and KeokeN Inter- sue a career in sculpting creatures, mak- for their audiences.
a co-curator and host for The Art Depart- active. He showcases an affinity for sci- ing masks, models and puppets. Years
ment as well as a contributing editor for ence-fiction structures, cityscapes and later, he would actually get to work for Mike Azevedo
the Playgrounds Eye Candy series. misty landscapes. Leon is also one of our the Star Wars franchise, shaping up none As a child, he used to draw dinosaurs all
fabulous co-curators for The Art Depart- other than Darth Vader’s new look as well day. Now he’s a man who paints dragons
Kevin Dart ment as well as a contributing editor for as other costumes and pieces of jewel- for a living. Illustrator and concept artist
An extremely versatile artist, LA based the Playgrounds Eye Candy series. ry. While this would have been already based in São Paulo, Brazil, Mike Azevedo
designer and illustrator Kevin Dart is a dream come true for many, it’s just a works mostly for game companies like
considered one of the rising stars in the Loish small fraction of the extraordinary career Guerrilla Games and Hex Entertainment.
international animation scenery. Testa- A Dutch character designer prodigy with of Martin Rezard. He also worked for Pro- Overcoming obstacles such as the lack-
ment to this are his impressive collabo- a very strong aesthetic, Lois van Baarle metheus, Hellboy II, Doctor Who as well ing educational resources in his home
rations with the big players in the ani- (Loish) is a noteworthy representative of as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows country and having to rely on online
mated features landscape. He provides women’s voice in this field. Even more, and the Game of Thrones series. resources and self-teaching, Azevedo
exploratory and style-setting designs. her fascinating female characters are an gained international recognition for his
Whether it was for Disney, Dream- inspiration to many as they promote re- Mediamachine works on League of Legends, Hex and
Works or Pixar, Dart manages to infuse alistic shapes and capture the beauty of Innovation and talent might reside in- Legend of the Cryptids.
his vision and aesthetics into highly ac- the ordinary. She draws inspiration from a side each visual artist but they need the

14 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Leon Tukker ©Loish Images: ©Mike Azevedo ©Pablo Carpio 15
Anthony Christov
Axis Animation
Bram Sels
Bo Zonneveld
Chris Rosewarne
Pablo Carpio Stijn Windig Danar Worya Danar Worya
Darek Zabrocki
Guerrilla Games
Jan Urschel
Jesse van Dijk
Jort van Welbergen
Kevin Dart
Rex Crowle Bram Sels Sava Zivkovic
Leon Tukker
Pablo Carpio treasure Ralph Palmer is. He might have developed a strong passion for film and
He likes to push his skills to the limit. The started with an old school approach: animation, he decided to change his ca-
result? Intriguing framings, unexpected doodling on the edges of school books, reer path and focus on motion graphics,
mixtures of worlds, surprising combina- but he somehow ensured his works re- architectural animation and all things Martin Rezard
tions of textures, all working together mained timeless, beautiful and inspiring CG. He has a strong belief in devoting
with narratives that keep viewers on the for generations to come. time to personal projects, has received Mediamachine
edge and leave them wanting for more. several awards and recognitions from
These are just some of the elements that Rex Crowle the CG industry and has also given back Mike Azevedo
make Pablo Carpio’s works so fascinat- You might know Rex due to his fabu- to the industry by publishing some of his
ing. He has successfully collaborated lous work for Disney, MTV or the BBC, or personal tutorials. Pablo Carpio
with companies such as West Studio, thanks to his numerous projects he was
Ubisoft Montreal, MPC and Wizards of part of together with the supercreative Stijn Windig Ralph Palmer
the Coast. At the moment he also works Media Molecule video game develop- His works show an incredible versatili-
as an instructor at CG Master Academy. ment studio. Not to mention, his BAFTA ty which is only to be expected from an Rex Crowle
Awards for Breakthrough Brit together artist with such a vast experience: over
Ralph Palmer with the Littlebigplanet and Tearaway 15  years working in the industry. Enthu- Sava Zivkovic
The Care Bears Movie, The Land Before projects. Point is: if you don’t know Rex siastic CG artist with roots in traditional
Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven... some of Crowle’s work, you definitely should! media, Stijn Windig’s visuals are both Stijn Windig
Ralph Palmer’s most notable and loved mesmerizing and thought provoking.
projects he completed before a lot of Sava Zivkovic While his works range from traditional STUDIO AKA
people currently shaping the indus- Sava Zivkovic is a designer and 3D artist filmmaking to 3D animation and even
try were even born. Add to them The based in Belgrade, Serbia. Born in 1989, 360 VR paintings and Augmented Reali- The Line Animation Studio
Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, he graduated from the Belgrade Univer- ty, he is best know for his animated shorts
Tarzan and the Harry Potter franchise and sity of Arts in the department of Interior like Robots, Tinny Tom and the Magic Box, Wouter Tulp
you can understand just how much of a and Furniture design in 2012. Having A Monkey’s Heart and Jacob’s Lament.

16 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 17

Anthony Christov Philip Hunt | STUDIO AKA

Jort van Welbergen Wouter Tulp

STUDIO AKA ry. Among their most spectacular works

A multi-BAFTA winning, Emmy awarded are Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit Ex-
& Oscar-nominated independent cre- perience, Everything I Can See From Here
ative animation production studio. They short film, Amaro and Walden’s Joyride
are known internationally for their idio- music video and the CICLOPE’s festival
syncratic and innovative work, expressed opening titles.
across an eclectic range of projects for
clients like Lloyds TSB, BMW, Toyota Wouter Tulp
and Johnnie Walker. STUDIO AKA also Another one of the Art Department
produces amazing short films, like the co-curators, Wouter Tulp is a true sto-
BAFTA winning Hey Duggee! and Lost ryteller with each of his drawings, char-
and Found. The close knit team of STU- acter designs or illustrations. His highly
DIO AKA is known to create and consult developed narrative based drawing skills
on projects with a strong emphasis on are what helped Wouter become one of
story, design and character. the top Dutch designers having works
featured in magazines, children books,
The Line Animation Studio commercials and animations. He believes
London based animation studio The Line that every element in the drawing should
was founded by artists and film makers be supporting the story and applies the
who believe that every creative project same principles for character design. He
starts with a good idea. They work on dif- has worked for clients like: HP/De Tijd, Al-
ferent kinds of projects, from small inde- bert Heijn and Algemeen Dagblad.
pendent jobs to large commercials, and
everything else in between but sharing
one common feature: an exceptional sto-

18 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 19



09:45 Doors open | badge pickup 09:45 Doors open 09:30–13:30 W
10:25–10:35 Opening Titles 2017 & 10:00–12:30 PABLO CARPIO 10:25–10:30 O
 pening Titles 2017 & CHARACTER DESIGN
Welcome 10:40–11:25 CHRIS ROSEWARNE 2D Workshop Welcome ESSENTIALS
10:30–10:50 Opening Titles 2017 by 10:35–18:15 DANAR WORYA
11:25–12:15 GUERRILLA GAMES 11:25–12:15 RALPH PALMER 10:50–11:35 To be announced

12:15–13:15 lunch break 12:25–13:15 MEDIAMACHINE - 12:15–13:25 lunch break 12:25–13:15 SHOW IT
13:15–13:20 Opening Titles 2017 & MAXON CINEMA 4D New Talents Slide Show
Welcome back 13:25–13:30 Opening Titles 2017 & 13:30–14:15 MEDIAMACHINE -
13:20–13:50 MARTIN REZARD 13:30–14:15 PABLO CARPIO Welcome back MAXON CINEMA 4D
13:50–14:35 REX CROWLE 14:15–15:00 MEDIAMACHINE - 13:30–14:15 MIKE AZEVEDO To be announced
14:35–15:15 JAN URSCHEL MAXON CINEMA 4D 14:15–15:00 KEVIN DART 14:15–15:00 MEDIAMACHINE -
15:15–15:45 drink break (TRIXTER) 15:00–15:30 drink break LEON TUKKER
15:30–16:20 break
15:45–16:30 JESSE VAN DIJK 15:30–16:30 THE LINE ANIMATION 15:30–16:15 AXIS ANIMATION
16:30–17:15 LOISH 16:20–17:15 LEVEL UP! SESSION 16:30–17:20 PIXAR BRAM SELS


09:45–18:15 TALENTS EXPOSED 09:45–18:15 BEST OF KLIK 09:45–18:15 GOOGLE 09:45–18:15 TALENTS EXPOSED 09:45–18:15 BEST OF KLIK 09:45–18:15 GOOGLE SPOTLIGHTS
09:45–18:00 TILTBRUSH 09:45–18:00 TILTBRUSH


12:15–13:30 Portfolio Session 1 10:00–18:00 MARTIN REZARD 12:15–13:30 Portfolio Session 1 10:00–18:00 MARTIN REZARD 20:00–21:00 FIRESTARTER TALK
15:00–15:30 Portfolio Session 2 15:00–15:30 Portfolio Session 2 21:00–22:00 DRINKS & MUSIC
17:15–18:15 Portfolio Session 2 17:15–18:15 Portfolio Session 2

Tentative program, all rights reserved. Updates and definite schedule at

20 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 21


Strijp-S is the place to be for people who like small scaled initiatives, renewed concepts and challenging com-
EN 13
binations of fashion, food, (eco) design, re-used, vintage, interior and urban art. So if you have a spare minute, UK


wander around in this industrial historic area. 10



Halve Maanstraat 30 @ Playgrounds 2017 Ketelhuisplein 1 K 6 51
1 EU 15


It used to be a workplace for Philips Playgrounds has prepared a fine Simplicity tastes good. Ketelhuis B S KL



where radio and television compo- foodcourt for you because we doesn’t make pears out of apples, 2 GE

nents were created. Nowadays it know you love some good coffee, an orange is an orange and beef EEM


is home to the internationally re- fine beers and nice lunch as an ad- simply tastes like beef. They use EE 8 ANTO
nowned designer Piet Hein Eek. dition to our line up! fresh products and make delicious NALL TORE N GSTR
Eek produces between 15 and 30 food. And Ketelhuis buys their PLA EE RD

new designs each year as well as 6 VERSHAL HET VEEM products close to home. In winter, AN


running about 10 interior design Torenallee 86 they cook inside, in summer they N ES TORE TORE

projects. Besides his workshop, Vershal het Veem at Strijp-S is a love to cook outside. UK AA E
the building houses a restaurant, a food market that offers daily fresh RE
showroom, a shop that sells Eek’s food products. Passionate food 10 RADIO ROYAAL TR


designs as well as other products, entrepreneurs work together at Ketelhuisplein 10

an art gallery and an event hall Vershal het Veem. They are all The restaurant is housed in a fan-


where concerts and comedy nights food specialists who share their tastic historical building, the Ma-

are held that are open to the pub- love for food in an atmospher- chinekamer. They have successful-
lic. Definitely worth a visit! ic environment. Here you’ll find ly retained the industrial character E NR N JEL AA
good-quality bread, meat, chees- of the original building which ooz- D LAA

2 MU es, vegetables, fruit, wines, beer, es history as you walk through N N KAST

Torenallee 40 -06 coffee, fish and so much more! the door! Nonetheless, the atmo- L AA

MU is an adventurous guide to the Vershal het Veem is a place for sphere is pleasantly quiet, and the CE

suburbs of present and future con- food lovers that appreciate quality menu extensive. All in all, Radio

temporary art for a diverse audience. and cosiness. Royaal is the ideal location for a

MU is an open and dynamic space business lunch or dinner.
which allows hybrid talents to sprout. 7 PASTRY CLUB
Ketelhuisplein 7 11 INTELLIGENTIA ICE EG


3 YKSI Pastry Club is a unique concept Leidingstraat 43




Torenallee 22 -04 where a patisserie, a confiserie, Intelligentia Ice isn’t just an ordi- K


Furniture, interior design accesso- a tea salon, tastings and an ice nary ice cream parlour but a tast- LA





ries, bags, jewellery, art... Yksi can cream parlour are combined. Situ- ings bar. Gastronomic ice cream, A



call itself a fully fledged lifestyle ated in a beautiful industrial build- patisserie and extraordinary tea B

shop. Everything is about Dutch ing ’De Machinekmaer’ at Strijp-S. and coffee are specialities.



Design: the products get designed


and mostly produced in The Neth- 8 ONDER DE LEIDINGSTRAAT 12 CAFFEE ALLEE N


erlands. Yksi sells famous brands as Leidingstraat 45 Torenallee 22–02 KL

well as their own designs. A mini organic grocery store 13 POPEI MUSIC / FOOD FRE

where you can find organic prod- Klokgebouw 300

4 URBAN SHOPPER ucts or relax and have a bite. You 14 NATLAB


Torenallee 60 can order one of the fresh, healthy Film & Theatre, Kastanjelaan 500 STRI J PS ES



The Urban Shopper is a unique meals at Onder de Leidingstraat. 15 ENVERSED VR CENTRE

and exclusive shoppers’ paradise Breakfast, sandwiches, home- Torenallee 100-02 TRA
with over 20 extraordinary shops. made soups, organic wine, salads, UR G PS

It is situated at Strijp-S on the delicious juices, carrotcake, coffee, More info: S T

ground floor of the Anton build- you name it. Take away or to enjoy NH

ing, a former Philips factory. at Onder de Leidingstraat! EI


Jacob im


22 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition All rights reserverd – Eindhoven 365, Eindhoven 247 nhe 23



TALENT PROGRAM next step on to their creative paths. We
have confidence in their development
and will continue to report and encour-
film industry for the last ten years. An en-
gaged artist that combines and mixes
genres in a way to support her story. Her

PLAYGROUNDS NEXT age their future artistic manifestations.

Playgrounds Next for everyone

story and artistic vision are always lead-
ing. The jury believes Playgrounds Next
is a chance to shape and redefine her
We believe in sharing. Playgrounds Next personal artistic growth into the true sto-
A talent program for those who make in- sides the obvious freshly graduates, we stimulates new partnerships and collabo- ryteller she is.”
novative creative visual representations look for talents in diverse disciplines and rations and makes many of its workshops
and explore the boundaries of the mov- with varied backgrounds: film and image and masterclasses available to a broad Vera van Wolferen
ing image. makers who have earned their credits group of talents and professionals. Please Jury: “A remarkable Dutch talent that orig-
and are at a point in their career where look for all Playgrounds Next activities in inates in in the province of Brabant. She
Playgrounds Next is a new new tailored they are about to take and investigate our online agenda and join our talents! has a clear perspective on her unique and
program intended to discover and sup- new paths or directions. Playgrounds crafted animation style. The jury believes
port local talent through close collabora- Next supports individuals and collectives OUR 2016/2017 TALENTS the development of her plans guided by
tions with the industry, creative and edu- within the creative industries who strong- In 2016 a group of 35 talents were for- Playgrounds Next will strengthen her in-
cational fields. The program supports local ly yearn for the possibility to move on, warded by the national and regional in- novative ideas on storytelling and further
talents by using all means and individual broaden and deepen skills. dustry for the first Playgrounds Next pro- her experiments to reach new audiences.”
guidance and coaching. Led by the needs gram. The jury selected these 3 talents:
of the talent, resulting in tailor-made pro- An independent jury consisting of repre- The results of the tailor-made programs
grams with which we support and co-con- sentatives from the industry selects three Bram Knol will be shown in different events and
struct a track record for each of our talents. talents per year. A program, tailored to Jury: “An amazing talent, with interna- exhibitions throughout 2017 and 2018.
We want to boost the creative industry in the specific needs and wishes of each tional potential. A nearly self-supporting Partners of our 2016/2017 program are:
the region of Noord-Brabant by offering talent is set up. For at least one year, the and self-taught artist. He has an astonish- Submarine Channel, PostPanic, OneSize,
talents the resources, people and knowl- three talents commit themselves to their ing productivity output, creativity and will Klik Amsterdam, AKV|St. Joost, bkkc, So-
edge to kick-start their careers, initiate personal talent-program and work to- power. The jury thinks Playgrounds Next lar World Cinema and independent ani-
and produce new projects and create or gether with coaches, professionals and is going to catalyse his artistic focus and mation film maker Frodo Kuipers.
broaden their (inter)national network. advisors to nourish their need for knowl- give him many tools as an entrepreneur.” More information about Playgrounds
edge and skills in all kinds of fields and Next 2016/2017 and our new program
How it works levels. We believe that after this intense Jenny van den Broeke in 2017/2018
Talents for Playgrounds Next are forward- coaching period of one year, talents have Jury: “Together with her colleagues at Paulien Mandos: 06 413 99 006.
ed by national and regional industry. Be- acquired enough support to take the APVIS Studio she has shaped the Brabant

24 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 25

Jenny van den Broeke is one of the Vera van Wolferen has a background in
founders of APVIS, a studio focussed on fine arts and holds a master in animation.
finding innovative and cutting edge ways In 2013 she created the mesmerizing
of handling every type of story surround- stop motion How to Catch a Bird, which
ing us. When approaching new projects, was also her graduation project. She is
she looks for the core of an organiza- currently working as an independent

INTERVIEWS tion, an event, or the heart of the busi-

ness process from many different angles.
This is the starting point for developing
artist and freelance set designer and ani-
mator. This summer she released her first
solo exhibition through the Next project

WITH a short film, animation, commercial or

advertisement campaign. From this the
narrative emerges, and at APVIS they
“A Temporary Parking Place” in TAC Eind-
hoven. The exhibition shows a series of
sculptures made out of paper and wood.

THE NEXT TALENTS like combining different disciplines and

skills in order to portray the whole story.
The studio’s intriguing methods and aes-
Miniature camping vehicles drive through
a desolate white landscape. A three me-
tres high architectural object of stacked
thetics have sparked the interest of big houses on a cart is parked in the corner. A
In 2016 our festival proudly celebrated tion on his own. In 2014 Bram released clients such as Citroen, Heineken and projection shows the inside of a camper.
its 10th anniversary. To mark the event, his first music video for the song Stillness Mats. Apart from the commercial works, It’s a play of scale and shape and the clos-
we launched a new special program of the Woods by Guillaume Finta. The APVIS is also making important artistic er and longer you look at this escapist
-Playgrounds Next- meant to discov- animation got him nominated for Best contribution to the development of cre- parade of stargazers and glampers, the
er and nurture three young multidisci- Student Award by the Playgrounds Dig- ative VR projects. Lush, The New Body more details start to unfold. We can’t help
plinary talents from the Brabant region. ital Arts Festival. His works are intricate and Zonder Handen have been extreme- but wonder what story lies beneath sur-
A specialized jury picked the three win- and mesmerizing, which is why, at only ly well received by both the public and face of these poetic and stylized scenes.
ners: Bram Knol, Jenny van den Broek 23 years of age, Bram has already estab- the critics. For the Next program Jenny This is where the viewer is challenged to
and Vera van Wolferen. lished himself as an emerging talent, a developed the VR prototype Ver Binnen, engage, and find their own understand-
“one to watch”! a look into experiencing a psychosis. ing of this dreamt up world.
Bram Knol currently has his own studio
specialized in combining a large number
of different art-forms and techniques,
like animation, VFX, 2d art, 3D art and
directing in order to create captivating
visuals. His incredible creative journey
started when he was only 18, with his first
big project Despair. It was a 5 minute
view into a rich and unique fantasy world,
brought to life by the large number of BRAM KNOL JENNY VAN DEN BROEKE VERA VAN WOLFEREN
props, costumes and visual effects. At that “The guidance we get is great and the “My ultimate dream is to connect “It’s a slowly growing mind-set that
time he had no experience whatsoever coaches challenge you and expand people through the stories I tell and there’s a lot more to achieve than I
with movies and projects of this scale, your skills. As a bonus, you get access the work that I make.” first expected, that I shouldn’t limited
to the network of Playgrounds.” myself in my dreams.”
but he handled all aspects of pre-pro-
duction, production and post-produc-

26 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 27

As the Playgrounds Next program is cur- You have been selected as Playgrounds Vera: Playgrounds Next already helped
rently still running and Bram, Jenny and Next talent. Do you think it’s a helpful me in multiple ways. Nienke Huitenga
Vera are the first to give a try, we decid- program? coaches me. With her I can talk about
ed to ask them a couple of questions my work, and everything around it. After
in order to better understand how it all Bram: Yes I do. Playgrounds Next gives graduation you’re often figuring things
works. Below are their answers. me the chance to realize special projects out by yourself but having a mentor you
I would otherwise not be able to work can call with questions get feedback and
on. Not only by giving financial support, help from is really valuable. Playgrounds
but also by coaching me in the process Next also offers workshops about things
and letting me use their huge network of like time management and the possibili-
useful connections. ty to attend a ’summer school’ and they
gave me the opportunity to exhibit my
Jenny: Absolutely, it gives space to think work and speak at events.
about long-term goals, the possibilities
and help needed. In day-to-day madness, In Playgrounds Next we try to stimulate
it is very easy to lose the focus on these our talents to create new work. What are
bigger goals. There is always something you working on?
that has to be done immediately. And now,
the program helps me find time and con- Bram: I’m making plans and designs for a
centration to stand still and make plans. short film I will be shooting next year. For
me the challenges with this project are in
Vera: For me this is a year of trying new focusing more on the viewer experience
things and actively developing my work and less on the visual details, and in work-
and myself. Playgrounds Next helps me ing together with a bigger team (which
in different ways. There’s freedom to this project is definitely going to require).
create your own program and work on
your goals while being guided by a great Also I’m working on a music video in
team that supports you. which I will focus more on the design,
mood and visual richness of the images.
How do you feel the program has helped
you until this stage? Jenny: Together with Studio APVIS and
writer Karin Anema, I created the VR in-
Bram: When I’m doing commissioned stallation Ver Binnen (Far Inside). Now
work there usually isn’t enough budget I’m working on additional forms of ex-
and time to polish everything to perfec- ploring Ton’s life, the person which has
tion the way I would want to. My goal schizophrenia and on whose life I have
with Next is to take all the time I need based the installation. We’re exploring a
and make a special video I can use to documentary, a book and additional VR/
show my skills to potential new clients. AR installations.
Another thing is that I’m now experi-
menting with my role in projects. At this Vera: My main goal is to explore new
moment I usually do all the work myself, forms of storytelling. My work is mostly
from directing to visuals effects and prop handmade and I’m interested in com-
making. By working with a team I will be bining my analogue work with new tech-
able to tackle bigger projects and will nologies and ways of presentation. Also
probably be able to specialize myself I want to reach bigger and different au-
more on some fields. diences than I have so far. So I’m search-
ing for ways to achieve this. My project
Jenny: It gave me confidence and a big is constantly in development. I’m looking
impulse. Also it encouraged me to cre- for new forms of storytelling, looking for
ate VR-installation Ver Binnen (Far Inside) new ways and places to present my work
and now I am making plans about the so the outcome and direction are chang-
steps to take for developing it further. ing all the time. The first outcome of the

28 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Bram Knol Images: ©Jenny van den Broeke 29
Can you tell us about any bumps in the coaches really challenge you to try new
Next road? What do you find difficult in things and expand your skills. As a bo-
this program? nus, you get access to the big network
of Playgrounds.
Bram: It’s hard to turn down commercial
work, not because of money, but because Jenny: I would definitely recommend
you don’t want to lose the client. Because it. It is a big luxury to get the change
of this, freeing enough time to work on my to have space in your schedule to think
projects was a bit hard in the beginning. about bigger goals, get a work budget,
coaching and network. If you can form
Jenny: As a Next talent you are able to a sharp research question and have big
plan this creative journey at your terms, dreams, go for it!
which is a total luxury. The team of Next
is very supportive. There are some fixed Vera: I’m happy to be in this program,
program was a solo exhibition at TAC program components such as such as the team is very involved with the talents
Eindhoven. For this exhibition I made the occasional career analysis. But the and they are very positive, supportive
a series of paper sculptures. Together rest of the time, you make your own plans and generally nice people to work with.
the four sculptures form a landscape and schedules. This freedom can also be Also it’s inspiring to see what the other
through which whimsical campers drive. difficult as time runs fast and tends to two talents are working at. We see each
I’m interested in the idea of sequential slip through your fingers. Also, you are other every now and then on events and
sculptures. How can I use time in the always the one in charge. There is not re- it’s nice to hear their experiences with
same way that comic books do. In comics ally a team or a structure to lean on. Not a the program too.
every frame you read brings you ahead real problem for me, but sometimes you
in time. How can I let people read my must be really sharp! While working, oth- Playgrounds is all about dreaming big.
sculptures in this way? Now that I have er questions and challenges come along We are curious about your ultimate
made these static sculptures I feel like that can be distracting and take away the dream project.
animating them again so I’m meander- focus off the bigger goals.
ing between disciplines and searching Bram: My dream project would be to
for new forms. Vera: The start was a bit hard. Because work with a small but skilled team on
everything was possible, and we got the a super-cool short film or music video.
Can you describe some highlights in opportunity to create our own program, Both the visuals and viewer experience
your personal program? it was difficult to choose. It also starts need to be perfect and I would like to
with a thorough test of your creative take all the time needed to make them
Bram: For me the biggest highlights development which was really intense. I that way. It would be great to be able to
this far are the strength and weakness think because I got used to going ’with build some movie sets for it.
analysis at the beginning of the tal- the flow’ since graduation, and this was
ent program, the bkkc summer school a mirror. Not that I’m afraid of looking in Jenny: My ultimate dream is to connect
and coaching by Post Panic. All of them the mirror but if you haven’t done it for people through the stories I tell and the
helped me a lot in choosing where to put a while you have to get used to the re- work that I make. To create an under-
my focus and gave me good insight in flection again. But I think it helped me standing between people, so that they
opportunities I can take. Apart from that, a lot. Also because I realized that you dare to open themselves without preju-
it’s just really great to be able to work on shouldn’t change your reflection, you dice. To create work that really matters
my projects for this program. have to see it and accept it. See that fea- for us as society. To make a better world!
tures that maybe you don’t like so much I want to keep doing experiments, take
Jenny: The start of the coaching phase. are actually your special features. risks and make works for new platforms
using innovative techniques.
Vera: For me, the biggest highlight hasn’t Would you recommend this experience
been an event but its the effect the pro- to other fresh talents? Vera: It has always been a dream to cre-
gram has on me. It’s a slowly growing ate a game, because my work is all about
mind-set that there’s a lot more to achieve Bram: I’m really grateful for being one creating worlds, and I would love to let
than I first expected, that I shouldn’t limit- of the Next Talents. I would definitely people visit them. Also living abroad for
ed myself in my dreams. recommend this experience to others. a while is something I dream about, and
The guidance we get is great and the going to Japan.

30 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Vera van Wolferen 31


One of the things we like about Play- I’m in awe of the talent on display and en-
grounds, is that you get to hear artists joyed hearing about everyone’s ground-
from very different sectors talk passion- breaking work.
ately and present their works. Promo – Curt Enderle
makers, animators, sound designers,
game developers... Playgrounds really Playgrounds is a trailblazer! The works that
gives you, as an artist the feeling that other festivals push to the side not know-
everything is possible! We’ve been ing how to handle them here find center
coming here ever since we were stu- stage. Because going on the same beaten
dents and every year we come back paths as everybody else, is no option.
with a lot of enthusiasm and energy to – Justin van der Lek
create new stuff.
– Job, Joris & Marieke The thing about Playgrounds, for me, is
that it’s grown a lot throughout the years
Playgrounds is a pioneer and leading in but it’s such a consistent experience be-
the field of digital arts in the Netherlands. cause the spirit is still the same as a small
You guys are so important for talent and festival. It is very democratic... it allows
education in the Netherlands. everybody to interact equally. The names
– Ania Markam, Post Panic are getting bigger, the program is grow-
ing a lot but I feel the spirit of equality is
Playgrounds Festival does not feel like a still there. It’s something that I look for-
conference. It is the perfect combination ward to every year to come back to. It’s
of community, entertainment, education been the source of so many everlasting
and party. friendships and collaborations.
– Aaron Duffy – Fons Schiedon

32 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Image: ©Playgrounds 33

above others is that it’s very expedient,
and what it offers over traditional story-
boarding is the ability to actually set up
your cameras in 3D space. The entire
previz process only lasted two working
days, and the resulting animation fol-
lowed the original previz about 95%. This
not only provided a solid starting point
for animation, but it also set the founda-
tion for some of the color choices that
would later come to define the look and
feel of the whole piece.

Character Creation
Since this was a one-man project, the
main character had to be designed
"on-the-fly" as the project moved into
production. I’m not a concept artist by
any means, but I did have a clear vision
of what the character should look like:
A likeable, clunky, old and overused

MAIN TITLES FOR droid, embodying characteristics of

similar ideas like Wall-E and Johnny 5,
but with a sturdier, more industrial feel.

PLAYGROUNDS The character was designed in 3ds Max

with simple poly modeling techniques.
Few parts required sub-d modeling, as
I knew that the whole mesh would be
A deserted world, devoid of any human shape in the previsualization stage. The non-deformable. The quick poly mod-
inhabitants. It is occupied only by utility film follows our main character, a clunky eling had its own drawbacks, which I
droids trying to mimic the behavior of utility droid, simply following his daily encountered later in the unwrapping
their creators: A tale of friendship and programing within a deserted world. It is stage. Finally, the character was tex-
love, found in the most peculiar of places. a sad depiction of a futuristic landscape. tured in Quixel suite, bringing him to
These droids plod along aimlessly in sol- life with rich textures and showing us his
The Story itude until our hero finds companions age with wear and tear.
Earlier in 2017, right after the IFCC con- and a purpose for his journey. Along
ference, I was approached by the or- this journey, we are presented with the Assets Creation
ganizers for Playgrounds Festival. They speaker names in the form of various In addition to the main character, our
asked me to produce the titles for their highway signs and images. secondary hero asset was the car itself.
new venture, The Art Department. Know- Initially the plan was to use an old Re-
ing that I only had the limited timeframe Previz nault 4 , but I couldn’t find a model that
of a month to complete my tasks, I dove "Previz", or Previsualization: This is the had a decent interior, so I shifted gears
right into the concept for this piece. first stage. It all starts here. You put your with a great one I found on Turbosquid
rough ideas on "paper" to see what of a classic VW Beetle. This was also un-
My initial idea was to create something works, and what doesn’t. I don’t cre- wrapped for texturing in Quixel, requir-
"simple" and my first route of utilizing ate storyboards often (mainly because I ing the same attention to detail as the
abstract motion graphics for the intro don’t draw very well), but what I am pret- main character. Most of the other assets
proved to lead to a dead end. I was con- ty good at is rudimentary, quick 3D ani- such as highway environments, signs,
stantly influenced by narrative ideas and mation. Since the world is very similar to gas stations, and tollbooths were pretty
the drive to create something story-driv- our own, I used a lot of models (namely simple to make with standard modeling
en. The concept evolved from one of from 3D Warehouse) to quickly construct techniques. They were textured directly
my weekly warm-up renders, and quick- a variety of scenes for previz purposes. in 3ds Max with Octane’s mix materials,
ly took what would be close to its final The advantage this technique can have giving everything a worn look and feel.

34 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 35

In addition, I used a lot of stock models
from Evermotion to set-dress the scenes.

Typography is one of the aspects that
drove the concept for this piece in the
first place. I was always a fan of type that
seemed to inhabit the world itself: some-
thing about it always spoke to me on
some intangible level, and once I had the
first test render, I knew I wanted to incor-
porate this approach into the film. I spent
uncountable hours having fun incorpo-
rating the names of the artists in various
ways. This was definitely one of the high-
lights of the whole project for me.

Music and Sounddesign

This project marked my first time collab-
orating with Bristol-based Echoic Audio,
a studio I have admired over the years.
It was amazing to finally have the oppor-
tunity to co-create a project with them. I
had a very clear vision of the tone I want-
ed this project to encapsulate – however,
that being said, I think it’s very important
to let your composers bring your world
to life in the manner they see fit. If you
give too much direction at the start, you
risk tarnishing that first impulse the com-
poser gets when viewing your concept.
That may be just what your project needs,
which was definitely the case with Play-
grounds. Working with an experienced
studio like Echoic was extremely satisfy-
ing. They went above and beyond my ex-
pectations to deliver what I needed, and
I’ll look forward to future collaborations.

Special thanks to Leon van Rooij, Jort van

Welbergen, and the entire team at Play-
grounds, for providing me with the op-
portunity to work on this project.

I will be giving a lecture at Playgrounds

this October about the entire process
behind the title production, so if you’re
near Eindhoven, feel free to drop by.

Direction/Animation: Sava Zivkovic

Music/Sound Design: Echoic
Tools: 3ds Max, Octane Render, Quixel
Suite, Adobe Suite, RDT Textures

36 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Sava Zivkovic 37

38 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 39
Image: ©Sava Zivkovic
I remember perfectly that moment that
you mentioned at the introduction. I was
sitting on your left thinking “damn, this
guy works for Games Workshop, this stuff
really happens.” I was raised painting
Warhammer everyday since I was around
ten, it was my main hobby, so meeting
you was like a milestone for me in my
journey. You were the physical answer
to the question: can you really reach the
goal to work for this companies? Before
THU 2015 I was already working doing
small commissions for particulars, logos,
portraits… nothing solid or with future. I
was already applying to a lot of compa-
nies, sending mails to websites and try-
ing to contact people through Facebook
and other sites. The answer was always
“not good enough”, “not experienced
enough” or nothing directly. I was lost and
depressed, not seeing the way to get that
experience and how to improve my art.

#LETSTALKART After that event, I went back home and

took several decisions that would change

my habits, goals, and objectives. One of
them, the most important, was to under-
stand that I needed to improve in the
BY DIEGO GISBERT LLORENS hard way, by painting everyday 8 hours
at least. Sometimes we need to know our
Pablo and I met roughly a couple of years very carefully, with THU and Playgrounds western painters, so I took Mark Maggio- place and be honest with ourselves, and
ago, while waiting for yet another talk to Festival very close and moving to Bar- ri’s work as an inspiration for those epic realize that to build a house you first need
start during Trojan Horse was a Unicorn; celona for a full time contract position clouds that rule the composition. to have a solid terrain. The second thing I
he shyly asked me for a quick look at his in between. Suddenly, in the middle of did was investing my money in trips and
portfolio and asked, with a voice full of this madness, Spiro appeared saying As I mentioned in the introduction of events where I could meet people, and
dreams and hopes, if I thought he could “let’s make a full four-pages-long cover this article, not too long ago you were develop my skills talking and making con-
get a job in the industry with that work. in A4!”. And of course I said yes, because not even sure to make into the industry. tacts. Two months later, I got my first gig
As a reply, after the first few images, I it’s said that you only live once. Since the What was your breakthrough? When did for ImagineFX making some tutorials, and
told him: “you gotta be kidding me”. In beginning Spiridon had in mind the idea it happen? after that everything started flowing.
the last couple of years, Pablo has gone of representing how it looks to start a
a long, long way, creating tutorials and career as a freelance in this industry. He
covers for several magazines, landing had this vision of people facing the edge
some serious freelance commissions for of a cliff, some totally decided to jump to
top-notch studios and sharing part of his the unknown and others still hesitant and
knowledge teaching some students in scared about it. The main inspiration for
Madrid, where he currently resides. this piece, as you can imagine, is David
Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Sea of
Hello Pablo, and thanks for the wonder- Fog; this artwork always captivated me,
ful cover. What inspired you for this par- and I thought this was a good chance to
ticular piece? do some kind of tribute to it, since the
Thanks a lot! When Spiridon asked me mood and feeling that this piece trans-
to do it I just couldn’t say no. I was busy mits is very close to what one can feel
during those days wrapping up some when starting a journey like this. On the
works and planning the following weeks other hand, I’m a big fan of American

40 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition #LetsTalkArt 41

You seem to have an eye for simple but certs around Spain. However, leaving
majestic compositions; where do you the band to focus on art was one of the
draw your inspiration from? decisions that I took two years ago to be
I always thought that composition is the where I am right now. Music was my oth-
most important thing on a painting. If you er passion since I was a teenager, and I
can’t make someone get stuck in your spent a lot of time on it and on my bands.
piece and make him or her travel through But one day I understood that my path
it, you have lost. I spent five years study- was going in the direction of painting,
ing Fine Arts and one of my favorite sub- not playing music for a living, so I had to
jects was Art History. I learned and read a leave it as a small hobby. I still play alone
lot about how to analyze paintings, sculp- at home and sometimes with friends,
tures and architecture, and that made but not anymore in a serious way. Before
me understand how pieces work, their 2015 I was rehearsing around four days a
context, their story… it’s always important week, at night, even out of my city, taking
to have a big amount of sources to find the car every night for a couple of hours
inspiration, and if they are classic artists, to play… that had to stop at some point;
even better. It’s hard to build a good eye it was time I was not painting!
for composition or for ideas just by play-
ing a couple of viral video games and There is a bit of controversy with the is-
watching blockbuster movies. In movies, sue of using 3D and photobashing to
one of my main inspirations is Sergio Le- create original artwork, and especially of variations on a day that are impossible industry four years later. I have to admit
one. If I had to choose a painter, I would younger artists seem sometimes hesi- to do just painting. If you are doing pitch that I didn’t spend four years working
probably say Rembrandt or Velazquez. tant to use this in their pieces. What are work for the preproduction of a Holly- everyday, that’s something I only did by
your thoughts on the matter? wood blockbuster and you have to de- the beginning of 2015 (before I was fin-
Ah, don’t be shy now. I know you have I think that in a production pipeline for sign a keyframe in three hours, the direc- ishing my studies, playing with my band
a little music band. Tell us a bit about it. films or video games you basically need tor will want to see four or five iterations, and basically being a bit lost). Actually,
Actually I had it. I used to play in sev- it. Normally the producer or the director and understand all of them as something 2015 and half of 2016 was a transition
eral bands for around ten years, from don’t know anything about painting, and that could be shown on a screen. A very time for me. It was a year and a half that
Indie Rock to Metalcore. My last band if you don’t deliver a product that is 100% different thing is to base your knowledge I spent basically working at home on my
(the Metalcore one) was actually starting photorealistic they will not understand about art on photobashing and 3D. You own portfolio. In the meantime I had
to take off in a really professional way what you are trying to show. Even for the need to learn drawing, perspective and some gigs from books and magazines,
during the last three years. We record- first sketches, normally they will ask you color to make your work stand out and but nothing from film or video games
ed an album and started giving con- to reach a level of detail and a number have a meaning. As I said previously, it is companies. So I set myself the goal of
important to have a base of knowledge posting at least one piece per week, and
in different fields to make your skills be productive as hell. So I painted, and
grow in the right direction. painted, and posted work online, and
painted, and talked to people… and
Despite the good quality of your work around the end of the summer last year,
and having some interesting contacts, I I got a mail from Ubisoft. I didn’t look out
think it took you a while to start getting for it, it just happened. I was not applying
regular commissions for good projects. It at websites anymore. A month later, MPC
probably felt like an eternity to you, even called me, and then another company,
though it was not too long ago. A word of and another… and all started growing
advice for those who are probably going super fast. I just can say that everything
through a similar period? is exponential if you work to make things
Keep calm and keep working. Sounds happen. If your position is not that lucky
cheesy but it's everything you have to and you have to pay the rent, taxes, have
do. I had the luck to have supportive par- kids to take care of, etc. just analyze your
ents that gave me a place to live while I situation, try to avoid loosing time in stuff
was starting my career, and that’s some- that steals energy from you and take ad-
thing I don’t take for granted. I bought vantage of every second to improve and
my first Wacom Tablet at the end of keep evolving in your journey. It will take
2011, and got my first “real” job in the more time, but it will happen.

42 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Pablo Carpio 43

It’s super frustrating to be here talking
without being able to telling you about
what I’m really doing right now! Sadly,
every project I started will not be re-
leased at least until the end of 2018, so
I can’t tell you anything. In fact, I even
have an NDA that doesn’t let me talk
about the name of one of the companies
I’m working for! The only thing I can say
is that I cannot be happier and more ex-
cited for the next months to come, there
are some cool projects waiting for me.
Now that I have work as a freelancer in a
regular way I almost don’t have time for
personal projects, but it is true that I’m
still focusing my portfolio in finding a job view that, at least in my country, working What about traditional media? Do you
inhouse in some of the studios. So I’m al- for films would be considered “cooler”, use them at all? Do you think they still
ways trying to find time and do personal since a bigger part of the population is have a place in nowadays industry work-
paintings to drop them on social media more attached to this product. If I tell my flow?
and keep my contacts active. I’m also mother that I’m working for something I had the chance to try a lot of differ-
starting to work as a teacher for CGMA like Assassin’s Creed, she would proba- ent techniques while I was at university:
with students around the world, and it is bly not care too much, but if I tell her that charcoal, oil, acrylics, lithography, seri-
really exciting and challenging to teach I’m working on a Tom Cruise movie…oh graph printing and also sculpting tech-
and learn from them at the same time. boy, now we would be talking! niques like clay, marble and wood. I re-
Hopefully in the next years I’ll keep do- ally encourage people to try as much as
ing this and giving more talks, since I re- What do you think about VR and AR they can, because only in that way will
ally enjoy motivating people and help- technology applied to films and games? they discover what they really like to do.
ing beginners to find a way to start their How do you think it will affect the way Sometimes I still try to spend time draw-
own careers. we experience movies and visual story- ing to not get too rusty, but I don’t have
telling in general? as much time for it as I'd like to. In my
What are your professional expectations Game industry or film industry, for you? I can’t wait to see how these technolo- opinion, any tool is great for a produc-
for the future? Freelance life, or perhaps Why? gies really break into the entertainment tion pipeline if you deliver your work on
a good studio? Art direction, maybe? I like both, honestly. I grew up playing industry. Right now we are still discov- time and it has the required level.
I had the chance to visit Riot in LA and games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Tek- ering their potential and I’m sure that
their projects and the facility just made
me loose my mind. Naughty Dog, Bio-
ken… video games have been always by
my side in my life, but also films like Ju-
soon it will be the standard. However,
big changes are always difficult to intro- TO BUILD A HOUSE YOU FIRST
ware, MPC, Disney… there are lots of rassic Park, Star Wars or Toy Story (that’s duce into people’s lifes, since there are a
cool places I would like to have the my top 3!). From the tiny experience that lot of clients that want to keep the feeling NEED TO HAVE A SOLID TERRAIN
chance to work at in the future. It is true I have, I would say that there are some of a controller in front of a screen, or the
that working as a freelancer gives you a differences in the production pipelines smell and taste of popcorn while lying A common concern of freelancers is the
lot of freedom (sometimes) and lets you between film and video games. For me, on a sofa. Those are things that we will sudden dry spell, when works aren't
organize your life in your own way (some- working for a company like MPC as a never change, and as part of this indus- coming for no apparent reason. Have
times), but being part of a “family” inside freelancer made me work in some big try we need to find the balance between you experienced that? How did you deal
of a studio, with different people fighting different projects in a short period of the people that want to feel a super in- with it? What made you keep going?
to make a product be a reality must be time, bouncing from one film to another volving experience and those who only I already hinted that one of the biggest
a very constructive experience. I would in weeks. That’s really cool because you want to relax and enjoy a game or a film. reasons why I am where I am today is
also like to try art direction one day, but have the chance to collaborate in lots Talking about production, I think these thanks to the support of my family. And
that’s still something I want to keep for a of movies, but then, at the same time it are incredible tools. It’s not the same to I’m talking also about economical sup-
distant future. doesn’t let you “enjoy” the process that design a spaceship in 3D and rotate it port. I never had to worry about renting
much. For video games, normally you are on a screen than being able to go inside a place to live or about getting a job to
Since most of your recent work is still un- attached to a long term project, an that and see how it really looks from a natural save some money for those “dry times”.
der NDA, tell us a bit about your person- allows you to take part on it in a bigger point of view. This expands the limits in a Everything I had to do is paint and take
al projects. scale. I would say from a social point of way that we didn’t have before! advantage of all the time I had left to

44 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 45

do it. However, it doesn’t matter if you It happened in 2015 and really affected You are Spanish. Furthermore, you are forward to learn some rendering tools
are rich or poor, if you are an artist and me. After that I had some small ones, but from Madrid, and proudly so. Since like Octane. I really need to level up!
you are not getting jobs or recognition I was already aware of it and knew how many studios are located in the US, how
for what you do, you automatically feel to fight it. Best way is not to force it. If you does the possibility of moving there for What about your lessons? How do you
disappointed with yourself because that can’t paint, don’t paint. It’s as simple as potentially several years sound to you? like teaching?
means that you are not good enough. The that; play a game, sleep, exercise a lot. I really feel attracted for the North Ameri- When the CGMA guys contacted me to
good part is that this statement is usually Run, go to the gym, play football, whatev- can culture, and I would really like to move give a masterclass for eight weeks I felt
wrong; there are a lot of reasons why you er; do something that makes your mind there for some years. However, getting super overwhelmed, but with the weeks
are not getting jobs that are not related to work in different ways and relax. Also, a visa is probably the most difficult part passing I found myself learning a lot just
your skills: maybe the companies are not don’t rely on motivation when it’s about on the process of being selected to join by putting in order all the knowledge I’ve
looking to hire more people, projects are working. Try to make the act of creating a company, so there is a moment when gained through the years, and telling it
wrapping up, maybe they can’t afford to and painting a routine, not something your future is not based on your portfolio to other people. I was also very hesitant
give you a visa to move to their country, you only do when you are in the right anymore but on external political issues. I about giving feedback to other peo-
etc. I had a moment like that during a big mood because it’s your passion. If you must admit that Spanish companies have ple, since it’s something I’ve never felt
part of 2016, and the only thing I could really want to dedicate your life to it, you to improve a lot of things to keep their to be able to do in a right or complete
do was keep painting. If you can’t work will need to understand that sometimes artists and their projects growing. US is a way. Now I’m more prepared and I think
for a company, work for yourself! start a things will not turn out as you planned, challenge, the biggest projects and the that is something that I will do more and
personal project, Sharpen your portfolio, and you have to be ready for that. best people are working there, so for a more in time, since after being in touch
make new paintings… maybe do a fan art 25 year old going there is a hell of an ad- with other artists that want to improve in
of an IP of the company you want to work What would be your dream project, if venture. However, I also know that in Los such a passionate way you end up gain-
for…all that stuff helps you to reach your you could choose? Angeles I will never find the quality of life ing more than what you give to them.
objetcives in the end. Most of the time it My dream job is not a secret; I want to that I have in my hometown, so I will go
is not about thinking “how to go through see my name in blue letters over a star- there, but I’ll also be back some day. Finally, will you be attending any art
bad times” but “how to be ready to make field. Star Wars is for me an IP I’ve always events or festivals in the next months?
the good times happen”. In the end ev- wanted to be part of, so working for a Also, you do travel a lot. How do you More importantly, will you come over to
erything is about being in the good place studio like ILM would be an amazing ex- keep up with work with all this coming Berlin so I can have a beer with you?
in the good moment. perience for me. It’s something I really and going? Yes and yes! I will be attending the next
want to experience since I was a kid. Last This year I haven’t been more than three NonStop in Barcelona, like every year
And of course, there’s the dreaded Art February I visited Lucasfilm in San Fran- weeks in a row at my house! I went to since it started, also THU and IFCC, and
Block. Have you encountered that mon- cisco and being there has been one of the US, Dominican Republic, Germany I would really want to try IWL and Prom-
ster in your adventurous journeys? the most magical moments of my profes- (twice), Croatia… so I just bought a laptop ised Land. These events are just the best
I remember an artblock that got me stuck sional life, for what their films meant to and brought it everywhere with me. I use weeks of the year. And yes! We need to
without working for almost two months. me as a child and still do. to visit my family a lot in my hometown in have those beers as son as possible.
Andalucia, so I prefer to work from there
and stay a couple of weeks rather than go
5 days and do nothing during those days.
It has been one of the best choices I’ve
made, since in the near future I will try to
get a full contract job that will not let me
me travel anymore.

How often do you sit down to test and

get familiar with new software? Which DIEGO GISBERT LLORENS
one is your weapon of choice? Studied Illustration/Fine Arts, works in
I don’t do that almost at all, and I feel fantasy illustration and concept art. His
super-bad because of it! I really need to clients include, GamesWorkshop, Paizo,
watch more tutorials, try software, and Fantasy Flight Games, Sega, Volta,
Konami, Alderac, and CD Projekt Red.
understand the process of others. I think
it really makes you grow as an artist and
as a professional, so this is definitely in
my list of things to do for the next year. Find more content like this
Normally I use programs like Zbrush, Cin- under #LetsTalkArt
ema4D and Photoshop. Now I’m looking

46 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 47

The plane lands, I meet my friend,
we have a wonderful drive to the lo-
cation along the valley of the Rhine
and we finally reach the place. The
courtyard was buzzing with a small
yet animated group of nerds awk-
wardly shaking hands, trembling
voices and big eyes. It immediately
felt like my favorite kind of crowd;
you could feel the passion oozing
through their pores like an expen-
sive perfume, completely engulf-
ing the surroundings.

Then the sketchbooks started

to appear. I distinctively remem-
ber sitting on a bench next to the
hearth with a frozen dumb smile on
my face, just listening to the hum
of pencil vs. paper all around me.
It took me back to the high-school
years, where we would spend late
nights in the ateliers with nothing


but this hum and the occasional
flick of a lighter. There were sev-
eral conversation threads about
BY CRISTIAN "SICKBRUSH" CHIHAIA work, clients, the industry, which-
"You have been invited to Spiridon Sure, he seemed nice and we got going and he was quite excited piece, jobs, new talent, and so
Giannakis’ event, the Weekend along but travelling all the way to about it, so i thought, "Hey, if it many more. If you draw, then you
of Love" That’s how it all began. I Germany to hang out with him? goes south I can just hang out with must know this is the world’s most
knew this guy Spiridon, we’d been To a remote location? For a thing my friend who I’ve known for years pleasant music. The low-pitched
talking on and off around Face- called "TheWeekend of Love"? and never met in person!" So the melody of pencils against paper
book for some time. Luckily a close friend of mine was decision was made. mixed with nearly silent conversa-
tion about art.
I scheduled and cancelled 3 or 4
times, still unsure if it was the right It was at this point I realized what
moment, if I should leave my work Spiridon meant when he de-
behind, if it was going to turn out scribed the event. This was no
ok and so on. Finally, as the event official workshop, there was no
grew nearer, a group chat was agenda, no lectures or demos,
formed and the people were sur- just a group of people from var-
prisingly warm and really excited ious countries, all driven by the
about this event so I just went all same passion. And it felt just right.
in. Fast forward a few weeks, I was
in an airplane and by this time I Larger scale workshops are amaz-
had been completely bitten by joy ing experiences. Each day you
and curiosity. I was drawing on the learn things or you meet new
flight and sipping on red wine (yes, people or touch bases, you get
you know which one, don’t act righ- smashed during the night and
teous) and I felt a surge of positive have drawn-out speech-impaired
energy, thinking, "I have a feeling conversations on the quintes-
this is going to be amazing.” sence of creativity or the futility of

48 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 49

our struggles against the vastness door before they walk in. Wheth- the end. I saw some people like
of art’s universe. Each day of a ma- er you’re a high-school student, this in both years and there’s no
jor workshop feels as if you wake a new prospect in the industry, a better feeling than seeing them
up in the morning and someone is veteran illustrator, an art director leave, fully energized and ready
waiting by your bedside with a set or anything else, it really doesn’t for another year. Or seeing them
of paddles charged up to 500W matter. Everyone there is equal. If again a year later as completely
yelling "CLEAR" before shocking you decide to join a Weekend of renewed people. Sometimes all it
you into hyperdrive for the day. I Love, worry not - you will get the takes is a weekend surrounded by
love workshops, they brought me opportunity to talk to everyone people who share your love and
a joy I never knew I missed until I there. There is no competition and your struggles, drinking beer by
experienced it. no hardship, the entire group is a the fire, singing and boosting each
others’ spirits.

This is what the Weekend of Love

will give you. The world’s most
simplistic event yet closest to your
heart if all you need is a tempo-
rary escape. Long nights by the
fire, rivers of beer, millions of lines
and a kick to your gut. It’s a time
capsule which teleports you back
to when you started drawing and
reminds you Exactly why you did.
WoL is a place outside of norms
and boundaries, it’s where you
go to meet your people, the ones
that truly get you.

This is why we go and this is why I’ll

be there each time.

I hope to see you friend,


The Weekend of Love managed mix of nerds, freaks and oddities

to do something unprecedented all enamored with the same thing.
for me, it broke any kind of bar- That’s the feeling that rubs onto
rier between the people. There’s you and never leaves you after-
only one place to eat, pretty much wards –the love for art and its in-
one place to hang out and one finite paths.
single house which everyone has
rooms in. And it’s in the middle of It feels wonderful to see that one
nowhere! Everyone is in the same person each year, the one that
place at the same time and the needs this weekend the most. You Cristian Chihaia (aka Sickbrush)
groups are usually small enough can feel it in their posture when is in the industry for 10 years.
to be manageable. they arrive, in the weight of their His work is usually defined by an
walk or the gravity of their tone. unconventional style and range.
Here’s my favorite thing about You know they’re drowning and He works at Ubisoft, where he is
doing art direction for AAA titles.
WoL - it feels as if everyone leaves they need a lifeline, just a glim-
their badge and uniform at the mer of hope that it’s all worth it in

50 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Brian Deakin ©Jaclin Natalia Kareta ©Spiridon Giannakis 51
Literally plot, artistic vision and
technique directly resulted from
working with what was available in
my student room: a great deal of
paper and cartboard , a window,
some books and a deep sense of
feeling stuck hoping to jump into
a new adventure. One Setting, one
character and no dialogues felt a
good limitation to start from.

What came out in the end was an

animated story of a little bookmark,
stuck in it’s own forgotten book and
its adventurous journey into a new
life chapter. In hindsight it was the
very principle of not going over-
board too much with settings and
designs that allowed us (I could
persuade my friends and current
business partner Simon to join the
project at some point) to eventually

LECTURE BY LIP COMARELLA succeed over the timeframe of two

years of basement retreat.

HAPPY INSIDE THE BOX The short Much Better Now reso-
nated well with the audience, was
a Vimeo Staff Pick, won a few film
Who is familiar with the situation er under a limiting guideline but Cornered by those feelings I made festivals around the world and end-
where after many days of client perform so poorly the moment I the decision to make a drastic ed up being scr eened also at TED
work you finally seem to have would be let loose to create some- change. I had a lively interest for Long beach 2013 conference be-
spare time available, a good mo- thing on my own? animation and simple narrative so tween talks. If you want to see the
tivation and no art director hold- despite no practical experience on full short and its behind the scenes,
ing his metaphorical dagger on Through a few of my projects and the subject or real artistic skills at you can find it under Muchbetter-
your throat. You’re free, ready to experiments I want to briefly offer that time, I decided I would write While with its unorthodox
finally do some personal stuff, you my takeaways and experience and produce an animated short. structure i can see so many flaws,
whatever you want, something on how metaphorical boxes of It seemed the only way to test my now after all those years I feel it still
outstanding, really outside the various sizes helped my creative patience and determination in a The endless struggle iterating to finding the right character ended the holds its own because of its sim-
box – so you think. evolution – limitations less as ob- hope for a kickstart on the path moment I embrace the limitations of an actual folded paper bookmark. plicity and heartfelt narrative.
stacles but rather as a true safety towards a career in the animation
In those situations I inexplicably net and catalyzer. industry.
got stuck, every time. It can be
described almost like drowning 2011 The Epiphany: Work with what Short after a quick research and
in the unlimited possibilities and you have, stick to what you know being stunned by the myriad of
cornered by the pressure to final- Back in 2011 towards the end of possibilities or complex variables
ly come up with something great, an unexciting advertising educa- of doing an animated film, the
like we think should be capable of tion pursued with little ambition or idea of drastically limiting my-
passion, I felt stuck and uneasy to self dawned on me. Back then it
For the longest time, in particular the idea that in a short while after seemed like the ultimate limitation
during my education it felt like that my graduation I would need go being equipped just with an idea
I couldn’t achieve anything off my out and make a living with what- eager to build around a basic story
own personal voice. How was it ever those years had apparently a box of simple technical and artis-
possible I could somehow deliv- taught me. tic possibilities.

52 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition | Title image: ©Juraj Vuglač | IFCC, Images: ©Lip Comarella. 53
Start with a price
Once I read in an article about Ikea
designers being communicated the
very final retail price tag when de-
signing a new IKEA product. They
would literally get the briefing con-
taining a set price to start with. Ev-
ery decision of material and shape
complexity needs to realistically fit
into that budget limitation. While
almost an obvious principle of rent-
ability I found myself and many
other of my colleagues never truly rambling on for too long here, and and put thought into the artistic ar- Lip Comarella is a award winning
embracing this principle as a great this may be common knowledge, eas I want to explore and get better visual development artist and an-
tool for stylistic and technical exper- but this what I do: I get my box as at. From there it is then easy to po- imation director currently working
imentation. A good way to reduce narrow as it gets to start off, reduc- tentially evolve it into a very big and as an animation director at Passion
or limit certain things and accentu- ing the subject matter almost to a ambitions project. When it comes to Animation Studios, London. Since
ate others without draining yourself single object, i.e. a tree. I look for motivation and efficiency in practice 2011 he has run the animation unit
and overinvest every single time. opportunities within the subject to for me it is vital to focus on what in Salon Alpin.
experiment design, color, compo- particular this exploration and anal-
This is how the animated commer- sition or narrative. With every itera- ysis is going to be about. Because I
cial Falter Inferno came into exis- tion and growing confidence I also am a simple creature, I find it much
tence. With this line of thoughts try to look for ways to stretch my more exciting and rewarding to fo-
we approached the Falter Inferno initial concept a manageable little cus on just one single aspect such
project. Given the modest bud- bit. This way i have something basic as color handling, stylization, shad-
get we were forced to look for to just get going and I can practice ing, narrative or anatomy at a time.
an animation and style direction
that could be simple and reduced
enough to be viable, yet in same
time interesting and engaging to
make the whole thing stand out.
We decided to cut as much as
possible the expansive 2d anima-
tion and opted for a succession
of 12 frame loops welded togeth-
er with simple vertical transitions.
No color pass allowed us to push
clear, universally understandable
compositions, bold vision reduced
to the very naked bone of its mes-
sage. This made us to stay with-
in budget, enjoy some problem
solving and have a product that
eventually got as 4 golden Lions at
Cannes Creative Festival in 2016.

Personal projects
Coming back to my starting point,
there is nothing more stressful than
having all the creative freedom of
the world, especially in personal
work where the own quality expec-
tation is set the highest. So without

54 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Excerpt from the lectures at Artillery and IFCC. #LetsTalkArt 55
If you visit Berlin you can be sure to encounter artists. A lot

of them. And as soon as you realize how many there are,

you ask yourself if there is some sort of community or a

place where they gather. One of these communities are the

people of Drink & Draw Berlin, who made it their goal to

simply have fun, make art and to connect Berlin’s artists in

the old fashioned way: in person.


56 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Image: ©Natalia-Jaclin Kareta | Interview by Spiridon Giannakis 57
Welcome, Drink and Draw Berlin. Please, When and how did Drink and Draw Ber-
introduce yourselves! lin get started?
Julian: We’re actually just a bunch of Bajar: It started about five years ago. Ju-
art-crazy buddies who love to bring lian and I used to visit different drawing
people together that share our passion. classes every now and then, but we were
We are all very close friends, that have never left feeling completely satisfied.
known each other for several years now. The lighting was terrible, and the drinks
Bajar and I met in Berlin, where we stud- too expensive for students like us. So we
ied Game Design together. He and Han- started to meet up at Julian’s flat, and in-
na were playing in a rock band. Helen vited our friends to drink and draw with
joined in as soon as we met her at one us. Whoever wanted to could dress up
of our Drink and Draw parties. And then and go on stage (aka Julian’s bed), to
there are our brothers, Bileg and Ra- pose for the others. We had such a good
phael, who have supported our projects time. Eventually, more and more people
from the start. wanted to join in, and soon, the 20  m2
room in a shared apartment was far too
small. That was when a greater idea was
born. We thought: "Let’s do it big!"

And you found a bigger location for your

Bajar: Fortunately, we did! A friend of Ju-
lian’s had once worked for a glass manu-
facterer in Berlin, and connected us with
her boss, Ralph Anderl, who was interest-
ed in all sorts of art. We met up, and he
was enthusiastic about our idea from the
very start. Of course, we had high hopes
of what might come out of the meet-
ing, but we could have never imagined
what happend next; without a second
thought, he handed us the keys to his of-
fice. It was a modern, extraordinary loft
in the heart of Berlin. Our task was not
only to hold classes in the building, but
also to throw huge art parties – and that’s
what we’ve done and still do every oth-
er month. We had a few wonderful years
at IC Berlin, and we are still very grateful
for all the initial support they provided
What does Drink and Draw Berlin stand us with. But, when the company moved
for, and can you amplify your concept? to another building, we knew it was time
Julian: Drink and Draw Berlin is an in- for us to leave our nest and find our own
dependant art collective based in Ge- little place.
many’s capital city, consisting of almost
a dozen creative minds of all kinds. Where are you based now?
Though we are primarily focused on Hanna: We are currently based in the
drawing classes, D+D also hosts art par- Alte Münze Berlin, a former coin factory
ties, workshops, as well as creating in- of East-Berlin within a charming histori-
stallations for festivals and club events. cal building near Alexanderplatz. It’s a
Nevertheless, we try to provide a base place for many different artists and cre-
for artists to connect and communicate ative people, such as the organizers of
in a casual, inspiring atmosphere. the Feel Festival, who basically got us the

58 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images right: ©Peter Söderbaum 59

space. Here, we regulary organize draw- their drawing skills, but also create op-
ing classes. Tuesdays are focused on portunities to be part of the Berlin art
portraits, while Thursdays are dedicated community and connect with people you
to figure drawing. wouldn’t ordinarily meet in every day life.
Have a drink, be creative, enjoy the chill
What does one of your usual drawing underground flair, and discuss the arts.
classes look like? One of our special features is a little con-
Helen: Our regular portrait and figure test at the end of every session; after two
drawing sessions are open for every- hours of drawing, anyone who wants to
body to attend, and there is no registra- participate can lay one of their drawings
tion. Participants can either use the ma- down on the stage for the others to vote
terial we provide, or bring their own to on. The three artists with the most votes
the class. We always have a profession- win modest prizes, like free entry to one
al model standing on the stage, usually of our classes.
striking poses from 3–60 minutes, and
there are one or more instructors pres- Who is generally attending your draw-
ent guiding you that will give you advice ing classes?
and feedback when asked for it. We want Bajar: Our audience is totally mixed. It
to give everyone the chance to improve doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, stu-
dent, master. Even if you have never
drawn a single stroke, you are more than
welcome to make your very first steps
here, with us.

You mentioned your collective working at

clubs and festivals – what is that about?
Hanna: There is a small German festival
called Artlake Festival, which we actual-
ly wanted to attend as guests – until we
had the idea of actually joining it as a
working art collective. We really enjoyed
this kind of work, so we got the atten-
tion of potentially interested producers
of events and festivals, such as Melt!
Festival, Feel Festival, The House of Red
Doors, etc. What we do there never re-
sembles other projects, even though we
have our areas of expertise. At the urban
art gallery, The Haus, we created a black-
light-illustrated forest room, after get-
ting acquainted with UV-light painting at
last year’s festival.

Can you tell me more about the project

with The Haus?
Helen: The Haus, AKA Berlin Art Bang,
was this year’s biggest temporary street
art gallery in the world. Over 100 artists
had the chance to design every single
room, wall, floor and ceiling inside an
abandoned bank building within the
center of West-Berlin before it was de-
molished. I would say that composing

60 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Jaclin Natalia Kareta 61



four rooms for The Haus was probably So what are your plans for the future?
the biggest external project we’ve had so Do you have more goals waiting on your
far, and it was a great success. The whole bucket list?
team was super close, and we were all Julian: Our main goal is to keep on grow-
stunned by the reactions of the visitors. ing in complexity, and to cover as many
An unforgettable experience, that we will art sectors and disciplines as possible.
hopefully be able to repeat soon! We are hoping to become an art acad-
emy one day, but with a new concept,
I heard something about an event with which allows every student to prop-
Wacom, is there a cooperation going on? erly develop their skills. We feel there
Bajar: We’ve been working on several shouldn’t be so many boundaries in ar-
events for and with Wacom now; mostly tistic fields, and you should be able to
organizing digital art battles with many work collaboratively or experiment freely
amazing artists – sometimes combined with different techniques. Everyone has
with workshops by popular profession- the potential to be creative, and we want
als. Last time we were hosting an exclu- to build a space for people to explore
sive masterclass in four different cate- themselves, and their ability, through all
gories: Illustration, Concept Art, as well kinds of art.
as Comic and 2D Animation. We had
artist gems like Josan Gonzalez, Adrian
Wilkins, Goran Sudzuka, and Raman Dja-
fari. It was very exciting and we are look-
ing forward to more like this!


One of the essential features that make the art community

so interesting, that also keeps it together, is a very simple

one: you explore, you learn, then you share. Outside of his

position in the admissions office at the Art Institute of Cali-

fornia Inland Empire, Thomas Brillante is making an import-

ant contribution to this idea, using the contacts he has culti-

vated over more than nineteen years of experience.

For the last ten years, his free-to-attend workshops have

seen many outstanding artists share their knowledge with

an average of 100–200 guests per event, a mixture of stu-

INTERVIEW THOMAS BRILLANTE dents and industry professionals.

64 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Portrait by Natalia-Jaclin Kareta | Interview by Diego Gisbert Llorens 65
new media culture, learning as much as not a part of my “day job”, I do them out-
I could along the way. I had many great side of my normal admissions duties. It
mentors. One such mentor and good gets difficult at times, but I honestly love
friend was named Santosh Oommen. He to coordinate workshops, and I enjoy
inspired me to start doing workshops. He attending them too. I personally appre-
was the Academic Department Chair for ciate art and design and those willing
the Media Arts and Animation Program, to share their personal techniques and
and had a love for the industry that was experiences. I keep doing it for the core
contagious. We used to compete on group of regular attendees that I consid-
who could book the bigger workshop, in er friends. Their support truly humbles
terms of established talent. I remember me. I continue to do it for the students
he booked James Gurney. Not wanting sitting on the edge of their seats, hang-
to be outdone, I returned fire with an Ian ing on to every word and piece of advice
McCaig workshop. We did it because a professional is willing to give them.
we loved it. We were charged up and Yeah, I do it for them!
inspired when we’d host a workshop.
Eventually, Santosh separated from the
school, and I took over the workshops,
establishing it as a part of our culture in
the Inland Empire. I’m still friends with
Santosh, and he is still one of my biggest
supporters and friends. So, long story
short, I have always wanted to work in the
creative industry, and it is all the inspiring
people that I’ve met along the way that
make me want to keep plugging away.

The idea of free educational workshops,

especially at this level, seems fairly un-
common. Why did you choose to make
First things first. Thomas, how did you cial means to make it happen. So I quit them free when you could easily make
get into the art community and industry, pursuing art school, went to community money with them, or even create a festi-
and what made you stay? college, and joined the everyday work- val with paid tickets like so many others
This is kind of a long story. I’ve always force. I still drew and attempted to paint have in these last few years?
had a “If you can’t beat em’, join ’em” often as I could. I worked in various cus- Working for a school for as long as I have,
type of mentality. At a young age I knew tomer service positions and found my- I know the costs associated with attend-
I wanted to be an artist. It started off with self miserable due to the lack of creativ- ing college. I felt compelled to make sure
fantasy drawings of dragons or epic ninja ity. Searching for a new job in the news that we were providing value outside of Ideally, how long would you like to go on
battles. I experimented with several me- paper (yeah, I know I’m old) I saw an ad the classroom. Also, the goal has always organizing these kinds of workshops?
diums including a little graffiti. All of that about a new school that was opening. been to inspire and motivate people by For as long as possible!
accompanied a love of games that start- They were hiring for several positions. I giving back to the creative community.
ed with an Atari 2600, and I knew I want- applied with the intent to work there by Some top-notch names have been fea-
ed to be an artist. I liked the reactions of any means necessary. Meaning, I was Firestarter Magazine: Was there a time tured in many of these workshops, some
people enjoying my work. It made me willing to do any job they would hire me when you considered the option to give of them (like the amazing Kim Jung Gi)
feel appreciated. Who wouldn’t want that for with hopes of attending classes, even up on this idea? Why, and what kept you from other countries and continents.
feeling to carry over into a career? I came if that meant taking a step backwards going? How do you pick your speakers and get
from a pretty broken home, and did not professionally. I’m not sure why, but they There were definitely times that I thought them on board?
have the support structure to pursue hired me – maybe they saw my passion. about throwing in the towel. I organize, That is not an easy task, as there are so
design right out of high school. I made I started working with students helping promote, and plan all the workshops, many talented and inspirational folks out
several attempts, but I was shot down them to realize what could be possible for the most part, on my own. Time is there and I’d love to do a workshop for
each time for different reasons. Either I with hard work. My goal was to offer stu- never favorable when you’re constantly all of them. I sometimes poll workshop
wasn’t talented enough, didn’t have pa- dents the support that I didn’t have when juggling work, school, and family; it isn’t attendees or artists to see who or what
rental support, or I didn’t have the finan- I was their age. I immersed myself in the easy. Considering that workshops are they would like to have demonstrated.

66 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Thomas Brillante #LetsTalkArt 67

Sometimes, the workshops just come How often do you organize these events? hardships, even if they don’t advertise it Do you think the world of art education
to me. I am very fortunate to have the Once or twice a month. on social media. It also important to al- and the industry have to adapt to the
support of some amazing artist and ways consider what got you into pursing needs of the new generations of artists?
friends. The industry is very giving, and Teaching, sharing, and basically giving your art career. Was it the need to be cre- If so, what kind of changes would you
I’ve worked with some amazing artist or- back to the community can be really ful- ative, or the love of design, or wanting to like to see?
ganizations like Brainstorm, Robot Pencil filling. At a personal level, what do you be a good storyteller? Never lose sight I believe it’s the artists and art school’s re-
and many more. Lastly, if all else fails I do get from these gatherings of artists? of what floats your boat. Lastly, it is im- sponsibility to adapt to the needs of their
a lot of low-key cyber stalking- (kidding/ It is humbling to see the amount of sup- portant to surround yourself with a solid respective industries. Meaning if you are
not kidding.) port and appreciation for the work I am support system of artists and friends that supporting and supplying a work force to
doing. It does motivate me personally will help to pick you up when you need it. a specific industry, it is important to cater
What other artists are in your “must to continue. I’ve gained friendships that to the needs of the employers within that
have” list for future speakers? transcend art with people I would not Other than its obvious function as part industry. Adapting new tools and tech-
That is a very looooong list with too many have met if it weren’t for networking of the entertainment industry, is there nology to advance the creative process.
to name, but, here are a few; Ryan Mein- through these workshops. anything you think the new generation Not using technology as a crutch to hide
erding, Charlie Wen, Jama Jurabaev, of artists should try to add to society with bad design, but a tool for creating bet-
Jaime Jones, Craig Mullins, Mike Acev- their work? ter designs. I believe that an Art educa-
ado, Glen Keane, Brad Bird, Guillermo I believe it’s important to have a voice. tion should have customization options,
Del Toro, Ian McCaig (again), and the Visual communication is what so many allowing students to build a wide range
list goes on and on. Seriously, it is a long artists do well on a regular basis, but I of skill sets in the technical design fields
wish list, and it’s an open invitiation to all truly admire the ones that have a voice specific to an area of the industry they’d
those mentioned above. and aren’t afraid to use it. Specifically, like to work. I believe there should be
the ones who advocate kindness and some planning and forethought to de-
Setting up these workshops, and bring- compassion in the world we live in. Nev- veloping Intellectual Properties as well:
ing in all those wonderful profession- ille Page is one such artist that comes to getting students motivated to self pub-
als to share their knowledge must have mind. He is very established, but with lish or build their own stories, games,
some costs. How do you get funding to no ego, and he is connected to different animation and films. With all that being
keep this going? charitable organizations and causes. If said it is important to not stray from the
I am fortunate that the school sees the you are unfamiliar with him, then I highly roots of solid traditional design. Some
value, and appreciates what the work- encourage you to familiarize yourself. I of the most iconic films and animated
shops have done for our students, and think it’s no mistake the word “communi- properties still hold up today because of
the design community. ty” is a combination of two words: Com- the pre-production and design planning
mon and Unity. I’d encourage the next allotted to the creative teams. Those ex- Follow Thomas’ online at:
An average of 100-200 attendees is a generations to be stewards of the com- plorations and iterations are what help to
respectable amount of people; have munity. I’d also love to see more narra- shape a solid property.
you thought about expanding the work- tive in personal pieces.
shops to make them available for a wid-
er audience? What do you think about the new VR
When I hosted Kim Jung Gi I had over Changing topics a bit, being over- technology, with its potential for the
800 people that attended. We ended worked and burnout seems to be an fields of digital painting, sculpting and
up having to move it offsite to a nearby ongoing problem within the art industry, film making?
theater. If you are referring to an online specifically in young professionals or art- I am excited by it. VR and AR are here
stream, we have done it a few times in ists trying to start up their careers. What to stay. It is surreal to witness the emer-
the past, but I really leave that up to the do you think about this, and what advice gence of new technology. It’s kind of
artists. I am also old school, and person- would you give, based on your own ex- like the wild, wild west in that sector of
ally, I think face to face interaction is nice. perience? the market right now. Everyone is trying
The road is not easy. It’s really hard to to stake their claim, and establish them-
Are there any contents from the work- stay motivated and stay on track. I be- selves. I can see why! This tech will im-
shops available online? lieve it’s important to never give up on pact us in several areas of industry: from
There is a youtube channel with some your goals. It can be discouraging, see- education, manufacturing, real estate,
videos: ing all the posts of amazing artists and human services, medical, not to mention
Also the Facebook page “Inland Arts” has feeling like that level is unattainable, but art and design. It’s another tool in the
pictures and content from workshops. just know that everyone has had a start toolbox for creative people. It’s hard not and their fare share of struggles and to be excited about the potential.

68 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 69

Even Mehl Amundsen is an illustrator and concept artist from

Norway, who has worked for clients like Riot, Blizzard and

Wizards of the coast, among others. He has recently finished

a very successeful Kickstarter campaign for his collection of

daily sketches and stories;

TEGN, and there is still more

to come. Through our Beard-

Bros twitch channel, we got

to sit down and talk with Even BEARD BROS

The Beard Bros consist of Ørjan Rut-
about his journey, TEGN and tenborg Svendsen and Jordy Wed-
ding. They decided to stream what
the Dungeons & Dragons they usually do in a hangout and be


able to learn with, and from each other.
podcast Backwater Bastards .

70 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Portrait by Natalia-Jaclin Kareta Portrait by Mariana Galiano | Interview by Beard Bros 71
Even, tell us about Tegn. understanding of who he is as a char-
Tegn is a collection of drawings I did ev- acter. Essentially it’s this obsessive little
ery day last year, each of them accompa- thing I have created about something
nied by a small backstory. I took some that is my job but usually I can’t go this
of those stories, and incorporated them much in depth with any given character.
into the back of the book. But I am rambling.

Very cool, so, how did you come up with That’s absolutely fine! So, this is the first
the name ’Tegn’? book out of three in total. Do you have
Well, Tegn is a Norwegian word that has a plan for the two other books to come?
several meanings in a way. It can be a sign, Well, the first book will be shipped
symbol, omen, or it can actually also mean around November, and I have actually
’to draw’. There’s a bit of symbolism in the been thinking about sort of an interlink-
story, there are a lot of suggested omens ing ’meta-story’ for that world and pick-
in the story, and a bunch of drawings. ing out cool combinations of cultures
that I can play with. I’m not sure if I’ll post
those online, or maybe start up a Patreon
page. Mainly because I’m not sure if I can
produce a proper amount of artwork in a
relatively short period of time.

Do you have a certain direction you want

Tegn to go?
The idea here is a bunch of nice draw-
ings hopefully, *laughs* but I’m a big fan
of small fairytales. We get to see a lot of
big epic stories these days and they tend
to neglect the smaller, more charming At a certain point you decided to move six months I made the choice to move to
elements of fantasy. So fantasy tends to out of Norway to work as an artist. How Denmark, and now I live in Copenhagen,
become very Tolkien-esque, large bat- did that happen? where I am very happy.
tles of nations and that sort of things. You Well, I left for a year when I moved to
don’t really get to hear the story of this Cornwall. I attended art school there, but When did you decide to go full free-
one fairy that lives out in the forest, which it wasn’t for me. The course was based lance, to dare and take the ’plunge’ so
is basically where fairytales come from. on editorial illustration, and I was going to say?
It’s that love for old school fairy tales that over the exact same topics as the art Again, I never really had that moment, it
I want to incorporate in a way. school in Norway. It made me realize I was just a series of choices. If you ask me
should try something else or get a job. if it was scary to leave home in that way,
When did you figure out that you want- A friend of mine told me about a studio but it makes you appreciate home all the
ed to be an artist? in Canada that was hiring. I spent two more. It wasn’t a ’daring’ choice but it felt
I like that question, because whenever I months on the art test and overpainted like the only choice to make.
get asked that question, I realize I nev- way too much. At the end of the sum-
You shared a lot of awesome sketches er had that moment. The Norwegian mer I sent my art test and I got invited to Are you thinking about mentoring on
that had several returning characters in schooling system allows you to experi- become a junior artist there and literally top of the events you do?
them. Do you have a favourite character? ment quite early with arts, communica- danced when I got the news. So I moved I have been doing some teaching for
Yeah I do, my favourite character to draw tions, or drama, and so on. It felt natural to Quebec for three years but it didn’t Schoolism and I have considered men-
is probably Birker, who is sort of the main in a way because I already used to draw a feel like a big commitment because as a toring as part of the potential Patreon
character. He’s a dwarf – and kind of the lot but it was never with the intent of be- junior I basically got paid while getting program. It’s just that I’m a bit on the
big average of all the dwarves I’ve ever coming an artist. There was an art school an education, which was awesome. After fence about that because I feel all the
drawn. I’ve smacked all the elements that in Oslo which wasn’t about fine arts but that, I went to live Prague and freelance good lessons I have learned on my jour-
I liked about dwarves into one person. I actually pretty technical. I discovered from there. After a year I got asked to ney were without a mentor. On the oth-
like him a lot because he changed very (Andrew) Loomis a few years prior, which come and work for Blizzard. The people er hand, there’s a good chance I would
much from the beginning on to the end had a big impact and I found conceptart. and IP’s were great but Irvine and I didn’t have learned that anyway. Maybe I’m just
of the book, so now I have a pretty good org which opened my eyes. really fit together, unfortunately, so after a bit scared that I don’t have the prerequi-

72 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Image: ©Non Stop #LetsTalkArt 73

site knowledge to make the mentorship of Lost Tales and all that good stuff. In a
worth people’s while. But to answer the way it’s hard to tell, because of course it
question, at some point I will, probably. has had an influence, but on the other
hand I just also really like orcs. (laughs)
How did you acquire your first freelance
job? You’ve been posting a bit about “Back-
Well, that was from a small role-playing water Bastards”… What is that about?

by Even Mehl Amundsen

game company in Texas. They were real- Me and a couple of friends are playing
ly cool and they let me play around with Dungeons & Dragons together and we
design. It didn’t pay much but it gave me wanted to do it as a podcast. We made
the confidence that I could finish a proj- up some characters that we wanted to
ect and a have a satisfied client. play and it’s a good premise to devel-
op the characters through the hardships
I’ve heard you say something about we have to endure. My character is the
reading all the books your parents sug- wide-eyed and rambuncuous son of a
gested you to read. What role has litera- swineherd: Blaznak, who is an absolute
ture played in your career? a-hole. He loves hammers, and his armor
I didn’t end up drawing fantasy for noth- is made out of the skin of his favorite
ing. I read all the Lord of the Rings when I hog. Furthermore, we have the drunken
was ten years old. That was my first deep nobleman Baron De’Bauche, accountant
dive in fantasy, after that I read the Book gnome Cedrik and together we go on

By the way, any tips on avoiding those

drawing injuries?
Even: Oh yeah, I stretch every day and
get massages if I’ve got the time. Exer-
cise is very important. So stretch your
hands and fingers every day.

Lastly; knowing what you know now, if

you magically lost all your skills, where
would you start?
Anatomy. I’d start where I spiritually start-
ed last time, which is (Andrew) Loom-
is’ Fun with A Pencil. To me it’s the best
drawing book out there. It presents the
core fundamentals of drawing 3D ob-
jects on 2D media. If you can wrap your
mind around that principle, you can ap-
ply that to all the complexities of gesture
and human anatomy, if you can do that
with a single person, you can do that
with multiple persons – then, if you can
do that, then you can put them in land-
scapes and perspective. And if you can
do all that, then there’s nothing stopping
you from creating complex scenes from
multiple angles with multiple characters.
You start with the very simple principles

Book Two: November 2017

and you can extrapolate complexity from
them and to me that is the core of all
good art.

74 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Even Mehl Amundsen 75

On the Digital Artcast podcast I got to chat with the amazing

matte painter and industry veteran Maxx Burman. During the

interview Maxx talked about his work with,

and how his course can take you from a beginner to a work-

ing matte painter. He also talk-

ed about the industry in the

states and how he feels about

the state of the talent that is

producing work in major stu- GORDON NEILL – DIGITAL ARTCAST

“We are a group of digital artist who
dios. We also talked about his talk about all things related to art and
digital illustartion and cover topics
independent game projects about VFX, illustration and concept


art in the entertainment industry.”
and even more topics.

76 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Portrait by João David Fernandes Portrait by João David Fernandes | Interview by Gordon Neill 77
So Maxx thanks again for joining me and Wow like the old-style painters where was ready to go freelance, I think a lot of
giving up your time to talk to the pod- you would be an apprentice to a master people want to jump into freelance too
cast how are you? that’s quite rare, and with people going quickly, and honestly, I wasn’t ready. It’s
I’m doing good Gordon, thanks for hav- to start in schools like Learn Squared or hard to have regrets after being bless-
ing me! Gnomon being taught by such a master ed with this incredible career, but if I did
in their field wasn’t that scary or intim- have one, it would be not staying with
So for those who maybe haven’t heard idating? Did you ever envision some- Syd longer. I said to myself, I have a port-
your name before or are unsure about thing like that happening? folio now, I have a couple big shows un-
your skillset can you tell us what you do When that happened, it was one it was der my belt, I should be able to get some
for a living and who you are? one of the best days of my life. When he freelance work. This was right after the
My name is Maxx Burman and I’m a took me on as his apprentice, I knew I was writers strike in LA, and the 2008/2009 fi-
Matte Painter and Art Director. My spe- going to have a career in this industry. Syd nancial collapse, the timing couldn’t have
ciality is creating environments for films treated me amazingly, taught me so much been worse. I hit a dry spell that really
and games and I do a lot of concept art and we had a lot of fun. He has a great shook me, I started looking at restaurant
and art directing as well. sense of humour. I was terrified and al- jobs to pay rent. After a couple of months
ways wanting to get his approval, and he of ramen noodles and having absolutely
Great! Maxx can you tell us how you got would come up behind me, see my paint- nothing, I got 2 offers in the same day.
your start in the industry and maybe talk ing, and just go “ah he’s lost the magic”, A remote freelance job with Playstation
about your beginnings in painting and knowing it would mess with my head! and a staff job with Stargate. I was so des-
finding your style? perate to work, I took both, and for the
I got lucky with matte painting. I had been Wow, cruel! But I guess if he’s wanting next 8 months, I would work 10 hours at
using Photoshop for a while and I always you to improve he can’t really give you Stargate, come home and work another
liked doing photo real work. I was show- his good graces straight away, he would 6 for playstation.
ing my portfolio to a couple people and want you to keep pushing forward. What
someone said “oh, you’re a matte paint- about the calibre of shows you were At Stargate, I was sooo fortunate to meet
er?” and I responded with “Yes I am!” working on during your time at Zoic? my second mentor, Cedric Tomacruz.
That’s how I found out about matte paint- Zoic mostly works on television shows & He really honed my technical skills. We
ing specifically. In terms of how I got in commercials. My first couple of shows worked on shows like The Walking Dead
the industry, I knew I wanted to work in vi- were V and another one called Flash For- and Pan Am, and a ton of others. I spent
sual effects, so I went through the phone ward, after, I got a chance to do some a year there, learned as much as I could
book at that time and called every studio paintings for True Blood, Fringe, and a from Cedric, and went back to Zoic as a
in LA, offering to work for free. I knew I bunch of those kinds of TV shows. lead matte painter for a brief stint before
needed to be in a studio, and to learn moving on to Sony Imageworks.
from people doing this every day. After While working on those IP’s did you like
calling all 200 studios in LA, Zoic Studios what you were doing or did you have vi- So you tend not to try to get too comfort-
got back to me (Z, the bottom of the list) sions of working on bigger productions? able? Do you want to try and be pushing
and offered me an internship. Shortly af- I was excited to be working on shows outside your comfort zone a lot of the
ter I started, Syd Dutton, the legendary and be able to turn on the TV and see my times.
matte painter, joined the studio and took paintings. Part of me didn’t care about I try to never get comfortable, even now.
me under his wing as his apprentice. I the project and always just really cared I’m coming up on 10 years in this indus-
was so very fortunate and lucky. That’s about the paintings. The other part of me try and if there’s something comfortable
how I broke into the industry. always had a hunger to work on the big- but I’m not interested in it then I won’t
gest movies and biggest projects, so, it do it. The leaps of faith I’ve taken have
So, am I right in saying you didn’t really go was kind of both. I was happy to be there been absolutely terrifying, but they have
the traditional route which for most peo- but I also had this ambition to do a lot always paid off.
ple is education in a school like Cal Arts more. I guess everyone does?
or Art Center you kind of taught yourself? What was the next challenge? When did
Yeah, I was taking classes at Gnomon, That was quite an amazing start in the you want to go to feature films or was it
but I wasn’t enrolled full time. I was just industry, how quickly after working on something else that called you out to it?
kind of taking classes on the side. I start- those projects did you leave Zoic behind? I was actually really interested in anima-
ed at Zoic when I was 18, so I was fresh I was there for a year and a half and then I tion because it was so different. Having
out of high school and taking night class- decided to break away. It was a big learn- done so many photoreal matte paint-
es when that opportunity came about. ing curve for me when I left. I thought I ings at that time, something about a

78 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Maxx Burman #LetsTalkArt 79

management. There is a movement in Do you feel more at ease working re-
the industry now trying to secure unions motely with clients and not being tied to
for working artists in the game and mov- any one studio?
ie industry. What’s your stand on bring- I’ve spent a lot of time working for a
ing in unions do you feel it would benefit lot of studios, over 30 different studios.
the industry? I owned a VFX studio for a while, I was
I’m very mixed on it, it’s a complicated is- a staff Art Director at a studio, I’ve lead
sue. I think without unions, the quality of teams, VFX supervised projects, etc. I feel
your work is the guiding factor to wheth- like I’ve had all positions possible in this
er you’re working or not. With unions, industry, and none of them were right for
a lot of the times it becomes about the me. At a certain point I realized that what
people who are grandfathered in, or I really wanted was the freedom to cre-
the people who have been working in ate the lifestyle I want, and to let the work
the business longest. They’re the ones move around that.
who are getting jobs or have the higher
rates, regardless of how good they are. I Most people are not good with time, and
am very much of the mindset that all the I’m very good at not wasting any of it.
matters is the work you do and the ex- When I’m at a studio and some HR person,
perience you give a client. Also, our in- who has no clue what the creative process
dustry is very different than a lot of other is, needs to justify their job by enforcing
industries in that it’s global. If the games when and where to be, so people can sit
industry were to have a union like the art around browsing facebook and sipping
directors guild, it would be really hard coffee for the first couple hours of the day,
to use amazing artists who might be in a that’s just stupid to me. There’s so many in-
place in the world where they don’t have efficiencies and time wasted when you’re
the connections to get in. I definitely un- in house at a studio, and I want every min-
derstand the argument, but I’d rather ute to count. By having control of my own
teach artists how to stand up for them- schedule, I’m able to do so much more.
selves, and take care of themselves on I’d rather sidestep the system and just say
their own, rather than close the doors on “Look. I work on my own terms but I do
stylized world really called to me. I left I’ve noticed in American studios they are international potential. really good work. I always deliver, I treat
Zoic (again) and went to Sony Animation, willing to work upwards of 12 hours a people very well, and I keep my word.”
where I worked on Hotel Transylvania. day to push out content even something There can be a stigma where artist based
One animated feature was enough for like holidays which across in the UK is in unions become complacent or feel So now that you’ve been an industry
me, got it out of my system. After that, 30–40 days a year where America it’s they don’t need to compete with other veteran for so many years, how do you
I focused on game cinematics, comme- more like 10 if you’re lucky is that some- artist as they have a lot of job security in decide on what work you should under-
cials and films.. I did some work with Blur, thing you’ve noticed? which there work may suffer in quality. take and what you should turn down? Is
and MPC, before landing for a little lon- I think the U.S. very much has a culture Do you have a view on this working in it completely based on your lifestyle or
ger at Digital Domain. built around “living to work” as opposed film yourself? do you try to pick projects that personal-
to other countries where it’s “work to I’ve been on the VFX studio side of ly interest you?
Were you full time at any point? Were live”. There’s something nice about the things, where there is no union. There’s I do projects now with the understand-
these in studio or freelance gigs? camaraderie, and that burning passion not a lot of room for people in vfx who ing that it’s not my project and I’m a hired
Kind of went both ways. I was at Sony for that’s shared among a team. But it also are complacent or just passing time col- gun. My goal is to give the client exact-
maybe eight months and Digital Domain leads to burning out, and when you’re lecting a paycheck. VFX is still based on ly what they want as quickly as possible
for almost a year. So, it was freelance, but exhausted, you don’t do good work. your body of work and reputation, and and the best quality. So what the project
I would spend some time at these plac- There’s got to be a middle ground, after that’s how I believe it should be. Let me is doesn’t really matter to me anymore.
es, and I never had just one job. I’d be years of on and off burn out, that’s some- also preface this with, I’ve never been I’ve done one of every kind of painting
at a studio during the day, then I’d go thing I’m looking for now. the kind of guys who’s part of the pack. at this point. There is not a lot new that
home and have other freelance jobs. I’ve You know, that’s one of the reasons I’m comes up, so for me, I choose projects
been double booked for most my career, I’ve heard some horror stories from artist not a staff artist anywhere. I much prefer based on the team and how much finan-
which really has helped me master time in California and other states about 14– to do my own thing and not necessarily cial freedom that job will give me to do
management. 16 hour days no credit and horrible pay follow anyone. my own work. I don’t work all year round,
packages whilst being abused by senior I’m selective with time frames. I’ll take a

80 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 81

project for a month or two and then I’ll Well, I have a game that’s coming out
take a couple months off. Also, I have next year with Nintendo. I spent a long
some incredible clients, who have amaz- time making that and taking jobs to pay
ing teams that I love working with. They for it. What Dan’s been doing with LMS
keep me as busy as I want to be, and is incredible. I don’t know if I have the
when they need me, I’m there for them. endurance for that. I’d rather just make
stuff on my own and release it, rather
than try to do something that requires
a huge studio or giant financial support
to make it happen. Basically, I don’t want
to rely on anyone to create the things I
want to create. I would rather take on stu-
dio work to fuel that. I’m not trying to do
something nearly as ambitious or big as
Dan’s been attempting.

I mean a lot of people don’t know the

struggle Dan has had with LMS, and
I’ll link this in the Video podcast, but I
still come across people who haven’t
heard of Dan LuVisi and LMS. It’s such a
broad thing that he’s trying to push and
Yeah that sounds like it suits your lifestyle you know that about his bounty hunter
more. Do you tend to travel a lot or per- movie, I just can’t wait for that to hit the
haps spend time with friends and family? screens. It’s something that I would give
I spend a lot of time with family and up time and energy to see. I’m still wish-
friends and I also do a lot of my own ing the guy the best of luck.
art. I have a lot of other things outside I am 100% with that. I want to watch that
of matte painting that I love to do, like guy succeed so badly. I love what he’s
teaching for Learn Squared. I’m doing standing for and what he’s doing. Dan
an art show, I’ve been making a game if you’re listening/reading this: any help
that comes out next year, and launching that I can give you. Let me know.
Kitbash3d, a 3d Kit store. With all these
different things and I want to make sure I So is matte painting something you can
give them just as much time as I give my see yourself continuing to do as you
client work. move forward, or will you try to take on
a new skillset?
So, the work you do in studios is more It’s an interesting question, I’ve worked
to breathe life into projects outside that really hard to have this freedom and
you are passionate about? I think it’s a I’m really enjoying this time. Right now,
common tale for a lot of people I’ve spo- being able to pursue my personal proj-
ken to at the top of the game where they ects is great. I love matte painting and
want to use money from work to fuel I’ll probably continue to do it for a while.
their own vision they have for a game or I’m just getting more selective and try-
a movie. I mean look at Dan Luvisi and ing to exclusively work with the people
his project Last Man Standing. He’s been and teams that I love working with. Stu-
pushing that for years trying to get a ma- dios like Blur, anytime they need me, I’ll
jor studio behind it. Is that the kind of be there for them, but what I would love,
thing you want to be doing when you’re and what I’m working towards, is being
talking about making a video game, is able to support myself financially, and
that because you want to build a studio continue to fund my own projects, with-
around that and produce content or are out needing to do client work, then I’ll
you happy with your own company? just do it for fun. Wish me luck!

82 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 83

is happening. We have all seen instantly shifts things around in CREATIVITY VS UNDERSTANDING
that weird theater play, where you your head, doesn’t it? What if you We can use this to our advan-
have no idea what is happening, decide that the assassin robot uses tage. In what context do we want
and there is a lot of screaming smoke as a tool? There are so many to present our ideas? This can be
and waving of arms. Where is the decisions and tools we could use used for a lot of interesting things,
line where we can understand and to enhance that idea. Your mind depending on the decisions we
relate to it? Or the opposite: The uses your internal visual bank to make. We all know that we think
line where we are totally unsure of make those connections. in symbols, so here’s something
what we are observing? interesting I heard on the Joe
One thing that should be obvious Rogan Experience: In the early
Looking at sites like Artstation, is that any iteration on a trendy 1960s, scientists thought that they
there are always trends dictating subjects needs to be a twist, oth- could make robots move around
what is popular. For example, the erwise, it will almost always be their environment with ease, be-
boob thumbnails: we can disre- forgotten. How many half naked cause the world is made up of
gard that instantly as creative. Not women with large weapons have simple objects – you just need to
because it’s a boob-window, but we seen now? How many mechs? look at them, see them, and that
because the artist leans so heavily The ones that stand out are always is vision. The complex problem
on a trend or trope that it becomes those with a unique take on an ex- was not what to see, or how – but
a simple, cheap tool to use for get- isting stereotype. They have room how to act in reference of what

LECTURE BY BJÖRN HURRI ting traffic with very little thought or

intent. I think it’s very important to
have a thought behind your work:
to maneuver when it comes to
complexity and reasoning.
you see. The scientists ran into a
problem that is now referred to as

CREATIVITY – That there is an idea behind the

creative decisions you are making.
We all do “comfort zone” drawings;
AN ATTEMPT AT BREAKING IT DOWN some people like mechs, some like
dragons, some like faces – but the
My attempt to understand and changed. One can say, that in or- things. One could, of course, ar-
problem lies where it is only exe-
cuted in a reactive manner, without YOU ARE ALREADY FAR BETTER
communicate what it means to be der to do something creative, you gue about whether these are the thought or reasoning. One should
creative. This lecture will be about have to have a base line of what is best examples, but stating that make decisions beyond just “here THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON.
my thoughts regarding tech- NOT creative. Is the coffee cup a these people are not creative is a is the head, and here is the leg”.
niques and thought processes creative thing? It’s likely that at one hard idea to swallow. When you are an artist, you should
when you have to be creative on point when we were drinking out make a point! So, let’s say we are
demand. The reason that I think of our hands, the cup was king. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley making a robot sketch from our
this would be a good lecture sub- Kurbik, Dark City by Alex Proyas, “comfort zone”; it will most likely
ject is because there are a lot of TOP 5 CREATIVES Who Framed Roger Rabbit? by be made of very generic ideas. We
people who need help with get- Here is a range of projects by peo- Robert Zemeckis – it’s all some- will probably push the shapes or
ting a grasp of it so they may go ple who are deemed as top cre- thing with a twist. Much like the materials, etc. but it usually ends
beyond that threshold. atives: bikes or dresses, we can clearly there. What we should think about
• 2001 A Space Odyssey state “those dresses are creative”, while using archetypes, while be-
CREATIVITY • Dark City which makes me think that peo- ing creative, is rather how to filter
I was thinking about what the word • Who Framed Roger Rabbit ple need to be able to relate to through what is trendy and where
means to me, and this is more or • Renard Grand Tourer and understand what it is they are you are as an artist.
less what I initially figured out: • Jean Baptiste Robilliard looking at.
The ability to take something, and • Suzuki Biplane So close your eyes, and imagine
transform it into something new, • Alexandre Herchovitch BEING CREATIVE a robot. That already places it in a
where the “before” and the “after” • Zac Posen Being creative is the ability to ef- specific category of things we can
are clearily different. The cavemen • Jeremy Scott of Moschino fectively take an abstract thought use. How does it look? How is it de-
ran around with sticks and were and turn it into something con- signed? We can see it in our mind.
banging things on their heads. At They’ve created very interesting crete. A lot of the time, the result Maybe that is enough, or maybe,
some point one of them started work, and many have regarded can feel boring, or, so extreme we should push that idea further.
swinging a club, and the game them as people doing unique that nobody can understand what What if it’s an assassin robot? That

84 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Juraj Vuglač | IFCC #LetsTalkArt 85

the “FRAME Problem”. There are the gun-assembly scene from the If you think about the game Ma-
almost infinite ways to look at a set movie Existenz by David Cronen- fia  3, it is a quite down to earth,
of finite objects. Vision is complex berg. He uses our way of thinking set in the 1960s; that means we
issue, and you can’t solve it until against us. must limit the tools we can use
you solve the embodiment prob- to be creative. Imagine a scifi or
lem of an artificial intelligence MOVIE – EXISTENZ fantasy setting: we can use a lot
They can’t really see unless they It does something really inter- of different tropes, but the whole
have a physical body because esting with our mind. We search package in the end still has to be
“seeing” is actually mapping the each part constantly as it is being understandable (This is, of course,
world into physical actions. put together, and try to figure out without talking about the techni-
what is happening. He chooses cal side, the methods we use, or
The general core of this idea is that to keep us wondering, and builds shape, value, and design).
when we look at things, we see the up a great deal of mystique about
function: When we look at a bean- it. Clearly the actors help to rein- So that leaves us with some more
bag, we see a chair. It doesn’t have force that idea. decisions:
4 legs, a horizontal seat, and a • Is it idea driven? That the con-
back – yet we still know it’s a chair, There is a hacking-scene in Johnny cept is based on extremes, is it
because we can sit on it. Humans Mnemonic where perhaps the de- pushed farther, like a boss char-
don’t see the object, interpret the livery isn’t as good anymore. Bear acter for Dead Space, etc? There
object, and then figure out what in mind, at the time, it was quite a isn’t a real-life counterpart to go
to do, so the function of the ob- left field idea. In 1995 there was off of, so that leaves you with the
ject constrains our interpretation. internet, but it was nothing like it challenge of using archetypes to
But there are endless methods is today. VR was far removed from communicate information outside
of interpretation. Many problems what we understand today, so try of the extreme.
arise with this almost mutual un- to keep that thought in your head
derstanding of what things are. if you watch it. We will see it a lot • Is it limitation driven? Where the
Humans love to stack experienc- more clearly with today’s under- task itself is quite limited, like the
es and knowledge into a single standing. The presentation of all Mafia one, and more weight will
symbol, and the hardest part as the ideas gathered is very clear, have to be on the solution of the fingers from tobacco stains. The • Use the cliches to your advan- or reading more into them than
an creative is to find a way to and it doesn’t leave you with any parts rather than their extremes. more you practice this, the easier it tage. They are established for a what we actually see, because we
take something completely new, surprises. In order to help you understand is to start using stereotypes to your reason, to help you sell the idea. think in symbols to fill our gaps
and communicate the idea with advantage. It’s almost like doing However, it’s important to make in understanding. The problem
known visual queues. The prob-
lem isn’t how unique your ideas
STRENGTH COMES FROM BEING a puzzle – putting piece by piece
together or even swapping them
sure you don’t use them as a crutch
to sell the idea, it’s a quick and easy
here is that we don’t always think
the same way. Lots of things can
are, but how to package them, so
that other people can understand UNIQUE WITHIN THE FRAME- to make sure you cast a wider net.
Another technique can be done
sell to just make your audience ac-
cept an idea rather than bringing
simply be lost in translation. In or-
der to fix a problem with “playing
and relate to them without too with a word-association game. something unique to the table. For it too safe”, one must go back to
much explanation. Take a look at WORK OF THE BIG PICTURE. You are tasked to draw a dragon: instance, as we talked about ear- the basics. Shape and value can
so maybe you are thinking of de- lier – we have all seen the boob- be pushed. The next is the most
CHALLENGES this: Play with the idea of imagin- scriptors like large, wings, tattered, window bodysock cliche over and imortant – and that is: what do I
So let’s say we get a brief glimpse. ing the character in a scene. How dirty, moss, stone, corruption, dis- over. Using the methods here, we want to say as an artist with this
When looking at it, one can start is he/she moving or talking? Are ease that turns muscles into bone, ought to have some understand- idea or concept? Is there enough
to think about many different solu- they limping? What is needed to pain, dripping blood, plague. The ing of functionality when doing of personality there? What’s the
tions to it. Now it comes down to sell that idea? Maybe the charac- point is to think in a manner that something creative, otherwise our story behind this character, and,
what tropes, etc. one can think of. ter has a limp, so perhaps the gait helps you build it up, play with the minds can’t see it for what it is. can we see that visually?
Size, proportions, colours, specific for the walk cycle animations will resulting ideas, and see where that
haricut. There are a lot of different be uneven. Is the character fid- path leads you. A standard tool to SAFE CONCEPTS One thing that is always interesting
solutions to this specific problem, gety? What is their skin complex- use is “Why? Where? How?” Ques- So what happens when you are in is experimenting with techniques
and it is up to us to be creative in ion like? Sweaty? Maybe you see tion each step – for example, why is the opposite position? There is al- to the point where it becomes
how we want to use these arche- the chracter sitting in a bar with the dragon stone, etc.? I am quite ways the chance that your concept your comfort zone, and a lot of
types. We must find the solutions cracked knuckles and he looks like sure you can find a lot of your own plays it too safe, or it doesn’t state today’s standard approaches are
we want to use to be able to com- he smokes a lot of cigarettes. May- words to help you make associa- enough. In my experience there is based on experimentation from
municate “the chair” analogy. be then he should have yellowed tions as you define each stage. always a risk of being too careful, years ago. I remember the days

86 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Image: ©Juraj Vuglač | IFCC Images: ©Björn Hurri 87
when speedpainting started pop- thoughts. See what comes out of it. benefit here, something I hope well, and seeing people take this
ping up, and when photobashing Push things more than you normal- you will take into consideration for thought process to heart led to
became something new and excit- ly would, just to make sure you took your own studies. great improvements; a lot of peo-
ing. Now it is relatively common. it far enough. Obviously you need ple started to have FUN again in
We are able to see clear steps into to treat these as explorations and 30 MIN WARMUP their art and not this daily grind of
the hybridization of 2D and 3D. throw-aways – don’t put it into your That being said, it’s a practice that studies and cramming knowledge
Your brain works in two different portfolio. But, I see a trend of many I’ll always appreciate, and the rea- into your brain. What good does
ways when it comes to knowledge: artists being afraid of posting. They son we used to take a half day off knowledge do, if you hate it from
implicit and explicit. Implicit mem- stay very safe, remain techniqually at my studio for personal projects. the start?
ory is long term memory, things correct, and each piece is just this Somehow, it always ended up be-
that are in there deep. Explicit soulless thing. Some of the best ing a time sink because people HOW DO I BECOME GOOD
memory is concious recall. That artists are those who don’t need started using it for relaxing and I see a lot of people asking things
is why studying and repetition is to worry about their most detailed surfing the web. So, 2 years ago, I like “how do I get better?”, “how
very important, because when we piece or the cleanest execution, decided we should start with dai- do I get hired?” and “what should
are in a “sweetspot” and create art, but rather, how they tie narrative ly warmups and it started out with I put in my portfolio?” The more
we are in a implicit mind state, we and technique together. Look clos- us giving eachother challenges you learn, the better you’ll be at
don’t think – we just react. If some- er! Especially in how they paint  – on what we viewed as our weak making those decisions – but that
one asks you a question, and you you’ll see that they lean on their
have to think, you are immediately experience with failing and know
taken out of it. exactly when to reign in the crazy
or dial it further up.
So we are all afraid of failing, or SKETCHBOOKS
doing something that is not per- My sketchbooks, all 40+ of them.
fect, but that is probably the single They were made in under 2–3
biggest hang up of most artists. If years – so that means I drew more
you look at the works of old mas- than 1 full sketchbook a month,
ters, you can see they did sketch alongside my full plate of univer-
after sketch to realize their vision. sity, freelance work, and digital
They would scrap and start over sketches. The reason I use these
with whole paintings over a single here is is not to showboat, or brag
misplaced brush stroke. about what I managed to draw,
but to highlight this: in those
If you have ever had the chance to 40-something sketchbooks are so
go to to a museum, and look into many failures, strange ideas, stu-
their sketchbooks, you know how pid aliens, and so forth.
amazing that is. Obviously their points. “Do studies of faces”, “Draw doesn’t just mean grinding tech-
skills were peerless, but they were I chose to buy cheap sketchbooks a car” and so on. It was a great nique. Of course, you will learn
constantly testing things, trying and use standard ballpoint pen or thing, though it wasn’t enough. It how to compress steps more
new angles, and experimenting. pencil. I set out to kill paper with was fun, though, so we ended up quickly, and utilize tools better,
What we should do is think about strange, unfiltered ideas, which gravitating towards a mandatory but what I have found to be most
the modern world and use all the helped me dramatically. Mind you, 30 min sketchfest every morning important is asking yourself what
methods available to us. We can none of these pages ever ended at the start of the day. It was a strict YOU want to do, and in what way
learn from our mistakes, yet there up in my portfolio, but worked de- 30 minutes of “do what you want, YOU yourself would like to do it.
are so many artists who hide their rived of those ideas or sketches but make sure to be creative”. There are always new artists look-
mistakes, sketches, and failures. definitely did. I would have never ing for the quickest answer, or the
I recommend that you create a had those opportunities if I had I decided quite early on to stream, hypothetical next step. If you can
seperate blog or sketchdump not tested out those thoughts in a so if you are interested, you can buy it, then it must be good, right?
where you share your tests. visual way. The fact that I did take view two years of daily warmups This often results in copycats. They
time to draw them out, and test at All those only see their progress compared
The greatest reason for this is to the ideas by constructing them streams I treated the same way: to how closely they can mimic
allow yourself to fail, to treat each brought the crazy ideas into a new day, new sketch, where I try their idol – not necessarily wheth-
sketch with clear and unfiltered whole new light. There is a huge things out. I started a Discord, as er or not that path is even right for

88 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 89

them, or if it’s what they really like book can be counterproductive flect on the decisions you’ve made
doing. I think one should always with the “like” button. You don’t and attempt to find a list of the
start thinking about where you need to engage at all. Just click 5  most obvious mistakes in your
want to go in the future, and start “like” and scroll on. How much does own work. Try to teach yourself
building from there. that 50th virtual ass-slap mean to what you like, and what you prefer.
you? Do you remember who the Then, and only then, offer it up for
The level of art in this industry is other 49 were? Where is the com- feedback publicly.
very high, and as a “beginner” you munity in that? “Oh yeah, I remem-
can rest assured: you are already ber you liked my image 2 years JUST A FRAME
FAR better than the average per- ago!” (That will never happen.) We’ve reached the end of my cra-
son. So QUIT WORRYING if you zy rant, and I thought I’d end it with

are good, and get better! You STRENGTH OF SELF EDIT a little clarification.
must stop asking for things, and When you have a body of work,
start learning who you are. it’s important to take a step back, I’ve been thinking about this for
think about who you are as an art- quite some time: where you are
THUNDERDOME ist along with the choices you have now is just one frame in the full

“Thunderdome” was a competi- made, and ask yourself: is this movie of your art journey. The
tion at invented by what I want to portray to the world more you learn and the more
the user skullsquid. It is a knock- of art? As someone who reviews awareness you gain, the easier it
out, one-on-one, randomly se- many portfolios, I can tell you that will be to move forward. With that

lected showdown. Whoever was seeing a body of work with a voice, being said, each step forward can
interested signed up for it. Pro regardless of skill level, will always be made up of different lengths,
and amateurs were paired up, and stand out first. depenting on your own under-
then waited for the countdown standing of your process, how you
to start. Everyone had a random This is done by looking at all as- think and what you love doing.
oponent, and you were only told pects of your body of work, and re-

who you were up against on day moving or adding images or parts
one. After each round ended, you of them while creating. This should Bjorn Hurri is a concept artist,
posted your entry publicly, for also be applied to the work you do known for his speed and imagina-
everyone, and most importantly, when adding images, but if you tion. Born in Sweden, Bjorn relo-
saw your opponent’s entry. There limit yourself too much creatively, cated to London filling his resume
was a body of judges who went it can cause you to stop yourself with clients such as NCsoft, Catalyst
through all of them, and voted dead in your tracks. Game Labs and SEGA whilst work-
for each one. There were less and ing for several years on a number
less people each round, until it One thing about editing yourself, of AAA titles before joining Opus
was down to two competitors and is that you have to own it. Don’t Artz as Lead Artist.
who would be the “last man stand- worry too much about what other
ing”. The reason I bring this up is people want you to do or how you
that much like university exams, should do it. There should always
work, or competitions, one would be a seperation between your
really need to apply oneself. That inner world and the outer world
included sketching it out properly around you. Strength comes from
and making sure the idea, level of being unique within the frame-
finish, and tactics against your op- work of the big picture.
ponent’s weaknesses paid off. It’s
really important to find that moti- There are many ways of self-ed-
vator, that drive to know yourself. iting your work, but perhaps the
most amusing way to see this
Do you need advice concerning paper quality, design
I would love to see a community clearly is when you put something
of file specifications? Contact us and we take care of it.
with more emphasis on feedback online. You almost magically see it
From quotation to delivery, we take care of your printing!
and constructive criticism. How in another light. You gauge it dif- +3113 582 09 68
many posts on facebook have you ferently. Before you post anything
seen with actual feedback? Face- online, you should always try to re-

90 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 91


Firestarter: How was Benora Col- ora is to highlight freelance art-

lective founded? What was the ists from Brazil. We noticed that
motivation? many Brazilians with quality work
Mike Azevedo: We are artists that had fewer opportunities than they
come from different parts of Brazil. could. This was a way for us to
We met online and decided to set gain more visibility as group rath-
up a collective. Our main goal has er than being separate just with
always been to learn together and individual projects.
share work, referring the artists of
the group when we are not avail- F: What is the most important
able for a job. Besides the work, thing for a group of artists like Be-
we have fun learning with each nora to succeed?
other, always keeping in touch MA: The keywords are proactiv-
through hangouts even when we ity and hardwork. We believe in
are not talking about a project. We the importance of always creating
realized that it was something that something new and be willing to
other countries had, but was miss- improve and make sure that all
ing here in Brazil. This way we also the members support the idea.
seek to encourage other Brazilians As freelancers sometimes we feel
to follow the path of art. alone, and that can be a tough sit-
uation for an artist. It is very cool
F: How were the artists chosen to and important to have a group of
be Benora members? friends that help each other to im-
MA: We chose the benora mem- prove by giving feedback.
bers from our group of friends that
were freelancers. A Benora artist F: What would you all say for any
must have the will to learn and artist who wants to create a group
help, not just settle with their cur- like Benora? What would you say
rent quality, and aiming to thrive to him/her?
as a freelancer artist. Being trust- MA: Get together with people you
worthy is another important as- trust! In professional and personal
pect of our members, so each one terms trust is very important. We
of us is prepared to honor his du- are not just professionals work-
ties, be a good example to future ing together, we are great friends
artists, and naturally supportive to who trust each other and seek to
is an illustrator and concept artist is an illustrator who grew up in is an illustrator from Rio de Janei- is an illustrator who grew up in
each other. We put friendship be- inspire and strengthen one anoth- from Osasco (SP), currently work- Hortolândia (SP), a small Bra- ro (RJ). He is an artist that loves São Manuel (SP), a small town
fore business. er. After the group is established, ing as a Splash Art Illustrator for zilian town. He studied graphic to draw characters, creatures in Brazil. He studied graphic
make sporadic meetings, create League of Legends (Riot Games). design in college, where he dis- and create worlds. His love for design and graduated in 2015.
F: What is your main objective? challenges and goals to keep the Loves crazy colors and sketching covered his passion for illustra- RP-Games fuels his imagination Nowadays he lives in São Paulo
MA: The main objective of Ben- motivation and the flame burning. smiling creatures. tion and fantastical worlds. to work as a fantasy illustrator. making fantasy illustrations.

92 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 93


is an illustrator since 2008 and is an artist that grew up in a was born in Belém (PA) and is an eternal student eager to is an illustrator from Belo Hori- was born in Curitiba (PR), and is
currently works mainly with il- small city in the countryside of later moved to Curitiba (PR). learn and challenge himself. As zonte (MG), Brazil. Graduated in the co-founder and head of vi-
lustration and concept art. Pas- Brazil and loves to paint fantasy He was always imaginative as a a kid he was influenced by asian graphic design and with a fine sual development of Fish Films,
sionate about art in general, he themes. Currently working as a child, influenced by the series modern fantasy and western art background he has worked a Brazilian studio that produces
has studied drawing, traditional freelancer artist producing illus- he liked to watch as a kid. Born tales. He managed to find his side by side with professionals feature films, short films and an-
painting, sculpture, 3D art and trations for several companies. in the 80’s, he was Inspired by way in the industry by always from different areas, creating imation series.
is always looking forward to im- different universes and has the dedicating himself to the things illustrations for advertising and
proving his skills and knowledge. goal to inspire others. he loved. video games in the past 7 years.

94 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 95

Grafit studio is an outsourcing How it All Started ed this momentum to continue. If
company based in Russia. With a We were admittedly not profes- our first ’shot’ was a cozy art meet-
ten year history of making all sorts sional event planners, but our lack up, the next one needed to be
of art, it started as a small busi- of formal training didn’t hinder our louder, bigger: epic. As we gained
ness launched by a group of close ambition or our desire to make the the trust of our attendees with our
friends – and now it is one of the fantastic happen. After the success first event, we recieved a high de-
best outsourcing studios in Rus- of our first Artillery, there was no mand for tickets in turn, which was
sia. We work primarily in the video doubt in our minds that we need- both encouraging and frightening.
games industry, but among our
artistic works there are book illus-
trations, movie posters, concepts,
and more.

When we opened a new office in

St. Petersburg two years ago, we
launched an art event with the
hopes it would become the great-
est that Russia has ever seen. As
the studio keeps growing, so too,
does the festival. This year, on
June 24th, the second Artillery art
festival drew twice as many partic-
ipants as it did last year.

96 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition June 2018 | 97

art is created for video games and fore long, they grabbed the book anatomy course they had ever
movies, there will always be peo- and started sketching. We brought been to. The guests had an oppor-
ple interested in traditional art. in nude models and cosplayers for tunity to work with clay and sculpt
There is still such a strong connec- hands-on figure drawing, giving alongside skilled instructors. An-
tion between the old and the new. everyone an opportunity to use drea Blasich, an esteemed tradi-
As such, we decided to engage their newfound knowledge, show tional and digital sculptor from
traditional artists as well. At first, we what they’ve learned, or take pic- San Fransisco, was scheduled to
were referring to our event a “festi- tures for reference. not only give a lecture but also
val of digital art”, but soon realized joined in on the sculpting class,
we didn’t want to paint ourselves Sculpture which made everyone love him
into a corner by dividing the two. A huge portion of Artillery was even more.
We gave our each of our guests a dedicated to traditional sculpture.
sketchbook as a little gift to sketch Grafit studio’s friends at SculptArt And last, but not least: A presen-
and make notes with, even though studio (also based in St. Peters- tation of our Alien sculpture creat-
many of them didn’t arrive plan- burg) had space in their hall to ed by Grafit Studio co-owner and
ning to draw at the event. As a perform lectures and master-class- art director, Lev Boyko, and the
result, they were inspired by the es throughout the day. Many from SculptArt team headed by Alex-
atmosphere and speakers, and be- the audience praised it as the best ander Spiridonov. It was a dream
brought to life by a team of sculp-
tors, artists and engineers. The
sculpture is a perfect lookalike of
the original Alien from Ridley Scott
movie, and we think Hans Giger
would agree with us. It took us three
Speakers spired by one of his artworks that Mickael Lelievre gave us the op- long months of hard work, night
Last year, we had a perfect lineup later went home with him to Ma- portunity to watch how he creates shifts, several buckets of clay, and
of friends as well as amazing art- drid. This is a perfect illustration of his little monsters, spending a many unexpected materials. Our
ists, including Even Mehl Amund- what we try to do: bring together great deal of his time answering mistakes and challenges became
sen, Jesper Ejsing, and Mike not only artists, but also blend dif- questions from the audience. It the 2.5 metre long monster, reach-
Azevedo. This time, however, we ferent disciplines to create unex- was heartwarming to watch peo- ing out of a hole in the wall. We still
wanted to gather artists from all pected matches. ple coming up to the stage to can’t quite believe we made it hap-
corners of the vast world of art. We look over the speaker’s shoulder, pen, but this huge testament to our
summoned 2D and 3D masters Lip Comarella is perhaps the far- breaking the imaginary line that hard work makes us believe.
whose styles, experiences, mind- thest out of the box: a multi-media divided them.
sets, and choice of media created specialist who crafted his own little What’s Next?
great variety. world with light and vivid colors in- In order to go back to our roots This year, we had 8 speakers and
spired by the dreamy Alps, where we also had traditional art on the 600 guests, showing us the neces-
As a result, we had an impressive he spent his childhood. Lip told us menu. Local academic tutor Vitaliy sity of our event and appreciation
roster of professionals. For 2D art, about the charming indie game Ekleris joined the sketch-party (life of what we do. This ongoing sup-
we had one of the most notable his small company, Salon Alpin, drawing session) to instruct a mas- port is the main engine of progress
cg-artists in the world, Ruan Jia, created, “Old Man’s Journey”.   ter-class. Even though many artists for us, and we are already thinking
to discuss his experience and his work with digital in the modern about the next one. There are al-
methods using light and color. As for 3D, Andrea Chiampo, the age, artists are still expected and ways ways to do things better, but
youngest speaker on the stage, encouraged to have a strong foun- what we don’t want to change is
Ayran Oberto, well-known for his gave a speech about the many dation in drawing and painting. the high standard we have set for
extraordinary portraits of warped forms of software he’s been using. ourselves. See you next year!
faces, regaled us with how it all He gave us a fantastic description Meanwhile, in the next building
started for him and his use of clas- of Lego, pizza, and life as a free- over, Sergey Kurbatov, a world-re- Photos by: Askhat Bardynov, Alex-
sic concepts and composition. lance artist. Despite Andrea’s age, knowned watercolorist from Rus- andra Fisher, Igor Artyomenko
Along with new friends and end- he has conquered many challeng- sia, sat surrounded by people who Artillery: Second Shot
less questions, Ayran recieved an es that have transformed him into watched him cast his ’water magic’. (June 24th, 2017)
unexpected gift created by Mikhail a formidable artist. We can all see No matter how entwined our world Venue: Lumiere Hall
Chavushyan: a clay sculpture in- that he is on his way up.   is with digital now, or how much (St. Petersburg)

98 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Artillery 99

“The animation industry is rapidly will be produced by Johannes- Other industry events at the annu-
growing, and it has the potential burg-based creators at Bugbox al festival include workshops on
to be one of our biggest creative Animation, in collaboration with how to prepare and present your
export products,” says Monica Folimage in France. pitch bible, panel discussions on
Rorvik, Head of Film and Media skills building initiatives and trans-
Promotion at Wesgro, the official “We are delighted to be involved formation in the industry, as well as
Tourism, Trade and Investment with the Festival for the seventh talks about funding, and the results
Promotion agency for Cape Town year,” says Frédéric Chambon, of the recent animation survey.

CTIAF and the Western Cape. “Our an-

imators are among some of the
best in the world, and Wesgro
Head of Film and Media, French
Embassy/Institute of South Africa.
“The French and South African ani-
The Schools’ student competition
has been expanded to include high

CAPE TOWN strongly supports opportunities

such as the Festival that create
platforms for them to connect
mation industries have a long histo-
ry of collaboration, and the Festival
has, over the years, provided many
schools this year, with Nickelodeon
once again sponsoring a phenom-
enal opportunity for two students
and to thrive.” fruitful opportunities for growth and to undergo an internship at Nickel-
collaboration within the sector.” odeon in Burbank, California.
South Africa’s rise to prominence
Proudly presented by Animation on all three fronts – original con-
SA, the seventh Cape Town Inter- tent, service work, and tertiary ed-
national Animation Festival takes ucation – was exemplified at the
place from the 2nd to the 4th 2016 Annecy International Festi-
of March, 2018, in Cape Town, val of Animation, where we were
South Africa. honoured with three nominations,
and two awards. Arid, a student
Offering something for all ages, film from The Animation School,
the annual Festival brings profes- was the first student film from Af-
sionals and enthusiasts a chance rica ever to be accepted into the
to catch some of the world’s best Official Selection in the gradu-
animated films, as well as an ex- ation film category. Stick Man, a
citing range of masterclasses and TV Special created by Triggerfish,
workshops with global industry in collaboration with Magic Light
leaders, providing a rare opportu- UK, won the Cristal for Best TV
nity to engage with them. Production, and ’n Gewone Blou
Maadagoggend, an original short
The CTIAF has become a signif- business-to-business sessions, African talent, while presenting by Naomi Can Niekerk, won the
icant fixture on the international producer events, networking op- the opportunity for industry play- Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for Best
festival calendar, and provides a portunities, government panel ers to gain access to global icons First Film.
platform and marketplace for the discussions, as well as student in the field. We aim to be a gate-
fast-growing African animation competitions, an outreach pro- way for the African industry, while Annecy 2016 also yielded our first
industry. In 2017, it received 221 gramme, and outdoor screenings. connecting animation creators ever French/South African co-pro-
entries for submissions from 40 CTIAF celebrates the depth of our from around the world. duction: the preschool series
countries. The Festival also hosts internationally recognised South property, Musi & Cuckoo, which John Shuzo Shiota and Wendy Spinks.

100 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 2nd–4th March 2018 | Images: ©CTIAF 101
tralia. For South-African owned
properties, our Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI) offers
a rebate of up to 35% on qual-
ified spending in South Africa.
DTI also offers incentives for for-
eign-owned projects on produc-
tion and post-production that is
completed in South Africa.

Under the auspicious Department

of Arts and Culture, The National
Film and Video Foundation also
offers development and produc-
tion support for locally-produced
projects. At the moment, Africa
has a unique opportunity; audi-
ences and networks are looking
for a new voice and, it may well be
Africa that provides one. It is these
creators that will provide a differ-
ent look, a different voice, or a dif-
ferent story.

Ultimately, the festival is a chance

to celebrate the work and the
teams that create it. It’s a chance to • Bugbox studios won the pitch, • It has also been successful in the South Africans with creative, chal-
share knowledge with our global and is now partnered with Folim- building of social capital within lenging and fulfilling jobs.
partners. But most importantly, it’s age Studios in a co-production to the SA animation industry, where
a chance to celebrate Africa, and produce the series. many studios have historically It seeks to facilitate the growth
promote the incredible talent here been competing. The results can and evolution of South Africa’s an-
on this continent. • In 2013, a formal partnership be- be seen in the white papers Ani- imation industry by:
tween the world-renowned Parks mation SA drew up for the DTI in
Now in its seventh year, the CTIAF based Gobelinsl’ecole de l’image, February 2014, on how incentives • Creating new business oppor-
(previously called Kunjanimation and the Animation School in Cape for the industry could be altered tunities, by identifying and coor-
Animation Festival) is the largest Town, with a contract for the next to help SA become more globally dinating export missions to key
event of its kind on the continent three years. competitive. markets
The Festival has enjoyed great
The Outreach programme has says Peter Kwele, Head of Com- successes in its goal of creating a • Successful talks between the NFVF, ANIMATION SA • Conducting and participating in
also grown, and will be hosted at munications and Marketing for the platform for the art and business GFC, DTI and Animation SA, towards Animation SA is a non-profit or- global market research.
the Isivivana centre in Khayelitsha. NFVF. “We have the potential to of South African animation. These adopting an incubator/cluster mod- ganisation mandated by industry
There will be movies in the morn- be a hub for the global industry, successes have included: el for animation development and to develop, promote and repre- • Creating knowledge-sharing op-
ing, drawing classes, and various and we are working towards real- production, with a research delega- sent South African animation. It portunities to grow the skills of our
workshops to teach the funda- ising that vision.” • In 2014 they hosted a delega- tion sponsored by the French Insti- believes that animation plays a animation professionals
mentals of animation. This special tion from France, and through that tute of South Africa planned to coin- vital role in transforming South
programming aimed at address- The South African Government is partnership launched the special cide with Annecy in June 2015. Africans by articulating our values • Helping bring our studios and
ing emerging creatives’ need is committed to ensuring the con- SA MIFA call to pitch during the to ourselves, our children, and the their original properties to mar-
vital in addressing the issues that tinued success of our burgeoning 2015 Annecy Festival. • Ties strengthened between the rest of the world. In this way, its vi- ket-readiness
African Filmmakers face. industry, by making such partner- French and South African Anima- sion is to help build the South Af-
ships possible. We have co-pro- • This resulted in a special pitch tion industry, with a successful del- rican brand through the medium • Consulting with government on
Indeed, it seems there is no limit to duction treaties with the UK, platform at MIFA for several SA egation of French producers hav- of animation. It is dedicated to cre- policy and strategy, building the
the industry’s potential. “South Af- Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, studios. ing visited in November of 2013 ating a healthy, self-sustaining an- framework that will enable the ani-
rican animation is truly evolving,” Canada, New Zealand, and Aus- and 2014. imation industry, which provides mation industry to thrive.

102 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 103

EDGE CONTROL Legend of the Cryptids (Applibot), character and story-driven sketch- houses like EA, and on big movies

TORONTO He has had many prestigious cli-

ents like Blizzard, Guerrilla Games,
Games Workshop and Direwolf.
a-day series Tegn.

Nacho is a Toronto-based senior

like Guardians of the Galaxy. Alex
additionally puts out tutorials for
various magazines and art outlets.
Mike also works as an educator at concept artist working at Ubisoft. She does workshops fairly regu-
a school in São Paulo. Prior to his work in this industry, he larly, and currently works in adver-
studied graphic design and web- tising. Alex has a unique body of
Edge Control Expo is two day local Even is a Norwegian artist that has site building. He has done work work with incredible pieces that
event in Toronto, Canada, that we been working in the concept art in- for multiple game studios and push the boundaries of design
began last year. We bring in six art dustry for seven years. His experi- rose to an art director position and art standards.
industry professionals from around ence includes Volta, a well-known within Ubisoft.
the world to share their knowledge studio in Quebec that has done Joon, originally from Korea, is a
and experience with the communi- work for Ubisoft and Riot Games. Alex is a freelance concept artist senior concept artist, currently at
ty. Our guest speakers give lectures Now he is working as a freelance based in Cambridge, UK. She has Riot Games on the world-building
and demos, and provide portfolio artist, and has gained a substantial a wealth of experience within the team. He also teaches a class at
reviews alongside other industry following over the last year with his field, working for gaming power- Brainstorm in Pasadena, Califor-
veterans that we invite to the event. nia. He has an incredible design
sense, a uniquely gorgeous body
For our 2017 event this year, the of work, and a wealth of technical
guest speakers lined up were: knowledge.
• Jana Schirmer
• Mike Azevedo The event spanned two days, for
• Even Amundsen up to twelve hours a day, with
• Nacho Yague three different artists: Each pro-
• Alex Brady vided a lecture and demonstration
• Joon Ahn Even Mehl Amundsen for every day. All the invited artists
were given two hours to show their
Jana is a self taught artist, based the Cryptids (Applibot). She con- Mike is an Illustrator and concept presentation. During the demo
in Germany. Her highly detailed il- tinues to present workshops glob- artist based in São Paulo, Brazil. He half of the presentation, the audi-
lustrative work has given her cred- ally, and is always developing her has worked on many notable proj- ence was afforded a chance to ask
it for some of the biggest fantasy style as an artist. ects like League of Legends (Riot questions directly to the presiding
RPG properties, such as Legend of Games), Hex (Cryptozoic), and Mike Azevedo speakers.

104 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition August 2018 | Images: ©Edge Control 105
This year we included an hour us to realize the great value of live this, so why don’t we start some- unique to share with the audience.
long panel after the presentation events. There is so much talent in thing?” Of course, it was a lot more We had a highly motivating pre-
for predetermined questions. The Toronto! It’s ridiculous! But people work than we anticipated, but in sentation from Mike Azevedo that
panel was hosted by Frank Hong don’t have many opportunities to the end, the efforts we put in were hyped us all up for the rest of the
of Crush Visual (studio in Toronto). connect with each other and form definitely worth it. event. Even Amundsen gave us a
This allowed for some interesting a community. witty and informative talk about
answers that the presenters were Last year’s event (and our very world building, and the power of
able to discuss back and forth. At the time, we were students first) went far better than we could character archetypes. And to end
of RobotPencil, classes created have ever hoped for. We had more the first day, there was a surprising
After the panel, the attendees got by Anthony Jones. Kalen Chock, in attendance than we expected, and heartwarming joint-presenta-
the chance to recieve portfolio also a teacher at Robotpencil, was and the lectures were both infor- tion from Jana Schirmer and her
from not only our presenters, but hosting a livestream one day, and mative and highly motivational. husband Mathias (an art director
six equally amazing artists who mentioned how some of his stu- We owe a lot to the guest speak- at Blizzard). By the second day,
generously shared their time and dents in the past had managed ers, our portfolio reviewers, and people were already getting into
expertise. We made sure that ev- to gather artists from around the our supporters, who were so in- the swing of things. It started with
ery attendee was afforded the world for their event, Creative teractive and helpful during those Nacho Yague giving us some real
chance to get a personal review Juice Expo. The students planned fantastic two days. Speakers were talk with a universally appreciable
without a rush from their favourite it all, they took care of flights and drawing during the after-party, lecture that gave us some life ad-
artist and the others. itinerary, managed logisics for Crush Visual brought prints, and vice. Alex nonchalantly dropped
lodging, anything they needed. attendees brought art books to a mind-blowing 3DSMax demo.
We started by bringing guest He told the stream that they didn’t share with other guests. We were And to finish off the lecture seg-
speakers that are not only badass care where they slept or anything, very pleased to learn that some ments, Joon Ahn presented us
artists, but those we felt stood “Just buy us some burritos and it of our participants were even of- with a brilliant art breakdown,
out from the crowd and offered a would be all good”. fered jobs. demonstrating his knowledge by
unique perspective to their pro- hitting an instant painting button!
cess, this industry, and the journey That gave us a thought: “Hey, we This year’s event was even better. His demo was that quick! And this
accompanying it. could do this ourselves! Toronto Each talk was informative. Each was just the lectures.
doesn’t have much going on like speaker had something truly
We started Edge Control partial-
ly because we felt there was not
enough happening in Toronto. Of
course, there are always loads of
forums, resources, and a vibrant
online community that anyone
can utilize, but in a way, we felt it
lacking something. Ultimately, we
felt these learning resources didn’t
do anything to nurture the artist
outside of their craft. Artists need
more than just art to grow as pro-
fessionals: They need real-world
experiences, other interests, and
most importantly, the ability to
step outside of their comfort zone,
and into other walks of life and

The impact of physically being in

a room with like-minded peers
was something we hadn’t real-
ly felt before until we attended a
Schoolism Live event in Toronto.
That alone sparked the catalyst for

106 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 107

Being a relatively new event, we a spark and kinship that you per- to keep it a personal experience
wanted to try something different, haps haven’t felt before, or in a by limiting our seat capacity. That
and introduced a one-hour panel very long time. gives everyone a chance to speak,
with some of the guest peakers breathe, and have fun without be-
and portfolio reviewers, on both The purpose of these events isn’t ing too overwhelmed.
days. That might have been the just for lectures or seeing favou-
highlight for many attendees. The rite artists. It’s a place to connect Some of the things we’d like to
casual discussion format gave the with the same kinds of people who experiment with are not only ways
artists the ability to speak on a va- hole themselves up day and night to make ECE an event to make
riety of different topics, but also in their homes drawing, painting, friends at, but a place where we
share their personal experiences and modelling. It’s almost guar- can connect you with studios, job
and philosophies on art and life. It anteed that you will meet people opportunities, and more. This will
was refreshing and informative to that will help foster your growth be a more complicated aspect to
hear so many different points of as an artist. You may be talking to incorporate into our endeavors:
view in response to the same ques- the CEO of some game studio, It will depend entirely on studios’
tions. Of course, no event is com- or maybe, you might meet a fu- job openings, the time of the
plete without a sweet after-party. ture business partner. Something openings, the location of the stu-
For this year’s event, we reserved might be said that inspires you, or dio, etc. It is an idea of many, and
a family-owned pub with a homey, ignites the right creative spark to not a guaranteed aspect of the
relaxed interior. It gave everyone a fuel your next project. There are event Spreading awareness about
chance to chill, unwind, and simply endless possibilities. Organic con- the creative industry is something
enjoy one another’s company over nections like these just don’t hap- we’re focused on. To quote Mike
good beers and chicken wings. We pen over the internet Azevedo, we should be grateful
are so glad to see that the event is that we get to draw every day for a
gaining recognition, simply by vir- At the same time, however, you living. Before Edge Control began,
tue of those in attendance. We had realize that it isn’t just about net- our group visited grade schools to
a ton of industry pros take notice working, and learning: At some present what we were studying
of our efforts and attend after see- point, after spending so much time in college, and what this industry
ing the value it offered. here, you remember that we’re all is. Many of them had an interest
people. Artists in the industry can in games, movies, and animation.
If we were to romanticize it a little sometimes be so glorified by the With the added bonus of con-
bit, there was almost a magical community that it is easy to disas- cept art’s growing popularity, we
feeling: When you are crammed sociate the fact that they are the learned that at least a few of them
in a place with so many artists you same as you. Human. They all go knew what we were talking about.
look up to and find out you are all through the same struggles on It came as a surprise to learn that
like minded individuals. It ignites the same paths, and some of them in all of these presentations, none
might even have a similar person- of them knew what a few of these
ality. But until you meet these peo- fields even were. At the end of
ple that many consider heroes, it’s each lecture, we found that the
hard to fully grasp that concept. To majority of students reacted pos-
us, this is probably the most im- tively, and were curious to learn
portant thing. We want everyone more about the creative industry.
to be seen as equals.
Creatives want more events like
Every year that ECE is hosted, we this in Toronto because of this.
will learn that much more, and ap- We hope that Edge Control can
ply that knowledge to create an eventually grow into something
even better event that is even more that does much more than merely
memorable. Our primary goal is offering knowledge and construc-
to build and connect with the lo- tive criticism. We want to give peo-
cal community – then bridge them ple an experience that truly con-
with the global one. But when it tributes to their growth, both as an
comes to event specifics, we’ll aim artist and as individuals.

108 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 109

The festival FUTURO is based in
the beautiful Bulgarian city of Var-
na, which is located on the coast
of the Black Sea, with millennial
cultural and historical traditions.
This event is first of all is motiva-
tional, opening doors for young
artists, searching for answers and
putting them in the same room
with professionals in entertain-
ment industries.

Varna is the third largest city in ucation, tourism, entertainment, cropolis and dates all the way back Eddie Bennun Mathias Zamecki
Bulgaria, and the largest city and healthcare. The city is referred to to 4200–4600 BC. FUTURO  2017
seaside resort on the Bulgarian as the Maritime Capital of Bulgar- will be the third consecutive edi-
Black Sea Coast. Situated strategi- ia, and headquarters the Bulgari- tion of the event, and with every
cally in the Gulf of Varna, the city an Navy and merchant marine. In passing year, it gains more and
has been a major economic, so- 2008, Varna was designated seat more noteriety. The event was cre-
cial and cultural centre for almost of the Black Sea Euro-Region by ated as the brainchild of sculptor
three millennia. Historically known the Council of Europe. In 2014, Zhivko Donchev and the world-re-
as Odessos, it grew from a small Varna was awarded the title of Eu- knowned artist Victor Kalvachev.
Thracian seaside settlement to a ropean Youth Capital 2017. Here, Lecturers in the first iteration in-
major seaport on the Black Sea. antiquity blends with the new. The cluded Michael Defeo, Igor-Alban
Varna is now an important hub oldest gold jewelry in the world Chavalier, Pierre Alary and Victor
for business, transportation, ed- was discovered in the Varna Ne- Kalvachev.

110 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition August 2018 | 111

Aris Kolokontes NIkolay Stanev digital arts. This year, we are rais-
ing the bar, and we invited artists
like Darek Zabrocki, Michal Kus,
Mathias Zamecki, Aris Kolokontes,
and our special guest Jean-Bap- CG Master Academy, the leading online art school, offers art students over 70 courses exploring con-
tiste Monge. Jean is a French Illus-
cept art, modeling and texturing, VFX and gaming. Tailored for artists of all skill levels, CGMA’s course
trator, author, painter since 1994,
creating his own illustrated tales offerings directly speak to the industry’s current demands and trends. The instructors of these courses
in books. He currently resides in are working professionals in the computer graphics space, with some of the biggest motion pictures
Montréal, Quebec and now works and games on their resume. The quality of education CGMA has cultivated can truly be shown in the
as a character designer and visu-
al development artist for CG ani-
talent enrolled at the academy. With their affordable prices and high-quality curriculum, CGMA has
mations and films. He is member made their name as the leading online provider in arts education.
of the Society of Illustrators in NY.
Some of his clients include Walt
Disney Imagineering, Sony Pic-
tures Animation, Digital Domain,
and Blizzard Entertainment. Jean
and Aris are the favorites of thou-
Michael Defeo is a sculptor with a son is what sparked the spirit of sands of artists working in the dig-
specialty in translating 2-D char- the event, and set the stage for the ital arts community. Their works
acter designs into full-fledged FUTURO festival. are the subject of many searches
3-D models. He hand-built the for inspiration, and a great deal of
modeling and sculpting studios In our second iteration, our guests young artists look up to them and
at Blue Sky Studios and served as were Igor-Alban Chavalier, Darek try to match their success.
the head of each for fifteen years. Zabrocki, Alfonso de la Torre, Leo
Alongside his peers at Blue Sky, Haslam, Nikola Matkovic, and Besides lectures and live demos,
Michael brought countless char- many more. The lecturers shared at FUTURO Festival, there are pri-
acters to life for properties like a wide range of knowledge, skills vate workshops, portfolio reviews,
Ice Age, Robots, Horton Hears a they had developed over the art talks, and parties on the beach,
Who, Rio, and Epic. With the help years, as well as tips and tricks to where everyone is able to gather
of Illumination Entertainment, Mi- getting in the industry. From con- together in a personal, tight-knit
chael spent the better part of two cept art to 3D printing, the event atmosphere. FUTURO is a unique
years in the city of Paris, helping to was saturated with quality educa- experience, where the participants
create characters for Despicable tion, and importantly, lots of fun. receive quality education, and a Marco Nelor
Me 2, The Lorax, Minions, The Se- There were also many younger chance to have a great time with
cret Life of Pets, and many others. faces present who demonstrated industry giants.
to the audience that everyone has
For the past 20 years, Igor-Alban something to show in the world of You are all welcome! :)
Chavalier i.e. The Black Frog, has
provided a considerable amount
of designs, illustrations, sculpts,
and storyboards for films such as
X-Men, Brotherhood Of The Wolf, Pablo Carpio
Harry Potter, The Flintstones, and
Dracula Untold (to name just a
few) and has worked many of to-
day’s leading companies in the
video game industry. Some of his
clients include DreamWorks, War-
ner Bros, Marvel, Disney and many
more. Introducing young artists to
great names such as these in per- Jean-Baptiste Monge
Ilona Winkler Aaron Limonick

112 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Futuro 113

IAMC animated film, The Prince of Egypt,
in 1995. Shortly after completing
Ian McQue
Ian is a concept artist and illustra-
James Paick
James Paick is the founder and

PARIS work for The Prince of Egypt, Carter

moved to Los Angeles, where he
continued to contribute character
tor. He has spent over 20 years
working in the video game indus-
try as lead concept artist and assis-
Creative Director at Scribble Pad
Studios, with over fifteen years
of design experience. Under his
design to various feature animated tant art director for the best-selling direction, Scribble Pad Studios
films. Some of those films include Grand Theft Auto series. He is now has been responsible for creat-
Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., freelance, mainly working in visual ing some of the most memorable
The Master Classes are an exten- In addition, we have made greater Peter de Sève Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimar- development for film. His recent environments and moments in
sion of the wide array of creative efforts to get more artists involved Peter de Sève’s work spans over ron, Sinbad, Open Season (director clients include 20th Century Fox, entertainment design. James has
content that we provide online in VR. We have brought in true three decades; with various forms of character design), Despicable Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros, developed many projects within
at IAMAG. They detail a yearly trailblazers who are up to the task. of media, including magazines, Me (lead character designer), Ho- and Sony Pictures. the gaming, film, theme park, il-
snapshot of what the best artists We’re happy to have Goro Fujita books, print and television adver- tel Transylvania, The Croods (lead lustration, entertainment, and ad-
have to offer. Whether they’re an- back – along with Jama Jurabaev, tising, animated films, and maga- character designer), Ratatouille Anthony Eftekhari vertising fields. His clients have in-
imators, concept artists, VFX / FX and Maggie Oh (ILMxLab artists), zines. He is perhaps best recog- (character designer), and Brave Anthony is a concept artist and cluded Riot Games, Naughty Dog,
artists, directors, all during 3 days to give you new insights about the nized for his many covers gracing (lead character designer). matte painter in the VFX and EA, Sony, Respawn, Epic Games,
in Paris – the world of art never future of art and virtual reality. The New Yorker magazine, and his Games industry. With a decade of Activision, NC Soft, Crystal Dy-
sleeps. Artists who choose to at- character designs for the block- Kris Costa production experience, his talents namics Wizards of the Coast, and
tend will be able to enroll in these This year, we have also added two buster Ice Age franchise (its char- Kris Costa is currently a Creature have led him to work with feature many more.
master classes, recieve portfolio amazing sculptors to our roster: acter Scrat is a veritable interna- Modeling Lead, at Industrial Light films, commercials, television fea-
reviews from the professionals, Kris Costa and Mike Defeo. They tional celebrity). & Magic, and has been contributir- tures, and AAA game cinematics. Victor Navone
and interact with companies seek- work with both traditional materi- ing to their blockbusters for the He currently works as a Senior Art- Victor Navone is a traditional artist
ing new talent. als and digital software. The list is Carter Goodrich past 10 years. An award-winning ist at Blizzard Entertainment, con- and computer animator. He earned
long, however, and there are many Carter Goodrich began his ca- Brazilian CG artist, Kris has partici- tributing to their award-winning his Fine Arts degree from the Uni-
This year, we’re very proud to have more! Other special guests include reer in New York City, working as pated as a character animator, tex- Cinematics team. versity of California in Irvine, and
some of the best character de- James Paick, Pascal Campion, Sam a freelance illustrator in 1983. At ture artist, and a digital modeler worked for several years as a con-
signers in the world: Peter de Sève Nielson,John Nevarez, and Victor the time, he shared a studio with in productions such as  Star Wars: His work can be seen in World ceptual designer and 3D Artist in
and Carter Goodrich, who have Navone, among others. For the full fellow illustrator, Buck Lewis. His The Force Awakens, Kong: Skull Is- of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the game industry. In 1998, Navone
created many of the most beloved list, follow the link below. Here is book and editorial pieces led to land, Warcraft: The Beginning, The StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void and began studying 3D animation in
characters in modern Animation: some information about some of twenty-one published New Yorker Avengers, Transformers 2–5, Pacif- Diablo III. His most recent work his spare time. One of his early ani-
Ratatouille, Brave, Finding Nemo, the incredible artists that will be covers and counting, as well as the ic Rim, Rango, and Pan’s Labyrinth. has been on the animated shorts mation exercises, Alien Song, went
Ice Age, Hotel Transylvania, and part of IAMC 18: opportunity to work as a charac- His tools of choice are ZBrush and from Blizzard’s smash hit game viral online. It caught the attention
The Croods, just to name a few. ter designer for DreamWorks’ first Maya 3D. Overwatch. of Pixar Animation Studios. They

114 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 16th–18th of March 2018 | Images: ©IAMC 115
and Sony Pictures. His work has
been publish in Spectrum Annu-
Two Industry Vets
al, ImagineFX, 3DTotal, Scholastic
Books, HarperCollins Books, and
Seek to Teach
more. Sam currently teaches for
the award-winning animation pro-
Business Savvy to Creatives
gram at BYU, in addition to giv-
ing online classes for Schoolism.
His classes cover lighting, digital
painting, character design, visu-
al development, gesture draw-
ing, digital sculpting, and anima-
tion. He has taught these subjects
at workshops around the world.

Ian McQue Jama Jurabaev

Jama Jurabaev   is   a professional
concept artist, illustrator, a matte
painter. He is currently employed
at Industrial Light and Magic as a
senior concept artist. Jama’s tal-
ents have contributed to a num-
ber of massively popular box of-
fice hits: Marvel’s Avengers: Age The name says it all. There’s a difference between
Of Ultron, X-Men: Days of Future
Past, Guardians of The Galaxy, and making artwork, and making your art work.
Kong: Skull Island.
This is the place we created where that can
Goro Fujita
Goro Fujita is an Art Director, illus- happen for artists!
trator, and visual development art-
ist, currently based in the Bay Area It all started with some PDFs. This inspired the duo to build Wanting to provide deeper dives
Goro Fujita of California. After graduating with more resources, like the popular into specific business topics for
a 3D animation major from the “Artists ask us questions, and we blog Dear AD (dearartdirector. artists Marc and Lauren started
offered him a job as a full-time an- “Sketch of the Day” series: a ritual The German Film School For Dig- noticed a lot of the same questions which became a lining up dynamic pros for a series
coming up over and over. We were place for creatives to get their of ‘intensives’. They kicked off the
imator in 2000. His feature anima- of drawing a new image first thing ital Production, he started working
driving back to Brooklyn from an questions answered anonymously series with this month’s release
tion credits include Monsters Inc., in the morning, from his home stu- freelance as both a character ani- art convention and decided to do of Kick Start Art, an intensive taught
by industry ADs. Then they built an
Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, dio in the San Francisco Bay Area. mator and visual development art- something about it. We created by Stephanie Law who boasts an
online course called Art Business
Cars, Toy Story 3, Brave, The Good More recently, Pascal has expand- ist for various companies though- a series of PDF cheat sheets to impressive Kickstarter campaign
share so we could answer common Bootcamp comprising of written that raised over $100k for her art
Dinosaur, and Finding Dory. ed into fine art with a solo show at out Germany. In 2008, he joined
questions more easily. These PDFs content, video, homework, and live book.
Galerie Arludik in Paris, France. DreamWorks Animation as a visual Q+A group mentorship sessions
flew off the digital shelves, and we
Pascal Campion development artist, and worked to help artists ‘Get Found’, ‘Get
knew there was a need for more of “We had a number of great
Pascal Campion is a prolific Sam Nielson on properties such as Merry Mada- this kind of education,” says Lauren. Hired’, and ‘Get Paid’. resources to share,” says Lauren,
French-American artist, illustrator, Sam Nielson is a concept artist gascar, Megamind, Madagascar 3, Lauren and Marc knew from “and we wanted to create a single
concept designer, character de- and illustrator. Sam’s diverse expe- Penguins of Madagascar, and Boss “We built this because we’re lazy.” experience the importance of the place for all our education work to
signer and animator. His clients rience has given him an in-depth Baby. He left DreamWorks in 2015 Marc Scheff jokes about why he and artist community to success, so they live, while allowing room to make
Lauren Panepinto built the website built that in too. more. We’re really excited about
include Dreamworks Animation, view of creativity, as well as artis- to join Oculus Story Studio in San
Make Your Art Work for artists it, and the response from the art
Paramount Pictures, Disney Fea- tic storytelling. With over two de- Francisco, where he directed art seeking to boost their business “The online group is the heart of the community so far has been really
tures, Disney Toons, Cartoon Net- cades of work in the animation for the Emmy-Award winning VR acumen. community now,” says Marc, “All the really positive.”
work, Hulu, and PBS. Inspired by industry, among his many cred- experience, Henry. Goro well- creative folks in there are sharing
love and passion for his wife and its are game, film, and television known as a pioneer in VR, using ideas, strategies, pro tips, its got a Visit makeyourartwork/firestarter
kids, he has gained tens of thou- work for studios such Walt Disney, tools like Quill and Medium. life of its own.” for updates and a special offer.
sands of fans and followers for his Blizzard Software, Dreamworks,

116 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 117

Once again, ICON MANILA has
gathered a veritable powerhouse
of animators and designers for the
4th international design confer-
ence. The event was held last 30th
of June until 1st of July 2017, at the
De La Salle College of Saint Benil-
de, right in the heart of beautiful
Manila, Philippines.

The ICON Manila Entertainment

Design Conference caters to all
who work in the fields of anima-
tion, film, games, illustration, fine
art, and other visual design.

ICON 2017 featured five outstand-

ing speakers with decades of
proven design experience, further
solidifying Southeast Asia’s grow-
ing impact on the global entertain-
ment design industry.

Once again, the event has been

a smashing success. The 500-seat

118 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition August 2018 | 119

auditorium was packed for both local artist guest Pauline Bautista, Now independent, Tony is cur- numerous book covers, and has Jana Schirmer tel Transylvania. In 2013, Armand
days with visitors from Malaysia, who’s known to her fans as simply rently directing the animated fea- published children’s books and Jana is a self-taught concept artist joined Disney for a second time.
Japan, Singapore and as far as the Punziella, also did a quick demo of ture film, Animal Crackers, set for mobile games. He is currently an and illustrator, born in Cologne, His latest film credits include Big
United States. of her distinct style and technique. release later this year. To top it all art director at Oculus Story Studio, Germany. She currently lives in Ir- Hero 6 and Zootopia. Armand is an
off, he literally wrote the book on and oversees art direction for the vine, California. Her clients include accomplished scholar in animation
Mulan and Animal Crackers direc- SPEAKERS INFORMATION: animation direction: Directing For Emmy award-winning VR experi- Applibot, Bioware, Karakter/Gue- design. He published his first art
tor Tony Bancroft talked about his Animation. He co-hosts a popular ence Henry. Using innovative soft- rilla Games, WB Games, Massive book, Vignettes, in 2016. His new-
experience directing feature an- Tony Bancroft podcast with his twin brother, Tom, ware, such as the VR painting tool Black, Sony, Marvel Comics, Riot est book, Inked, was released last
imated films. Oculus art director, Tony Bancroft is one of the most called The Bancroft Brothers Ani- Quill by Oculus, and Medium. He is Games, Wizards of the Coast, and year in July. Armand is an adjunct
and VR pioneer Goro Fujita did an prominent supervising animators mation Podcast. In his spare time, truly a pioneer of the VR field. many more. professor at Biola University in La
amazing Oculus demo using the in the industry, notable for his role Tony enjoys making balloon ani- Mirada, California, and an online
Quill application, for which he is as co-director of Walt Disney’s mals out of bubble gum. Even Mehl Amundsen Armand Serrano instructor at CG Masters Academy
a main developer. The extremely Brother Bear. In Even’s own words: “I come from Armand Serrano is a Filipino- (
talented German illustrator Jana Goro Fujita a land to the north, with epic land- American visual development
Schirmer demonstrated her prow- With over 29 years in the indus- Goro is an art director, illustra- scapes, old sagas and a tradition artist known for his work at Walt
ess by creating fantastic scenes try, it’s easy to see that Tony loves tor, and visual development artist of exploration. A land of trolls Disney Animation Studios, and
with colour and light. The prolific animation. As a Disney animator, based in the bay area of California. and Vikings, of kings and... well, Sony Pictures Animation. He has
Norwegian illustrator Even Amund- he assisted in the creation of be- After graduating from the German even more Vikings. I have had ex- been in the industry for more than
sen presented his philosophies loved characters like Cogsworth, Film School for Digital Production perience working in most of the two decades. Starting with Hanna
in creating believable characters, from Beauty and the Beast, Iago in in 2005, majoring in 3D anima- relevant disciplines of the field, Barbera Productions in 1990, he
and performed a demonstration Aladdin, Pumbaa in The Lion King, tion, he started work as a freelance though my personal love lies with then worked supervising layouts
of his process, showing us how he and Kronk in The Emperor’s New character animator and visual de- character art and large-scale illus- for Marvel TV three years later. Ar-
builds his iconic Nordic warriors. Groove. He won an Annie Award velopment artist for various com- tration work, both of them being mand joined Disney in 1997 and
Lastly, veteran visual development for his co-direction in Disney’s panies in Germany. In 2008, he vehicles that create and tell sto- worked on properties like Mulan,
artist Armand Serrano presented Mulan. Additionally, Tony was a joined DreamWorks Animation as ries. The key strengths I have are a Tarzan, Brother Bear, and Lilo &
an array of his environmental de- supervisor for animation in the a visual development artist and good understanding of anatomy, Stitch. In 2004, he joined Sony,
sign work in feature films, and ex- production of Stuart Little (Sony worked for properties such as Mer- craftsmanship, designs, and com- and became involved with the pro-
plained the thoughts and design Pictures) supervised animation on ry Madagascar, Megamind, and position.” duction of Surf’s Up, Cloudy With
principles behind them. A special Stuart Little 2 for Sony Pictures. Boss Baby. Goro has illustrated A Chance of Meatballs, and Ho-

120 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Icon Manila 121

IFCC, or the Independent Festival presenters and 500 atteendees THE IFCC SHOW-OFF accessible. The Academy’s pro- This new education platform be-
of Creative Communication, is one from around the globe. The crowd The IFCC Show-Off is possibly the gram is meant to accommodate gan in 2017, marking the start of
of the largest Boonika/Boonar included speakers, recruiters, most important part of the pro- those that are not able to attend a new IFCC chapter that is meant
projects, and the largest inde- IFCC partners, regular attendees, gramme. Attendees get the chance the festival events, but are still inter- to broaden horizons and expand
pendent festival of its kind in the and hundreds who came for the for a portfolio review by top indus- ested in its content and education- the scope of the festival. The IFCC
region. Its primary goal is to pro- related parties and “free-for-all” try professionals. They are also al- al possibilities from some of the main event is certainly something
mote arts and creativity through programs. lowed to show their work off to re- world’s leading creatives in digital to experience, but if you can’t
education and community, espe- cruiters. During IFCC’s 2016 Show media and beyond. IFCCA wishes make the trip, enroll in the IFCC
cially in the fields of art and design Lectures, demos, parties, work- Off program, more than 50 artists to provide learning environments Academy to be a part of the next
within the entertainment industry, shops, recruiting sessions and presented their portfolios on the that are apart from, yet still in re- best thing. Learn, collect experi-
publishing, and advertising. exhibitions are the standard in- main stage. It’s a great opportunity main in conjunction with the IFCC ences, and grow, so that someday,
gredients of the IFCC program. for industry recruiters, profession- program. Along with live work- we might learn from you.
The festival has grown through the By participating in these events, al artists, and beginners to interact shops, the Academy will bridge the
years and has garnered a cult-like attendees recieve valuable infor- while seeing what everyone has to gap between festivals, by offering LIVE WORKSHOPS
following of both speakers and au- mation from some of the best cre- offer. The Show-Off is a great way knowledge shared by profession- In 2017, IFCC expanded its activi-
diences. Anyone who has been to ative voices on the planet. Speak- to present your work, get a great als at the official events online. The ties to include live education sem-
an IFCC event, and experienced ers, recruiters, and attendees alike feel for your strengths and weak- curriculum will cover a wide array inars, that took place prior to, or in
all that it has to offer, won’t be able are all able to mingle throughout nesses with a portfolio review, and of topics, delivered live, directly to lieu of the main festival program.
to forget about it any time soon. the days and nights of the festival. quite possibly, begin a profession- viewers everywhere, through the These IFCC Academy Workshops
This atmosphere creates the ability al relationship. wonders of the Internet. featured prominent industry vet-
The 2017 edition was held over for guests to get to know each oth- erans that taught and worked
three weeks, including live work- er and hang out both formally and IFCC ACADEMY / IFCCA The Academy’s ultimate aim is to with smaller groups of attendees.
shops set before and after the informally, which is one of the best The IFCC Academy was founded allow direct access to education These more intimate classes en-
main attractions, and an ambitious things about IFCC Festival. to make the IFCC program bigger, material presented by our speak- sured a personal approach with
program that included over 60 better, and most importantly, more ers, lecturers and our workshops. every student, directly focused on

122 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 28th of May–2nd of June 2018 | Images: ©IFCC 123
individual needs, while also han- comprehensive overview of con- that you are able to engage from
dling group dynamics in a more cept art, Leon Tukker will throw in any angle. Even if you aren’t cur-
focused manner. his two cents about environment rently involved in developing your
design, and Jort Van Welber- own project, there are always other
IFCC programs are always pre- gen will reveal his approach for creators there that you might con-
sented by professionals that have hard-surface robot design. sider supporting.
proven their worth with impressive
results in the business. The IFCC THE GAME WORKSHOP Think of The Game Workshop as
Academy Workshops are no ex- The IFCC team is never idle. your creative playground. It’s a
ception. So far, the IFCCA’s Live When they are not busy working place to promote your projects,
Workshops have included pre- on their next festival line-up, they learn new skills, write articles, pass
senters like Jama Jurabaev, Aris are devoted to several ongoing on your knowledge to others, and
Kolokontes, and Renaud Forestie. side-projects; the most massive of submit your work for challenges.
Just a simple Google search will which is the ever-evolving Game As a member of The Game Work-
tell you all about their many qual- Workshop. shop community, you can support
ifications. yourself while supporting others,
and – as always, The Game Team
will be there to support you.

IFCC 2018
IFCC 2018 will be all about learn-
ing, teaching and finding out the
best possible choices for your ca-
reer. The festival is partnering up
with some of the most amazing art
schools on the planet, top creative
studios, innovative young compa-
nies, and thousands of profession-
als. All this will be condensed into
Noah Bradley and Marta Nael one awesome force, taking place
in your favourite city with the weird
ONLINE COURSES Are you working on a game, an art name. It’s the festival where knowl-
The newest addition to IFCCA are book? Developing creative tools? edge rules, but hanging out at the
the online courses. Everything is Or perhaps you like to write arti- bar with a pen and sketchbook is
done live, and these classes will be cles about art and design? If that’s a close secon. “What happens in
available on the web for anyone the case, the IFCC collective would Zagreb during IFCC stays in your
looking to strengthen their knowl- like to invite you to become an ac- head forever!” Come on down,
edge in various topics ranging tive member of TGW. Our mission learn, drink, draw, make friends,
from character design to environ- is to help you develop projects, and network!
ments. All of this will be performed and promote them to potential
with the latest tools on the market, customers and investors. This proj- Next year’s Main Event will take
so you’ll be able to not only find ect is meant to encourage you to place from the 28th of May to the
new approaches and workflows, team up with other members of 2nd of June. Every year, the pro-
but get involved with some of the the community, submit articles, gram grows, with 2018 already
most recent exciting add-ons and promote your services, and join gearing up to be the best iteration
programs. TGW challenges. of the event to date.

Currently, a total of four online You are invited to join the club  – IFCC is community funded, with
courses are anticipated for re- not only as a supporter, but as an almost 100% of the budget being
lease this autumn. Elize Ivanova active member of the website. Your collected through ticket sales. By
will be teaching you how to make opinion is valuable. Your input is al- purchasing a ticket, you are essen-
your drawings “jump” off the ways welcome. There are of course tially becoming an IFCC sponsor.
page, Steven Cormann will give a some rules, but the bottom line is

124 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 125

Zamęcki, Star Wars Model Maker
Alexander Hutchings, Jan Urshel,
and 3D Master David Lesperance.
The roster quickly expanded, and
the artists on this awesome lineup
included ILM Senior Concept Artist
Jama Jurabaev, Game of Thrones
concept artist Floris Didden, Axis
Animation Art Director Kan Muftic,
concept artist and illustrator extra-
odinaires Even Mehl Amundsen,
and Jana Schirmer – just to name
a few!

Whilst insightful lectures graced

the main stages of IW, the demo
stages are also not to be missed.
This year’s incredible roster of
artists who showcased their tech-

INDUSTRY WORKSHOPS nique included Jon McCoy, Rich-

ard Anderson, Sean Sevestre,
Miles Johnston, and many more.

LONDON The relaxed format of these demo

stages allows the audience to ask
specific questions about thought
processes and workflow, whilst
seeing them in action.

Industry Workshops is a collective nects the attendee and the lectur- For those who were on the hunt
of London based creatives, with er. Through personal interaction, for their next big job- the studios
a shared interest in establishing discussion panels, recruitment looking to recruit new talent this
a broad-based and vibrant visual and portfolio reviewing, we strive year included ILM, Framestore,
arts community through contin- to build a learning and thriving Vi- Splash Damage, the Creative As-
ued education. sual FX community. sembly, and more.

Founded by Levente Peterffy, Rich- IW_17 included free beers from Besides guests simply being audi-
ard Burns, Daniel Matthews and some of the best craft breweries ence members, IW_17 also provid-
Alex Heath, it now involves many in East London, speciality coffee ed a series of exceptional drawing
experienced VFX professionals made by the great folk from Moth- sessions throughout the weekend
from advertising, film, games and ers Milk, and amazing breakfasts for those wanting to get sucked in.
music videos in freelance and stu- with morning teas made by our Bodies in Motion and pre-eminent
dio capacities. Artist-inspired and favourite cafe, Embassy East of sculptor Scott Eaton featured a Dy-
artist-driven, Industry Workshops Hoxton. Attendees got a swag namic Figure Drawing workshop,
brings together leading visual ef- bag, and merchandise, too – all in- and the Art Model Collective held
fects talents to share their unique cluded in the ticket price of £320. a generous three-hour life draw-
approaches. Spanning three ex- Our venue is the East London in- ing session, along with Jennie
tensive days in vibrant London, stitution The Old Truman Brewery, Webber of Wildlife Drawing, pro-
the event showcases both techni- London E1 6QR. viding an extraordinary live animal
cal and philosophical aspects of drawing experience.
concept art, film, 3D, traditional Our early announcement artist lec-
sketching, digital matte-painting, turers this year were Cristina Laviña IW_17 marked our fourth year run-
and life drawing (to name just a (currently working at Blackbird In- ning, and it’s been quite a ride,
few). Industry Workshops also con- teractive), the ever prolific Mathias each year being bigger than the

126 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition September 2018 | Images: ©Industry Workshops ©Natalia Jaclin Kareta 127
last, involving more interest both tween. We’ve had Oscar-winning money, in a relaxed social setting –
from an artists’ perspective and costume designers and Art Direc- attendees are right in amongst
a professional studio one. What tors, mech designers, and algo- it with leading professionals. IW
started off as a meeting between rithmic programmers. also provides a platform for you to
a small group of friends after a life show your work and get portfolio
drawing session in London, dis- We love to involve friends, or peo- reviews from some of the indus-
cussing how cool it would be to ple we feel can contribute to the try’s leading artists, and all your fel-
have everyone get together to talk energy of the event in a positive low peers. We’re all there to help
about their careers and workflows, way. This can be quite difficult, each other grow and improve!
turned into an international event but is very necessary. We like to
with hundreds of attendees. It’s keep our stages for artists and We have had software developers
a big task to organise something creators, and remove barriers that on site to introduce you to some
like this, but somehow miracu- can sometimes be put up by other of the latest tech around, and re-
lously we’ve managed to keep the big events, so we search for artists cruiters from world class studios
team quite small, so we can make who can teach on both a technical where many attendees have found
things happen, and make sure the and philosophical level. Buying a their dream job (or at least found a
event doesn’t become too corpo- ticket to IW will always ensure that great place to start out.) In a very
rate or watered down. All of our you experience a mind-expanding basic way, it’s just great to get
artists represent what we think are weekend with like-minded artists, people together, where they can
some of the very best elements of forge new friendships and per- discuss a thing that they are really
the entertainment and design in- haps reunite with old friends. It is a passionate about(that doesn’t get
dustry: from 3D product design, way to meet talented people who to happen very often).
to 2D character design, to motion you might admire without having
graphics and everything in be- to spend a tremendous amount of At IW the format is very simple
– one venue, three days of lectur-
ing and presentations. Our most
recent event saw 2 lecture stages,
and a demo space where people
work in real time. That’s nearly
1000 man hours of screen and lec-
ture time! After the event we have
a party, and with a bit of social lu-
brication, it’s a great time to show
your work around! If you’re ever
planning to come to IW, expect to
have your mind broadened and
your vision stretched. Expect to
make new friends and learn from
some of the best around. Expect
to have early mornings and late
nights- it’ll be three full days of
awesome artistic fodder for your
eyes and ears, and most of all, ex-
pect to be inspired!

If you want to know more, please

email us at

128 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 129

push themselves to see beyond
simple perception: which is one
of the key ingredients to a great
concept artist.

Wojtek Fus intimidated everyone

with his vast library of software
used for his design process. He
took time to carefully demonstrate
using video. This was extremely
useful for our participants – show-
ing them the opportunities they
might have by broadening their
horizons in software capabilities,
which can help greatly in moving
your vision from imagination to
production. Many participants re-
marked afterward that they had
decided to take up another medi-

LIK: MEETUP um outside their usual programs.

A great deal of artists in Taiwan are

TAIPEI already familiar with Kekai’s work.

He is well-known for the concepts
he did for Guild Wars, which have
inspired many to become artists
themselves. His work pulls you
right into the fantasy worlds they
are derived from.

Jama’s process is revolutionary,

and up to speed with state-of-the-
art technology like VR. He gave us
a glimpse into how future concept
artists might create their designs.
He starts his creation with model-
ling software like 3DCoat, render-
ing in marmoset, and then display-
ing it in virtual reality.

Darek’s work has always created

LiK: MeetUp is based in the sun- The purpose of the Workshop LiK: MeetUp Workshop We had always known the Leve- their chairs. In addition to typical provacative atmospheres of emo-
ny country of Taiwan. It is orga- is to help bring valuable experi- After half a year of successful meet- lUP! Team to be eager and gen- portfolio reviews, Jonas bought tion and mood. During the Work-
nized by LiKStudios, a visual de- ence in the visual arts industry to ups, we had generated enough buzz erous about sharing their wealth us outside to take photographs of shop, he clearly demonstrates
velopment studio that works for Taiwan. Ultimately, we hope to for a workshop. For our first event, of knowledge. It lined up per- everyday objects, showing us how how to generate ideas quickly,
high-profile game developers. have more artists in Taiwan, which we invited speakers from LevelUP! fectly with our own ideology, so we can create meaningful design and capture the emotions in a
Since its very first session, LiK:- will help us stay connected to the (Jonas De Ro, Darek Zabrocki, and of course, our first guests had to from abstraction. It was great to painting. He also showed us how
MeetUP has been ongoing every global creative industry. Through Wojtek Fus), and recieved an over- be them. Jonas taking the class see so many artists out enjoying loose brush strokes could give
month since June of 2015, fol- these events, we hope to inspire whelmingly positive response. That out for photo reference gather- the sunshine, taking in tiny details breathing room to a piece, and
lowed by the first annual work- and motivate younger artists to encouraged us to plan for the sec- ing. One of our main goals was that ordinarily went unnoticed. Af- increase efficiency. It’s not hard
shop in December, and a second achieve their dreams and to know ond workshop. We had the honor to ensure interaction between terward, Jonas used the photos to see why his work is beloved by
workshop in October of 2016. they can recieve income doing of hosting Kekai Kotaki, Jama Ju- participants and the speakers. We he took to create a painting for people all over the globe.
what they love. rabaev, and Darek Zabrocki. also wanted to get folks out of the group. That helped everyone

130 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition March 2018 | Images: ©LiK: MeetUp 131
We also wanted to try something your comfort zone, the industry, LiK: MeetUp Monthly Talk
different with our second work- and finding happiness. From our Every month, we invite one or
shop, by demonstrating how survey, many said they were so two speakers to share with the art
three different artists might finish inspired by what was shared, they community here. The speakers are
a painting together. Each artist felt it was life-altering. usually Taiwanese or artists based
took turns finishing one piece, in Taiwan with a lot of experience.
which made for an interesting way The combined effort from all our Similar to our workshop, many of
of interpretting how three differ- guest speakers and professionals these monthly talks discuss the
ent professionals used their tech- helps nurture our creative industry creation process. There is no live
nique and experience to complete in Taiwan. We believe that positive demonstration, but the creators are
a project. Meanwhile, while one energy is contagious! Since our able to share invaluable knowledge
was painting, the other two would last workshop, many participants about how they think and work.
be engaged with the audience, from neighboring Asian countries
covering topics like getting out of have since joined in. Occasionally, we invite copyright
lawyers to share topics regarding
current law, and legal issues. The
lawyers even draft out a template
contract for artists and clients who
might wish to work on a project to-
gether. They stress the importance
of signing a contract, and how to
read it, as it safeguards both par-
ties against any future misunder-
standing. This is especially import-
ant in Taiwan, as in many Asian
countries, there is not much in the
habit of legal agreement for such
things. Having these issues stated
clearly is a great way to give every-

132 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 133

CG Master Academy, the leading online art school, offers art students over 70 courses exploring con-
cept art, modeling and texturing, VFX and gaming. Tailored for artists of all skill levels, CGMA’s course
offerings directly speak to the industry’s current demands and trends. The instructors of these courses
are working professionals in the computer graphics space, with some of the biggest motion pictures
and games on their resume. The quality of education CGMA has cultivated can truly be shown in the
talent enrolled at the academy. With their affordable prices and high-quality curriculum, CGMA has
made their name as the leading online provider in arts education.

one a head start on what to expect thing called the Sunflower Stu- would bring us joy to hear it. Just as
in the industry. Many of the pre- dent Movement. The movement our speakers taught us during the
senters are freelancers or entrep- was to protest the passing of the workshop: Take charge of your own
eneurs that have developed their Cross-Strait Service Trade Agree- life, step out of your comfort zone,
own intellectual properties. They ment (CSSTA) by the ruling party and find what makes you happy.
have worked hard to get where Kuomintang (KMT) at the legis-
they are – the ups and downs as lature, without clause-by-clause Future Plans?
well as their solutions to challeng- review, which could negatively Just like what we have done in the
es are shared with everyone. The impact the livelihood of young last few years, we hope to keep
audience also shared their own Taiwanese down the road. The stu- spreading the love and our philos-
experiences, fostering a positive dents, through their selfless act, ophy of sharing. Starting this year,
community for everyone to feel managed to stop the trade pact, we have more speakers from over- Boon Cotter Heather Abels
they were on common ground. change public opinion, and sub- seas joining us in our monthly ses-
sequently the government itself. sion, and will certainly welcome
Why did we start LiK: MeetUp? This incident made us realize that others. We look forward to attend-
There are a few reasons we started if we wanted to see changes, we ing similar events in other coun-
this community, but a large part of it had to put our thoughts into ac- tries. We’ve postponed Workshop
was a social movement. We started tions. After preparing for a year by 2017 to 2018 (there are some oth-
as a studio focused on creating con- gathering opinions and logistics, er plans brewing that will be out of
cept art for games and film. During we started our first LiK: MeetUP the oven in November) The only
that time, we’d routinely have small sharing session. It was a tough at thing we’ll tell you is that it involves
get-togethers so we could get to first, as we had to balance sessions respite, recovery, and inspiration in
know other artists and designers. with our normal operations. nature! Taiwan has so much beau-
The most common things we heard ty to offer, so we couldn’t be more
unfortunately tended to be the We believe the effort was worth excited! With that, the next Work-
Luca Nemolato Pete Zoppi Bryan Wynia
“horror stories” (Clients not pay- it. It is a paid, ticket-based event, shop should happen around Feb-
ing, stolen works, large corpora- but we tried to make it as low as ruary or March, and we can’t wait!
tions abusing creative workers, low possible in order to take stress off In the near future, we will expand
wages, the list went on and on...). the attendees by ensuring it cov- to build a dedicated team from
Suffice to say, there are many chal- ers the speakers and location. We our current one in LiKStudios for
lenges we as artists face globally, didn’t know how far we could go, LiK: MeetUP, so that we can scale
but it doesn’t seem like there has but we had to start somewhere. It is upward and project our positivity
been a solution or a unifying front our belief that for a sustainable art even farther! It is our wish that we
to solve it. While we operate on a industry, everyone must chip in to can all grow and develop togeth-
bigger scale as a company, we al- help one another grow. We started er as individuals, as a community,
ways had our thoughts with those in Taiwan, and hopefully our neigh- and also as an industry. Lastly; If
who were working solo. In March boring countries will follow suit. you are interested in sharing with
2014, Taiwan went through some- Perhaps they already have, and it us, feel free to contact us.
Clinton Crumpler Ben Keeling

134 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 135

The endeavor is supported by the directors suchs as Steven Spiel- making-of movies like The Secret
city council of Barcelona, the Gen- berg to Tim Burton, among others. of Kells, Chico and Rita, Ernest
eralitat de Catalunya, the Audiovi- and Celestine, The Illusionist, Do-

NON STOP sual Production Associations, local

schools and institutions like the
French Institute of Barcelona, and
Edu Martín is an expert lighting
artist that has worked and various
Pixar movies such as Brave, Cars
fus, Prince of Egypt, The Corpse
Bride, The Boy and The World–
and the chance to watch some of

BARCELONA AND MADRID the Barcelona Libraries network.

The Festival has allowed us to enjoy
the presence of various entertain-
and Monsters University.

The animator and storyboard art-

the best animation film produc-
tions of this last year, in addition
to over 500 short films that have
ment industry artists from all over ist Aya Suzuki, who has worked been screened in our internation-
the world, right here in our city. previously with Hayao Miyazaki al competition section and special
of studio Ghibli, Mamoru Osada, programs.
From the Art NonStop Draw- Just a few of our highlights include the director of Wolf Children, and
ing and Movement Association, names such as: Michel Ocelot, cre- Silvain Chomer in The Illusionist, Our innate teaching roots have
a non-profit organization ded- ator of various feature films, from along with other productions. lead us to develop various formats
icated to the investigation of which Kirikou and the Sorceress and environments in which to
drawing, movement, and audio- became a cornerstone of French We have been fortunate enough share and expand our knowledge
visual relationships with young film production. to witness the production and Our many master classes, work-
creators, we propose different
activities throughout the year as We have also included Anthony
workshops, conferences, and two Roux, creator of the Ankama stu-
major events: the International dio, where the Wafku and Dofus
Animation Film Festival and the video games originated with mil-
NonStop Concept Art: Visual De- lions of players around the world
velopment Seminar. that later appeared onscreen as
both television series and films.
The first event began eight years Jaques Remy-Girerd is the found-
ago and has since evolved to be- er of Folimage studio, one of the
come the International Animation most prominent production com-
Film Festival, with the main objec- panies in France.
tive of integrating the entertain-
ment industry, starting with the The known character designer
younger public, all the way up to Carlos Grangel has produced sev-
professionals. We are focusing eral master classes, where we were
specifically on young talent, digi- able to experience the character
tal art, and its relationship with the creation process in more than 25
industry. of his movies, from the hands of

136 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 8th–12th of May 2018 | Images: ©Non Stop 137
shops and conferences have led or holding back, and of course, enjoying this unique experience
us to fulfilling these goals. Within bringing us closer to people, stu- in the magical city that is Barce-
these processes, during the Festi- dents, and peers. lona. With only two years in exis-
val, we presented for the first time tence, we have been able to grow
in Spain, the NonStop Concept • The speakers have direct interac- at a steady pace, conserving these
Art: Visual Development Seminar. tion with each attendee in a one- closely cultivated relationships
on-one portfolio session at the with our attendees and speakers.
The seminar is focused primari- end of each day.
ly on the visual development of We will be in Madrid for one day
movies, video games, and illustra- • We plan various, dinners and net- on the 8th of May, and then we’ll
tion – with the help of international working for everybody in atten- continue to Barcelona for the three
artists from the industry currently dance, as well as workshops for day main event, from the 10th to
working worldwide. It’s a new, ex- the opportunity to get a deeper the 12th of May.
citing, and different event that has understanding of specific ques-
allowed us to broaden our hori- tions. Among the confirmed speakers
zens and expand into other fields. for 2018 we are proud to present
We present various guest pro- Jama Juravaeb, Jomaro Kindred,
fessionals, who have worked on Anthony Jones, and Alex Kons-
several projects for companies tad. We will continue to grow our
such as: Blizzard, ILM, Dream- speakers list as the event draws
works, Marvel, Paramount, and closer, and we’ll be sure to include
Walt Disney, among others. a few special surprises.

We propose an event focused The schedule will be present-
towards young artists, their rela- ed as follows: We will have three
tionship with the digital age, the speakers per day, each being alot-
audiovisual industry, and video ted two hours for their demo and
games, contributing towards an answering any questions. Each
environment for development speaker is responsible for orga-
and creativity, and a chance to nizing their own time, so they are
use more tools for building their given full liberty and creative free-
road to an international audience. dom. The demos are generally giv-
en in English, but may also be in
We have the support of various Spanish (not to worry, we will have
entities, including Wacom, Sakura, interpreters and recieved posi-
various schools such as Escuela tive feedback for these in our last
Henceforth we would like to high- Joso, video game companies with two events). Afterwards, we will
light a few defining characteristics a home-base in Barcelona such as have onsite portfolio reviews and
that set us apart as an innovator. King, Social Point, Gameloft, and networking (drinking, talking and
We believe these offer a great and more. They are constantly partic- hanging out). Later on, we’ll go out
unique experience: ipating by sending their artists to into the city and enjoy what Barce-
the event, conscious of its impor- lona has to offer.
• Being in Barcelona as the first city tance and value in our community.
in Spain to offer this brand, and In the future, we hope to count on Our dream is a united community
this particular format, has been many more video game compa- that creates a constant enriching
fundamental for our project. nies in attendance. experience. For this dream to be-
come a reality, we must move for-
• The attendees: young artists with After two consecutive years and a ward with the same willpower and
completely new visions and new very positive reaction from all of energy that we have poured into it,
ways of thinking, who have given the parties involved, we are again so that we may continue to grow,
us a lesson in collaborating with sharing the opportunity for three and each year build a better, stron-
kindred spirits and sharing our intense days of learning, sharing, ger environment.
knowledge – without jealousy networking, portfolio reviews, and

138 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 139

CUERNAVACA In 1986 Selick started his own pro- was again promoted, this time as to that, he was the Animation Di-
duction company, (later known as animation supervisor, teaming rector in ILM’s first animated fea-
Twitching Images), producing a up with multi-Academy Award ture, Rango, which received the
series of memorable station IDs for winning visual effects supervisor, Academy Award for Best Animat-
El Festival is the main event linking Two ways to look at the content: Tales. After his academic studies, MTV, and worked on commercials Dennis Muren, on Steven Spiel- ed Feature. In 2016, Hickel took
Mexican artists and the global in- 1. Type of content offered: he went to work for Walt Disney for clients like Pillsbury and Ritz Bits. berg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. on the gargantuan task of animat-
dustries of animation, comics and Screenings, Lectures, Workshops, Studios, participating as a trainee In 1990, Selick undertook an am- His special interest in animation ing the epic battle between orcs
video games. Events that occur at the Fair, and animator on Pete’s Dragon and bitious TV Series called Slow Bob is the challenge of integrating & humans in Warcraft, and most
Networking activities. The Small One. Afterwards, he be- in the Lower Dimension. The pilot fantastic characters and creatures recently served as Animation Su-
For six days, EI Festival brings to- 2. Festival’s programs: came a full animator under Glen combined live action, stop motion, into live-action films. Hickel has pervisor in a galaxy far, far away
gether executives, professionals, Screenings, Fair, Forum, Summit, Keane on The Fox and the Hound. and cut-out animation. The project since supervised animation for for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,
students and amateurs from all ar- Workshops and Children. During that time with Disney, Selick attracted a great deal of attention, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of which earned him, an Oscar, yet
eas of the audiovisual work, in or- worked on his personal projects, leading Selick to direct the be- the Clones, Iron Man, and the first another BAFTA, and VES award
der to: This year we have over 90 guests and produced Seepage in 1979, loved full-length stop-motion film, three films in the Pirates of the nomination.
from 13 different countries. Some a nine minute stop-motion and cel The Nightmare Before Christmas. Caribbean franchise. In 2007, his
• Encourage the exchange of of the artists participating in con- animated short. The rest of the his story is well- work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Originally from Portland, Oregon,
knowledge and experiences be- ferences, masterclasses, keynotes, known by all: Classics like James Dead Man’s Chest was recognized Hickel studied Film Graphics at
tween international and local art- and workshops are: His career at Disney afforded him and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone, with both an Academy Award® for California Institute of the Art be-
ists and producers. opportunities to work in close and Coraline. Outstanding Achievement in Visu- fore being hired by Will Vinton
• Promote Mexican creative projects Henry Selick proximity of greats like Tim Bur- al Effects, and the BAFTA for Best Studios as a clay animator and mo-
• Build an international collabora- Selick studied science at Rutgers ton, Rick Heinrichs, Jorgen Klubi- Hal Hickel Achievement in Visual Effects. tion control operator for commer-
tion network University, art at Syracuse University en, Brad Bird, John Musker, Dan Hal Hickel joined Industrial Light & cials and television specials featur-
and Central Saint Martins College Haskett, Sue and Bill Kroyer, Ed Magic in 1996 as an animator for Hickel was the Animation Super- ing the California Raisins, among
First and foremost, however, El Fes- of Art and Design in London, and Gombert, and Andy Gaskill. Years The Lost World: Jurassic Park. On visor on the production of Guill- other characters. Hickel left Vinton
tival is a space that helps encour- then enrolled at CalArts. During that later, he recounted that he had his next production, he was pro- ermo del Toro’s sci-fi epic, Pacific in 1994 to join Pixar as an animator
age a spirit of community, while al- time, he also studied experimental learned a great deal to improve moted to lead animator and given Rim, for which he received his fifth on their first animated feature, Toy
lowing producers to interface with animation techniques with Jules his drawing, animation, and story­ responsibility for several charac- BAFTA nomination and a Visual Story. Upon completing Toy Story,
the national market, international Engel, making two award-winning telling skills from Disney legend ters in Star Wars: Episode I - The Effects Society Nomination for Hickel was hired at ILM.
artists, and investors. student films – Phases and Tube Eric Larson. Phantom Menace. In 2000, Hickel Outstanding Visual Effects. Prior

140 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 4th–9th of September 2018 | Images: ©Pixelatl 141
Dara Terrance Mike Hollyngsworth issues. In 1997 Vasquez published of two music videos. In 2015, Oni
Dana Terrace studied in the ani- Mike was recently awarded Le Squee, a 4 issue series about a Press began publication of a com-
mation program at the School of Cristal d’Annecy at The Annecy supporting character from Jonny ic book series for Invader Zim, in
Visual Arts in New York City. She International Film Festival for the the Homicidal Maniac, and soon collaboration with Jhonen Vasquez
graduated in 2013, and was hired episode of BoJack Horseman he after came I Feel Sick, featuring and Nickelodeon, as a continua-
as storyboard revisionist on the directed, entitled “Fish out of Wa- Devi, “a girl who tries to maintain tion of the TV series. In 2017, Nick-
popular Disney Channel TV se- ter”. Mike has served as the Super- her sanity” (and another character elodeon announced a 66-minute
ries, Gravity Falls, in Los Angeles. vising Director on the Netflix series from Jonny). television film based on the series,
Not long after, she started working BoJack Horseman since the pilot in with the collaboration of Jhonen
as storyboard artist on the same 2014. In addition, Mike has written, With the fame he acquired as an Vasquez as executive producer.
show. Later, she was chosen to directed, and voiced cartoons for independent creator, Nickelodeon
direct some episodes of the new the Comedy Central series Trip- decided to hire him to develop a David Rosenbaum
Disney’s Ducktales TV Series. Cur- tank and was a director for their television show for their older de- At Cinesite, Dave is responsible
rently she’s working on a comic other series, Brickleberry and has mographic, and Invader Zim, was overseeing all creative aspects of
while developing other projects done work for HBO’s The Life And born, originally pitched in 1999. the company’s output, as well as
for Walt Disney. Times Of Tim. Mike is the creator of The show premiered in 2001 and cultivating new talent to work on a
the Shut Up Cartoons! YouTube se- enjoyed critical acclaim. It won wide slate of releases.
Catherine Turp ries, Nature Break. Mike originally
As Creative Director, Catherine moved to Los Angeles to pursue a
Turp is responsible for guiding the career in stand-up comedy. Once
team and maintaining the artistic he arrived in Southern California,
integrity of every project she works he started drawing cartoons for
on. Her immense breadth of expe- the LA Weekly, and other alterna-
rience allows her to conceptualize tive press publications. From there,
and design exciting multimedia he began making animated shorts
experiences, ensuring that they that appeared in many top film fes-
stand on solid technical ground. tivals around the world, including
The Annecy International Anima-
She has an extensive background tion Festival, The HBO Aspen Com-
in new-media art, video editing, edy Festival, Animation Block Party,
and broadcast media which has The London International Anima-
lead her to a rigorous work ethic tion Festival and The Melbourne
and value of of her client’s time. International Animation Festival.
Catherine received her B.A. in His love for comedy and cartoons
Art History for the Université de is combined in his animated comic
Montréal and is continuing stud- strip Stufffed Animals.
ies in Cultural Management at
HEC Montréal. She joined Mo- Jhonen Vasquez three awards (including one Emmy Prior to joining Cinesite, Dave
ment Factory as Assistant Cre- Jhonen started as a cartoonist in his Award and one Annie Award), sev- was at Chris Meledandri’s Illu-
ative Director in 2010 and Con- high school’s student newspaper, en other nominations. However, mination Entertainment since
tent Management Team, working publishing comic strips featuring the show was canceled in 2002. its inception. He oversaw talent
hands-on in a leadership role as a character: Jonny, The Homicidal Since then, despite its early can- acquisition and story across all
a Creative Director in 2014. She Maniac. After graduating in 1992, cellation, it has increased in popu- aspects of the company’s fea-
has worked on some of Moment he began taking film classes at De larity and is now considered a cult tures, shorts, games, marketing,
Factory’s most ambitious projects, Anza College, but he dropped out classic. Since then, Slave Labor has and rides for Despicable Me 1–3,
including a large-scale permanent to pursue a career as a profession- published other works. Jhonen Minions, The Lorax, The Secret Life
installation at the Los Angeles In- al cartoonist. Carpe Noctem Mag- has done several collaborations, of Pets, and Sing. Their films rank
ternational Airport. Catherine ex- azine started publishing one-page including participation in two is- among the most successful in
cels in long-range planning, and strips featuring Jonny the Homi- sues of Marvel Comic’s Strange animation history.
her willingness to take her artistic cidal Maniac, and in 1995 Slave Tales, and as a writer for Detective
vision seriously has given Moment Labor Graphics began publishing Comics. He has contributed to de- Dave received his masters from
Factory some of its most effective a comic book of the same charac- signing characters for Disney XD, the American Film Institute.
and innovative work. ter. The Jonny comic ran for seven among others, and was a director

142 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 143

David Wise and later Donley Kong Country. I Bros, Walt Disney, Cartoon Net- many events such as the Square David then worked in advertising, In addition to this wealth of knowl-
David Wise in his own words: went on to compose the music for work, Sony, and DreamWorks. He Bowl charity livestream, Indie- directing and animating dozens edge, El Festival features top exec-
“I am a British Video Game Com- many other popular video games, and his wife Sandra Equihua cre- Cade Innovation Awards, and Idle of television commercials, before utives from Disney, Nickelodeon,
poser, known for my work on the such as Diddy Kong Racing on the ated the Emmy winning series El Thumbs’ Playscape podcast. Ted- joining Sony Pictures Animation Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids,
Donkey Kong Country series. I N64 and Starfox Adventures on Tigre: The Adventures of Manny dy has been featured as a speaker where he served as head of sto- PBS, Amazon Studio, Netflix, Mat-
started writing music in my early the Game-Cube. Rivera for Nickelodeon. on game making and storytelling ry on the studio’s first feature film, tel, Technicolor, Cinesite, MPC,
teens on the piano at my parents’ at the Game Developers Confer-
house. I started to play the piano
from around seven years old, and
I eventually left Rare in 2008 and
had a year off before returning to
In 2015, he premiered his feature
film The Book of Life, a CG-animat-
ence, GDC China, and IndieCade.
His work has been covered by
had lessons until I was around elev-
en. Then I moved on to the trum-
the Nintendo Franchise of Donkey
Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
ed feature for Reel FX and 20th
Century FOX, produced by Guill-
Wired, Vice, The Verge, Forbes,
The Escapist, The A.V. Club, The WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT
pet, but by thirteen, I had moved I am now very fortunate to work ermo Del Toro and Brad Booker. Guardian, Game Informer, Poly-
on to the drums. Now they make as a freelance contractor – so I get The film was been nominated for gon, Kotaku and many more. LEOPOLDO ZEA, 1912-2004
a huge amount of noise. I also to work on a multitude of games a Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice
started leaning the guitar from the on many platforms. I worked on Award, Producer’s Guild Awar, David Feiss Open Season. He wrote the short Sony Pictures Animation, ReelFX,
age of sixteen and later, the Saxo- Yooka-Laylee with Grant Kirkhope and the Annie Award for Best An- David Feiss is a director, animator, film The Chubbchubbs Save Xmas and more, that will be recieving
phone in my early thirties. I start- and Steve Burke. It’s a 3D platform imated Feature. He is currently writer, and storyboard artist. He for Sony Pictures Animation be- pitches of original ideas for series
ed writing music for video games game, with a nod to previous rare working on his next project: Kung- most recently directed Sony Pic- fore serving as a story artist on or features. There will also be ex-
when I was nineteen, having met N64 games. And more recently – Fu Space Punch, and directing the tures’ Open Season: Scared Silly. Paramount’s Oscar-winning Ran- ecutives from Squire Enix, Ubisoft,
Tim and Chris Stamper in a music the very charming Snake Pass from next Lego Movie. David joined Hanna-Barbera in go and Reel FX Creative Studios’ Magic Leap that will be there to
shop. This would be the start of a Sumo Digital. 1978 while he was still a teenag- Free Birds. David has additionally look at original videogames under
very fruitful working relationship Teddy Dief er. Later on, he worked as anima- created, produced and direct- development. Finally, we will have
with Rare Ltd. My first video game Jorge Gutierrez Teddy Dief is a video game de- tion director on the 1980s revival ed 52 episodes of Yoohoo and an editorial board going over the
was Slalom – and that’s also when I Best known for being the writer signer and writer, now working as of The Jetsons, then later as a key Friends starring Flavor Flav, cur- comics to determine which one
started to get interested in skiing – and director of The Book of Life Creative Director at Square Enix animator on Jetsons: The Movie, rently airing on Cartoon Network will go on for printing and which
but that’s another story. (2015), Jorge Gutiérrez recently Montréal. Formerly a designer at as well working on Heavy Metal. Latin America and ABC Australia. one wins the trip to a comic con-
released his short animated virtu- Walt Disney and a game narrative David then did animation work for Most recently, he directed four vention in 2018.
The first console I composed mu- al reality film, El Hijo del Jaguar. researcher at USC, he went on to the The Ren & Stimpy Show pilot mini-movies for the home en-
sic for was the Nintendo NES. I He was born in Mexico City and develop award-winning RPG Hy- “Big House Blues” and was the an- tertainment release of Sony Pic- We hope to see all the artists and
composed many titles including raised in Tijuana. He then attend- per Light Drifter and Fitz Packerton imation director for the show’s first tures Animation’s Cloudy With A creators in Pixelatl at every El Festi-
Time Lord, Snake Rattle and Roll, ed CalArts, where he received his as independent collaborations. He season. He created the Cartoon Chance Of Meatballs 2, entitled val, since each one of us is a source
and the Wizards and Warriors BFA and MFA. His thesis Carmelo is co-founder of the Los Angeles Network original series Cow And “Steve’s First Bath”, Super Manny, of inspiration for the rest of the
series. I then moved on to the won the Student Emmy Award. collective, Glitch City: a hub for Chicken and its spin-off, I Am Wea- Attack Of The 50ft Gummy Bear, community.
SNES to compose many more Jorge has directed, written and the indie game making commu- sel. He directed every episode and and Earl Scouts.
soundtracks such as Battletoads, designed characters for Warner nity. He has hosted and produced served as a writer on both series. See you in Mexico!

144 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 145

Bringing together artists working
in film, gaming, and other cre-
ative industries, Promised Land is
a place to exchange knowledge
and experience, to network, and
cross the divide between the dig-
ital and the traditional arts. Prom-
ised Land hosts a series of art
classes offering hands-on expe-
rience, talks, demos, portfolio re-
views, Q&As, and networking ses-
sions. Last year’s event welcomed
350 attendees, 40 international
speakers, and boasted a total of
140 events. This year’s event took
place from September 3rd to Sep-
tember 6th.

Organising Promised Land, in co-

operation with the city of Łódź, Po-
land, is a studio at the heart of the
Polish video game scene:

146 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition September 2018 | 147

Location & venue Presentation formats
Promised Land takes place in the Talks last 60 minutes and touch
city of Łódź, Poland, located in the upon professional subjects, such
very heart of Europe. The venue as descriptions of creative tech-
is the stunning Łódź EC1 Centre. niques, analyses of completed
Once it was a power station, now projects, etc.
it has been fully modernised and
serves as a centre for culture and • Classes in Animation, Illustra-
science. The festival will be spread tion or Sculpture can be run
across the main conference hall, using digital or traditional art
which seats 800 people, a presen- tools and last 2 to 4 hours.
tation room seating 220  people,
a workshop room with 50   work- These give participants hands-
stations for sculpture and life on experience and a chance to
drawing, and a VR workshop area. learn from presenters by either
There is a spacious expo hall and first watching and then follow-
numerous small spaces perfect for ing along, or receiving guidance Johnson Ting
group meetings. while creating a piece of work to
a brief. Networking speakers from creative industry
Attendees Networking is a key part of Prom- leaders including Blizzard Enter-
400 participants are expected to • Panel Discussions involve a group ised Land. Each day, the confer- tainment (Overwatch), Industrial
attend the festival, including more of artists and industry profession- ence concludes with a get-togeth- Light & Magic (Star Wars), Netflix
than 40 presenters, festival partners, als discussing selected topics in er, where people can chat freely in (Originals), Blur (Deadpool) and
and special guests. We believe this front of the festival audience. small groups and have an oppor- CD PROJEKT RED (The Witcher 3:
number of attendees allows for eas- tunity to meet the presenters. Łódź Wild Hunt).
ier access to the presenters. • Meet the Artist sessions last is a city rich with bars and clubs
60 minutes and take place at the and each day you’ll be invited to Promised Land is held under the
Tracks end of every talk. They allow the join the festival crowd at a differ- auspices of Łódź City Council as
Themes of lecture and workshops public to learn more about the ent hot spot in the city for an af- part of the Łódź Creates (Łódź
are outlined in the list below: speaker, their education, and ter-party. Finally, on the last day of Kreuje) and EC1 Łódź – The City of
their path to artistic success. the conference, all participants are Culture (EC1 Łódź – Miasto Kultu-
• Animation: Specialists of putting invited to take part in an epic party ry) promotional programmes.
art into motion share their knowl- • Live sessions in Illustration or that marks the close of the event.
edge on keying, rigging, motion Sculpture are a chance for the ABOUT CD PROJEKT RED
capture, or VFX. presenter to showcase their PROMISED LAND 2017 CD PROJEKT RED is a game devel-
skills in front of the public. These This year’s event took place from opment studio founded in 2002.
• Illustration: A whole spectrum of events are moderated and the September 3rd to September 6th It develops and publishes video
illustration-related topics, from attendees are encouraged to ask in the EC1 Łódź centre — a former games for personal computers
classical drawing courses to dig- the presenting artist questions. power station, now fully remod- and video game consoles. The
ital matte painting and image eled as a centre for culture and studio’s flagship franchise, games
post-production. • Production Focus cover all the science. Bringing together profes- from The Witcher series, has sold
aspects of the process from the sionals working in film, games, and over 25 million copies world-
• Modeling: This theme covers production professionals’ per- other creative industries, Promised wide. Its newest release – The
a broad range of topics, from spective: pipelines, financing, Land is a place for the exchange Witcher  3: Wild Hunt – debuted
hands-on classic sculpture to resources, etc. of knowledge, networking, and in 2015 for the PC, PlayStation  4
lowpoly modeling of game char- crossing the divide between dig- and Xbox One, and has since re-
acters and objects. • Portfolio Reviews are designed ital and traditional arts. The event ceived over 800 awards and ac-
to let budding artists seek ca- hosted more than a hundred activ- colades, including 250  Game of
• Production: From the initial idea reer guidance from well-estab- ities ranging from hands-on work- the Year awards. Together with
to the delivery – this path can be lished professionals present at shops, talks, demos, live Q&A, and GOG.COM, a game store offer-
a rocky one. Speakers share their the Festival. networking sessions. Last year, ing hand-picked titles for PC and
insights on production, planning, Promised Land welcomed hun- Mac, CD PROJEKT RED is part of
pipelines, etc. dreds of guests and more than 40 the CD PROJEKT Capital Group.

148 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Promised Land 149

13 years of education and inspi- How did it all start? in Prague. The event is chock full
ration with the leaders of creative Formerly known as Maxcon, the of big names in the industry, there
industries. festival was originally organized to take you on a voyage through
exclusively for enthusiasts of 3DS several educational presentations
Whether computer graphics are a Max software. Michal Benda, the and workshops. Roughly three
hobby for you, a career, or a life- founder of, had an hundred attendees gather here
long obsession, don’t miss the idea to create an event just for 3D annually – our 13th anniversary
Splash Festival! Every year, lead- artists. Now known as Splash, this was no exception.
ing artists of the industry join us small gathering of like-minded
from around the world. This year, individuals has become an inter- Splash isn’t just for education
the festival ran from September nationally-recognized conference and lectures though. It presents a
9th through September 10th, and for graphic arts. It now covers just unique opportunity to meet and
took place in our usual location of about every possible field. speak with like-minded individuals
Prague, Czech Republic. working in the same fields face-to-
The team behind the Splash event face. This offers you a much more
In this article, we’ll present just is small, but they work hard to organic, personal connection, and
a few of the things that make bring you a memorable occasion. we guarantee you won’t get any-
Splash Festival a worthwhile event. It is made up of just ten people, thing like that on the internet!
Space fills up fast when registra- and preparations can last the en-
tion opens! If you are interested tire year. Conference program
in learning about our venue, pre- In addition to lectures within the
sentations, and future workshops, When, where, with whom, and why? main conference hall, visitors for
check out our website and get in- Every year, the festival takes place our event were able to attend
volved next year! within the congress hall at the many different workshops. Attrac-
Czech University of Life Sciences, tions included a showroom with

150 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition September 2018 | 151

sor for King Arthur: The Legend of
the Sword. Additionally, this past
year saw him take on the position
VFX Supervisor for Alien: Cove-
nant, resurrecting the earlier films’
terrifying creature known as the

Stuart’s lecture, entitled “Burst-

ing Into new territories with Alien:
Covenant” took us through much
of the major work that his team
did for the aforementioned film,
including the building and de-
signing of the Covenant ship, as
well as the “facehugger”, and the
“chestburster” creatures.

Hugo Guerra – Supervising a VFX

Shoot: Onset Tips and Tricks
Hugo is an award winning Director
and VFX Supervisor. An industry
the latest and greatest state-of- The cherry on top: a traditional Man 3, and the Knowhere envi- giant, he has worked in the field
the-art technology, along with a tombola on Sunday. Three lucky ronment for Marvel’s Guardians since 1998. After finishing his de-
gallery and a lounge. The lounge visitors took home prizes and of the Galaxy are among some of gree in fine arts, his career path
served as a place to relax and take gift items (think hardware!) Don’t the many notable marks on his im- has led him through Portugal,
part in discussions with other at- miss out on these perks next year pressive record. Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
tendees. Reel, a portfolio review – make sure you get your Splash In 2010, he joined The Mill as a a
service, was present throughout ticket – it’s totally worth it! He worked as a CG Sequence VFX supervisor, and Head of the
the 13th Splash festival, standing supervisor on Alfonso Cuarón’s Nuke Department. During that
by to offer feedback for those who The stars of the festival Gravity, and was instrumental in time, he worked as a lead Artist,
elected to bring their work. As al- Each year there is an assortment of the project from the beginning. and Onset Supervisor, manag-
ways, a massive after-party with all top-level guest artists from all over He helped develop the tech- ing large teams in more then 100
our special guests and attendees the globe. This year was just as ex- niques necessary to shoot zero productions. His credits include
followed the festival on Saturday. citing. Our shining star presenters the film’s stunning “zero-gravity” the VES awarded Audi “Humming-
included: scenes, working with motion-cap- bird”, in-game cinematics for Call
A series of talks and workshops ture robots and innovative LED of Duty: Ghosts, and the BBC Mu-
were held in the main lecture hall Stuart Penn – Bursting Into New lighting known as the “lightbox”. sic God only Knows promo.
on Saturday and Sunday. Every Territories with Alien: Covenant After helping supervise the shoot
day a total of six talks, each lasting Stuart studied phyiscs and worked itself, he took on a leadership role Since 2014, Hugo has been work-
one hour, took place in the hall. as a researcher in the field for in lighting. Stuart’s passion for ing for Fire Without Smoke, as a
Four workshops ran simultane- ten years, before finally joining unique challenges endemic to VFX supervisor and cinematics di-
ously throughout the day. At the Framestore as a CG artist for the CG has led him to an impressive rector. Other credits of Hugo’s in-
workshops, attendees were able award-winning series, Dinoto- list of credits, as well as a great clude Homefront: The Revolution
to work in a hands-on education- pia. He has worked on numerous deal of experience in modeling, (Deep Silver), The Crew: Calling
al setting under the guidanct of projects as a model supervisor, lighting, motion-capture, and all Units and The Division (Ubi-
industry veterans. And, thanks to lighting supervisor, and environ- shoot supervision. soft), Just Cause 3 (Square Enix),
our sponsors, the guests who at- ment supervisor: projects like the and Butterfly Effect (Until Dawn).
tended these sessions were able digital oil refinery “Hell’s Gate” His expansive technical knowl- For this year, Hugo prepared two
to learn with some of the best for James Cameron’s Avatar, the edge enables him to bring an workshops: “Supervising a VFX
hardware and tools available on Hong Kong sequence for Christo- innovative solution to nearly any Shoot – Onset Tips and Tricks” and
the market. pher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the problem he meets. More recently, “Colour-Correcting 3D Renders –
Extremis effect for Marvel’s Iron Stuart held the role of cg supervi- Grading CG Using AOVs”.

152 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition Images: ©Splash 153

Francesco Mazza – Digital Painting process in Adobe Photoshop, all of his infamous laws of planetary displayed professional graphic Framestore, Juice, UPP, BlueZoo, and the presenters themselves.
and Visual Development for Ani- the way to the final image for an motion. Prague has long been a monitors. Wacom showed off their and many more. Who knows? As is with every year, we end the
mation animation production. center for creative exploration: Kaf- Cintiq, Companion, and Intuos Maybe you’ll make the connection festivities with a party. Say good-
Francesco is a Catania-born con- ka, Kundera, and Forman all walked lines, and Oculus, Samsung, and you need to be on your way to pro- bye to formalities, and experience
cept artist. He began drawing at Why Prague? these streets at one point in time, HTC brought their A game with the ducing art for Hollywood. But re- true networking. 2017’s evening
the young age of fourteen, start- Splash is an ideal opportunity to and film has long been a part of newest virtual reality devices. member: fortune favours the bold was hosted by Klub C, right on the
ing with graffiti art. Thanks to his merge education and fun in one of Czech tradition and culture. We – and the prepared. Make sure you grounds of the Czech Agricultural
education, he has a strong back- the most beautiful, storied cities on recommend anyone visiting Splash Portfolio and Reel consultancy are ready to meet the recruiters if University, where the event itself
ground in 3D art – but eventual- earth: Prague. She has long been arrange to extend their stay, so that Portfolio and Reel consultancy are you intend to hunt for work. Bring was held throughout.
ly, he decided to follow his own a cultural and historical bastion of they may have enough time to rev- a popular part of Splash. Visitors a juiced-up portfolio, profession-
dreams and pursue his love of con- Europe. Its timeline spans thou- el in all the wonderous things this can have their work evaluated by alism, and a positive attitude, and Conclusion
cept art, since he always preferred sands of years. First a paleolithic beautiful city has to offer. knowledgeable profesionals in you might just get your foot in the The Splash conference is more
drawing. In the last five years, he settlement, then, it was occupied their own field. They learn not only door. You’ll have opportunities to than just talks and lectures. The
has worked for FrameOne Anima- by the Celts, who were eventual- Showroom about their strengths – but weak- speak with reps throughout the goal of the organizers remains the
tion studio based in Kazakhstan, ly overtaken by Germanic tribes. Splash isn’t just for tech users. We nesses, too. In addition to con- festival, even on a more informal same: To offer a rich program, full
as well as Studio Bozzetto &Co. in The city grew, and gave way to the bring in the people who make the structive feedback, attendees get basis like the lounge or socializing of opportunities to meet creators,
Milano. He has also contributed to Kingdom of Bohemia. The corona- tech, too! An area of the confer- specific advice on how to increase at the after-party. You won’t find make connections with collegues,
numerous children’s series, adver- tion of Charles IV marked the city as ence room is dedicated to show- their value on the market and cre- anything like this at a job interview. and form new friendships. When
tising, and apps. part of the once far-reaching and ing the latest and greatest in hard- ate a balanced, attractice portfolio. our visitors manage to create
mighty Holy Roman Empire, whose ware and software. Everything on Relax, it’s an exposition and party! these contacts or obtain job offers,
Currently based in London, Fran- influence can still be seen today. display is there not only for you Recruitment If you need a minute to cool your it gives us the kind of fulfillment
cesco now works for Blue-Zoo as Prague was the birthplace for to look at – but to play with, test, The Splash festival can also pro- jets from all the workshops and lec- we have strived for since its incep-
a concept artist on the animated some of humanity’s greatest break- and hold, as well! If you have any vide working opportunitites. If you tures, you can chill in the relaxation tion. When all is said and done,
series, GoJetters. During his work- throughs in critical thought and questions, or just want to see what still aren’t sure that it’s worth the area of the Splash gallery. Large that’s what this whole conference
shop, “Digital Painting and Visu- the global sciences. Einstein spent might be worth your next upgrade trip, consider that Splash might just format prints of notable graphic is about. We hope you’ll join us at
al Development for Animation”, much of his tenure as a professor investment, this is the place. be the key to opening the door for artists are put on display to kindle the next one... And the next one!
we explored the creation of a 2D at the University accumulating the the job you’ve been dreaming of. inspiration while you rest up for
concept for a 3D animation asset. ideas necessary to formulate his This year, PRUSA3D brought one of At Splash, you can meet represen- your next adventure. This keyed-
Starting from the design, attend- Theory of Relativity; and it was here their state-of-the-art 3D printers for tatives for international compa- down space gives guests a chance
ees went through the coloring that Kepler discovered the second guests to see in action, and BenQ nies like MPC, Double Negative, to mingle with newfound friends

154 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 155

Trojan Horse was a Unicorn went entertainment industry while mov- THU that gives artists in different
from being a five-day digital art ing it forward. In order to achieve cities the opportunity to network,
festival taking place in Portugal this goal, THU launched a series of participate in a round table discus-
every year, to an organization that programs and initiatives, and the sion about the industry, learn from
psychologically, technically, and Main Event, with its recruitment each other, and get a taste of the
educationally supports the glob- sessions, inspirational talks, live full THU experience.
al digital artists ensuring that the demos, life-drawing sessions, and
world understands and celebrates workshops, is only one of them. The THU talks in schools are also a
their artistry and craft. Its mission very important part of the project,
is to help the international creative Another one is the Gatherings, an since they help form the minds of
community in shaping the digital itinerant experience organized by young creatives by sharing with
them those things that art schools
don’t teach them, and by telling
them the potential of this industry,
so that they may consider a career
in arts as a viable option. THU has
gained the trust of hundreds of
creatives across the world already.
Ex-attendees have defined it as a
"life-changing experience". It’s not
a typical corporate art event, but a
unique gathering of like-minded
people who share the same pas-
sion and who really believe they
can change the world.

156 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition September 2018 | Images: ©Trojan Horse was a Unicorn 157
Rodrigo Blaas the constraints of budgets and
Rodrigo is a self-taught animator deadlines. While painting is her
who joined Blue Sky Studios in first love, she enjoys teaching and
2000 and worked on its first fea- mentoring the next generation of
ture film, Ice Age, animating on visual artists. She currently lives
characters like Sid the sloth and and works in Vancouver, Canada.
the acorn-obsessed Scrat. He lat- Movies she’s worked on include:
er joined Pixar Animation Studios The Incredibles, Angels & Demons,
and continued to pursue his pas- Gravity, The Book of Life, Rise of
sion for character animation, while the Guardians, A.I. , Pearl Harbor,
working on projects such as Find- and many, many more.
ing Nemo, The Incredibles, Rata-
Eric Goldberg touille, and Wall-E. Many of them
Eric is a veteran director, designer, became academy award winning
animator, and voice-over artist with films. After spending 9 years at
a lifetime achievement award in Pixar, Rodrigo moved to Los Ange-
animation. He began working with les and partnered with Guillermo
Walt Disney Animation Studios on del Toro to develop the hit Netflix
Aladdin, supervising the anima- TV series Trollhunters, based on
tion of the Genie. He then co-di- the book by the same name writ-
rected Pocahontas and animated ten by Del Toro and Daniel Kraus.
the feisty Danny DeVito-voiced Rodrigo is currently working for
satyr Phil in Hercules, followed by DreamWorks TV Animation where
Fantasia 2000, for which he di- he is the Showrunner and Exec-
rected, wrote and animated two utive Producer for this extremely Kim Jung Gi
critically-acclaimed sequences: successful show. Kim Jung Gi is a mighty Korean art-
Carnival of the Animals and Rhap- ist known and adored all around
sody in Blue. He animated Mini the world for his epic drawings
Maui in Disney’s Moana and was and illustrations. Serving in the
supervising animator for Louis, the army, precisely in the special forc-
trumpet-playing alligator in the es section, allowed him to memo-
hand-drawn feature The Princess rize an absurd number of vehicles
and the Frog an assignment that and weapons, often featured in
won Eric his third Annie Award for his drawings. Kim has published
best character animation. Eric han- five sketchbooks which gather
dled the entire Warners’ stable, nearly 3500 pages of his art. He’s
as well as providing the voices for also published two comics in col-
Speedy Gonzales, Tweety and Mar- laboration with the famous French
vin the Martian in Warner Bros.’ live writer Jean-David Morvan: SpyG-
action/animation feature Looney Negin Bairami ames and McCurry, NYC, 9/11, a
Tunes: Back in Action. Negin Bairami is a painter and vi- story about the world famous pho-
sual effects artist from San Francis- tographer. He draws on anything
co, California. During her 25 year made of paper, from sketchbooks,
career, she has worked on over 26 to toilet paper, receipts, and giant
films and numerous commercial art boards. Today, when he is not
projects. Having worked for such a working in advertising or manag-
range of media outlets, broadcast ing his drawing school in Seoul,
news, special effects model shops, he’s traveling the world to meet
stop motion animation commer- people and get inspired.
cials and films, and both CGI ani-
mated and live action feature films,
she has learned to infuse projects
with artistry and creativity under

158 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 159

And just like last time, I am writing this shortly before the mag goes to print which is a
few days before my first visit at THU. It has been a crazy ride to put this magazine to-
gether since it is double the size of last time. This means we went from A5 to A4. From
80 pages to 160. And also the print run is three times the amount of the IFCC Edition.
Additionally this magazine has more content besides the info about the events. Lec-
tures, interviews, portraits... and this is exactly where I want to see this magazine in the
future. Anyone who contributes to this great community by sharing their knowledge
is invited to contact me and get their lecture published through Firestarter, so that
more people will have access to it.

Firestarter will keep updating you on the latest event news and provide reviews of the
festivals. There are certain things in the making that will enhance the experience, like
a community calendar to add your own events for all to see and also to include the
hundreds of conventions and workshops worldwide.

Apart from that, Firestarter is aiming to go a step further into the exchange of profes-
sional experience. There will be livestreams of a panel with artists that speak at several
events, and they will share their knowledge on different topics. Firestarter Talk will be
hosted by Jort van Welbergen and our first stream will be happening at Playgrounds
2017: The Art Department in Eindhoven.

Speaking of Playgrounds, I wanted to thank the Playgrounds Team for their massive
support. Leon von Rooij and Jort van Welbergen for being so open minded about
my concepts, Maria Dicieanu for sending me emails in the middle of the night like
she knows I am still working, and especially Paulien Mandos for dealing with all the
mess I create and being always willing to help me out, no matter what. You guys have
been essential to the growth of this project and I hope we will be working together
for many years to come.

Spiridon Giannakis

Very special thanks to Jens Kellersmann and Jeroen Van't Hoofd (WACOM) for the massive sup-
port and giving me essential directions. Also thanks to Olivia Ó Duinn and Kate Stork for proof-
reading this pile of letters and Pablo Carpio for the amazing cover. Thanks to all the contributors
and sponsors who helped me with their content and their time to create interviews and articles
for the mag. If I haven’t named you here I surely thanked you in person. I also want to thank Nas-
tia Lyakhova (Artillery), Dianne Makings (CTIAF), Dhenzel Obeng (Edge Control), Kaloyan Vasilev
(FUTURO), Patrice Leymarie (IAMC), Armand Serrano (Icon Manila), Marko Prpic and Sven Razum
(IFCC), Daniel Matthews (IWL), Kai Ng (LiK: MeetUp), Brian Deakin (Non Stop), Jose Enrique Iñesta
(Pixelatl), Marek Madej (Promised Land), Michal Benda (Splash) and Andre Lourenço (THU) for
sending me the content of their events. And I hope this list will grow!

If any of you want to contact me about festivals to add or about advertising in the mag or any
other kind of support for this community project, contact me:

Firestarter Community Magazine does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the quality, accuracy, completeness, legal-
ity, reliability or usefulness of any information, product or service represented within the magazine or web site. The information provided is
for educational or entertainment purposes only. Anyone using the information provided by Firestarter Community Magazine, whether legal,
business or other, does so at their own risk, and by using such information agrees to indemnify Firestarter Community Magazine from any
and all liability, loss, injury, damages, costs and expenses (including legal fees and expenses) arising from such use. Firestarter Community
Magazine does not endorse or recommend any article, product, service or information found within said articles. The views and opinions of the
authors and contributors who have submitted articles to Firestarter Community Magazine belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect
the views of Firestarter Community Magazine or its staff. Links to other web sites from Firestarter Community Magazine or its website are pro-
vided for convenience only. Firestarter Community Magazine is not responsible for the content or availability of any external or 3rd party sites
and does not warrant or guarantee the products, services, or information found on these sites. No part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, (including photocopying), recording or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without prior permission from the copyright owners.
161 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 162 PLAYGROUNDS 2017 Edition 163 164
Pablo Carpio |

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