Below you will find in-depth interviews with many of our instructors and Workshop Live presenters. The interviews give us a chance to learn more about these talented artists including what projects they are currently working on, how they became professional artists, and advice for other artists interested in games and film visual effects, entertainment design, illustration and sculpture.
From Star Wars to How to Train Your Dragon, visual effects artist, James Miller, has produced critically acclaimed work across multiple blockbuster titles. In this interview, Miller divulges his insight when working in feature films for ILM and animated films for Dreamworks, plus, the highlights working for business divisions like the BBC. Miller also discloses key advice for new artists including an essential look into early career goals.
Lead character animator, Sarah Arduini, has produced critically acclaimed work across multiple blockbuster titles such as Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars, and The Jungle Book. In this interview, Arduini divulges her insight on the day-to-day differences when working in feature animation and VFX, plus, her unique approach to garnering the necessary skills to improve and achieve career milestones. Arduini also discloses key advice for new artists including tips and tricks for creativity and an essential look into early career goals.
As a figure painter and notable art instructor, Charles Hu has produced critically acclaimed work in a wide range of avenues. From portrait paintings to character designs for film and game pitches, as well as designs for murals and comic books, Hu’s work reaches many audiences. In this interview, Hu divulges his take on traditional figure painting, his catalyst into teaching, and his approach toward go-to art practices. Plus, Hu reveals the details on his most influential past endeavors and mentors.
Alessandro Cangelosi combined his passion for technology, science and art into a successful career in multiple entertainment industries. In this interview, Cangelosi describes his experience as a Lightning TD and a FX TD, new techniques and technologies to manage full CGI sets, and the highlights to working on massive environments, look-dev projects, movies, commercials and game trailers like Dead Rising, Rift, and Mobile Strike.
Lead technical artist, Christophe Desse, possesses state of the art talent and has produced critically acclaimed work on titles such as the Uncharted series and The Last of Us. In this interview, Desse divulges his insight to environment art, plus, rendering and texturing, and his approach to creating realistic art versus science fiction or the fantastical. Desse also discloses the latest technical roadblocks in the industry and his hopes for future breakthroughs in tech.
Nick Hiatt is a multi-talented artist whose clients include Disney, Sony, Riot Games, Fox, Bad Robot, Digital Domain and Warner Brothers, to name a few. In this interview, Nick Hiatt shares his specializations in art direction, matte painting, and concept art, plus, instrumental advice for owning and running a studio. Hiatt also reveals essentials that every artist should pursue.
Digital artist, Jordan Soler, possesses invaluable skills including adaptability, flexibility, and the passion to face innumerable challenges. In this interview, Jordan Soler discusses key ingredients that make him an effective grooming artist, plus, the projects that impacted him most. In addition, Jordan shares details regarding top notch software and the highlights and the challenges that come when working on blockbuster titles.
With seventeen years of combined experience in video games, film and TV, Lead Animator Elaina Scott, has amassed a wide range of invaluable skills and experience. In this interview, Elaina discusses the daily demands animators face, solutions to common challenges, and instrumental advice for effective collaboration. Elaina Scott also reveals the details regarding how to survive in entertainment industries and a quick look at top notch software.
3D artist, Gennaro Esposito, is a Senior Hard Surface Modeler for MPC London whose recent work includes Disney’s, The Lion King and Sonic. In this interview, Gennaro Esposito discusses his personal path into the industry, common modeling challenges and solutions, plus, instrumental advice for working in games, TV, and film. Esposito also reveals the details regarding his most influential project.
Concept Designer, Vitaly Bulgarov is a sought-after 3D artist, whose extensive client-base includes Dreamworks, Blizzard Entertainment, LucasFilm’s Industrial Light&Magic, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Skydance Productions, Boston Dynamics and more. In this interview, Bulgarov, discusses the day-to-day challenges for principle designers, the development of a side-scrolling action game and other unannounced titles, plus, instrumental advice for creating futuristic designs and the details behind his most impactful moments in the industry.
VFX Supervisor and compositor, Rob Nederhorst, possesses unique talent and has produced critically acclaimed work on titles such as Thor, Captain American, Iron Man 2, The Day after Tomorrow, Daredevil, and Star Trek: Nemesis. In this interview, Nederhorst divulges how he forged his career, his methods for reengineering pipelines, the day-to-day differences between VFX artist and VFX supervisor, plus, the details on his most influential past endeavors.
At home with robots, monsters, slick cars and even children’s stories, industry veteran Marc Gabbana has created concept art for VFX-heavy epics like Star Wars: Episode I & II and The Matrix sequels, Blade Runner 2049, Star Trek: Beyond and designs for visually stunning Audi, Comcast and Verizon commercials, to name a few. Hear about his start in the Detroit automotive industry, why traditional drawing techniques are a key foundation for any creative, and a bit about getting to work at Skywalker Ranch.
Creature designer and concept artist Jerad S. Marantz has worked on the likes of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, The Planet of the Apes trilogy, American Horror Story, HBO’s Westworld, and Gears of War, to name a few. In this interview, we discuss his very grounded creative process for designing the seriously awesome superheroes and monsters we see on screen today, keeping up with the ever-evolving needs of the film and game industries, and how having traditional skills in your arsenal will always benefit digital artists.
Designer and artist, Maciej Kuciara, possesses unique talent in various genres and has produced critically acclaimed work on titles such as The Last of Us and Captain America. In this interview, Kuciara divulges the methods he’s perfected when switching between genres, plus, the latest details on his personal endeavors, including creations with Art Café and his vision and development for Learn Squared Inc.
Legendary designer, concept artist, and visionary, Syd Mead, has produced ground-breaking and critically acclaimed work within various industries including film, architecture, and illustration. In this interview, Mead divulges not only the highlights of his most recent exhibitions, but also, a look into a unique augmented reality app and how it may affect the way we view and study art.
Illustrator and concept artist, Aaron Limonick, discusses his unique experience with environment design, illustration, sketch art, and landscape painting while also elaborating on his insight into changing with the times. Limonick divulges the level of difficulty and ease he experienced collaborating on blockbuster titles such as Transformers: War for Cybertron, The Last of Us, and Uncharted 4, and what key objectives artists should focus on when preparing for various roles.
Sculptor and figurative artist, John Brown, has a wide breath of impressive experience working as an in-demand artist not only for film and entertainment, but also in education and for the sculpting community. Brown’s sculptures reside in private collections and have been publicly featured. In this interview, John Brown touches on key elements he’s garnered as an artist and how he enhances his innate tendencies as a creative by using proactive and fundamental habits.
Rogelio Olguin has combined his passion for sculpting, painting, textures and shading into a successful environment art career. In this interview, Rogelio Olguin describes his perspective on traditional and digital art, the daily demands an environment artist faces, and the highlights and influences that surfaced from working on both personal and professional projects.
Perry Leijten applied his interest for the game industry with his innate technical skills and it flourished into a successful career. Now as a technical artist for Square Enix, Perry shares how he garnered experience in almost every aspect of the production pipeline and how that knowledge influences his day-to-day processes.
Former Weta Workshop sculptor David Meng's filmography ranges from King Kong and District 9 to The Hobbit trilogy and The Shape of Water. He discusses the value of traditional sculpting in a world dominated by digital tools, the qualities needed to succeed in practical effects, and why becoming a good creature designer means learning to think laterally.
We’ve got Blur Studio Character Modeling Lead Krystal Sae Eua here to talk about how her work on fast-paced commercials, films like The Avengers and Fast and Furious 6, Call of Duty cinematics, and her addiction to learning have helped her become a VES Award-nominated 3D artist and inspiring digital and traditional sculptor.
Lead artist and multitalented creative, Devon Fay, has a wide breath of impressive experience working on pre-rendered films as well as real-time video game environments. In this interview, Fay touches on key elements he’s garnered over the years while working with companies such as Blizzard Entertainment. Fay also divulges how he enhances his innate tendencies as a designer by using proactive and collaborative habits.
Digital sculptor, creature designer, instructor, and all around monster pro, Madeleine Scott-Spencer has produced acclaimed work in visual effects, collectible designs, and in digital maquettes for concept design. In this interview, Madeleine Scott-Spencer dives into her experience working on high-budget films, while also revealing how she garnered such extensive mastery over digital and traditional sculpting. She reveals the influence human anatomy can have on creature design and what she foresees impacting digital art in the future.
Ben Erdt is an accomplished artist, talented across a variety of capacities. To name a few, he has mastered skillsets in concept art, digital sculpting, character and creature art, and modeling. In this interview, Ben Erdt divulges his experience working on beloved games such as Horizon Zero Dawn while also showing how he brings his final renders together. He discusses what key elements he used when level designing for legacy games such as Quake and Doom and he pinpoints future changes that will impact 3D animation and visual effects.
Read the interview with Ben Erdt by Genese Davis
Hear from concept artist Luca Nemolato about how his straightforward workflow and appetite to throw himself into new and varied challenges have helped him catapult his career in designing for film, tv and more, including tips for networking and standing out as a freelance artist and a bit about his contributions to the creature design on the Oscar-winning film, The Shape of Water.
Read the interview with Luca Nemolato by Courtney Trowbridge
Former Neversoft Entertainment and Infinity Ward animator Bill Buckley, now animation director of virtual reality firm First Contact Entertainment, reveals the lessons he has learned over the course of his varied career, the secrets of creating a great in-game animation – and why VR means pressing the reset button on the role of the games artist.
Read the interview with Bill Buckley by Jim Thacker
Multi-talented CG artist and author, Eric Keller, discusses his unique experience with CG in science, natural history and biology while also elaborating on specific experiences that led him to working in movies, such as 10 Cloverfield Lane and the Cloverfield Paradox. Keller also divulges what key shifts he foresees developing in the future of CG and what key objectives artists should focus on to prepare for those up-coming changes.
Read the interview with Eric Keller by Genese Davis
Olivier Dubard, environment artist, matte painter and concept designer, talks to us about his experiences working on films from Marvel’s Black Panther and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Hotel Transylvania 3, and why it’s crucial for artists to develop an open, problem-solving mindset to efficiently collaborate in a production pipeline.
Read the interview with Olivier Dubard by Courtney Trowbridge
Senior 3D generalist and compositing artist Robby Branham has worked on everything from Coke commercials to cinematics for Clash of Clans. He reveals what it takes to succeed as a 3D generalist, provides his tips for surviving as a freelancer, and explains why Houdini is no longer just a tool for technical directors, but an essential part of any artist's skill set.
Read the interview with Robby Branham by Jim Thacker
Veteran concept illustrator and art director Alex Nice discusses how his work on movies like The Jungle Book, Pacific Rim and Tron: Legacy informs his training for The Gnomon Workshop, and reveals how becoming a successful concept artist means staying abreast of new technology: from 3D software to room-scale virtual reality.
Read the Interview with Alex Nice by Jim Thacker
Naughty Dog Environment Artist Brian Recktenwald reveals how his experiences working on titles like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End have helped to shape his own personal work, how photogrammetry and new procedural workflows are shaking up game development, and what young artists can do to help secure their first jobs in a changing industry.
Read the Interview with Brian Recktenwald by Jim Thacker
One of the rare CityEngine specialists, Matthias Buehler, discusses translating concept art into 3D environments, his role at Scanline VFX in Vancouver and some of the challenges he faced creating VFX on Independence Day: Resurgence, and why CityEngine was his weapon of choice for creating alien-inflicted mass destruction on 3D cityscapes.
Read the interview with Matthias Buehler by Lynette Clee
Senior Matte-Painter and Concept Designer for the film and video game industries shares his experiences creating digital mattes for Uncharted 4, offers his top tips for brushing up on traditional skills, and discusses the use of matte painting in VR projects. Read on for Igor Staritsin’s pro advice.
Read the interview Igor Staritsin by Lynette Clee
Naughty Dog Texture Artist, Rogelio Olguin, shares how his first experiences creating level designs and art for games in the modding community led him to make the right connections and enter contests that would change his career forever. Read on to discover Rogelio’s top advice for aspiring texture artists.
Read the interview Rogelio Olguin by Lynette Clee
Freelance Illustrator and Gnomon Instructor, April Connors, shares her thoughts on the best methods for improving your drawing skills, and why every artist should learn how to navigate a digital software, like Photoshop. Plus, discover her professional tips for breaking through the fear of a blank canvas and gaining confidence with your drawings, whatever the medium.
Read the interview April Connors by Lynette Clee
When Jacques Broquard, Art Director at WWE, first saw Hosein Diba’s Wolverine sculpt, he invited the sculptor to recreate many of the world’s most famous wrestlers in the same high-quality. We talk to Hosein to learn more about his work, his background in the industry, and his top pieces of advice for aspiring character artists.
Read the interview with Hossein Diba by Lynette Clee