It’s not always easy to share my toy concept art due to the
intellectual property rights involved, so I thought I’d simply use my fine art
oil paintings to get the point across as we discuss color. These paintings help me relax from the
demands of commercial work and give me opportunities to experiment without the
risk of blowing an assignment.
I never really liked fine art until I started working with
the folks from Disney and Dreamworks—their love for the craft was addictive.
Today, most of my commercial techniques are heavily influenced by fine art and
I certainly wouldn’t have had the success in this field without applying that
I remember way back to when I was in college just after the
ice age ended the reign of dinosaurs. Everyone in my class couldn’t wait to
paint in color. After all, the class was called Color Theory and the sub-title
actually included the word—Painting. My lightning fast brain put the two
together and I had my tubes of color all lined up with a brand new paintbrush
I suffered through the early morning design class learning
the principles of perspective for product design so now it was time to kick
back and have a little fun. After all, what could be more exciting than color
to a bright-eyed student and I was sure ready to put paint to canvas.
The model arrived and combed her hair. She spent a great
deal of time applying make-up as the instructor kept looking at his watch. She
finally went to the model stand but to the surprise of the entire class, simply
placed an egg on the stool and abruptly walked out of the room. The teacher
smiled and then shut off the lights commanding us to paint the egg.
We knew little of the instructor other than he was from
Russia and didn’t mess around. Rumors of his past ranged from ex-KGB to bare
knuckle cage fighter. All I knew for sure was that no one ever survived who
dared look straight into his eyes—no one.
The spotlight hit that sad little egg without mercy as we
were told to paint using nothing but grey tones. One of the students gasped.
Another chuckled and was quickly escorted out of the room by the professor’s
strong iron-like arm forged by the freezing winds of Syberia. I chose to obey.
All day long we kept trying to capture the pattern of light flowing
across that sorry egg and he just kept shaking his head over and over—nyet! Three
weeks later and several attempts to get into another class, I finally realized what this steely-eyed man of
discipline was really trying to say to us all—give up!
Continued In Part 2 . . .