Leonardo Da Vinci was a LOSER.

This radical proposition was so intriguing, I had no choice but to click “Play.”

What followed was a brilliant video about the nature of artistic mastery and how the digital culture is actually making it more difficult to pursue.

With the authenticity of Ken Burns and the roguish efficiency of the Freakonomics authors, Adam Westbrook’s “Delve Video Essays” inspire us to explore the depths of our craft, our culture and ourselves.

In today’s interview, Adam and I discuss the dangers of your creative comfort zone, facing our fear of failure, how to communicate complex ideas in clear and compelling ways and what’s to love about the struggles of storytelling…

[click to continue…]



Jedi master Brian McDonald is back with more revelatory perspectives that will challenge the way we think about visual storytelling.

In part one, Brian showed us how theme creates character and character creates theme.

Now, in part two, we discuss when to stop dreaming and start writing, how success can kill creativity, why style isn’t always a good thing, and why the students who struggle the most, often grow the most.

Oh! …and we have some big news: Lora’s going to be on TV!

[click to continue…]


Queen Hazel by Melissa Manwill

I made some new friends at CTN-X 2014.

Today, I want to spotlight seven young visual development artists who visited The Oatley Academy booth and impressed us with their wonderful portfolios and personalities.

These artists are creative and clever but most importantly, they’re humble and full of passion.

Check out their links and share their work if you like it.

…and I’m pretty sure you will.

[click to continue…]



Storytelling guru Brian McDonald joins us for another mind-blowing interview.

In part one of this two-part interview, Brian discusses writing roadblocks, how theme creates character and why you have to send your characters to Hell…

[click to continue…]


Come See My All-Star Character Design Panel at CTN-X!

Four of the animation industry’s top character designers will be joining me at CTN-X 2014 for a panel discussion called Character Design Mythbusting! Brett “2D Bean”, Stephen Silver, Tony Siruno, Jeff Wamester and I will address several common misconceptions that often disrupt the artistic growth of aspiring character designers. …and we’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A. Read […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With ‘Ender’s Game’ & ‘Spider-Man’ Concept Artist Robert Simons (Part 2) :: ArtCast #80

In part one of this interview, we learned how Robert Simons’ career in concept art began before he even graduated from art school. His designs for an indie sci-fi short called Project Arbiter demonstrated artistic maturity beyond that of the average nineteen-year-old artist and opened doors to the vfx industry. Now, in part two, Robert […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With ‘Ender’s Game’ & ‘Spider-Man’ Concept Artist Robert Simons (Part 1) :: ArtCast #79

Whether you’re into concept art, illustration, character design, comics or storyboards, I’m constantly pushing you to create personal projects and pursue amazing collaborations. Why? The success of concept artist Robert Simons is why. Previously, on the ArtCast, I interviewed the director and composer of Project Arbiter – an indie sci-fi short film with a big-budget […]

[click to continue…]

16 Stand-Out Compositions From Some Of My Stellar ‘Painting Drama’ Students

Here’s an inspiring collection of stand-out work from some of my stellar Painting Drama students… For the uninitiated, ‘Painting Drama’ (PD1) is my super-intense, real-time course on composition and finding your own visual voice. The third generation of PD1 began this past Spring. The amount of talent and charisma in this group is unreal. Today, I’d like to […]

[click to continue…]

Find My Article “15 Ways To Survive Your Dream Job In Animation” In This Month’s ImagineFX!

I wrote a 6-page spread for the October issue of ImagineFX Magazine featuring 15 tips to save your animation career before it starts. A Few Of The Topics I Covered: Adapting to different styles. Showcase your strengths/ Hide your weaknesses. Patience. Laziness. Building trust. “Tradigital” Techniques. Negotiating a fair rate. The new issue (#113) also features articles […]

[click to continue…]

An Indie Sci-Fi Short Film With A Big-Budget Look: The Making Of ‘Project Arbiter’ :: ArtCast #78

For many visual storytellers, technology means “equality.” Equal tools, equal teams, equal attention. …a creative meritocracy where the Internet decides to reward only the best and most beloved work. Of course, the mythical future I’m describing isn’t significantly different from our present reality. Ideas like Webcomics, Podcasts, Patreon and Spotify have been erected from the rubble of the traditional publishing and […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With Sarah Marino: Visual Development Artist For Nickelodeon & Reel FX (Part 2) :: ArtCast #77

In part one of this interview, Sarah Marino told the story of the struggle to find her calling as a professional artist and how she got her first animation job – not in the art department – but as a production assistant. In this episode Sarah talks about her success in both animation and kidlit, her new gig as a background painter and VisDev […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With Sarah Marino: Visual Development Artist For Nickelodeon & Reel FX (Part 1) :: ArtCast #76

Two years ago, my friend and Oatley Academy colleague Sarah Marino appeared on what is, to date, the most frequently downloaded episode of The ArtCast: The Rising Stars Of Animation. Like every other guest on that show, Sarah has, as I predicted, gone on to great success. After wrapping as a visual development artist on The Book Of […]

[click to continue…]

The Freedom Of Limitations

Here’s a new portrait study in a digital “scribble” technique with which I’ve been experimenting. Click here to see a high resolution version. I used a very limited number of values. …and if my Photoshop Brush Settings had been any simpler, I could have done it in Mario Paint. (100% Opacity. 100% Flow. No feathering. No […]

[click to continue…]

Artists: Today Is The Deadline To Speak Out For Internet Equality

A few weeks ago I did my best to explain a complicated (but pressing) issue known as “Net Neutrality.” Basically, it’s a real-life version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and it could negatively affect artists and audiences worldwide. Today, the FCC (the folks who decide whether to give independent creators equal treatment online) is closing itself off to public comment […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With Pascal Campion (Part 2) :: ArtCast #75

“I can’t take ten steps without seeing something I want to paint or draw…” – Pascal Campion In part one of this interview, we learned about Pascal Campion’s early career and his development into a uniquely versatile professional artist. In this episode, Pascal manages to communicate to us how his creative mind actually works – which […]

[click to continue…]

Interview With Pascal Campion (Part 1) :: ArtCast #74

What does a successful artist look like? Many of us define success by the size of our fan bases, the popularity of our best clients and the amount of money in our bank accounts. But very few of us would agree that these are the most valuable aspects of life as a professional artist. Nothing […]

[click to continue…]