In the past two weeks, CCAD has had two incredible visiting artists: Dinotopia's James Gurney and Mark Sullivan, a masterful and industry experienced matte painter.
First of all, I grew up with Dinotopia. I played with toy dinos and lizards for hours and created miniature worlds in my backyard. I'm sure I did this prior to reading Dinotopia (honestly... the pictures held my interest more than the words... but the story is quite good). Both Gurney and Sullivan talked about how they create scale versions for photo reference, which is AWESOME. Scale models are probably my favorite thing ever. Their dedication to their craft really puts our own passion for illustration in perspective.
Check out James Gurney's blog, he updates nearly everyday and always has great insight to offer on art and art schools: James Gurney
Mark Sullivan is awesome. His mentioned that his generation (or any pre-computer) generation has it easier than us in their past necessity to master traditional drawing and painting. We still need to "master" these media, but computers do make it easier. I feel like I'm missing some sort of "artistic character building," like the generation before had to walk to school uphill. Both ways. And I haven't. Then again, I have a strong(ish... I didn't get xp until this year) tie with computers, I learned to paint on them before I really touched a tangible paintbrush (thank you GIMP! and mspaint...).
I never really imagined myself in a room where James Gurney draws C.F. Payne's portrait while Mark Sullivan watches on. I do have many qualms about art school, but certain aspects of it, such as visiting artists and the inspiration that stems from them and my peers... are super.