Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I had the pleasure of attending the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank this past weekend. Here is my recap.

The Creative Talent Network. or CTN, hosts model sketch sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7-10pm, as well as some Sunday afternoons at the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank. They cost $10.00, but if you can't get to the studio the sessions air live on Facebook. The models are in themed costumes and hold poses that encourage the best storytelling. I've sketched regularly from this fantastic resource for a few months now, and finally made it to a Sunday at the studio. It was even better in person.  It was there that I first decided to attend the CTN Expo.

I am an illustrator enamored by animation. There were several levels of pricing that allowed you to experience different parts of the Expo. Since I'm not entirely familiar with the industry, I opted for the simpler, Three Day Floor Plus pass for $95.00 as opposed to the more inclusive passes.

Although the official start was a ribbon cutting on Friday, there was a sneak preview Thursday evening. I drove down and took advantage of the Expo's first sketch session, and recognized a few of the models from the Center Stage Gallery. They were setup on four lit outdoor stages, and would alternate between areas. They did this all weekend, morning until night, taking very few breaks and creating fantastic gestures. Right there the conference was worth the price of admission.

There were several ongoing demonstrations in the Convention Hall. The traditional animators desk featured Disney industry titans drawing beloved characters. Another desk featured digital animation demos, another hands on character sculpting, another digital backgrounds and character designs.

I checked several of these out throughout the course of the weekend. My favorites included Eric Goldberg drawing a Mickey Mouse sequence, Molly Hahn drawing her Buddha Doodles, Geoffrey Ernault creating digital worlds, and the wonderful sculpture of Andrea Blasich. But that barely scratched the surface.

The CTN Live Stage featured incredible panels all weekend. Character Designers You Want to Know,  Ryan Lang's Storytelling in Images, Greg Manchess and Bryan Mark Taylor's Painting with the Masters, and Nicole Herr's Freelance Like a Pro were just a few of the many highlights. I missed many, many, more because there just were too many choices. These always concluded with more intimate Q and A's in the adjoining room.

The Winsor and Newton Studio hosted plein air workshops each day. These were excellent! And I connected with some local painters and sketchers!

Photographer Greg Preston created two beautiful books of portraits of various cartoonists, comic artists, animators, etc.. The second one, called The Artist Within: Book 2, included a book signing - featuring twenty of these amazing artists! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet such vast talent assembled in one place!

At the Expo tent. I was just a kid in a candy store, checking out artist's displays, book signings, testing digital tablets, etc. I finally met Griz and Norm after following them on Instagram, and bought their fantastic "Tuesday Tips"! I tried several times to meet Pascal Campion, but he was always busy giving advice to someone. What an incredible opportunity for artists to get feedback from a master!

The more premiere presentations took place in the hotel theaters. I didn't have access to them but they broadcast them right on the plaza. I listened in to a few while I sketched.

By Sunday evening, the entire conference was closing up, and I was heading home. And who was still out there? Those models. Still posing, still creating stories.

Ribbon cutting by founder Tina Price and industrial designer Syd Mead.

Artist Molly Hahn creating a Buddha Doodle.
Winsor and Newton plein air demo by painter Angela Sung.

Veteran Disney artist Eric Goldberg creating a Mickey Mouse sequence.

The Artist Within: Book 2 signing.

Multiple demos to choose from at all times.

Digital backgrounds by artist Geoffrey Ernault.
Sculptor Andrea Blasich.

Models on the plaza.

Models on the plaza.

Models on the plaza.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a stimulating weekend it must have been! I can't believe the models were there for so long. What dedication.