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Mentor of the Day: Dan Krall

DanKrall_3The talented and wonderful Dan Krall has returned for another session of mentorship with Motivarti!

Dan has worked as a background designer, story artist, character designer, and art director in feature and television animation at studios including DreamWorks Animation, Sony Animation, LAIKA, and Cartoon Network. His credits include “Samurai Jack,” “Coraline,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” He’s also a successful children’s book illustrator, and comes highly recommended by past mentees!

Caroline Hadilaksono, Dan’s mentee in Fall 2014, said “Dan is very generous with his time and advice, about your work and career advice.” She entered the mentorship with the goal of creating new portfolio content. During the term, they worked on character design and came away with several finished key story moment illustrations.


She recommends that future mentees “should go into the mentorship with a solid idea for a project. For instance, if I do this again, I would prepare a picture book manuscript that I’ve written or am already working on, so that there’s a clear direction for the mentorship from the get-go.”

Another of Dan’s previous mentees, Angela Oster, told us, “I enjoyed every single minute. It was especially great when Dan liked a picture because he is very direct with his critique. He taught me quite a few ‘golden rules’ that I never learned in art school. I will carry these with me always.”

We’re excited that Dan will again be available for international mentorships as well. Check out more of Dan’s charming work at his blog!

Mentor of the Day: Nicolas Weis

NicolasWeis (1)As we wrap up the last week of Mentor of the Day posts, we’d like to welcome a first time mentor, Nicolas Weis!

I first met Nicolas while interning at DreamWorks Animation a few years back when he was a visual development artist working on The Croods.  I was fortunate enough to flip this his sketchbook that contained dozens and dozens of sketches for the film.  I’m so happy Nicolas recently video taped himself flipping through that sketchbook (here) because now everyone can have a chance to see it too.  While at his youtube channel, be sure to check out all his other amazing videos that showcase his breathtaking draftsmanship.

Originally, Nicolas went to school in Paris to study archeology but at the age of 20, he decided he truly wanted to pursue a career in art.  So he enrolled at Ecole Superieure d’Arts Graphiques Penninghen (ESAG) in Paris and graduated in 2003.  Afterwards, he freelanced for a few years and then visited the DreamWorks Animation campus and realized he wanted a career in the entertainment industry.

He worked hard for a few years on a new portfolio and eventually landed a job working on Astroboy at Imagi before being hired at DreamWorks Animation.  There he worked on  How to Train Your Dragon 1, The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and other undisclosed projects before going freelance in 2013.

Like Nicolas’ work?  His website has a ton more!  Also, be sure to check out these articles about him on Cartoon Brew and 2D Online Magazine.  Then head over to his profile page and then apply to be his mentee!

Mentor of the Day: Cory Godbey

CoryGodbey_Scan 5We’re so pleased to welcome back our fantastic illustration mentor Cory Godbey. Cory has a great list of clients, having worked with HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Archaia, and The Jim Henson Co., as well as on a variety of animated shorts and commercials. His range of experience is incredible, and definitely speaks to the wealth of knowledge he has to share with his mentees!

In addition, Cory’s work has been featured in a variety of esteemed annuals and publications including, Image FX, The Society of Illustrators, and Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. Most recently, Cory was invited to be on the panel of judges for Spectrum 21. You can check out some of his work through videos on his vimeo page.

Besides his successful illustration career, Cory is dedicated to passing on his artistic knowledge. Beyond Motivarti, Cory teaches classes through TLC Workshops in the Seattle area and has an online class through The Lamp Post Guild about getting into the habit of producing personal work, called “Introduction to the Art of Personal Work.”

Cory is excited to work with a mentee at any level of experience, and he is open to international students. His ideal mentee is someone with total dedication to putting in the work, an interest in pushing the storytelling in their pieces, and a drive to develop and broaden their visual vocabulary.

Cory’s mentee in Fall 2014, Corina St. Martin, applied to the Motivarti program with a strong interest in creating a cohesive portfolio. Cory helped Corina decide on a theme, then provided guidance and feedback in laying out several new pieces for her children’s book portfolio. Corina adds, “He also did several video draw-overs and paint-overs that showed how he works. It was incredibly helpful. Cory also gave me the confidence to know that I can do this kind of work. It was fun and very comfortable to work with Cory!”

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In terms of advice for people interested in having Cory as a mentor, Corina says, “Cory is a really cool guy. He’s patient and incredibly nice, not to mention how much I love his work. When working with a mentor, I feel it’s important to try to find someone who you think you’ll click with. Someone who knows more than you do and who is doing what you want to be doing. Also someone who isn’t afraid to share their techniques with another artist. I found that here and I’m so glad that he took the chance on me too.”

Mentor of the Day: Drake Brodhal

DrakeB_graveyardAnother new mentor recommended by veteran mentor, Thomas Scholes is Drake Brodahl

Drake is an L.A. based illustrator and gallery artist currently working as a background painter for Nickelodeon Animation Studio. He has worked on television shows, shorts and pilots for Bento Box, Warner Bros, Renegade, Disney TV and Nickelodeon since 2011. Drake currently focuses on background paint, but has also done character design and background design for different studios.

Prior to that, he was an illustrator and interactive designer in the graphic design and casual gaming industry for over 10 years. Watch this interview with Drake from illustration.org while at CTN 2010 to hear about some of Drake’s background and influences.  Then check out this interview with the Schmancy Gallery about more of Drake’s perspectives.

On the side, Drake has exhibited his paintings in art galleries since 2006 and continues to participate regularly in art shows both locally and internationally.  If you’re familiar with Downtown Disneyland’s Wonderground Gallery, Drake has an upcoming artist showcase with them this January 24-25.  Swing by and say hi!

Check out his some of his awesome work here before visiting his website and blogspot for more about Drake and more of his work!

To be mentored by Drake, check out his full profile and then apply here.

Mentor of the Day: Ian Abando

IanAbando_3Here’s the perfect Mentor for an aspiring Story Artist, Ian Abando has proven himself time and time again to provide fantastic story work to some of the most popular recent animated films, including “Despicable Me 2″ and the most recently, “Penguins of Madagascar”. You may have even admired some of his character design work on Disney’s “Gravity Falls”, but lately Ian has been working as a Storyboard Artist at DreamWorks Animation, helping to create more animated films that will surely have you falling over with laughter! When he’s not on the job, he loves to teach and pass along his knowledge, making him an excellent Mentor!

Ian is a great source of information and knows exactly what it takes to survive in our competitive animation industry. He is open for mentorship with any lucky mentee from anywhere in the world, a great opportunity for those not local to the Los Angeles area.

If you’re applying for Ian, my recommendation would be to have a strong set of goals that you are driven to complete or work towards during your ten weeks. Ian works around his Mentee’s goals, and plans out workshops based on what they’d like to focus on. There are so many facets to storyboarding for a Mentee to work on, and Ian is incredibly gifted in explaining the many aspects of story in such an accessible way.

When Ian isn’t working, he loves to go sketching in cafes with his friends. He’s always been a hard working and accessible person, completely dedicated to his craft. He would make a wonderful Mentor to a Mentee that’s ready to work hard and absorb as much information as possible!