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Mentor of the Day: Thomas Scholes

tomscholes-traversalThomas Scholes is consistently one of our most beloved Concept Artist Mentors. Time and time again his former Mentees rave about how wonderful he is, and it’s easy to see why. The relationships that are developed in ten weeks are every bit as strong as the artwork he regularly produces. It’s impressive and admirable to watch someone succeed so highly in their job, and simultaneously be able to pass along their knowledge. Luckily for you, Thomas is open to passing more knowledge along to two hardworking Mentees this term from anywhere in the world!

We asked Fall 2014 Mentee, Ivo Nies to talk about his time with Thomas, “Overall it has been a great experience that I am very glad I had. Chatting with Thomas over Skype has been a lot of fun as he is a really kind and supportive teacher who seems to hit the nail on the head on each little or big thing that can improve my work. It has truly been a pleasure.” We often have success with our Mentor and Mentee pairings, and it makes us so happy that Thomas has been such a wonderful Mentor for each student he has teamed up with.

Greg Lambrakis, another Fall 2014 Mentee, would agree, “Thomas is not only a brilliant artist, he is also easy-going, super smart, and easy to talk to. He’s very sharp and will probably know exactly what you need within 15 minutes of your first chat. […] What Thomas wants is that each student be more like themselves, like the best version of themselves.” Thomas has a fairly flexible 10 week plan, that revolves around the student and their needs, guaranteeing you a one of a kind experience.

If you become one of his Mentees this upcoming term, remember his former Mentee Greg’s words of wisdom in regards to Thomas, “Keep an open mind, and take his advice to heart.”

Mentor of the Day: Octavio Rodriguez

by Octavio Rodriguez

by Octavio Rodriguez

One of our most prolific and highly recommended mentors is back for another session with Motivarti! Octavio Rodriguez is an experienced story artist at Pixar, working most recently on “Monsters University”. He comes with over 16 years of feature and television animation experience under his belt, including “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and many other series. In his spare time, he has self-published five books of sequential art. He is looking to mentor two talented young artists from anywhere in the world!

Saud Boksmati, Octavio’s mentee in Fall 2014, enjoyed working with Octavio because “he has a high standard but was also very patient in explaining the most basic principles when I needed it. The honesty and transparency of my mentor made the overall experience excellent.”

They set a goal at the beginning of the mentorship to improve Saud’s portfolio. Saud told us about the results: “I was able storyboard several of my own stories…most of which did not work well and Octavio was very astute in his ability to quickly analyze where they did not work. In the end, I was able to produce two portfolio pieces that were strong, which was the objective.”

Saud suggests that prospective mentees “come into this prepared, knowing full well a what you want out of this so you can help your mentor be informed about your true level and what you want to achieve. Be straightforward and not intimidated.”

Octavio is looking for hard-working aspiring story artists who are excited and ready to commit to the ten-week program with as much energy as possible. If you are ready to learn about the challenging world of storyboarding and gain an understanding of what it takes to succeed in the animation industry, Octavio will be a perfect mentor for you!

Check out some of Octavio’s work below and his tumblr here!

Mentor of the Day: Brian Ajhar

MOTIVARTI.AJHAR.NoPirates.BubblesAspiring illustrators can rejoice, we have a brand new artist available for mentoring, and we are so excited to introduce him to you! Brian Ajhar is known for his humorous and charming children’s book illustrations, many of which have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. Brian is looking for one mentee from anywhere in the world this Spring!

Brian’s strengths stretch further than illustration, and his wealth of knowledge will be perfect for the absorbent mind of an eager mentee. He has drawn for magazines, books, advertising and animation – and has been featured in “The Illustrator in America”, a historical anthology of notable illustrators from 1860 through 2000. Clearly, a mentorship with Brian means you’re in great artistic hands.

For ten weeks, Brian has a pretty good idea of the type of work he’d like to accomplish with one passionate and enthusiastic student. He has a direction and idea of what his mentee should work towards, but at the core it will be about the student’s passions and choice of subject manners. It’s up to you to have the ideas, and Brian can help guide you to accomplishment with projects and critiques to guide you on your way.

Check out Brian’s website for a great library of his beautiful children’s books and other illustrative works, and apply to be his mentee today!

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!