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Congrats Fall 2014 Mentees!


Every round of applications draws a wide variety of talent and enthusiasm and our FALL 2014 Motivarti Mentorship Program was no different.  No matter how many times go through the process, the decisions never become easier. After very careful analysis and deliberation, we have finished reviewing all the applications and we’re thrilled to announce our FALL 2014 Motivarti Mentees!  Congratulations!

Samantha Vilfort (Ian Abando)

Gaelle Beerens (Ian Abando)

Amy Kim (Helen Chen)

Aurry Tan (Frederic Durand)

Maya Shavzin (Craig Elliott)

Corina St. Martin (Cory Godbey)

Fridemann Allmenroder (Leighton Hickman)

Alexandria Neonakis (Leighton Hickman)

Anoosha Syed (Meg Hunt)

Olga Demidova (Meg Hunt)

Caroline Hadilaksono (Dan Krall)

Gaelle Beerens (Octavio Rodriguez)

Saud Boksmati (Octavio Rodriguez)

Greg Lambrakis (Thomas Scholes)

Ivo Nies (Thomas Scholes)

Jean Liang (Justin K Thompson)

*Not all mentees opted to have their name and/or link appear on the list above. 

Mentor of the Day: Octavio Rodriguez

Octavio_PAGE04One of our most sought after and highly recommended mentors is back for another session with Motivarti! Octavio Rodriguez is a stellar Story Artist currently working at Pixar, most recently on “Monsters University”, and he comes with years of feature and television animation experience under his belt. He is looking to mentor two talented young artists from anywhere in the world!

One of his Spring 2014 mentees, Fill Marc Sagadraca, was recently hired for DreamWorks Television as a Storyboard Revisionist. We are so proud of our former Motivarti Mentees and we love to hear about their experiences during their Mentorship. He told us, “Octavio has a vast range of storyboarding experience. He told me a very personal history of his experience starting out leading to where he is now, an unintentional lesson on how to thrive in the animation industry which I believe is just as important as the skills and techniques required to be good at the job.”

Fellow Spring 2014 mentee, Melody Cisinski, also speaks highly of her mentor, and talked about what she learned from the mentorship- “I’ve learned many many things from Octavio. He is a great teacher. [He taugh me to] put a lot of emotional stuff in my storyboard. He forced me to go out of my comfort zone, to tell stories from my own souvenirs, and to push it deeper than I could have imagined. It is very unique. It was extremely interesting, and I couldn’t learn that fast by myself.”

Octavio is looking for hard working aspiring Story Artists that 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: Mingjue Helen Chen

MingjueChen_RALPH02The delightful and talented Mingjue Helen Chen is our newest addition to the mentorship program! She is an Art Director currently working at Paramount Animation on an unannounced upcoming feature, and has previously lent her Visual Development talents to projects such as; “Wreck-it Ralph”, “Frankenweenie”, “Paperman”, and Disney’s upcoming “Big Hero 6”.

Mingue Helen is one of the hardest working artists you’ll ever meet – besides working in the studio, she always seems to be working on her own art, and still manages to have time to be an excellent educator! We are so pleased to have her join Motivarti and have a personal one on one Mentorship with a student from anywhere in the world! Check out some of her work below!

In addition to creating her own art books, last year Mingue partnered with her artistic peers Lorelay Bove, Brittney Lee, Claire Keane, Lisa Keene and Victoria Ying, to create a book featuring their work from their show, “Lovely” in Paris this year. The Kickstarter was a huge success, and you can buy the book on Amazon or directly from the artists themselves later this month at San Diego Comic-Con.

If you want a mentor that is extremely dedicated, and you’re an artist ready to dedicate ten weeks to kicking butt and developing your draftsmanship, Mingue Helen Chen is definitely the mentor for you!

Check out more of her amazing work on her sketch blog!

Mentor of the Day: Justin K Thompson

portfolio_jthompson_0001Interested in background/environment design?  Then Justin K Thompson is the mentor for you!  With a background primarily visual development for animation,  Justin has been a veteran of the industry for over 20 years.

Starting out in television, Justin has worked on a variety of shows including, Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, and Korgoth the Barbarian, just to name a few. Check out this great interview with Justin about his time on Korgoth the Barbarian.

From television, Justin transitioned into working as a production designer for feature animation.  His credits include, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  He currently resides at Sony Pictures Animation as a visual development artist.

Justin first joined Motivarti earlier this year and is returning as a mentor for the second time.  His previous mentee, Sharon Huang, really enjoyed her time getting to know her mentor and becoming friends with him.

For Sharon, she was most interested in learning about composition and color from Justin.  You can check out some of the awesome work she accomplished with him below.

The advice she has for his next mentee?  “Good choice and make sure to have a sense of humor.”

To become Justin’s next mentee, be sure to check out his profile page.

Mentor of the Day: Thomas Scholes

tomscholes-villager-s-returnThomas Scholes is passionate about the untapped potential of digital art and interactive entertainment and am deeply interested in the growth of both mediums. He believes art is the best means of discovery and delivery of emotional and experiential knowledge and is constantly searching for the means to provide enrichment in these areas.

Thomas has worked in Studio on 7 different titles for 3 different companies; Microsoft’s 343 Industries, NCSoft’s ArenaNet, and Disney Interactive’s Avalanche.  Some of his more notable projects include Halo 4, and Guild Wars 2.

Thomas is also always generous with sharing his skills, often Live Streaming and creating gifs like these featured on iO9 showcasing his process.

Daniel Moll  was one of Thomas’ mentees this past spring and only had positive things to say- “Under his guidance I feel like I learned strategies to improve my self-confidence and listen closely to my personal interests. Throughout the process I made better art work than I had in the past, but more importantly, I learned skills empowering me to continue improving and making better work, even without direct guidance and feedback.”

“The most important thing I learned was to get rid of my expectations! Going into a piece with too many expectations not only limits you to your initial idea/concept but it is also really frustrating when your work doesn’t look like your preconceived ideas. Expectations can cause you to overlook the inherent value or potential of a sketch and miss out on exciting and unexpected developments. Getting rid of expectations is in fact a form of mindfulness that applies to all aspects of life, the importance of focusing on the present moment and accepting your current thoughts, emotions, as well as the current stage of your piece.

I also learned the importance of self-editing, and the editing process as a whole. I think there is a tendency to be risk-averse to changing what is already down on the page even with the flexibility of the digital medium. Focusing on editing as a part of the creation process is a skill that I will certainly keep practicing and I think can lead to significant technical improvements in an image.”  Be sure to check out some of the work he completed with Thomas below.

Thomas’ other mentee, Devin Korwin, describes what he and Thomas accomplished during his mentorship – “Each week we went through what I had painted over the course of the week and Tom gave me specific critiques and paintovers. Any concepts related to what I was currently exploring with my work was thoroughly discussed. In this way I felt like each weeks discussion was particularly relevant and really helped me break some bad habits that I hadn’t even been aware of.

I learned things that could be broken down into three categories of equal importance: Technical concepts and relating to painting and Photoshop, the philosophy of being an artist and working effectively, as well as some realities about the video game industry that I was unaware of…I feel like I have a much more positive outlook on creativity in general since the mentorship started.”  Check out the work he completed with Thomas’ supervision below!

Any advice for Thomas’ next mentees? Devin says, “The benefit you receive is proportional to the effort put in, Tom is a really open ended teacher and completely caters the class to your needs.”

To apply to be one of Thomas’ next mentees, click here.  Applications for our Fall 2014 Program are being accepted until July 20, 2014.