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Mentor of the Day: Mike Yamada

We’re very happy to be welcoming back another mentor, Mike Yamada! He currently works as Visual development artist at Dreamworks Animation where he contributed most recently to How to Train your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2. He’s currently work on  Me and my Shadow set to be released in 2014. Mike has experience in almost all parts of production – color keys, production work, etc.

Last time, Mike had a great experience mentoring.  “I always like sharing my experiences and help other achieve their goals.”  And his mentee, Szymon Biernacki also had an amazing time. “I enjoyed the fact that we have similar taste with Mike when it comes to art, favorite artists etc., so I felt we were really on the same page during our chats.”   Szymon entered the program wanting “to learn as much as possible about design principles. I also wanted to get more insight into the industry and learn what I should do to accomplish my goals.”

But the most important thing he learned is “to make bold choices when it comes to design, focus on one element that you want to exaggerate and make all the rest work in favor of this element…I would say our meetings pushed me to rethink my approach to art, made me think more about questions like originality and developing my own style.”

As for Oth Khotsimeuang, another one of Mike’s mentees, he also had a great time.  “I generated so many thumbnails too of great stuff to paint and develop later.”  Here are a few samples.

This time around, Mike is hoping his mentee will be “highly motivated and driven with a strong desire to learn. I’d like them to have a clear idea of what they’d like out of the mentorship with goals and a plan…The first few meetings I use to find out an idea of what they’re interested in focusing on – goals, weakness, etc and then tailor the rest of the time on that. I like to have them come up with a rough plan and then advise them on how we can work together to meet said goals.”

So if you’re interested in learning from Mike, be sure to apply soon!  And if you’re down at Comic-Con this weekend, be sure to stop by his and Victoria’s booth!  They’ve got some amazing samples of their new project, Curiosities: An Illustrated History of Ancestral Oddity.

Fun Fact: I’m obsessed with coffee making. I do everything by hand – grind the beans, etc. Brew a cup at a time. It take s a long time, but its totally worth it.

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