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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.

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