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Mentor of the Day: Craig Elliott

CraigElliott_firefly_upshot_paint_v1Craig Elliott has been with us from the start as a mentor, and we’re pleased to welcome him back for Spring 2015! Over the course of many mentorships the last few years, Craig has helped an ever-growing number of mentees polish their portfolios and reach for their dreams.

Professionally, he has an impressive list of credits as a Visual Development artist in the animation industry, including Disney, DreamWorks, Blue Sky, Illumination Entertainment, Nickelodeon, and many others. He is also an accomplished illustrator and fine artist, and one of his large oil paintings was recently awarded a Spectrum Gold Medal (one of many that Craig has earned over the years), and he received a gold medal at the Society of Illustrators West earlier in 2014.

You can often find Craig exhibiting at most of the large comic and art conventions, selling his work and painting a model for the passing convention attendees. He is friendly and approachable to everyone who passes by, and he puts the same level approachability into his relationships with his mentees. He has so much to offer, and so much experience to share!

If you are an international student, you’re in luck that Craig has always been one of our mentors that is happy to take on international students – something not every mentor is able to do.

Craig’s mentee from Fall 2014, Maya Shavzin, said: “I had some truly eye-opening realizations regarding light and color theory, as well as the realities of working in studios. Beyond that, Craig showed me in practically every session is that problems and to-do’s that seemed intimidating or impossible are actually feasible, and generously shared with me his tools to tackling them! That wow-ed me every time!”

They focused on developing a passion project of Maya’s and accomplished a huge amount of work during the mentorship, including:

– researching material and building a style guide

– designing 4 characters from the story (including faces, full bodies, aging from childhood to old age, some gestures and a lineup) and digitally painting two portraits of them

– designing and painting 4 props

– developing a full background, digitally painted

– using the shape language from my research and style guide to design portfolio page elements, frames and a logo

– interior layout


Craig is looking for one hard-working mentee from anywhere in the world to mentor over the ten-week course. If you are looking to improve your portfolio and develop some great painting techniques, mentoring with Craig will be a wonderful experience for you!

To see more of Craig’s work, visit his website.

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