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Mentor of the Day: Brian Ajhar

MOTIVARTI.AJHAR.TheWindowAnother mentor returning for our final mentorship session is Brian Ajhar!

Brian has had many experiences that crossover different media throughout the years…magazines, books, advertising & animation. So if you’re looking to branch your illustration career into a variety of fields, Brian is a mentor you can’t miss learning from.

If you take a look at Brian’s portfolio, you’ll quickly see that he has a depth of knowledge in expressive characters with personality and appeal, character design, character design.  Be sure to check out how he brings characters to life on his facebook page where he hosts videos of him sketching.  Within a few minutes you can see the ease and genius of his strokes.


Brian’s past mentees have all had nothing but great things to say about him and also produced great work.  Check out some of the pieces below by Tom van Rheenen and Rachel McAlister and then read their past reviews here and here.

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Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn from a master of his craft!  Be sure to check out Brian’s profile page to see what he’s looking for in a mentee and apply soon.


Mentor of the Day: Brian Ajhar

FB.AJHAR.WINE.BACCHUSWe’re very pleased to be welcoming back mentor, Brian Ajhar!

Brian Ajhar is a well established illustrator in the editorial, publishing, and animation industry.  His long list of clients includes dozens of national magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies, corporate clients, book publishers and animation studios.  If you haven’t checked out Brian’s work, be sure to do so.  He often publishes quick video sketches on his facebook page as well!  So be sure to subscribe.

Fall mentee, Rachel McAlister, applied to Brian in hopes of developing multiple characters for a single story and strengthening my environments.

The most important thing Rachel learned through her time with Brian was character interactions.  Check out how she implemented that through the various projects and assignments she worked on with Brian.

Each mentorship varies from mentor to mentor.  Often our mentors, including Brian, don’t have typical syllabus for the 10 week program so that they can tailor each mentorship to the specific needs of the new mentee.  Rachel advises that anyone who considers the program “needs to be comfortable with not having the standard structure that you [might] usually follow in a typical vis dev class.”

Mentor of the Day: Brian Ajhar

MOTIVARTI.AJHAR.CharacterPosterAnother mentor returning for their second time is Brian Ajhar!

As an illustrator working from Pennsylvania, Brian knows that you don’t have to live in Los Angeles or New York to have a successful career in the industry.  He has had an extensive career as a character designer and illustrator.

Tom van Rheenen, Brian’s Spring 2015 mentee, says the most important thing he learned from Brian was to, ” Draw WHO the character IS, not what he looks like. Think more about acting, personality, little differences in posture. Also, Brian helped me in terms of how to approach drawing in a more philosophical manner”

Tom applied to mentor under Brian because, “Brian showed interest of the fundamentals, rather than tricks, which really appealed to me.” Check out some of the work Tom accomplished with Brian during his mentorship below.

From people to animals, from fairy tales to politics, Brian Ajhar is a diverse and distinguished artist looking to mentor two mentees this session from anywhere in the world!

If you’re selected for this mentorship, “You’re in for a treat,” says Tom. “Brian is a very friendly and knowledgeable mentor. He gives you tailored advice to your needs, looks at where your weaker points are and helps you improve with feedback, drawing exercises and draw overs. Brian’s drawings don’t rely on fancy tricks or brushstrokes, but on fundamental knowledge, which enables him to help you greatly, regardless of your style, and bring your work to a new level.”

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!

Brian Ajhar

MOTIVARTI.AJHAR.cropAbout Brian Ajhar
Brian Ajhar’s illustrations are recognized for their distinctive and humorous point of view. His extensive client list includes dozens of national magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies, corporate clients, book publishers and animation studios. His illustrated children’s books have been published worldwide in a multitude of languages and have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. The diverse range of his ideas have been adapted to a variety of social, political and economic issues in the publishing world.

His work has been featured in many articles and books written about the field of illustration. The historical anthology, “The Illustrator in America” 1860-2000.written by noted illustration historian Walt Reed profiled Brian’s influences in the field of illustration. An excerpt from the book follows:“Ajhar has a free and fluid style of drawing coupled with humor that looks uninhibited and easy. It is based on the strong knowledge of the figure, however, and the ability to draw without slavish reliance on photographs”.

Brian’s ability to visualize with his appealing characters and style have been a natural transition and attracting projects and the attention of the animation entertainment industry. Currently Brian has been focusing his work toward concept art and character design for animation projects.

“Since childhood I have always been influenced by animation and the artists that bring characters to life. I have always had a passion for expressive characters and ideas in my illustrations. I am looking to discover new markets for creating characters in the design and visual development world of animation.”

Brian is also a frequent guest lecturer and teaches illustration concepts and character development at Syracuse University and F.I.T. in NYC where he is an Adjunct Professor. He has also taught classes at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and The University of Hartford, CT where he received the distinguished Koopman Chair Award for the Visual Arts.

His newest illustrated children’s book “No Pirates Allowed” has been getting rave reviews and has been considered for many awards in the children’s publishing world.

Mentor Preferences
Brian has had many experiences that crossover different media throughout the years….magazine, book, advertising & animation.  He has a depth of knowledge in expressive characters with personality and appeal, character design, character design with an environment that is believable for the character to live in, traditional media such as watercolor, acrylic ink, drawing, digital and traditional drawing.

Ideal Mentee: A person who is a passionate enthusiastic learner. Someone that has a natural curiosity about life and weaves it into their art. One that is able to see a story while observing people in everyday situations and events. Someone that is not afraid and open to experimenting with their thought process and their working approach. A hard working individual with a strong work ethic that goes beyond the project and teacher expectations. A friendly personality that is easy to work with and open to comments and criticism without egos getting in the way.

10-Week Plan: Discuss meetings and how they take place. Skype, email, phone. Whatever works best. Review the work and discuss what direction the student wants to go and subject matter that excites them. *Give a series of projects that will move them toward that direction in a sequence topics/silhouettes/shape/variety/lineup/props/environment/expressions
*Design a character/creature/or a family of characters(lineup)/based on a short written theme discussed.
*Critiques, draw overs, and discussions take place about the art projects
*Character living in its environment
*Business questions, portfolio questions, career concerns

Maximum Number of Mentees: 1

Maximum Distance: International

Language(s): English only

Preferred Meeting Times:  I am open to anytime USA est…we can discuss on an agreed time

To apply to become Brian’s mentee, click here.