Friday, October 24, 2008

a real calarts portfolio

I was a fool to think that the portfolio that I have right now would get me into CalArts.
(not trying to bring myself down or anything :P)

I'm saying this because yesterday, Thursday, I went up to Otis for a drawing workshop.
There was the first session which went from 3:45pm to 6:45.

Everyone started leaving and I started packing too. Gary came up to me and asked if I was taking off.
And I said "Yeah...well that was it right?" I thought I heard wrong about the workshop going until 10pm.

But Gary told me that it goes till 10. So I sat right back down and threw all my art materials back out ready to draw.

During the second session, Gary came up to me and said "Tammy, I want you to meet Bill Eckert. He teaches at CalArts in the Character Animation program."

Bill sat down next to me and immediately started listing the things that CalArts wants to see in a portfolio right on my drawing pad.
Then, Bill and Gary took me to the fourth floor of Otis and showed me the different landscape and animal drawings that were drawn by students.

Bill pointed out key things that CalArts would love to see in a portfolio. He even gave me tips on how nothing doesn't have to complicated, it just has to show that it came from the imagination etc.

I can't believe that he just came up to me and was so straightforward about what should go in a portfolio.
I wanted to thank him so many times but that would be very Chinese of me... :P
So I thanked him once with much appreciation.

I think next time CalArts sees my portfolio, it will muchmuch better thanks to Bill

Some drawings I did yesterday's workshop.
The model had an awesome Roman costume. I forgot how fun costume figure drawing is.
I really liked his face, helmet and cape thing.

Sketch Crawl tomorrow! I'm really excited. It will also be a good opportunity to get some drawings into my portfolio!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Portfolio Day

I think Portfolio Day is one of the most draining events that I have every been to. It starts at 12 but I got there early and waited in line for over an hour. But that's okay because it was worth it. I was near the front of the line for CalArts.

The representative from CalArts who critiqued my portfolio gave me kind of a harsh critique. She basically said that I wasn't ready. It was pretty discouraging. Because while I was waiting in line, I heard a lot of "you aren't ready and "you're too basic." I really hoped that I wouldn't hear something like that But I did. She said I have strong figure drawing skills, but I need more animals and the animal drawings need more development. More perspective, landscape and imaginative drawings should be included too.
True, she is a CalArts representative and she told me that I 'm probably not ready for CalArts, but I really think I am. I choose to stay optimistic in this situation because I still have time to develop and expand my portfolio even more.
I wanted to write about portfolio day in my blog on Monday and even Tuesday but I didn't have time. My teacher Rebecca Kimmel suggested that I take a trip to Otis on Tuesday and attend Gary Gerath's class.
So I did. And it was excellent. Gary's class was from 8am to 3pm. I learned so much from the class. And then after class, there was a figure drawing workshop from 3:45 to 6:45. I can literally say that I drew for 10 hours on Tuesday :) I plan to make more trips to Otis to strengthen my foundation even more. I actually don't mind drawing for 10 hours. It was actually a lot of fun.
My gesture drawings have improved and I got really good advice from Rebecca and Gary.
Much thanks to Rebecca and Gary. I really appreciate the fact that there are people out there who want to help those who need it. Also, a lot of thanks to Beverly and Chris Warner for being very nice and awesome people who also want to help out a fellow artist.

Yeah, CalArts was a slap in the head. But the recovery was very quick I must say.
I think I have a very good idea of what CalArts wants to see in a portfolio now and I will have a much stronger portfolio to present when I submit it.

I've been meaning to post my second master copy so that I can take a look at it side by side... or up and down on my blog. Even though I'm not entirely finished, I think it's making good progress.
I actually had a bit of trouble with blocking in her body at first. And her face was troublesome too.
I wish the face was more accurate but as long as it looks close, then it's ok.
Before, the face was so goofy and I swear I erased at least 6 times....

We've been trying a new medium in life drawing and it's pastel! My teacher Melanie used my drawing as a demo and filled in the neck. Pastel's not bad and it's close to painting almost. UCI made me hate painting but I can deal with pastel. I would like to make the transition to painting soon though.
Pastel is very beautiful and I hope that I can become better in the future. I know a lot of artists at Pixar like to use pastel too. But the way they use it is like witchcraft.... it's too good and too beautiful...

Another new thing that I've been learning how to draw/ paint is little chickens and bok choy
I've been anticipating the moment that my teacher would tell me that I'm ready to paint bok choy.
Bok Choy is really hard but really fun at the same time.

This one is done by my teacher. You can see his signature in the bottom right corner. There are 2 kinds of bok choy. The one above is the one with open leafs and is the newest one that I'm learning.
It's really hard....
The one below is the kind of closed leafs. This method is easier actually.

This Saturday I will be attending the Sketch Crawl in LA. I'm really excited because it will be a really good opportunity to get some more sketches for my portfolio.
This has been another long entry, but I had to catch up again. A lot has been going on externally...internally.
It's been pretty chaotic but organized at the same time. But all in all, I'm really happy with where everything is going. I know I don't have much time left until my portfolio is due, but I'm going to make really really good use of that time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Since my tv downstairs has no basic channels right now, I've been re watching my dvd collection. I enjoy re watching my dvd collection, so I'm not forcing myself to watch tv or anything ;P
But I just finished Ratatouille again and I went to the bonus materials where there's an interview with Brad Bird.
When I listen to him talk about how he is inspired... it really inspired me too.
He said that ideas cannot be forced.
When he does come up with an idea, its usually a happy accident or its created from something else.
And then it builds off of what gave him inspiration and becomes an idea.

I've always been hard on myself because I always thought I wasn't creative enough.
When I look at other people's portfolios, I feel that everyone is creative in their own way.
Especially those who apply to Art Center's Entertainment Design program. Their portfolios really knock me off my socks.
But after I watched Brad Bird talk about how he creates ideas, then I think back to the drawings and art I have done. It's true that I have had spontaneous creative ideas at the spur of the moment...literally.
(damn those conceptual art classes... forcing me to make something..)
If you force yourself to create an idea then you might not love it.
But if it comes to you instead, then you can really make it yours and be happy about it.

The dvd really inspired me because it really is true. I'll probably be a lot more creative when the times comes to be (CalArts!!!)

CalArts portfolio day is this weekend! I'm pretty confident about my portfolio.
Just finishing up the drawings by spraying some fixative and glassine over those dusty drawings.

I'll create a new post about Portfolio Day and the projects that I am currently working on after Sunday
(second master copy and pastels!)


Thursday, October 9, 2008


CalArts finally decided to release their application for the 2009 year! Pretty exciting... I still wish the application would come out a little later so there's not so much pressure. But that's ok, don't want to turn it in too late. Also, portfolio day is next weekend. *yikes* I'm pretty nervous.
I have been putting my portfolio together and I realize that a lot of pieces that I have are mostly or fully rendered. I'm thinking maybe CalArts wants to see drawings with construction and more gestures so the other day in class, I requested 5 minute poses. I got 5 great drawings and they will be put into my portfolio.

I also wanted to post some of my figure drawings from when I was still attending UCI. I came a really long way and have improved a lot. Seeing my progression makes me feel good because it helps me feel prepared for CalArts. I'm pretty fond of my figure drawings from the past although they aren't perfect and maybe out of proportion. We had such great models from the class and I wish I really took advantage of that. Or, I wish I had the same models again.

Before the figure drawing class at UCI, I took costume figure drawing classes at Pasadena Art Center. Those were really really fun. It was because of those classes that I really enjoy figure drawing. When I get the chance, I'll snag a few pictures of those. It was pretty fun because we had models coming in dressed like cowboys, pirates, jesters etc. Really awesome :)

I got a call from my mom yesterday. She told me that Mr.Li and my Chinese painting teacher told me that they want me to host this year's exhibition.
O god.....
I heard that they chose me because I'm the youngest student and they want me to represent the longevity of Chinese painting. That's really nice, and really an honor.
But I'm nervous! I have to speak in Mandarin in front of everyone... and I'm a total ABC (American Born Chinese). I hope my 6 years of Chinese school pay off now -____- Even thought I forgot about 80% of what I learned...
It will be a good experience though. I just don't want to be laughed at (o_o)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Animals and Xu Bei Hong

I find that animal drawings are also a bit of a challenge. Animals are actually very unfamiliar so they require extra observation. I think my animal drawings can improve... but it's a bit hard to sketch animals at a zoo on a hot weekend day -___-
I can always try the Santa Ana zoo soon.
These animal drawings are from San Diego zoo.

I wish I could've seen the process in which this snake took to look like a cinnamon bun on a branch.

These are my polar bear sketches! The polar bear was the only animal at the zoo that decided to cooperate. At the end of the day, I was really disappointed that I didn't get any good drawings because all the other animals decided to hide. But this polar bear decided to take a nap near the front right after I was about to leave.
Thanks polar bear!
The drawing above was put through photoshop because I used such a light blue color.

I added more colors to this drawing to show how many colors actually appear on the polar bear.

A random sketch I did on the back of my sketchbook. That cardboard part of sketchbooks always smell like bad cheese... I'm a huge fan of cheese but I don't understand why it always has to smell...
It might be to keep the moths away but it could smell better.

This is the highlight of my weekend. My mom and my godmother went to Chinatown and passed a bookstore. And there were all these figure drawing books that were in front of the bookstore that apparently no one wanted because they were FREE. So my mom and godmother quickly grabbed me 3 books. The artist is a Chinese man named Xu Bei Hong. He studied western art but his fellow Chinese peers did not approve of his western art so he eventually switched over to Chinese painting.
(The translation on the cover is bad... they aren't paintings...)

These books are so wonderful and are very inspirational. Thanks Mom and Godmother Winnie! This is exactly what I art books
: )

I wish I could show all the pages of his books because his work is beautiful and very good. But it could take a while. Maybe in my later posts, I'll introduce more of his drawings bit by bit.