CTN Animation Expo 2010 Recap

This is long overdue but now that work has slowed down a bit I can finally get back to regular blogging.

Last month I attended the 2nd Annual CTN Animation Expo in Burbank. Once again it was a smashing success. Hundreds of animation artists converged in the Burbank Marriott to immerse themselves in everything animation. There were dozens of workshops and seminars given by top names in the biz, live drawing demos by industry legends (i.e. Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, etc.), portfolio reviews from top animation studios, free life drawing sessions with costumed models, and a show floor packed with artists and booksellers exhibiting their wares. As an extra bonus the event was bookended with special screenings of The Illusionist and Tangled.

I was given the honor of being one of the artists chosen to give a live drawing demo. I was also selected to interview for a freelance position with an established animation studio known for its work in television series and commercials. Too early to tell but overall I think it went well. At the very least I was able to get my toe into one more doorway in Hollywood.

One of the greatest benefits of a weekend like this is the flood of creative inspiration that washes over you. I packed light knowing that I’d be bringing back a suitcase full of books and DVDs to keep my creative juices flowing.

Live costumed models posed in the lobby throughout the weekend for impromptu drawing sessions.

Just one small portion of the jam-packed show floor.

Artist Sergio Pablos discussed his pitch for Despicable Me (the film was based on his original concept). Unfortunately I’m not allowed to show slides of his sketches but I can tell you his artwork is *amazing*.

How To Train Your Dragon co-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders discussed the process of creating the film. Throughout the production they recorded their progress and insights using pocket video cameras and then edited the clips into a documentary called “Finding the Story”. As a bonus, attendees of the session were given free DVDs of the documentary. (I’m told you can also watch it on the How To Train Your Dragon blu-ray using the BD-Live feature.)

Master concept artist John Nevarez gave a live drawing demo using a Cintiq.

Disney lead animator Andreas Deja (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Hercules) gave a live drawing demo.

Peter de Seve and Carter Goodrich are accomplished illustrators-turned-character-designers. They showed slides and discussed their work on such films as Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Open Season, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me.

Another live model posed for an open drawing session.

Several of the seminars were attended by overflow crowds. This was my view standing in one such line—and there were more people behind me.

The CTN Expo is becoming a must-see event for the animation industry. Next year’s Expo is already being planned for Nov. 18-20, 2011. It’s not too early to pre-register and reserve your spot!