I'd like to take a moment and say a few words about two wonderful communities. They have played an extremely pivotal role in my life and career, and I owe them both a tremendous amount of gratitude. The first is The Animation Academy. It has been my home away from home since I began my training there in 2002. Within 2 years, I learned more about animation (and saw more improvement in my work) than I had (or have) at any other art school! Its strict attention to traditional skills and the basic fundamentals of drawing undoubtedly sets The Academy apart as one of the ultimate art institutions. In addition to its cutting-edge staff of industry pros and arsenals of unparalleled reference material, the school provides its students with something rare: an ideal environment to create!! Any artist will tell you that inspiration, motivation, and FUN are essential to the creative process. The Animation Academy has always made these factors a top priority, and I thank God every day for the blessing it has been in my life! Though the sheer quality and sky-high standards of the program brought me in, it was the school's raw productive energy and creative unity that made me want to stay!
I had never even heard of Animation Nation until I attended The Animation Academy. Even after I became a member, I did not fully grasp the purpose of its existense...until now! For those of you who are not familiar with it, Animation Nation is a forum-based website that literally serves as "The Voice of The Animation Industry." General information, endless discussions, career opportunities, and news regarding any and all things "Animation" are its focus. However, Animation Nation has recently become so much more than this! While attending a monthly "AN Night" (the last Tuesday of every month @ 2006 Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA), I learned that the original intent of the site was to help artists promote themselves! Through AN's all-new web platform, monthly meetings, and ever-growing community, this dream is currently and successfully being fulfilled!! I, myself, am now part of AN's Homepage Slideshow, and as the community continues to grow, so does this amazing resource for independent creators! For all the juicy details, click the above link and find out how you can promote yourself and your artwork for FREE!!!
(CLICK HERE to VIEW/PURCHASE "CONTROLLING ILLUSION")
Controlling Illusion is the debut release of master creator, Charles Zembillas, the founder and leader of both Animation Nation and The Academy. Charles has been my teacher, mentor, and brother now for almost 10 years. He has taught me more than any artist I have ever known, and the majority of that knowledge is presented in this book! Controlling Illusion is, indeed, a fantastic collection of LIVE class demonstrations. Every image was completed in one sitting before an audience. What makes the book truly unique, however, is its explanation of the material. The process behind every drawing, painting, and sketch is described in great detail. Further more, a broad range of tools are represented, including pencil, inkpen, marker, guash, watercolor, acrylic, and digital medium. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to bare witness to many of these brainchildren, and having seen them created in person, I HIGHLY recommend this book to any level of artist! The work will inspire, the text will enlighten, and the unquestionable result will be improvement in your art!! Thank you so very much for sharing your wisdom, talent, and secrets with us, Charles!!! I'm sure I speak for the masses when I say I'll never forget it...we would not be where we are today if it wasn't for you.