The Importance of Feedback


Feedback is used as a basis for improvement. As artists, it’s imperative that we gauge the strength of our work and we do so through feedback. Here at CGMA, we understand the value of feedback from our instructors as well as from other students. We maintain a collaborative space for individuals to construct their ideas and make room for those ideas to be enhanced—this is just one of the way we make it possible to become a better artist. Through the perspectives our talented and celebrated instructors, who have and been through this creative cycle and back, this is what they have to say about the importance of feedback.

Tyler Edlin, Concept Artist, Illustrator, says:

“Feedback is the very core of improvement and part of a larger success cycle. As both an artist and instructor there will likely be a fair amount of failure and in a variety of ways, failure to- comprehend an assignment, failure to communicate, failure to inspire others etc. Truth is, we cannot grow as people without failure. I feel feedback is a two-way line between instructor and student that embraces failure and helps both parties grow. From the opening email, I like to get that line open with my students and encourage them to open up each week about anything. This has lead to a lot great friendships that has extended beyond the scope of the classroom, everyone no matter the skill needs someone to bounce ideas too and talk shop.”

Check out Tyler’s Fundamentals of Architecture Design and Fundamentals of Design courses, available for registration. Click here for more information.

Gilles Beloeil, Concept Artist, says:

“I think feedback from the teacher on student work is the most important thing to use as a learning tool at CGMA, because it gives the student professional advice on things he or she may have missed in their artwork. Getting the feedback from someone who did struggle on the same problems in his artwork during many years is priceless. The more artwork you create, the more you will be able to see the problems you can fix in your painting. And the more problems you fix, the better your painting and design will be. Therefore, getting a professional trained eye painting over the works you struggled on will save you a lot of time and you will probably learn a lot more this way, rather than watching a video of the same teacher painting his own stuff.”

Check out Gilles Environment Design 2 course, available for registration now. Click here for more information.

Bobby Rebholz, Senior Concept Artist, says:

I will give an answer from a teacher’s viewpoint. I think feedback is important because, as artists, we need constructive criticism if we intend to get better. I remember first starting out in the concept art world and I was very stubborn in my methods of doing things. I thought that criticism was a personal attack and I never really grew in areas where I needed to get better in. As a teacher, I try to be honest with the student and still maintaining that fun atmosphere for my students. It feels good knowing that you’re improving because the criticism you’re receiving is honest. As an artist, if we take a step back and learn to soak in constructive criticism, we can get better much faster.

Check out Bobby’s Creature Design for Film and Games course, available for registration now. Click here for more information.

Shannon Beaumont, Illustrator, says:

“When learning, your attention is often so focused on certain things that many other things will escape your notice. Another eye, which has not been involved in the process, can more easily spot these. However, critique is only helpful when given in a way that can be digested and processed. An art instructor is not just trained at teaching art, but also at how to give the bits of critique and suggestions that are likely to be most helpful to the student. That is, spot the struggles the students are currently facing and finding the suggestions that are most likely to steer them in the right direction.”

Check out Shannon’s Animal Drawing course, available for registration now. Click here for more information.

Poe Tan, Concept Artist, says:

“As a student myself in the 90s, being in college and also the beginning of my career in animation, I learned a lot while I was working with a lot of my colleagues by seeing them work. From their technique, shortcuts and styles, it made me understand how the creative process and industry pipeline flow. Bottom line, seeing is learning.

I enjoy teaching at CGMA, as it gives me the opportunity to teach students who are hailing from all over the globe. To see them grow and move on to other classes then hopefully moving to living their goals and dreams, to me is the most rewarding part as an educator.”

Check out Poe’s Dynamic Sketching 2 course, available for registration now. Click here for more information.

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5 Tips for Getting Your Art Noticed


How to Stand Out as a Digital Artist

How do you stand out in the crowd as a talented digital artist and get the attention you deserve and the challenging jobs you desire? We asked a pool of our amazing instructors and talented artists for their professional advice:

1. Choose One Skill and Master It

Ben Keeling (Environment Artist at Creative Assembly) shares that his most important tip for aspiring artists is to “pick one area of expertise and just become the best you can be at that one area,” whether it’s procedural texturing, high-poly modeling, or character design. “Be an expert in your field,” Keeling emphasized, “and you will be recognized for that skill.”

2. Send a Clear Message to CG Studios

When you market a particular skill, you are directly communicating to studios that need your skill. “If a studio is looking into a particular pipeline or wants skills using certain programs such as Unreal, this can be a really good selling point for securing a job,” said Keeling. “All the most popular artists on websites like ArtStation and CG Society showcase their key CG skill.”

3. Showcase Your “WOW” Piece

“Have a polished “wow” piece that boggles the mind and tickles the soul!” said Michael Pavlovich (Principal Artist at Certain Affinity). Your “wow” piece will get more attention and more reactions from teachers, peers, and other pros than a dozen adequate examples.

4. Create Good Work

Consistent examples of your talents and creativity are the foundation of “a clear online presence and message” to industry professionals about you and your abilities, said Brett Bean (Freelance Digital Artist). It all adds up to the way you create your professional “brand” and get attention from fellow digital artists, job recruiters, and potential employers.

5. Network With Other CG Artists

Networking online is the most important element of getting noticed by the CG community, said Patrick Raines (Concept Artist for FireForge Games). “Posting both professional and personal work on sites like ArtStation and CG Society, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest can quickly grow your reputation worldwide.” Take advantage of the global reach of the Internet to build your reputation and your career.

Many thanks to our CG Master Academy Instructors: Michael Pavlovich (Introduction to ZBrush), Ben Keeling (Introduction to Substance for Environment Art), Brett Bean (Fundamentals of Character Design), and Patrick Raines (Environment Sketching for Production).

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