Two words, game-changer. CGVerse Online Art School was for me an amazing experience to start my career in the concept art world and that final, last push I needed.
He is a concept artist and designer who worked for Innovative Concepts Group, America Television, CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group and more.
1,900 Words written by Eric
~9 Minutes to read
Hello! I’m Eric Gris, I am a designer from Lima, Perú. As a kid, I have always enjoyed creating imaginary worlds with legos and similar toys. As a consequence, I chose to pursue a creative career when I got out of high school. I didn’t know what to do with my life at that moment, I was only good at playing video games like Starcraft 1 and Counter Strike 1.5. Anyhow, a friend of mine recommended me to try graphic design. At first, I wasn’t really sure if the design was for me, eventually, it turned out to be ok! I could stay hours and hours doing my assignments without getting bored, every day after the class I felt smarter and good with myself. Eventually, I graduated and got a job early in an advertising agency, but soon I started to get frustrated and disappointed; long hours at the office, no social life, low payment, etc. As a result, I burned out.
During that period I started to make motion graphics and traditional animation in Macromedia Flash for fun. A couple of months later, I got an offer to work as a motion graphics designer and did that for the next five years and a half.
Incidentally, I found a concept art piece from Feng Zhu while randomly surfing the web. I got fascinated, it struck me as if a boxer had hit me with a perfect uppercut. I started immediately to research it, thus, I discovered the world of concept art and my real vocation. I also found out that I didn’t need to have a special artistic talent to learn it, just sheer will and the right attitude to learn. I found out that concept art was my real passion, what’s cooler than creating worlds, environments, characters, and props for video games or movies?
After a year of studying from books and courses, I realized I needed a final push to break into the entertainment industry. After extensive research, I accidentally found CGVerse Online Art School. I decided to take the concept art mentorship after looking at students’ works.
A Quiet Place
This project was made during my 2nd month in the mentorship. My mentor and I had an amazing time setting it up, texturing and lightning all in Blender and later on overpainting in photoshop. The assets used are from Aiko Shinohara, exported and textured again in Blender.
Here in Perú, there aren’t any concept art schools. Under those circumstances, the only way for me was to study abroad or online. Concept art schools are not cheap, that being the case, I started learning with books and online courses up to the point where I felt that I needed a final push to break into the industry. I started researching concept art schools and the pricing was not reasonable for my budget! I was about to get a huge loan when I heard on the Collective Podcast about mentorships and an amazing book named “Mastery” by Robert Greene. Because of this, I discovered how important and efficient it is to have a mentor, and I started to consider that going to a school and spending lots of money which I eventually would have to pay later with interest was not the best choice.
I found CGVerse when I found a painting from a former student on Artstation. It immediately caught my eyes and started to gather information. What got me excited about studying in CGVerse was the before and after of the students and the transformation that they went through during their mentorships.
CGVerse Online Art School offered me a nice plan of action, to improve and get me ready to work in the entertainment industry. CGVerse showed me everything I was going to learn, very clearly, and detailed. In addition, I had a call with my mentor and he understood me, all my pains, and how to get me to be where I wanted to be. Given these points, I made my decision to enroll in CGVerse Online Art School.
To begin with, I think it was a lack of confidence. When I started I didn’t have someone to talk to or to study with, isolation was killing me. It’s very hard to know if what you are doing is right or wrong. Eventually, I could manage to do simple things, however, whenever I started to make something big and epic I would quit just after starting because things didn’t look cool enough.
As a result, I got stuck. I got back to the basics and design foundations which is never bad, however, as I’m a student I made the mistake to rush things. I wanted to push and make things bigger and cooler. I turned to 3D software to use it as a shortcut and got lost in it. A 3D software is so big that normally you can get lost in it and forget your primary focus, which is concept art.
Alternatively, I started to change my habits. For a start, being more disciplined; getting 7-8 hours of sleep, practicing every day, timing myself, etc. After some time I started to improve and tackled my first 3D paint-over personal project.
Yet I still wanted to keep growing. I needed one last push, that’s why I decided to look for an online concept art school.
An Audacious Heist
I tried Unreal Engine with this one, used the free libraries it had and it took some work to fix it in 2d, lots of hard work and overpaint.
During the mentorship, we decided to tackle 3 projects that would help me get better. I was already familiar with photoshop and Blender so we didn’t have to go through the slow process of learning to use the tools.
In the beginning, I got the artist’s block! My mentor immediately identified it and decided to mix
design foundations with some simple but effective techniques to execute them. It helped my brain a lot and things started to click and cogs started to move in the head.
Secondly, we started to mix 2d with 3d. I learned a lot about the pros & cons of working in a 3D environment, how to be more productive with several techniques used in the industry that I had no idea about, and how to keep it simple so that I didn’t get lost in it and subsequently mixing it in 2d with the industry-standard software which is photoshop.
Afterward, I learned to work in ACES 32-bit and 16-bit color spaces. It was new to me and I didn’t realize how powerful it is at first, however, with more practice and some research I started to grasp its use. It’s very powerful, simple, and effective and I can’t go back to painting in 8-bit again.
This was my first painting during the mentorship. It started slow since I had to learn new stuff and revisit some foundation skills.
I had a blast with this one!
Two words, game-changer. The mentorship was great like I stated above, I learned a lot of new skills and techniques, additionally, in the online concept art mentorship, we worked on improving my portfolio by working on 3 projects.
The way my mentor and I approached them was a new experience for me, and it was amazing! Some days I got my mentor watching me work and I received invaluable advice, knowledge, tips, and clever ways to be more efficient and stay creative while working. Other days I got on the other end and watched him work. I started incorporating a lot of the things he was doing into my workflow. It felt natural to learn like that and in less than a month I could feel and see I was progressing. One month is not that much time, but trust me on this, that first month felt like a year in design school, every day after the session I learned so much stuff, I didn’t notice the time passed until we were almost finishing the first project. I was amazed at how much I had progressed during that month.
Furthermore, since I was incorporating my mentor’s workflow into my own, he helped me by developing some custom tools that are now an essential part of my workflow. That may seem a bit technical but one of the most valuable lessons of the mentorship I got was to “keep it simple”. I’m a technical guy, sometimes I lose myself in learning how things work, like Why choose that shape? Why use that color? Form follows function or function follows form? Lots of questions distracted me and didn’t allow my creative mind to work. By globally keeping the tools I use simple, I could concentrate more on design, and let my creative juices flow.
Like I said before, I was in isolation while learning concept art at first. Enrolling in CGVerse Online Art School was an amazing experience, the concept art mentorship program works and it’s completely different from a standard learning system.
In conclusion, I hope this experience of mine helps anyone with similar problems or troubles. It doesn’t matter where you are from. CGVerse Online Art School was for me an amazing experience to start my career in the concept art world and that final, last push I needed.
There is a point where you need to know how things work inside the entertainment industry.
You are not going to find that in forums, books, or courses. What’s better than having a professional to talk to about them?
The first time I talked with my mentor, we did something like the Mythbusters and I understood a lot of things immediately. I also realized that the online art school itself wasn’t going to get me where I want to be automatically after finishing the mentorship, I had to put a lot of effort and go push myself to my limits. The path is not easy trust me, I wake at 5 am to make some progress with my assignments then I have to be at 8:30 am at my office for my regular job and I get back at night to continue working on my mentorship.
My mentor was open-minded, and it was easy to notice that he had a lot of experience in teaching. He also knew when to push me or give me a break. It was noticeable that he does care about his mentees. On the days I had online mentorships I was excited to leave work and get right to it! The mentorship sessions were really fun, every day I felt smarter and I couldn’t wait to test out the new knowledge I acquired. It felt as if I was a kid again learning in design school.
As I stated before, in my country, concept art schools didn’t exist. There were some companies related to the entertainment industry but on a very small scale. Education in design colleges and universities is not cheap and studying abroad is very expensive. CGVerse online art school offers a nice detailed mentorship program, a great mentor, and a great price.
(Before the mentorship)