I came to CGVerse concept art school so I could learn how to create compelling scenes and kickstart my art learning experience.

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Gabriel Juarez

Concept Artist at Keytales

About Gabriel

He works as a freelance pixel artist on various projects and as a texture artist for Cyclone Designs and lately for Keytales studio.

746 Words written by Gabriel

~3 Minutes to read

Review

Tell us about yourself: Who are you, what do you love to do and where are you from?

My name is Gabriel Juárez. I am an aspiring concept artist in San Francisco. I came to CGVerse concept art school so I could learn how to create compelling scenes and kickstart my art learning experience.

When I was 10, I fell in love with the game, Minecraft, and it was through Minecraft that I learned how to be creative. I would love to play with the textures, to change things up and give them some personality. And, truth be told, I never shook my addiction to Minecraft. Even today I spend hours on pixel art for the game, and I have made many valuable companions and acquaintances through its community. For years, though, I was stuck in pixel art. While I always found other types of art interesting, I could never muster up the motivation to try these arts for myself. It was not until I sought a mentorship with CGVerse’s school would I finally venture out into more traditional art styles.

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Royal City

I explored various 3D and 2D techniques to build the scene.

Why did you choose CGVerse concept art school over other schools?

Most art colleges in the States don’t offer courses for concept design. And the ones that do are way expensive!

CGVerse offered a cheap and practical program that could help me learn the skills I would need to create polished concept art. On top of all that, the mentorship structure seemed more appealing to me than traditional classes. One-on-one meetings with my mentor could allow me to work at my own pace and ask questions whenever I felt I wasn’t getting something. If you ever feel you’ve hit a plateau with your art, the easiest way to overcome that plateau is to talk to another artist. They will provide a completely different perspective which can give you that boost you need to figure out what’s keeping you from reaching the next level. And through the mentorship, that is exactly what you get.

What were the biggest problems you faced when you started as an artist?

As I mentioned earlier, I was stuck in pixel art for the longest time. While I was certainly interested in illustration and painting, I never had the motivation to pursue these art forms. So I knew that, naturally, I would struggle as a concept artist if I couldn’t even draw! However, I do not regret the time I’ve invested in pixel art. During my time working with pixels, I learned many design techniques and art skills which can apply to just about any art form. I think it was helpful to have limits, as with pixel art I often have to figure out how to use the few pixels I have to convey an idea. I believe working with limitations can help you develop a clearer artistic vision.

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Library

This is a library scene we worked on in the first part of the mentorship. We started with a 3D base, laying out the props and architecture. Then we transitioned to 2D, adding figures, props, and other assets to give the scene some life.

What did you do during the mentorship and what helped you on each task?

I learned powerful toolsets to help me execute my design vision in Blender and Photoshop. And honestly, if I were left to learn these on my own, it would have taken me months! But through the mentorship, I was able to learn how to use these tools proficiently in a matter of weeks. What is particularly helpful about having a mentor is that they will tell you how to execute your design effectively with the tools you have. I think it is easy to come up with inefficient workflows if you are working on your own, so having a mentor can help you shave hours off your production time.

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Expedition East

This is a jungle setting inspired by the cultures of Indonesia and Africa.

How was the Mentorship for you?

The mentorship was great! As I said, I learned some very useful tools. On top of Blender and Photoshop skills, I learned some design theories to help me create compelling pieces on my own. I think CGVerse has a very powerful approach to design. It is very human-centric, basing itself on fundamental elements of human culture and biology. I also like how CGVerse proficiently leverages traditional theory with modern technology. We were using theory crafted centuries ago and tech crafted yesterday!

What would you say when you recommend us to an artist?

The mentorship will help you so long as you are open-minded. Many artists I have worked with fail to see their shortcomings because they believe their work is perfect. And I honestly think that is the biggest blockade to growth. It will close so many doors. And you must not mistake ego for confidence. You can be confident and still understand that you can improve. So, as long as you maintain a critical mindset, you will be able to improve.

Personal images

(Before the mentorship)

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Halloween - Candy Creepers

​I made this character as a break from work. When working on commissions, I often don’t spend time on personal projects, so I figured it would be a way for me to employ some of the skills I’ve picked up working with clients along with some of my personality.
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Penguin Mech

This is a piece I worked on between commissions as well. I was traveling in Australia at the time, and I just had a burst of Halloween inspiration. I wanted to get these ideas out, so I sat down on my laptop and made these characters.
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Swords Collection

When I was in 8th grade, I aspired to make a game that would have weapons the player could obtain by completing tasks or fighting enemies. These are some of the weapons I designed. Recently, I revisited this project and updated the textures as a fun practice to see how my art has developed.
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Bikes - Rapid Racers

I made these sci-fi-themed motorbikes for a Minecraft Marketplace production. The game was released in September of 2019 and is called Rapid Racers

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