Jie Lan

I'm super grateful to learn from such talented and caring mentors.

jie lan artist 3

About Jie

She Majored in Fine art and is from Canada and loves to create stunning high-quality environments for her clients.

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1,470 Words written by Jie

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Review

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

Hi there! My name is Jie and I’m an environment concept artist who loves modeling, painting, and being a nerd about the whole process!

I grew up between Canada and China. It’s a part of my identity and I enjoy using my experiences as springboards for generating creative ideas. I seemingly have the typical background story of having always loved drawing since childhood, immersing myself in my space, geeking out about great artists, and enjoying the art-making process as a way to find refuge for myself, connect with people, and engage with the world at large. I want art to always stay in my life.

Life keeps moving on. I finished my fine arts and education degrees and worked for a few years as a teacher. But I have always been somewhat dissatisfied with the art I was making; there was just a piece of the puzzle missing.

Discovering concept art was that deja-vu light bulb moment!

As fascinating as it was, concept art differed in many ways from the abstract paintings and oil portraits I was accustomed to creating during my university days. I became gripped with the idea of creating vast and beautiful worlds. When I think about creating environments, I recall my childhood, and how happy I felt visiting little shops with my grandparents, playing with cute toys, and basking in the sunny warmth of my skin. This warm fuzzy feeling is why I want to create art. You could say, I have always had a fire going inside, and creating beautiful environments that I can share with the world just made it burn brighter.

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

The first issue I faced was a lack of direction in applying the right knowledge. Growing up, painting environments was not my forte, never mind venturing into digital painting or 3D modeling. Transitioning from abstract art to using Blender was a huge technical leap for me. It was not easy, especially moving from painting people exclusively to creating environments. While my background in teaching offered some help, it didn’t bridge the gap in the technical skills required for me to succeed as an artist. Granted, finding answers to questions on the internet is easy, but discerning which answer is the best proves much more difficult. It’s akin to choosing between multiple meal options, like hamburgers and fries versus healthy greens and proteins. You can fill your stomach with either, but there’s a difference in their nutritional value, a distinction that’s hard to discern without a nutrition guide. The same principle applies to learning. The challenge lies in having easy access to scattered knowledge nowadays. From my experience of teaching, I knew having a concentrated source of credible and industry-approved knowledge was essential.

Another challenge is the lack of professional artist connections. Finding people with similar interests, especially in a niche field like concept art, is difficult. I would often hear people ask, “What is concept art?” especially living in a smaller city, the challenge of networking effectively becomes even more pronounced. I struggled with finding other artists to form a supportive social circle, which impacted measuring skill levels against peers and often led to feelings of loneliness. This disconnect from valuable industry information fostered a sense of falling behind me and, over time, dangerously threatened my motivation. Recognizing this, I knew I needed to take action.

Naturally, these issues were more internal in nature. There are misconceptions of the entertainment art industry that seeped into daily interactions with loved ones. They might perceive pursuing this profession as less stable compared to, say, teaching. Doubt starts to spread, which can really influence one’s mindset. Protecting your passion is a thing! Establishing a safe space to pursue our passion without judgment, whether financially, ideologically, or emotionally, is of utmost importance.
Finding priorities is key for me.

jie lan art environment mentorship future percivaux square

Percivaux Square

Environment concept art situated in a universe similar to Cyberpunk 2077.

Why did you decide to sign up for CGVerse online art school?

In light of these issues, I knew I needed a knowledgeable, credible, and consistent source of guidance. That was my bar of measurement. Browsing through the net, only CGVerse met this criterion. An added bonus is that you can choose from multiple tiers of mentorship. This ability to choose allowed me to select what made the most sense for me, both in terms of time and finances.

Speaking with Christopher on a voice call also gave me the impression that CGVerse genuinely cares about their prospective students. Not many places demonstrate this level of dedication.

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

I had completed a couple of mentorships with Adam and Christopher and worked on 6 environments together. In two of these, I had the fortune to practice my newly learned 3D skillset more fully. I am nearing completion on another 3D environment, while the remaining projects involve a few smaller 2D exercises.

Adam and Christopher both helped me gain a much deeper and meaningful understanding of 2D and 3D workflows. Each of these environments had clear goals of helping me first develop my fundamentals, apply design principles, and use Blender to model entire environments. We tackled first a small interior scene, moving on to a bigger exterior scene with backgrounds etc of the same building, and then an entire cityscape. Having progressively moved on to larger environments has helped me gauge what’s needed in each stage. This knowledge gives me the ability to tackle a wider variety of environments.

How was the mentorship for you?

Working with real industry professionals together is one of the most informed learning experiences I could recall. 1 on 1 format at CGVerse didn’t just offer personalized feedback - it raised the bar significantly. It was about more than just creating art; it was about flourishing as an artist. Along this journey, I’ve navigated challenges like burnout and self-doubt and continued to push forward. Although I have not yet completely overcome these challenges, I can say I now have the proper tools and mindset to face these challenges head-on.

Christopher and Adam were extremely patient, encouraging and knowledgeable during each of the sessions as well. I had to learn to overcome technical hurdles and emotional setbacks like burn-out, self-doubt etc. The guidance I received along the way was like a beam of light in the dark, illuminating the path forward and empowering me to overcome these issues. They would give live demos, and Christopher went the extra mile to make sure I understood the content, pointing me to specific websites, links and web pages even to answer my technical questions more effectively. They were also generous to draw back on their personal art journey. This willingness to share their personal tips added a rich, pragmatic layer to my learning experience.

Thanks to guidance from my mentors, I not only have learned the technical skills needed to complete a large 3D environment from start to finish but perhaps more importantly, I’ve embraced a healthier, more effective mindset. The experience has been informative, nurturing, and incredibly conducive to personal growth. I come out a much more mature artist ready to take on the world of art with a fresh perspective.

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

CGVerse is the place if you want to fast-track your growth as an artist. They provide all the tools, techniques and mindset you would need to break into the industry. Of course, you will also need to put in a lot of effort but if you do, you will get a lot more compared to going somewhere else. When I searched for which education to go for, I knew the mentorship teaching style was an advantage, never mind having responsible, caring and credible teachers at a very competitive price. I have learned so much from my mentorship with Christopher and Adam that I will remember their teachings for years to come, and that’s more than what you could ask for. I’m super grateful to learn from such talented and caring mentors.

I hope my experience can help other artists who might be feeling lost and guide them to the right people!

What are your next steps?

I’m excited to apply the precious knowledge I’ve gained to create more stunning environments. My goal is to craft a piece that not only solidifies my understanding but also matches the polish of my latest 3D scene. This mentorship has given me the mindset and tools I need to achieve my goals, so I’m more confident about the process. Taking more classes, self-studying and/or maybe another mentorship is, of course, on the horizon, the hallmark of a great anything is the perpetual pursuit of learning and improvement!

I believe working in the industry naturally follows eventually in the journey of a growing artist - I just hope to create environments that will help brighten someone’s day and bring a bit more curiosity into their lives, much like how I feel when I play games like Cyberpunk 2077 or watch shows like Arcane.

Undoubtedly, more challenges lie ahead but I believe that this resilience will be one of the most precious treasures in my creative toolbag.

Personal images

(Before the mentorship)

jie lan art personal fanart zelda

A quick concept art sketch inspired by Zelda.

This was one of my first few attempts at painting environments digitally. It was from this piece that I realized I wanted to create more serious environments on a larger scale.

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