How Illustrators Invented America: A special presentation by Alice Carter
Photo by Grace Chen
In January, A/I professor and co-founder Alice “Bunny” Carter presented a special talk on the history of American illustration to the Animation/Illustration program. Generously sharing her insight and knowledge, Carter discussed how illustrators have shaped perceptions of America, both at home and abroad, throughout the nation’s history. From the myth of the noble savage to the myth of the common man, from Uncle Sam to the Arrow Collar man and the Gibson Girl, illustrators created stories and images in their artwork that captured people’s imaginations and influenced their beliefs—ideas and images which still persist today.
Students and alums alike attended the event, filling Morris Dailey Auditorium on a Friday night. "It's the 4th time I have attended this lecture and I always learn something new,” A/I student Samia Khalaf said. “I think it's priceless information that needs to be turned into a book for future generations.”
Pew pew! Shrunkenheads Game It Up
Photo courtesy of Tamara Chang
Who says you have to graduate before pursuing your interests? Sharing a passion for game development, Animation/Illustration students Tamara Chang, Pauline Pham, and Matthew White, along with other SJSU students, formed their own game development group and started making video games.
Calling themselves Pew Pew Studios (after their first game), the students are part of the GameDev Club and have already completed several games, including Pew Pew, Vivera, Murphy's Diamond, and Immunity. Many of their games feature innovative concepts and approaches to gaming. In the game Immunity, the player is the immune system of a sickly body and controls white blood cells with his or her own brainwaves, via a NeuroSky headset.
Last semester Pew Pew Studios won $2500 at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge for their work and was offered a 4-month long mentorship with SpartUps , an accelerator program for early stage startups.
"I have learned so much through helping to develop and being an artist for Pew Pew Studios. Working in a team with so many people with different types of skills and majors to create video games is exciting and inspiring. It motivates me to work harder in my animation classes because I want to use new skills I learn in class to improve Pew Pew Studios," group member Tamara Chang said.
Pew Pew Studios is currently working on a game called The Other Branch. Check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PewPewStudios.
The GameDev Club meets Thursdays at 7:15pm, room 241 in the Art Building.
SJSUAI students win at CSU Media Arts Festival
Photo courtesy of Hillary Bradfield
Animation/Illustration students took top honors at this year’s CSU Media Arts Festival. Hillary Bradfield’s animated short “Edith and the Bear” placed first in Animation and took Best in Show, while Christy Becker’s screenplay, Coyote Children, placed second in the Feature Screenplay category.
Bradfield expressed thanks to her crew: “I'd really like to say a thank you to our film crew. It was an incredible honor to win Best in Show and Best in Animation at CSU Media Arts. There were so many inspiring projects shown in the festival. Big thanks to the Edith and the Bear crew. They were the best crew to work with. I have so many people to thank for this film--my professors at SJSU, and the mentors that helped me outside of school from Nickelodeon and Dreamworks. It took an army to make this film.”
The RTVF department also did well at the festival, garnering wins in the Feature Screenplay, Short Screenplay and Music Video categories.
According to the CSU Summer Arts website, the Media Arts Festival was established “in 1991 to give talented students studying film, video, and interactive media within the 23-campus California State University system an opportunity to present their work for critical review. Distinguished CSU professors and industry leaders choose the student finalists and winners in the film, video, and interactive media competition, and all finalist works are screened during the Festival. Cash prizes and the prestigious Rosebud Award are awarded to the winning student entries.”
For a complete list of winners, click here.
November 15, 2013
PUNCH DRUNK MOUSTACHE EVENT
Photo by Ting Yu Chen
In November, industry artists Amy Beth Christenson, Chris Voy, John-Paul Balmet, Sean Pando and Will Nichols presented their book Punch Drunk Moustache. The book, which also includes work from three other industry artists, showcases their off-the-clock visual development, concepts and art. All eight artists involved with the book have collectively worked for companies such as Lucasfilm Animation, LucasArts, Pixar, Capcom, Squaresoftand Electronic Arts; two are SJSU alums - J.P.Balmet and Jeff Sangalli.
The artists at the event gave insightful stories on their transition from students to professionals.
"Our guest speakers really encouraged me to pour my heart into my personal projects. If I do that, then others can see that this is what I am passionate about, and it is something I am willing to invest my time into," said A/I student Jessica Tong.
Phillip Yoon echoed the sentiment. “I learned that personal work was a far more compelling component to one’s portfolio. From the speakers' testimonies, their personal work was the big draw for recruiters looking for employees. And you just have to be the best in the world,” he said.
The artists who came stayed long after the presentation, signing books for long lines of appreciative A/I students.
The book is available here.
November 8, 2013
NICKELODEON, SONY PLAYSTATION, AND PIXAR VISIT SJSUAI
Photos by Shih-Hao Tseng
November has been a busy month for hosting industry guests. Recruiters from Nickelodeon returned to SJSUAI on November 6, while SonyPlaystation visited the program for the first time on November 8. They informed students of internship and full-time employment opportunities and described what life was like at the studios. Such visits give students a valuable glimpse into each company and industry expectations.
Pixar is scheduled for November 22.
November 3, 2013
AI Alumni Host Special Screening of Free Birds
Photo courtesy of David Chai
Returning SJSUAI alumni treated a packed theater of SHMers to a special opening weekend screening of their new film release, Free Birds. Reel FX Creative Studios Head of Story, Jeff Biancalana, along with story artists Josh Zinman, Marty Cooper and Taylor Hsieh, hosted a behind-the-scenes look on the making of the film and stayed late into the evening answering questions after the showing.
“The presentation was amazing. It was so inspiring to see how the storyboards translated to the film,” said Animation/Illustration student Da-Hee Im.
Big thanks to other SHM alumni, Renee Carty, Brandon W. Moore, Claire Marshall, and Leila Beverleigh for joining the festivities!
November 1, 2013
STEVE HICKNER VISITS SJSUAI
Photo by Shih-Hao Tseng
SJSUAI welcomed entertainment industry veteran Steve Hickner to SJSU this November. Hickner, who has worked as director, producer, and story artist for films such as Bee Movie, Prince of Egypt and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, gave an all-day talk to Animation/Illustration students. Hickner’s all-day lecture was divided into two parts. The first half focused on the use of cuts and close-ups in films and the second half discussed his book, Animating Your Career, a guide to navigating the journey of a career in the creative fields—from getting a foot in the door to directing a project involving hundreds of artistic professionals. The book is filled with practical advice from Hickner and many of the top creatives he has worked with over the years.
Hickner has spoken at SJSU several times before, generously sharing his invaluable insight and advice on film-making and storytelling.
SJSU Animation/Illustration Invades Canada
Trekking all the way to the Great White North, Animation/Illustration (A/I) instructors David Chai and David Yee led a group of 16 students and 2 alumni to the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), from 9/19 – 9/23. Funded in part by donations raised at monthly student-run film screenings, the group managed to watch 75 short and 3 feature-length animated films, and attend numerous artist presentations over the short three day visit. The group also had the opportunity to meet with students, industry professionals, and film makers from around the world at the daily social events. Professor Chai points out “The OIAF is the oldest and best attended animation festival in North America, and is a highlight of the year for many of our students.” Kayla Rymes confirms this notion, “Man, this was one of the best times of my life. Couldn't have asked for a better group of friends to spend this weekend with. To Ottawa!”
SJSU Animation/Illustration students take on the 24 Hours Animation Challenge
SJSU Animation/Illustration (A/I) students fired it up all night long for the 24 Hours Animation Contest, a nationwide competition to create 30-second animated films about a specified theme in 24 hours. More than 70 students from A/I program competed against ten other schools, with two teams from San Jose winning second and fourth place in the competition.
The theme, “What would you do if you only had 24 hours left to live?” was given to the competitors on Friday, September 27 at 5:30pm. The teams of five had until Saturday, September 28 at 5:30pm to conceptualize and complete a 30-second film. Submissions were judged by a panel of industry professionals from studios such as Laika, Pixar, and Yellowshed.
The SJSU AI film, “The Caveman Capsule”, won second place. Team members were Nicki
Yee, Grace Lacuesta, Youri Dekker, Ryan Eways, and Ryan Ramirez. They were awarded
1-year licenses for DIGICEL Flipbook Pro, TOONBOOM Storyboard Pro and Animate Pro.
The film can be viewed here.
Another SJSUAI film, “The Cookie of Doom”, won fourth place. Team members were Alvin
Concepcion, Clayton Chan, Oscar Guevara, Amanda Sharpe, and Hunter Welker. They received
Stuart Ng gift certificates and TOONBOOM Storyboard Pro and Animate Pro (1 year license).
The film can be viewed here.
In all 47 films were completed. The schools which participated in the challenge were CSUN, MTSU, Kendall, Westwood, Mt San Antonio Community College, Academy of Art San Francisco, Woodbury University, South Dakota State University, Ringling College of Art and Design, and Jarupa Valley High School. Sponsors for the event were Creative Talent Network (CTN), Toon Boom, Digicel, ASIFA-Hollywood, DreamWorks and Stuart Ng Books.
Dreamworks partners one more time with the Animation/Illustration program
DreamWorks Animation has partnered with the Animation/Illustration program for one more year of the very successful DreamCrits program.
Organized by DreamWorks’ amazing outreach department and hosted by the company in its studio headquarters, DreamCrits is a bi-monthly event in which SJSU Animation/Illustration (A/I) students have an extended critique session with Dreamworks artists. Through this unique exchange A/I students have the benefits of receiving very detailed feedback on their art pieces, and they get to spend time discussing their art work with some of the most sought-after professionals in the field.
Over the years, the relationship of the studio with the Animation/Illustration program has expanded to include dedicated internship opportunities, student gallery shows at the DW studio, and DreamWorks artists teaching at the CSU Summer Arts program. Since the inception of the DreamCrit program in 2010, over 500 CSU students have participated, and Animation/Illustration students have been a constant presence. The A/I program is thrilled to start one more round of the Dreamcrits program, and can't wait for the amazing sessions with DreamWorks artists.
SJSU Animators Help Promote Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
This summer, five SJSU Animation/Illustration (A/I) students worked overtime preparing a 30-second commercial to bring awareness to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; observed in September. Professor David Chai was approached by a fellow SJSU alum about producing animation for ‘Brandon’s Goal Foundation’, a charitable organization that raises money and awareness to help end childhood cancer. The commercial would tell the story of Brandon Brauns, a brave young boy, after whom the foundation is named.
Chai was excited about the prospect, “Our students have been heavily involved with charitable fundraising for years, but this was the first opportunity we’ve had to use animation in this way.”
The student animation team was excited as well. “There was so much we wanted to tell about this important story, but the challenge was fitting it all into 30 seconds” says graduating senior, Wendell Dalit. Along with his team mates Youri Dekker, Aldo Kcomt, Kevin Lam, Catharina Sukiman and Music student Josh Zamora, the group worked feverishly through August to meet the September deadline.
Although the team had to endure many sleepless nights to produce the spot, Dalit found the whole experience to be very rewarding. “The hard work was not an issue at all. The idea of using my art in a way that can make some sort of difference in peoples’ lives, kept us going all the way through to the end.”
For more information about ‘Brandon’s Goal Foundation’, please click here.
To see the finished commercial, please click here.
Animation Show of Shows Comes to SJSU
The SJSU Animation/Illustration program hosted a special screening of the Animation Show of Shows at San Jose State University this September. On Wednesday the 25th, Acme Filmworks founder Ron Diamond presented his traveling selection of the year’s best animated shorts to San Jose State students and their guests. The Show of Shows featured animation from all over the world, impressing the audience with the great variety in style and story.
Accompanying Mr. Diamond were several directors of this year’s films, including Edmunds Jansons of “International Father’s Day”, Yula Aranova of “My Mom is an Airplane!”, and Jonathan Ng of “Requiem for Romance”. The directors answered questions from the students after the show.
September 27, 2013
The Art of Bob Peak
SJSU A/I was proud to host Tom Peak for a presentation/lecture about his late father’s work. Bob Peak was one of a handful of illustrators who defined the visuals of the late 20th century. His work spanned several fields, including advertising, magazine covers, and movie posters. He did cover illustrations for Time magazine, TV Guide, and Sports Illustrated, and his innovative design helped develop the look of the modern movie poster. The Art of Bob Peak (a beautiful coffee-table book showcasing Bob Peak’s work) is available at: http://www.bobpeak.com/
Dick Blick Art Materials generously donated forty (40!) new drawing horses to SJSU A/I for use in the 3rd floor figure drawing room. Thank you Dick Blick! And thank you to the 32(!) students who showed up on their last day of summer vacation to help assemble them before the start of classes!
Animators Fire it Up at CSU Summer Arts
From July 1 to July 14, San Jose State Animation/Illustration Professor David Chai
took up residence in student housing at CSU Monterey Bay to coordinate an intensive
CSU Summer Arts course; “DreamWorks Animation: Acting and Emotional Expression.” Together
with Rex Grignon, Head of DreamWorks Character Animation and Los Angeles-based actor
Todd Waring, Professor Chai provided a venue for sixteen fortunate students to improve
their understanding of a demanding discipline. The course marked the first Summer
Arts class sponsored by DreamWorks Animation and was an extension of the collaboration
between the CSU and DreamWorks. This valuable partnership is supported by DreamWorks
Outreach as well as the Chancellor’s Entertainment Industry Initiative.
Eight students from San Jose State, three from Chico State, two from CSU Northridge, one from CSU Fullertonand two more from private institutions persevered through two weeks of challenging work. Although the course was difficult, the results were significant. Rex Grignon was impressed. “It’s incredible watching the students plow through these projects. It doesn’t seem like much doing six seconds of animation, but even at the professional level, an animator does about three seconds of animation per week. So they really worked at a professional pace.” San Jose State student, Justin Vu agreed. “Rex’s approach really accelerated my animation process,” he wrote. “What would normally take me weeks to get done, I can now finish in days. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using these techniques for the rest of my life.”
Professor Chai, who was coordinating a Summer Arts course for the first time, was enthusiastic about both the class and the value of the CSU Summer Arts experience. “This program not only allowed the students to learn about animation, but also immersed them into a two-week artistic colony; surrounding them with actors, musicians, stage combatants, painters, and writers. I’m sure that most of the students have also made some friends for life. I’d recommend the CSU Summer Arts program to anyone.”
SJSU Animation/Illustration Students are National Finalists for the 40th Annual Student Academy Awards
Couch and Potatoes, a stop-motion, animated short film directed by SJSU Animation/Illustration students Eunsoo Jeong and Christopher Lam, has been selected to be a National Finalists for the 40th Annual Student Academy Awards.
The Student Academy Awards is a national student film competition conducted by the Academy and the Academy Foundation. Each year over 500 college and university film students from all over the United States compete for awards and cash grants, with films being judged in four categories: Animation, Documentary, Narrative and Alternative. Film students from outside the U.S. are honored each year as well. The presentation ceremony is a popular event that is annually attended by a capacity audience in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
To reach this stage, U.S. students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalists in each of the four categories.
Through the Student Academy Awards, the Academy recognizes and encourages this country’s most promising new filmmakers. Past winners include Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Bob Saget and Oscar winners John Lasseter and Robert Zemeckis.
Final judging by the Academy will be completed by May 20, 2013, and announcement of
the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Award winners in each category will be made at the
Student Academy Awards Presentations on June 8, 2013, in Beverly Hills, California.
SJSU Animation/Illustration Program Coordinator, Alice Carter, is ecstatic. “We are so proud of Eunsoo and Chris and all of the success they have earned from their film. We are especially gratified to honor a goal we set with DreamWorks Animation in 2008, when they made a significant donation to our program. At that time, DreamWorks told us that they would like to have an SJSU Student Academy Award nominee within five years. Thanks to our dedicated faculty and motivated students, we made it. Sharing this news with Dreamworks was the icing on the cake.”
Animation/Illustration Students Hired at Cartoon Network
Animation/Illustration (A/I) graduating seniors Cory Fuller and Lauren Brown have been hired at Cartoon Network. Fuller will be working as a background designer on the show Uncle Grandpa and Brown will be a Production Assistant on Ben 10: Omniverse. Both attribute their studies with SJSU’s A/I program to their successes.
Lauren Brown writes, “The Animation/Illustration program at SJSU prepared me for a job in the Animation industry. The faculty and the A/I program taught me to work hard and challenged me to go beyond what I thought was possible in terms of my own personal goals. Without the A/I Faculty's support, I would never be where I am today.”
Cory Fuller adds “The thing about the program that prepared me most for this job was working on numerous animated short film projects. The majority of my graduation portfolio consisted of background layouts and designs from summer and student short films. These projects were perfect training for working on the show. They gave me not only insight into how to apply my work to the production pipeline, but more importantly they gave me the opportunity to learn about and get better at something that I love to do. Everyone at Cartoon Network is just as silly too!”
Fuller stresses most importantly however, “My contract will extend through August, which is when the show airs. At which point the studio will see if gets picked up for more seasons. So tell everybody to watch it so I can keep working! ;)”
Congratulations to another two of our great A/I students!
Animation/Illustration Student Making Legends
SJSU Animation/Illustration senior, Lauren Zurcher, is helping to make animation legends! Lauren spent the summer of 2012 interning at Nickelodeon animation in Burbank, CA, working on The Legend of Korra, and has just accepted a full time offer to work on the show after graduation! Lauren says, "My education at SJSU prepared me for a dream job where I continue to learn and grow as an artist." Lauren will be the eleventh SJSU A/I alumni to be currently working at the studio.
SJSU Animation Takes Top Awards in AsiansOnFilm.com Festival
Two films produced in the Animation/Illustration program at San Jose State have won awards at the AsiansOnFilm Festival. "Couch & Potatoes" a stop-motion film produced and directed by May 2012 Graduate Chris Lam & current senior Eunsoo Jeong, was the winner in the Short Animation category. "A Knock On My Door," Directed by Associate Professor David Chai and produced by his 2012 Advanced Animation class took Honorable Mention in the same category.
The Festival, which is sponsored by Asians on Film. com, will run from February 15-17, 2013 at J.E.T. Studios in North Hollywood.
Tule Lake – 2 Wins at the Creative Awards
2012 Animation/Illustration graduate Michelle Ikemoto and a production team composed of her classmates in the 2012 Advanced Animation class won awards for Best Film Under 30 Minutes and Best Student Film for their animated short film, Tule Lake. Tule Lake is a tribute to the Director’s late grandmother and the risks she took to preserve normalcy for her family during their exile in the Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. The awards were sponsored by CreaTV San Jose, a non-profit, public benefit corporation serving the City of San Jose whose mission is to inspire, educate and connect San Jose communities, using media to foster civic engagement. The ceremony was held on January 5, 2013 at San Jose’s historic California Theater.
Previous wins for Tule Lake include 1st Place in the Animation category and a tie for Best In Show in the CSU Media Arts festival in November 2012. To learn more about the film, please
January 4, 2013
New York Society of Illustrators Gold Medal
Associate Professor David Chai and his production team consisting of current SJSU A/I students and alumni won the Gold Medal in the Moving Image Category at the New York Society of Illustrators 55th Annual Exhibition for their animated short film "A Knock on My Door.” The film has a two-fold San Jose State connection as it documents the life of David Chai’s father, Hi Dong Chai, Professor Emeritus, SJSU Electrical Engineering.
The awards ceremony was held on January 4th in New York City. The Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition is open to artists worldwide, and each year a jury of top professionals considers thousands of entries before selecting the best for inclusion in their exhibition at the Society’s gallery in New York. Professor Chai’s accomplishment marks the first time that SJSU has received a Gold Medal at this prestigious venue.
Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Gold Medal
Five illustrations by SJSU A/I Lecturer, Inga Poslitur were accepted into the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles Illustration West 51 Competition. Her illustration "Eve Redeemed" received the Gold medal. The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles (SILA) was founded in 1953 to promote the professional status of illustration art as well as to foster both philanthropic and educational projects. From this small beginning, SILA has grown into a productive membership whose work is seen locally and nationally by millions in printed media, television, films, the Internet and gallery exhibitions. Today SILA is firmly established as a major professional art entity on the West Coast.
Animation/Illustration Student Film Selected for the 2012 San Jose International Short Film Festival
"Tule Lake," A short film produced in ANI 118 (Advanced Animation) was just accepted into the 2012 San Jose International Short Film Festival. May 2012 graduate Michelle Ikemoto wrote and directed the film, which is based on her grandmother’s experience in the Tule Lake Relocation Center during World War II. "Tule Lake" tells a story of perseverance and the strength of family bonds during the Japanese-American internment," Ikemoto writes. Other Animation/Illustration students who contributed to Ikemoto's film include Erin Schleupner, Cody Gramstad, Timothy Tang, Joanna Johnen, Christopher Lam, Jong Kim, Alan Pasman, Salvatore Criscione, and Ishmael Hoover. The San José International Short Film Festival runs from October 18 through October 21 at the Cinearts Theater on Santana Row.
Art by Ishmael Hoover
Animation/Illustration Film wins Honorable Mention at the Ottawa Animation Festival
Why Do We Put Up With Them, a film directed by Animation/Illustration (A/I) Associate
Professor David Chai, won an Honorable Mention award in the “Short Animation for Children”
category at the Ottawa 2012 International Animation Festival, North America’s longest running
and most prestigious venue for animation art. The film was one of only 97 selected
from the 2376 entries submitted worldwide. In such a competitive venue, it is remarkable
that Professor Chai produced his film on campus during the summer of 2011 with the
help of a team of twenty-two A/I student volunteers.
“The Ottawa Animation Festival is known for being highly selective. This is the first SJSU film to be accepted since we first began submitting in 1999. So this is a real honor for us, and another great reflection of the success of our program,” Professor Chai writes.
Fundraising efforts by the Shrunkenheadman Club made it possible for sixteen A/I students to accompany Professor David Chai and lecturer David Yee to the festival, which ran from September 19 through September 23. Because the majority of the films are unavailable elsewhere, this venue presented a unique opportunity for the students who attended. In addition to the film screenings, the A/I students met with internationally known animators and directors, as well as other students from around the world.
Animation/Illustration Graduate Joins Pixar Studios
When Yung-han Chang was offered an internship in the story department at Pixar Studios, he was not sure if he could accept. As an International student, he needed authorization from the International Program Services office as well as official paperwork for Curricular Practical Training—a process that usually requires more time than Pixar was prepared to give him. Fortunately, A/I Internship coordinator Professor Courtney Granner and Assistant Director of International Students, Louis Gecenok understood the importance of this opportunity. Yung-han got his paperwork, and with it a chance to work at the world’s most prestigious animation studio. He made the most of this chance, and at the end of August when he completed his internship he was offered a position as a Pixar story artist. “Most top studios demand that their student hires are receiving faculty-supervised internship credit,” says Professor Granner. “That’s why we are so happy to offer this opportunity to students like Yung-han whose scholarship and talent put him among the best in the world.”
August 20, 2012
Animation/Illustration Students Earn Accolades for Short Film
“The Pod” a nine-minute film produced by Animation/Illustration seniors Jaydeep Hasrajani, Alvyn Villanueva, Carlos Nunez, Michael Harding, Nick Carpenter and Leonard Hung has recently been accepted into the Burbank International Film Festival. This latest honor comes following seven previous screenings in festivals nationally and internationally as well as a third place award in the ASIFA San Francisco Animation Showcase and semi-finalist status in the upcoming Adobe Design Achievement Awards. “The Pod” took five months to complete. “We work in a collaborative, no-ego environment,” Jaydeep Hasrajani writes. “There is no director because we all contribute to every step of the production.”
“Couch and Potatoes,” a stop-motion animated film
Animation/Illustration graduate Chris Lam and Senior A/I major Eunsoo Jeong just won the Technicolor/Palo Alto International Film festival Grand Prize. The festival runs for four days from September 27 through September 30 and features 50 films from the United States, Europe and Asia. “Couch and Potatoes” was completed in Spring 2012 and shown in the Animation/Illustration program’s annual Senior Exhibition on campus. Chris Lam has put his SJSU education to good use and is now working as an animator at Camouflaj, a game studio in Bellevue, Washington. Eunsoo Jeong, who will graduate in 2013, is currently in Los Angeles completing her internship at Nickelodeon Studios.