Gnomon Founder and President Alex Alvarez recently sat down with Andrew Price of Blender Guru for an in-depth chat that covers everything from Alex’s personal journey into computer graphics to the history of Gnomon and beyond.
This two-hour talk is chock-full of entertaining anecdotes and helpful advice for aspiring artists and students who are passionate about improving their skills and pursuing a career in the digital arts and entertainment industry. You can watch the entire video above and check out our three top tips from Alex below:
Three Insightful Tips for Aspiring Artists
It’s important to be passionate about art, but one of the best things aspiring artists and students can do is to learn how to study the world around them. Alex defines it as, “The ability to pay attention to what you’re looking at and study why it is the way it is.” Whether it’s developing an understanding of anatomy, zoology, engineering, architecture, or anything else, a foundational understanding of how the world works lends credence to an artist’s work, regardless of the medium, genre, or field.
Referencing the classic Malcolm Gladwell ‘10,000 Hour Rule,’ Alex’s advice for getting good (and thereby making yourself employable) is to practice. And practice. And then practice some more. “The only thing to understand is that you just have to be good. You know, if you’re good, you will get a job. So how do you get good? Time.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on one thing. Alex suggests that young artists may want to concentrate on just one or two software programs when starting out, but also touts the importance of foundational art skills such as perspective, anatomy, and observational development.
"I've talked to a range of artists," Alex starts, "and the ones that have been able to have long careers—be able to work into their 40s, 50s, 60s—to have a rewarding career, not just a job, are the ones that just seem like they never lost their enthusiasm and passion for learning.” The world of digital art, and by extension, art in general, has changed drastically over the past twenty years. Entirely new mediums cropped up, and digital artists are lucky to have the opportunity to continually learn and grow, whether it's by mastering a new version of a software or expanding one's knowledge of a related field. "The ones that I think do better psychologically and career-wise, with the quality of their work improving, are the ones who see [updates and changes and] are excited again. It's like you got a new toy." In short, never stop learning.
If you have the time, we definitely recommend listening to the entire interview, which is littered with tips, advice, and engrossing stories about Alex's youth. Thank you to Andrew and the team at Blender Guru for taking the time to put this discussion together! You can stop by the Blender Guru site for tutorials, articles, and podcasts on all sorts of subjects or visit their YouTube page to continue watching their artist interview series.
Founded in 1997, Gnomon has trained thousands of students and professionals for careers in the entertainment industry. Find out more