Dice Tsutsumi (11) Gerald Guerlais (12) Tadahiro Uesugi (13) Jean-Louis Vandestoc (14)
NB : Jean-Louis Vandestoc is not in the Sketchtravel's book but is part of the Sketchtravel's team (he will soon animate a special clip we will show at the Auction at bid).
I attended my first animation conference in the form of CTNX and it was a wonderful experience. This was the second big convention I’ve been to where I wasn’t just a regular attendee, but it was my first as a special guest as a contributor of Sketchtravel. I have to admit I felt well out of my element being at an animation expo at first, but I fit right in and a lot of people made me feel right at home, if not a bit of a celebrity. As you can tell by the picture I was surrounded by many of the artists I, and many others, look to for inspiration and guidance in the journey of becoming an artist.
I arrived in Burbank after departing Oakland on a dark and stormy night, true story. After a short but bumpy flight I immediately caught the shuttle to the Marriott and arrived at my destination, safe and sound. The hotel lobby was bustling with artists and students alike and it created an atmosphere of excitement and awkward interactions. Add alcohol into the mix and it was a jovial, if not giddy, experience that many will not soon forget. I checked into my room and made my way down to the lobby in search of my friends and colleagues. I was on the lookout for Dice and Gerald but soon found myself being swallowed up by the madness of the room. I needed a drink. Gerald Guerlais is one of the creators of the Sketchtravel project and I was anxious to meet him, but since he was coming from France I couldn’t just call him. Some time passed and as I was sitting I noticed a group of artists speaking French, I made the leap and asked if they knew Gerald. Thus began my adventure with the French!
Several of the Sketchtravelers met on Saturday night as you can see from the picture, but there were so many more simply attending the expo. Some were there for presentations and others to see old friends and colleagues. Daniel Lopez Munoz, Erik Tiemens, Chris Appelhans, Mike Lee, Dominique Louis (all not in the picture) were there, along with a few others I didn’t get the pleasure of meeting. I pretty much rode piggyback on the Sketchtravel bus and tried to learn as much as I could about the industry.
Apologies to Lorelay, the lights were not kind to my iPhone and I lost a lot of features.
Sunday morning was the day of the brunch and it was a wonderful panel including Dice Tsutsumi, Chris Appelhans, Ronnie Del Carmen, Lorlay Bove, Peter De Seve, and Gerald Guerlais, and moderated by Charles Solomon. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mike Lee during the panel as well. Amazing artists! Afterward, we did a quick Q&A in another room and got a little more in depth about the process of working in Sketchtravel. It was at the Q&A that I met Dominique Louis. I based my Sketchtravel page loosely on his page and his use of color just blows my mind. This man is a legend! After the brunch I headed out to get a good look at all the stuff going on around the expo and to hunt down a friend of mine, Brandon Dayton, that was selling his wares. After a quick chat I headed back to the main expo area, where I was grabbed by Gerald and off I went to see Tadahiro Uesugi give a presentation. Talk about a living legend.
Dice, Gerald, and Jean-Remi at the Q&A
Afterwards I headed to lunch with my French posse (Gerald Guerlais, Jean-Remi Perrin, Jean-Louis Vandestoc, Dominique Louis, Gregoire Villermaux, Aurelien Predal). Lunch soon turned into a roundabout, though amazing, drive to Malibu courtesy of Dominique Louis. We drove down the US1 and found a nice spot to check out the beach. It was a bit chilly but that made the sunset a vibrant pink. Just as the sun went down the moon decided to rise above the hills behind us, and it was a magnificent sight indeed. I’ve never seen a moonrise like this before, and I’m sure it was the perfect sight for my friends who had been cooped up in the hotel in Burbank for days. To top off the experience we ate dinner at Paradise Cove and there were fruity drinks all around. A true way to enjoy Malibu.
Back at the Marriott we waited for Dice to join us to finish off the night with a bang. He showed up with Tadahiro Uesugi “The Great” and it turned into a night of wine drinking, talk of beautiful art, and the building of new friendships. I’m so honored to be in the company of all the great artists I’ve met through Sketchtravel. Dice and Gerald have accomplished something so grand in scale that people will be talking about Sketchtravel for decades to come. I’m sure I’ve left out many of the artists I met, as well as spouses and friends of artists, and I apologize for that. I look forward to continuing to meet artists and friends for as long as I can through Sketchtravel. Cheers!