Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Every story has to have a beginning

My whole life I've known what a matte painter was. At the age of 8 (? I think) my mother bought me an illustrated childrens book called: Glim the Glorious . I had a hard time reading the book, not because it was above my reading level, or that I couldn't understand some of the words, but because I constantly became lost in the Illustrations. On the back flap of the jacket it gave a bio for both the author, Gayle Middleton, and the illustrator. Michael Pangrazio.

It said that he was a matte painter working for ILM. I didn't know what a matte was but I knew that I loved Star Wars and ILM. I looked up the definition of a matte painter in a visual effects book at our local library and was stunned. At the time I was interested in visual effects and stop motion animation but I remember thinking "that's where it's at, I'm either going to work in visual effects/special effects or be a director". I always loved art as a kid but despite how much I loved creating semi realistic mountains in colored pencil, I somehow thought that I would never be artistically skilled enough to be a matte painter. I wasted alot of good sketch time in those early years.

Fast forward to design school. Somehow along the way I thought it would be a good idea to become a graphic designer. And after I got most of my core classes out of the way and graduating with an associates, I could go to a film school if I felt like I wanted to. It didn't pan out. Film school wouldn't accept my credits and (FORTUNATELY) I had met the love of my life. I started down the path of web design and left my dreams of becoming a matte painter on the shelf, to collect dust. I brushed off the dream a few times a month, looked at it...thought about it...and would subsequently put it back on the shelf to collect more dust.

In 2006 I read "Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne. It became apparent to me that there was a side to this story that had never been told. I wanted to turn it into a children's book. Heck, if I'm going to tell the story in my own way I might as well create the illustrations too right? I thought about my "Glim the Glorious" book again and realized that it would be really cool if the backgrounds of my "Center of the Earth" book had a very realistic quality to them.

I dove right into matte painting and concept art. The rest, will be posted here, so that I can document my journey but also hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams.

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