Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Illustration Club Meeting and other updates!!

Hey everyone! The first official Illustration Club meeting of the school year will be next Monday, (August 25) during lunch from 12:15pm- 12:55pm in the illustration room (go up the stairs by the mailboxes to the second floor, and the illustration room will be next to maclab 4).  Meetings will be held every other Monday.  We have a lot to talk about for this school year, so please come!! :)

ALSO if you were an illustration club member last year and did not write down your email today to be on the official mailing list, please email me at and I will add you.  I do not have anyone's email from the mailing list last year, so please give me your email!

The first Illustration Club Lock-in will be next Saturday (August 30) in the illustration room!! Bring your homework, or any other work to work on! There is also free coffee! It starts at 9pm and ends when the last person leaves! Lock-ins are also every other week!

Lastly, Zoodles will begin on Thursday, September 4!! We will meet by smokers pad in the teacher's parking lot at 11:45am. We will then walk over to the zoo together as a group and draw the animals (so bring a sketchbook!). We will be doing this on a weekly basis.  Please give Michele Noiset your email address if you want to be on her mailing list if you want to know the location of where we are drawing each week!  Her email is

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Welcome Fair!!!

Hello! I hope that everyone has had a really good summer and welcome back to the new school year!! This Thursday is the welcome fair in the main gallery from 11:30am- 1:00pm!! Illustration club will be having a table, and we'll be announcing the date to the first official meeting of the school year, along with some information about the club, and even give you some candy!!! See you there!! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Stretch!

Calls to Artists

(click me for more information!)

The Bikesploitation Festival is seeking bicycle-themed artwork in any medium for the Community Art Show, part of the Bikesploitation Festival, which will take place on Saturday, March 17 at the Metal Museum. 
Entry deadline: May 1.
Entry fee: FREE!
(click me for more information!)

The 2015 Niche Awards Competition gives awards to both students and professional artists over the age of 21 who reside in the United States or Canada. They will accept entries for consideration of awards through August 18, 2014.
Entry deadline: August 18, 2014.
Entry fee: The cost to enter is $40 for professionals, $20 for professionals who will be exhibiting at American Made Show in 2015, and $18 for students.


MCA Illustration students will participate in Dali Community Day with the Brooks Museum of Art on Saturday, April 26. Students will set up demonstrations and explain the process of their work to other event attendees.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Chances to Win Stuff!

An exhibition for students to get involved in!


Dark Souls 2 is brutal and awesome. What's equally awesome is the game's armor and weapon design. With that being said, we wanted to have you guys submit your own weapon design or full set of armor. Of course the prizes are pretty epic if you end up designing our favorite set of armor or weapon.

(click for more information)

•The Downtown Memphis Commission is launching an ambitious art program called "South Main Mosaic" that will commission up to 10 pieces of public art for temporary display throughout the South Main neighborhood. Interested artists located within 250 miles of Memphis are encouraged to submit proposals for the design, fabrication and installation of artwork for temporary display from October 3, 2014through October 2015. Eligible mediums include, but are not limited to, sculpture, artistic lighting, murals, vacant storefront enhancements, video and new media work.


Illustrators and Friends of Illustrators!
Come 'meet' 3-dimensional illustrator
We will be skyping with Chris from Indiana on Friday.
Everyone welcome.
DA Media, 3:45-5:00, this Friday, April 18th
email Michele at with any questions you might have.


Rising Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students: check your e-mail to register for your table at the fair. Deadline is Thursday, April 17th to reserve . Once you register, you will receive more information about the format of the event.

Career Fair Attendees: Tues., April 22nd from 12:15-1 PM in DA Media I will conduct a Career Fair Prep/ Job search meeting so you can learn what you need to bring, how to dress, and how to make the most of this opportunity!


For those of you making cards currently for Illustration 4, I am trying to start uploading a collective of all the art included in the Legends of Norrath online TCG. For art and more information, check here and here.

And lastly... it wouldn't be right to update without some inspiration!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Baldur's Gate - "FULL OST"
(if you've never played this game... PLAY IT NOW or, if you're really feeling awesome: !!!!)

I think from the very beginning of my gaming days... at least when I finally sat down and got serious about it, I think that I was drawn to being a video game artist. I can still remember sitting around with buddies playing old super nintendo games like Earthbound and Final Fantasy 3 / 6 and my (to this day still) second favorite game of all time: Chrono Trigger. I would think then that it's safe to say that I always wanted to do something in the video game industry.

My first real experience with video game art that I can honestly say drew me into the world of video game design was probably the cover art for Chrono Trigger:

Yeah, that's the same guy that works on Dragon Ball.

And also the character portraits:


You would've thought that in those days that my goals would have been clear.
My tastes have changed quite a bit since then, but it just goes to show you that things you do in your childhood really do influence you in the long run.

Initially I wanted to be an environment artist for the silly reasons that I didn't want to animate, that I thought environments would be simpler, there would be less competition for this type of work, etc. The reasons are insignificant, because it's much more important to A) have a clear goal up front, and B) to never compromise because "It's easier." As the saying goes, nothing good comes easy. And I whole-heartedly agree, because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't be worth the time. This goes into a very different rant that I could go on and on about how a majority of the public looks down upon artists. But I'll save that rant for a different time.

Like I said, pay attention to yourself early on. I was interested in the character designs from the get-go, and I didn't listen to myself. Fast forward a tiny bit (not much) and you get closer to what I really wanted to do: character art. Baldur's Gate was probably my first real experience into what makes good character art.

(I still drool over these)

I have gotten into portraiture probably mostly in the past few months and I think this is an after-effect of my childhood gaming habits. I think I secretly always wanted to do this, I was just worried that I would never be good enough to get to this level.

I was talking to my fiancee the other day and I told her all about how I felt about being a character artist in the long run and I don't think I've gotten a look of "wow, you're really dumb if you don't go after what you love" like that before. I mean, sure the competition is stiff. There is a full gamut of artists with all different skillsets, but the point is that I have a clear goal and I am going to try shooting for it.

(my current goals probably lie somewhere between these two)

The whole point I'm trying to make is that everyone that starts art should have a very clear goal of where they're going in the long term. I've met a ton of artists (even some getting close to graduation) who look at me completely dumbfounded when I ask them: "So, when you get done, what's next? Where do you want to work?" And I know sometimes it just takes the pressure of being done with school, just relaxing and things, but sometimes I think it's ultimately important to do a little soul searching up front and really discover your passions. Your career and stress levels will thank you in the long run.

Try it... make a goal list. Look at where you see yourself in one year, five years, ten, etc. And see what kind of results you can get. It takes some real research to discover where you want to be. I'm still working on my first step to my goal-list, and keep in mind that it constantly changes. It's a step-by-step process. Think on micro-level first and work up to the macro.

If you're just starting out in art, for example, and you want to be a character artist... I suggest firstly to bone up on your anatomy. Then consider clothing, then weapons, and so on. Marc Brunet says it pretty well here.

If you ever need critique or anything, let me know. I'm usually up for giving advice and critiquing and things.


Click me for a Loish Interview

Sycra has some pretty damn sweet interviews.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


4/8 Illustration Club meeting update:

-Spectrum Fantastic Art Live will be in Kansas City, Missouri next month (May 9-11). A 3-day ticket will cost $40, single day tickets with student ID is only $10 (without student ID a single day ticket is $20). Hotel information is listed on the website. If you are for sure planning on going, please sign-up on the SFAL sign-up sheet in the illustration room next to Michele's office!!!

Also, if you want illustration club to help cover the cost of your ticket, you MUST come to at least 2 meetings (there are meetings every Tuesday till the semester ends), and come to 2 illustration club events (Lock-ins or help with bake sales). THE DEADLINE TO SIGN-UP FOR SFAL IS ON APRIL 18!!!

-Lock-in this Saturday!!! The theme for the lock-in is 80s themed!!! Come with some work and drink some free coffee!!! Starts at 9pm in the illustration room and ends when the last person leaves!!!

-BAKE SALE!! Due to another club planning a bake sale next Wed, the bake sale will be rescheduled to a different day next week. Keep checking this page for updates for the new date.

-Zine update! We will most likely have the zine printed off by April 26!!!

-Voting for next school year's committee has begun!! Please vote for who you want for illustration club's new President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, and Media Chair. Ballots are in the illustration room, and you can only vote once!! Voting will end by April 29.

-Etsy Store!! Another way to get funding for Spectrum is by selling prints, art, crafts, pillows, etc. is on the etsy store. For each item that is sold, half the money goes to the club and the other half goes to the artist. If you are interested in selling your stuff, please email your PDFs or TIFFs to Erica Bottger at

-Zoodles will be tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11:45!! Email Michele if you are planning on attending!! We will be drawing in the monkey and gorilla area of the zoo!

Lastly, there will be meetings every Tuesday between now and the last Tuesday of the semester. There are only 3 more meetings left, so please come (especially if you are planning on going to Spectrum)!

BFA, Call to Artists (April 8, 2014) and more!

MCA Announces Spring BFA Exhibition

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art announces the Spring 2014 BFA Exhibition, which will take place in the Main Gallery of Rust Hall, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. The exhibition will be presented in two parts. Part I will be on view from April 3–21 with a reception on Friday, April 11, 6–8 p.m. Part II will be on view from April 25–May 10 with a reception on Friday, May 2, 6–8 p.m. The exhibition features works from 49 BFA candidates and includes a variety of media from painting to sculpture to digital media.

Artists for Part I include: 

Colton Berretta, Chris Blackall, Kelli Black, Dana Finimore, Crystal Foss, Shenequa Fowler, Kaitlyn Garrett, Anthony George, Kayla Golden, Suzie Hansen, Stephanie Hemker, Sam Herwehe, Braden Hixson, Carl Jefferson, Herbert Joyce, Jr., Timothy Joyner, Ashlyn Larmeu, Alexandra Lee, Taylor Lindhorst, Robert McElhaney, Emily Miller and Britni Morgan.

Artists included in Part II are: 

Christa Barnett, Erica Bottger, Emily Chaplain, Signe Johnson, Machel Kazungu, Rhianna Lee, Kassandra Line, Olivia Miles, Laura Miller, Jason Moning, Jeff Muncy, Willie Nelson, Sinead O’Brien, Aubrey Palermo, Katherine Reed, April Rodriguez, Philip Rule, Dylan Rutherford, Brittany Santos, Natalie Schuh, Terri Scott, Maysa Sem, Christopher Simmons, Zoe Taiani, Mary Tuttle, Courtney Whitlow and Taylor Wilson.

Rust Hall’s Main Gallery is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and Sunday noon – 4 p.m. Exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.


Calls to Artists

•Open to all students in creative advertising, graphic design, interactive media, photography and illustration, the AppliedArts Student Awards is the largest and most respected show of its kind in North America. Submissions are judged by respected senior communications professionals, so you'll know how your work stands up according to the highest standards in the industry. Submissions will be accepted through May 16.

Anonymous asked:
Hi! I see that you are a professor at MCA? I've been accepted into their Illustration program this fall. They've given me a generous scholarship and seem to be very interested in me. But I've looked online at the reviews and they just have me scared. What was your experience like teaching there? Do you personally think it's a good place to study? I've been accepted to SVA's illustration program as well. I would value your input on which school I should consider attending! Thanks much!

This might have been better suited as an e-mail, but I’ll answer it here. If you have further questions, please email me at john (at)
I no longer teach at MCA, as I am about to pursue my Masters at, er, SVA. I actually received a very similar question earlier, which you can check out here. I’ll try and be as unbiased as possible; that means the good, the bad, the ugly
A BFA is a very risky proposition for the money invested; you have to understand that going in. If you are OK with the risks (and depending on your background, the risks might be greater or less than others) then that’s how I would determine on where to go for undergrad. It becomes a value judgement on what you’re getting for your buck, I suppose. 
SVA is, without a doubt, the superior school in terms of resources available to the individual student. It’s perennially regarded as one of the top art schools in the country, certainly for illustration.  But is it the best value, especially if you have a hefty scholarship to MCA? I’m not so sure. 
MCA is a much smaller school, and in a lot of ways is primarily aimed at the Mid-South. Just pulling numbers off the site; while the current student body comes from 25 states and 5 foreign countries, 60% come from the Mid-South. So if you grew up in the South, and it’d be easier for you to stay around here, that’s definitely a plus. 
The reviews that you’ve read (from where?) are probably old and don’t reflect the entire situation from the past 3 years. The Illustration program, when I was teaching and when I left, was in the process of rebuilding. In 2012, there was a lot of shuffling around, and some tough decisions made in the wake of a hard financial shakeup. I would like to stress that this is not unique to MCA.
When a school has to dramatically restructure, I’m afraid one of the hardest hit areas is usually the academic quality, and those repercussions affect students the most. The other instructors and I tried to offset that as much as possible when I was teaching (to varying degrees of success on my part.) 
Here’s the good news: recently, MCA read the writing on the wall, and decided to give a huge amount of institutional support towards illustration (and comics!) specifically. Once regarded as a red-headed step-child to drawing and painting, it’s now the largest department on campus, occupies a prominent amount of the school, and is headed by a new professor,Michele Noiset. Michele is absolutely awesome in all regards, and I couldn’t be happier that she took the reins. 
Whatever the illustration department was, it is now better and getting better ever day. I’m hesitant to make any predictions, but I’d say that in a few years, if given the chance, it will be comparable to other regional schools in the area like KCAI and VCU. 
It is, however, very small. You can’t go into it thinking that, say, Sam Weber and Yuko Shimizu are going to teach you how to paint and ink. But, you should go into art school (wherever you end up) willing to work hard regardless of who’s instructing you. 
One last note: if you’re being heavily recruited by MCA, that means that they really want you. And because the school is so small that doesn’t stop once you get to campus. We teachers talk about y’all all the time and if you’re superlative, then everyone definitely takes notice. 
So take all this for what it’s worth (a blog post on tumblr). Again, feel free to e-mail me if you have any additional questions. 

Wouldn't be complete without some art...