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    Concept Design Academy

    Hi, i just discovered Concept Design Academy in Pasadena, and was thinking about attending some classes there before i graduate high school. It has many instructors, including people who have worked on the God of War games and movies like I Am Legend, and Terminator. One instructor is actually part of this website: Prostate Sunrise.
    If any of you have been to any of these classes, please give me your opinion on the school and the classes. If you havent but know someone who has gone there, please direct me to them. I am really interested in taking some classes there. Even if you have heard things about the school, i am curious.

    Thanks

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    I just finished Analytical Figure Drawing with Kevin Chen two weeks ago and it was a great class. He's got some new classes lined up for the upcoming Winter 2010 Quarter certainly worth taking.

    If you have any questions about figure drawing with Kevin, just ask.

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    did you learn a lot?

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    Heck yeah. I'll probably take Analytical again in the future or the new figure long pose class this upcoming Winter 2010 Quarter.

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    awesome

    could you maybe explain some pros and cons about the course you took?

    and just talk about it in general? im a highschool student and money is tough right now, i just want to make sure it is worth it

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    Pros:

    • Shape design for figure construction
    • Clearer understanding of 3D planar breakdowns
    • Interlocking forms
    • Importance of maintaining accurate perspective


    Cons:

    • I would've liked a longer stint on Head Construction, but that's just me
    • Depending on your skill level, actual in-class drawing time may not be enough to practice what was taught during the lecture portion and have Kevin or the TA sit down and go over your progress.


    I wholeheartedly recommend Kevin's class IF you have a certain degree of foundational knowledge under your belt, or, if you've spent a significant amount of time racking up solo pencil mileage. I went in the class having already taken 10 weeks of 2D anatomy along with taking a gesture drawing class at the same time I was in Kevin's class - when he talked about anatomy I was already in synch, same with gesture, so, most of my time focused on deciphering perspective and construction.

    Take a look here for Kevin's in-class demos done for the Spring 2008 quarter: LINK. If what he's doing in the demos look inline with what you've learned in the past, the class should be a natural expansion of your figure construction skills; if not, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction to get your money's worth.

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    i see. I have never taken any classes, but i have read burne hogarths books

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    that stuff in the link looks incredibly fun btw

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    Hi MeBabyMe,

    I am certainly very biased, but I think it's a great school. It's got a cozy atmosphere, is a terrific place to network with talented students and professional artists, and is staffed by knowledgeable and helpful teachers.

    If you are just starting out, I recommend you enroll in the foundational classes, which would primarily be Kevin Chen's Analytical Figure Drawing and probably the Dynamic Sketching class with Peter Han. Sketching for Environments with Ed Li would also be a good primer if you want to begin designing environments. If you have some experience with painting, the Intro to Figure Painting class with Stephen Schirle sounds excellent, as does the Gouache Landscape Painting with Jackson Sze.

    In my honest opinion, I would defer any and all design classes until you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and can draw with a fair bit of confidence out of your head. Each week you will be asked to exercise your creative muscles, and if you are not accustomed to doing so, or you haven't built up a large enough visual library, you will have a rough time. Trust me - I speak from experience.

    If you think you are ready for the design classes, then take two, possibly three at the most if your schedule allows. Be aware that the instructors give a lot of homework and hand out a ton of information. You run the risk of spreading yourself too thin if you take on too many courses.

    The school is set up in such a way that the traditional, foundational courses serve as stepping stones to the digital, more advanced design classes. For example:

    • Analytical Figure Drawing + Dynamic Sketching + Figure Painting ---> Character Design, Creature Design, Vehicle & Mechs
    • Gouache Landscape Painting + Sketching for Environment ---> Environment Design


    Let me know if you have any other questions. I've been going to the school for two years and have taken most of the foundational courses and workshops.

    P.S. prostate sunrise - a.k.a. Kekai Kotaki - was just a guest instructor for a couple of workshops. He doesn't teach a full-time class at the school.

    Last edited by sfa; December 23rd, 2009 at 10:48 AM.
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    it sounds awesome, but may i ask why you say you are very biased?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MeBabyMe View Post
    it sounds awesome, but may i ask why you say you are very biased?
    Ah.. well, perhaps just slightly. It's because in addition to being a student, I also help out as a part-time class monitor at the school. Let me know if you have any more questions~

    Last edited by sfa; December 23rd, 2009 at 02:54 PM.
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    ah i see

    then you can answer this question (im gonna give a little bit of bacround info first): My mom is now saying that she doesnt want me taking any classes there while I am in high school, but she might allow me to take those one-day classes or ceminars....can you give me all the info you can about those? pros and cons? what theyre like? etc?

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    The workshops are typically five hours long and usually set up in the following manner:

    • 1 or 2 Hour Lecture
    • 3 or 4 Hour Demo

    It really depends on the guest instructor though. Someone like Bill Perkins will lecture nearly the entire time, while another artist like Khang Le will cut down the lecture in the beginning to do a longer demo. The workshops are so varied, I'll have a difficult time giving you a breakdown of pros and cons because each are unique in their own ways. Some workshops are geared towards fundamentals and thus are perfect for students of all levels, while others might be more appropriate for intermediate and advanced students. Read the brief for each workshop to get an understanding of what they offer and whether or not it can benefit you as a student.

    Some of the things I like about the workshops at CDA are: 1) being able to meet some of your favorite artists face-to-face and hearing from working professionals about what it's like to be in the entertainment industry; 2) networking with talented students and professionals; 3) picking up tips and tricks to enhance your painting techniques and workflow- both analog and digital; 4) portfolio critiques (if the guest instructor has time).

    If you're interested in attending the workshops or classes, make sure you drop an e-mail to contact@conceptdesignacad.com this week to get on their e-mail list. Enrollment is going to open next week and some classes fill up extremely fast (e.g. Environment Design, Analytical Figure Drawing). You can wait on the workshops a bit, since they tend to fill up a little slower, but they nearly always sell out eventually.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

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    thanks a lot, hopefully ill be able to attend

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    Since the thread´s topic is the Concept Design Academy, I hope it is okay if I take a ride on the thread and ask a quick question here. Burning Chrome mentioned the "new long pose" class that will be offered in the winter of 2010; I´ve just seen that Kevin will be teaching a new (?) class on "Head and Figure Drawing", but no description of it has been offered so far. Does anyone know anything about it? Is it going to be a long pose class, similar to the Advanced Figure drawing class he taught in previous semesters? Thanks in advance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkkm View Post
    I´ve just seen that Kevin will be teaching a new (?) class on "Head and Figure Drawing", but no description of it has been offered so far. Does anyone know anything about it? Is it going to be a long pose class, similar to the Advanced Figure drawing class he taught in previous semesters? Thanks in advance!
    Call Concept Design Acad (818-669-4657) and ask - unless he's out of town, Kevin is prompt about calling back and more than willing to answer any questions you may have about classes at his school.

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    Hi BKKM,

    Yes, the head and figure class is the same as the long pose figure drawing class I use to teach. I made the name adjustment to help give a better description of the class content.

    The class descriptions for all classes will be posted on the school website on Jan. 4th at 12AM. If you like, you can e-mail us to sign up for our school mailing list. This way you will receive schedule and class information earlier via e-mail.

    You can send the request to contact@conceptdesignacad.com

    I am currently traveling in Asia, so e-mail will be the best way to reach us for any questions.

    Hope this will help

    Kevin

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    also, i was wondering if you earn any sort of certificate of regocnition for completeing courses or anything....do you?

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    Hi MeBabyMe,


    As for certificates, we do not provide any formal school accreditation after the class completion and our classes are not transferable to any formal colleges.


    Your portfolio and improvement after the course will be your best certificate of completion (that will be based on how hard you are willing to work for it. The proof will be self explanatory in your portfolio.).


    The students that works hard and does well at the school often get hired by the instructors or by fellow class mates. (There are a lot of working professionals attending the classes too)


    It's a small industry, so good talent and reputation spreads fairly quick.


    Since you are currently preparing for college, it will be a great time to get some good direction and feedback to help plan your own education goals. At the same time, you can get a head start in your scholarship portfolio preparation by strengthening your art foundations.


    On special circumstances, we do offer a certificate of completion for students who needs the paperwork to get their tuition reimbursed from their company's HR department. If this is ever the case, please let us know ahead of time and we can e-mail you the paperwork after you have completed the semester.


    Best,
    Kevin Chen

    Last edited by KChen; January 2nd, 2010 at 11:27 PM.
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    Kevin:

    I just saw the new Spring 2010 Brochure and I have 2 quick questions:

    1. Are there any differences between Environment Design with James Paick and the same class with Rodney Fuentebella?
    2. Would it hinder/help if I was taking my first perspective class at the same time while learning environment design?

    Thanks

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    Kchen: thanks, i was assuming thats how it was. I was wondering, is the concept design academy open on sundays? im going down to Pasadena for a portfolio review at the Art Center and was wondering if i would be able to stop by the concept design academy and learn more about it

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    Hi Burning Chrome,

    1) Both environment design class will cover the same topics such as composition, value, scale, design themes, call out drawings (for 3D modeling purpose), space design and digital painting (lighting and mood).

    I think the choice comes down to your personal preference in art styles between the two teachers. James is great with epic composition, scale and contrast in his paintings and has a very efficient painting work flow. Rodney is a very well rounded artist and has a strong lean toward color and narrative in his paintings.

    2) I would strongly recommend to take perspective first before taking the environment design classes. The class I would recommend to take first is the "Sketching for Environment" class. In that class you will be sharpening up your drawing skills in how to compose and draw various environments/spaces. The field trips will also help you build more design vocabulary by studying and understanding scale and layout of real functional spaces first. This class is taught by Ed Li, who is currently a visual development artist at Disney. You can find many of his layout sketches in the recent "Art of the Princess and the Frog" book.


    Hi MeBabyMe,

    Unfortunately, our school location is currently closed from visitors since I am out of the country and our class room is in the middle of new construction. If you wish to visit the school, we can schedule at a later date to meet up. You can send us an e-mail at contact@conceptdesignacad.com and we can chat more.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

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    Hello, I have a question as well. For Ed Li's Sketching for Environment class, I was wondering where the field trips are? I would love to take this class, but I don't have a car, so I worry that would be a problem.

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    aw damn, ok. Kchen, when will it reopen for visits?

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    Hi Yukilin,

    Here are some locations that Ed will usually take the class to:

    - Pasadena City Hall
    - Down Town LA (China town, Bradbury Building (where they film Bladerunner), Union Station)
    - Travel Town
    - LA Arboretum (how to draw foliage)
    - Americana in Glendale or Farmers market (how to compose crowds and markets)
    - Alhambra Mission area (old Spanish buildings)
    - Old Restaurants or Bars (Interior spaces)
    - Glendale old industrial area

    He usually switch it up from term to term to keep things interesting. The goal to teach students how to study, drawing and compose environment images of a variety of subject matter. (Building, nature, crowds, old tech, modern, deterioration, etc.)


    Hi MeBabyMe,

    I will be back in town around the 20th. Maybe we can meet up sometime afterward. Let's stay in touch via e-mail as we get closer to the date

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  38. #26
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    thanks kchen, ill email the address you made in an earlier post

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    Quote Originally Posted by KChen View Post
    Hi Yukilin,

    Here are some locations that Ed will usually take the class to:

    - Pasadena City Hall
    - Down Town LA (China town, Bradbury Building (where they film Bladerunner), Union Station)
    - Travel Town
    - LA Arboretum (how to draw foliage)
    - Americana in Glendale or Farmers market (how to compose crowds and markets)
    - Alhambra Mission area (old Spanish buildings)
    - Old Restaurants or Bars (Interior spaces)
    - Glendale old industrial area

    He usually switch it up from term to term to keep things interesting. The goal to teach students how to study, drawing and compose environment images of a variety of subject matter. (Building, nature, crowds, old tech, modern, deterioration, etc.)
    Quick clarification please: how is the class structured overall? Does Ed have the class meet at Concept Design Academy only for the first week or two and afterwards the schedule directs everyone to gather directly at the designated field trip locations? Or does every class start out at The Academy, the key lecture of the week is given, and then followed by carpooling out to wherever the field trip location happens to be for that particular lesson?

    Thanks Kevin!

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    Hi Burning Chrome,

    The Sketching for Environment class splits up to about 50% indoors (introduce new notes/feedback) and 50% outdoors (learn to compose and build visual vocabulary of real world spaces).

    During the outdoor field trips, the class will meet up directly at location (Ed will post up map, time and location on the class blog). Some students without cars are able to attend by signing up with a friend who has a car (Carpool). But, make sure to get the arrangement set up before you enroll.

    A lot of our new foundation classes like Vis Com 1: Dynamic Sketching, Gouache Landscape Painting, and Sketching for Environment all have field trips. The goal is to have the students get outside and study from the real things. This way they can bring the experiences back to their artworks.

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by KChen View Post
    During the outdoor field trips, the class will meet up directly at location
    Thats good to know. I am trying to dig up funds(convince wife let me use funds) to take this, one in addition to Analytical Figure Drawing which I just sent payment for, and I was worried about losing class time driving to field trips.

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    Hi Jasongardner,

    The class field trip will meet at the same length as the regular class time, so there shouldn't be any class time lost.

    The demos and notes are given at the beginning of class and Ed will walk around to give critiques to students as they are drawing (Just don't leave too far).

    For students who want to get more drawing time and spend more time listening to Ed's feedbacks during class, we recommend them to show up to the location earlier to get more drawing in before the class starts (more stay later to draw). This way your can get more drawing time and still be able to listen in on the critiques Ed is giving other students.

    Hope this will help and I will see you in Analytical Figure Drawing next term
    K

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