I have decided to make a few changes to my website, I've narrowed things down a great deal in an attempt to simplify things and make it a bit easier for me to deal with alongside some of the mermaid-related work that I do.
I have also decided to take a break from deviantART and move myself over to ArtStation. I like their layout better and I find it easier to browse as well. This of course means I am going to have a lot to move over and I will likely be doing this gradually to keep from stressing out haha!
I will continue to post my artwork here in this blog-style format since I do quite like this set up, but I will no longer be livestreaming through my site. The biggest change you will note is that my YouTube channel link will now take you to my mermaid YouTube page since I will now be including my artwork as part of that channel, rather than having a separate channel that I have to manage.
I just really need to find away to simplify the number of sites and places that I need to update. That is why my main instagram and twitter accounts that I use moving forward will also be under Courtney Mermaid (or Vancouver Mermaid). Since I already spend a great deal of time updating those accounts it simply makes sense.
Another big reason for doing this is my frustration in the fact that nobody really knows me as "TweakFox" online. I have a very small following as TweakFox and a much greater following with more engaged people under Courtney Mermaid.
I hope this isn't super confusing and if you are a fan of the little purple fox, not to worry, she isn't going anywhere, she's just not going to be the main face of my art sites from now on.
Anyway, thanks for your patience as I work through all of this and I hope these changes make things better moving forward!
So as some of you know already or may have seen on my linkedIN, I have decided to move on from my job at IUGO Mobile Entertainment and I now find myself back in the animation industry working as a Character and Prop Artist for DHX!
I've only been at my new job for 2 days, but I can tell that I am going to love it! Alfie came to work with me yesterday and will be coming in again today and I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to bring your dog with you to work. If I need a break, BAM, puppy cuddles! It's so wonderful.
The people are awesome so far! Everyone has been really welcoming and helpful! The job itself is so good. I'm already learning so much and I woke up this morning super eager to get going (about an hour earlier than I needed to hehe).
The biggest change for me is my new work schedule (I used to get off at 4pm and now I will be getting off between 6pm and 6:30pm) which has been a bit sticky, but I think I'm slowly figuring it all out.
Anyway! I just wanted to post a quick update, since it's been a wee while since my last update... Yes I do have new art to post, but you are gonna have to be patient because I am devoting all of myself to getting up to speed at work and want no outside distractions this week especially.
I hope you are all well!
Have you ever had to work with someone you didn't like? Or better yet, someone who didn't like you? I have. If you know me personally, you will know that I am quite the character. I am very outgoing, I love to laugh and I love teamwork. I am expressive and I love to have fun. I also like to get the job done right, the first time.
So let's hop in our Delorean and take a quick trip back to roughly 2008 when I still worked for THE BANK. I'm not going to mention which bank I worked at, but if you really want to know I'm sure you can figure it out.
I was a Customer Service Rep (CSR) for 4 years and for the last portion of my time at this bank, I was stationed next to the most rude, unfriendly woman I have ever had the displeasure of working with. I don't like to think poorly of people as a rule. I like to think (and find) the good in everyone but this woman had it out for me and at every opportunity she would put me down, say something rude, laugh at me and if I needed help with something she would make it next to impossible for me. I had never dealt with anyone like this in my life. So when I say that this job, though I really didn't like it, was one of the biggest and most important learning experiences of my life let me give you the full story.
I was a fairly popular CSR with the customers. I often had a line of people who would wait just for me. I prided myself in being happy and friendly with everyone. It's what I would have wanted if I was a customer going to make a deposit/withdrawal.
One day I was taken aside by the Manager and Assistant Manager and I was told that I was "too Caucasian" (yes this is an actual quote) and way too happy and bouncy and bubbly. The Assistant Manager did an impression of me and I felt utterly humiliated. I sat there and said nothing. I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit and then I wanted to cry. I went back to my station and there was a bit of a line so I had to help the next client, but I could feel the tears getting hot in my eyes so after the client I put up the little sign and walked to my Manager's office. I went in and proceeded to give him a piece of my mind. I told him their comments about me being "too Caucasian" were completely unacceptable and about how I was being treated by this other employee and something about how dare their reprimand me when she excludes me and bullies me on a regular basis.
Needless to say I was apologized to emphatically and promised that it would be dealt with and that they understood that culturally there are differences and all that good stuff.
That was the day I learned what it meant to stand up for myself. This was going to be the last time I ever allowed someone to treat me in such a way. Never again.
So what do you do if you have to deal with someone who you don't get along with? Well I can tell you want you don't do. You don't mock them, exclude them, laugh about them, mimic them, humiliate them and you certainly don't discriminate. Human Resources is there for a reason and if you are having a serious issue you need to stand up for yourself and deal with it before it escalates. Try to look at things objectively and realize that people are going to have good days and bad days and that not everyone is going to get along 100% of the time and that's fine.
I used this experience as an example because if there was ever a "core memory" than defined me as a human being, this was definitely one of them. It was the day I learned my value and that my happiness mattered to me.
If you are finding yourself in a tough spot right now, I want to empower you to look at the situation and ask yourself what you could or should do to improve it. Bullying is a serious issue and should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER be tolerated.
That was an intense post I know, but I have a few more light and fun ones coming up so I look forward to seeing you in the next one!
For this post I want to feature a co-worker of mine who I really admire and who makes an absolutely epic comic that I highly recommend you all check out as soon as you are done this post!
You can follow her comic and view previous pages here:
So how did I get into this crazy industry? Well grab yourself a coffee (or a tea if you're a tea-loving person like me) and I will tell you all about it.
I graduated Digital Animation in April of 2010. My boyfriend and I had just broken up and I was I was living on my own. I was working for PetSmart as a part-time dog-bather and occasionally as a cashier.
I knew I wanted my first industry job to be for Nerd Corps (now DHX Media) because I had seen some of the projects they had done and though it might be a good fit. I had applied to a few other studios and done a few tests, none of which came to anything. Then I made the decision that it was going to be Nerd Corps or nothing. I would get in if it killed me.
I applied for three separate design positions and I emailed weekly as well as called. Their Admin got so used to me calling that I'm sure I must have been driving her nuts... But I was determined. I kept calling and emailing and praying that by some miracle things would fall into place.
Nothing. Not even a nibble. Months passed and I was running out of money. PetSmart just wasn't paying me enough to survive so I found another job with another pet store called Tisol. I was actually really excited to get the job despite the fact that the commute was a killer and the hours were a little scary.
The people were really nice and the job, though really hard on my back, was enjoyable. I was starting to feel like maybe this was what the gods wanted for me and that maybe I just wasn't meant to get into the animation industry.
Then it happened...
I was sitting in the awful little mall area behind Tisol to eat my lunch and I checked my phone to see if I had gotten any calls. There it was. A missed call and voicemail from Nerd Corps. My heart was racing so fast and my eyes were starting to tear up. This was either good news, or them calling to tell me they were sick of hearing from me...
I listened to the voicemail and just about died right there on the spot. They wanted me in for an interview. AN INTERVIEW!!!!! I was the most excited I think I've ever been for anything in my life at that point. If I knew then what I know now about how this was going to change my life forever I think I might have fainted.
I had the interview and was later offered a job as a Design PA on Rated 'A' for Awesome.
I was terrified because I had never thought about what comes after getting the job. I had only ever focused on getting the job, but now I would be expected to do the job and do it well. I spent the next few weeks freaking out constantly. I was even more scared of the fact that the contract was for 3 months and if I didn't nail it, I would be out of a job. I was feeling so comfortable at Tisol that I'm going to be honest, I almost didn't take the job at Nerd Corps... It was my hubby who convinced me to give myself a chance and to have a little faith.
So I did it. I accepted their offer and started creating props for Rated 'A' for Awesome. It was hard at first, but I quickly fell into a good routine. I went on to become a Junior Designer and worked on League of Super Evil, Endangered Species and Slugterra.
I was at Nerd Corps for just over 2 years and in those 2 years I met/worked with some amazing people, made new friends and learned so much. The most amazing part is that if it wasn't for my job at Nerd Corps, I never would have started working for IUGO which has been truly the most rewarding experience I've had in this industry.
Remember that it might seem impossible, but if you work hard enough and don't give up on yourself, you can do anything!
I hope you enjoyed that little tale and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!
So remember when you though drawing for a living was going to be all fun and games? I bet you thought it was going to be the easiest thing right? Right? RIGHT? I bet you feel pretty silly now... Let me tell you a little bit about the good, the bad and the ugly of doing what you love for a living.
Even though I count myself among the luckiest people alive to do what I love for a living, there are days when... well... It gets a little hairy...
Have you ever tried drawing for 8 to 12 hours a day every day for a week? How about a year? How about it's your job and you have no choice even when you feel off, or sick or totally uninspired? Well welcome to this industry! There are going to be days were you don't want to draw, but you have no choice because it's what pays the bills. You don't even feel like working on your own stuff because by the end of the day all you want to do is chill without a cintiq pen glued to your hand.
So what is one to do? Well here's what I do, no guarantee this will be the same for you, but it works for me:
I used to work for a bank. It was the best and worst job I've ever had. I learned some of my most valuable life lessons from that job, but the work itself was hellish. Customers were rude, paperwork was ridiculous and God help you if you weren't "balanced" at the end of the day. I did this job to pay for my animation schooling. I worked every weekend and any time I could get extra hours when I wasn't at school over the summers. So not only was I killing myself in school, but I was killing myself over a job that I really did not enjoy.
So this is what I do if ever I start to take for granted how lucky I am. I remember the hell I went through to get myself through school, I remember all the hours and how hard I worked. I remember how miserable my life would be now if I hadn't and I remind myself that this is the only career I have ever wanted since I was a kid.
I then recall how long it took me to get into the industry (I'm saving this epic story for a future post) and all the other jobs I had to take between graduation and my first industry job.
I worked in retail, as a dog bather, again in retail and at one point I was working two jobs because neither paid well enough for me to survive on alone. In all of that time I had passbooks thrown at me, experience bank robberies, had customers yell at me, was bullied by coworkers, had dogs bite me and throw up on me, felt what it was like to almost run out of money and then finally FINALLY get the call... THE CALL. My art career was finally ready to start...
Now that's a pretty epic little tale right? When you feel lost or down on yourself, you need to take a pause and remember where you came from and how hard you worked to get to where you are now. Don't go comparing yourself to other people, just look at you now compared to you then.
This industry isn't for everyone. Drawing all day isn't easy (as many of our friends and family might think) but it is also extremely rewarding once you find that magical job that changes everything.
See you in my next post!
Today was a pretty epic day of pranks and hysterics as well as celebration (huge congrats to the Walking Dead team you guys are rock stars!!), plus we got awesome new water bottles which are really fancy!
I didn't get pranked too badly this year. A little disappointed actually.
Last year my cintiq, pen and mouse were al bejewelled which was pretty funny.
This year someone decided to swap my green Yoshi for one of my co-worker's pink Yoshis and then I found mine in a conga line with the five other Yoshis at their desk. So I decided to do some rearranging of my own hehe...
A lot of other people were pranked with toys getting shuffled around and post-it notes on their mice (Mario I'm looking at you). My art director had his desk decked out in MLP which was hysterical! I was extremely concerned about the lack of Fluttershy and Apple Jack though if we're gonna be serious pony pans here...
We also had cupcakes and they handed out these really epic waterbottles that keep things hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 and they say IUGO on them!! SO COOL!!!
I love my job.
Welcome to my first post for the A to Z Challenge!
This topic is going to be about a very common question that I have been asked over the years and I would love to share a little bit of insight into animation schools, what to look for as well as my personal experience.
Picking your animation school is quite the undertaking. It's like finding a good pair of shoes. You want something comfortable, functional, that will give you the support you need and set you up for the adventure you are heading out on. You don't want shoes that are going to set you up for pain, blisters and bumps on the road, the same way you don't want to pick a school that doesn't fall in line with your goals.
Here are some questions you should ask/things you should do when you are trying to select a school/program:
Where did I go to school?
So since I'm talking about animations schools, I should probably mention the school I went to which was Capilano University. I attended their Summer Animation Program, their 2 year Commercial Animation Program as well as their 1 year Digital Animation Program.
For me, the Summer program was a little bitter sweet. I had applied for the Commercial program and I was listed 7th on their wait list. I was pretty heart broken to not get in the first try, but I still wanted to pursue my dream so Summer Program it was. The worst part was watching someone else, also wait listed but two spots above me, in the Summer Program get in after a few people dropped out. Other than that, I loved my experience in the Summer Program and if I had to repeat it, I would! ♥
If you aren't sure how you feel about art/animation, a summer school program (or part time program) might be a good place to start. It'll give you a taste of what it's all about.
The Commercial Program was epic, that really is the only way to sum it up. I made friends that I now consider my best friends and it is also where I met my hubby! It was 2 years of the most intense, wild, fun, stressful days ever. We were drawing ALL THE TIME, every single day, always. Towards the end of the program I remember there being days where we would sleep at the school (pretty sure they don't allow this any more) and would make late night trips to Super Store to stock up on pop, chips and candy. It was an amazing adventure! I will cover more of this experience in upcoming posts.
The Digital Program was the one that broke me, kicked me in the ass, made me cry at my desk once or twice and then about mid way through turned me into the single most determined person ever. I knew this was what I wanted and nothing and certainly NO ONE was going to put me off track. It may have been a sometimes painful experience, but it was the one I needed the most. More on this in upcoming posts.
CAP was the right school for me and by the end of it, I had a portfolio, demo-reel and industry list to get myself started.
Wherever you decide to go, just make sure that you do your research and be prepared for hard work and long hours. Remember that the time you invest into yourself in school (be it: college, university, online or in school) is what is going to set you up for future success.
So that's it for my first post for the A to Z Challenge! I hope you liked it!
Stay tuned for more of my animation adventures!
Hi! My name is Courtney and I am currently working as a character designer in the animation industry!
Artwork and Content is © Courtney Pearson 2016