Saturday, April 4, 2009


100th post!!! My Blog-Centennial.

In honor of this electronic occasion I thought I'd post a collection of some old artwork, a time-line of my artistic endeavors. (Also because I'm taking some time off, and traveling, so I don't really have a scanner... or anything new to post anyways).

(11 years old) I remember drawing these on my Dad's laptop with Microsoft Paint and a mouse.

2001; Some early caricature type drawings I did for some family members.

2003; Spongebob came out when I was 12 (1999), and that show pretty much changed my life. I'd always liked cartoons, but seeing Spongebob was really the first time I said to myself "that's what I'm gonna do."

I sent Stephen Hillenburg (creator of Spongebob) a letter with this picture below and also a whole bunch of cartoons I drew. He was kind enough to write back and even gave me an autographed Spongebob drawing. I didn't care as much about the autographed pic as I did the letter he wrote, encouraging me to keep drawing and studying old animation. That letter is a great part of why I am where I am.

I like that on my desk I have a textbook right next to a 'how to draw cartoons' book. The textbook was just for show. PS; I was kind of obsessed with Spongebob.

Some cartoons I sent him;

2004; This was a pretty significant year in terms of my animation career. I got accepted to CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts) held at Calarts. This was my first formal education in animation as well as art. I never really took art classes in high school, I would just spend most of my time in other classes doodling in the back of my note books. Because I had no formal art training, I was pretty far behind the rest of the kids, and struggled with life drawing. These are some of my first few figure drawings ever (albeit from the drawing session a lot closer to the completion of the program). The first few sessions were pretty rough...

2005: I graduated high school and, if it were up to me wouldn't have gone to college, but my folks made me (which was ultimately the right deicision (although I only spent 2 years there and dropped-out, I think 2 years in general is enough for anybody)). I was putting my portfolio together to send to CalArts, and realized, with the exception of a few figure drawings, I had absolutely no 'artwork', just a whole bunch of cartoons. I remember doing these drawings all in one day basically, hoping I could trick them into thinking I could actually draw... it didn't work.

Deep down I pretty much knew I wasn't going to be accepted, and the funny thing is, based on the portfolio criteria, I still probably wouldn't be able to get in. So I ended up going to SCAD, the only other school I applied to, and the only school I got accepted to.

Here's a drawing I did based on a novel I wrote;

2006-2007; College. I was pretty miserable at school, all I wanted to do was make cartoons. The first year or so of any art school is going to consist of primarily 'foundation' classes, where you have to take all sorts of broad art classes. I definitely learned a lot, and wouldn't change those 2 years (and although I despise the school I had a couple really great Professors), I was just frustrated a lot.

Self pore-traits;
Some shitty piece I did for 'color theory' however, there's too much color and not enough theory.
Below is probably one of the most 'artistic' pieces I've ever done. It was a study of a Michelangelo sketch I had to do for one of my drawing classes.

2009; Now I get paid to draw on post-it notes

Hopefully this post also proves that you don't have to be able to draw to make it in the industry. At every phase of my career I've always felt as if my passion for animation greatly outweighed my talent, and continue to believe so to this day.

I'm gonna be starting a new gig at Dreamworks soon, doing storyboards for an upcoming feature. Other than that not much going on at the moment. I'll try to post some new stuff soon.


Prophet Buddy said...

I feel so old now. You young punk kids are taking all the jobs now!

nickbachman said...

I wasn't good enough for Cal Arts in 2005 either! I didn't feel too bad about it though. Like you, I got into the other school I applied to, which happened to be MCAD. One of my friends actually flew out to Cali to apply to Cal Arts in person after our first year at MCAD, and the CA dude simply said "Sorry, you're not Cal Arts material." The kid that presented his portfolio right after him got "Wow! You know, this is EXACTLY what we're looking for!" What a slap in the face! Haha...soon after, we figured out that it doesn't matter where you go to school, it's what you make of it (and in my opinion, it doesn't matter if you go at all as long as you read Preston Blair's book.)

This was a really cool, fun post, Lieberman. Thanks for that, it hit close to home.

Jake Nussbaum said...

Josh Love your sponge bob collection. I was going to get that gba game but i didint


Jessie said...

I really enjoy this post - maybe due to my grandparents still having all these horrible MS Paint drawings I did on their computers when I was little .. next to photos of my high school paintings. X)

It's always nice to see art from others at different stages in their life - it's so frustrating seeing experienced folks' art, and not seeing their process. No one is born amazing (well - some of them are close, but they don't count!) - it's nice to see the growth from others though, makes everyone so much easier to relate to. Makes us human. :)
Thank you for sharing! ^_^
- Jessie

Courtney Parker said...

I know that this is kind of a change of subject, but I'm looking for advice on CalArts MFA Writing program or just anything on CalArts environment. I just graduated from a state school in Texas and am really wanting to expand my creative writing education. I think a strictly creative environment would be really cool and beneficial, but I'm afraid of wasting A LOT of money. What do you think?

Mike Terry said...

I feel you. My thoughts on a college degree are mixed. When I went to SCAD I was very excited to just graduate and start working. But it seems all I've got is a degree and huge mounting debt from student loans. I was a 2005 graduate, and my major changed maybe midway through from computer art to animation. So I think they were still trying to structure the majors. I did very well in college but I have yet to get a job from my degree. Despite all the jobs I applied to for 2-3 years after graduating, I got nowhere (very frustrating). All the freelance/contract work I've gotten really has nothing to do with my major. Now that I look back, I would have taken sequential art instead (my first choice before I changed majors). I always felt more drawn to the artistic/pre-development side of animation rather than actually animating and all the technical stuff. And now I'm starting my own business utilizing all my skills/talents in design, photography, and drawing. So, it is what it is I guess.

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