After a long time of soul searching, I finally found my niche, which was kinda my niche all along... visual storytelling. I really want to go forward and focus on animation (I love 2D and stop motion, but I'm learning to love 3D as well--I am strongest in 2D), storyboarding/comics, and concept art. I will probably mainly be pursuing 2D animation and storyboarding right now, but I'm not writing the others off. It's good to be flexible in this industry--you never know when things are gonna change.
I think I will try to push this blog in the direction of visual storytelling--whether it's reference I find, exercises I do, or things I learn along the way. It feels good to have a direction. I'll start things off with a couple of FANTASTIC references I found on storyboarding. They are below:
The first and third sources were the best for me, personally. As someone who's trying to build a storyboarding portfolio, these two were the most specific (although, Mark Kennedy's blog post was a great help--aka, the second one). The first one gave me a TON of reference and cheat sheets to work from, while the third gave me a HUGE flow of information on everything I needed and wanted to prepare for possible story reviews (I'm applying to CTNX's interviews and portfolio reviews--the deadline for the first is this weekend and the deadline for the second is Nov 2nd).
I really connected with the third resource. Justin Copeland, especially, went into a lot of depth on storyboarding for animation. I finally feel like I have an exact direction to go in, and he also took away any doubt about it being the right niche for me. I have always been passionate about storytelling.
He also reaffirmed my huge belief in research and preparation before working. I tend to see a lot of people, especially students starting out, not wanting to research (nothing against lower year students--school is a good place to learn and develop your research tactics and art skills). I would try and say something, but get ignored. For a while, as a result, I was deemed "queen of research" (or so I've been told). But I was excited to hear that Justin preps about as much as I do!! He even makes 3D models (although I'm sure his are MUCH better) in SketchUp like I do (although, I also make some in Maya) and basic 3D mock-ups of the scenes to experiment with camera angles and movements. I have found my people (now if only I could get them to hire me :P)!!
Anyways, I feel like this blog will be a nice place to keep my research and thoughts going. For all of you artists out there, I HIGHLY recommend keeping a morgue file or some sort of digital database for your research so you can look at it for inspiration and go back to previous research if you need it. I also recommend backing everything up in triplicate, with one being online for easy access, one being offline on a portable hard drive (I hear online sources sometimes take out anything copyrighted from your database in an effort against pirating--which I don't do, btw-- but it's good to be safe), and one wild card. I keep a Pinterest, a Tumblr, a Dropbox, an Evernote, a portable hard drive, and a Carbonite account for all of my reference. My research Pinterest is here: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahrsstroud/. Feel free to follow me or any of my boards if you like!