Artist Resources No 1: Oatley Academy

I thought I’d start sharing out invaluable resources I have stumbled upon looking through the many-colored inter webs.  Hopefully, if I’m diligent, this will be the first in a series of posts under artist resource.

As many of you may know, I love podcasts.  In some ways surprisingly so, since I’m not naturally inclined to want to just listen to anything.  My brain does not work too well just listening – everything is sorta just noise to me when I cannot anchor things visually.  To wit, if I cannot read it or watch it, it generally does not exist as anything intelligible.  And throughout my studies, I always learned best by sketching (or doodling as I termed it) while listening to the lecture.  For years I listened to science and game design podcasts since, well, it made sense I could learn something from listening to folks speak on this topics, right?  Never did I imagine there would be podcasts on art and illustration that would make any sense.  The medium is visual, right?  How would words work on talking about something visual?

Enter Oatley Academy.  Chris Oatley, the founder, hails from Disney where he worked for five years as a visual development artist.  The academy is dedicated to helping artists and illustrators grow their craft and learn how to make a living using their imaginations.

While their podcasts do not get into process or the works themselves, I have found their series nevertheless invaluable.  On note, listening to artists share their struggles and challenges as artists is hugely grounding; it helps frame and ground the craft as something principally humanistic in nature, not merely a conversation of technique and medium.  For someone with my own introverted disposition, finding a connection with others has been immensely cathartic, as it were.

The Oatley Academy have created a number of podcasts that are all worth listening to.  Below are the ones I enjoy listening to, and hopefully you may find one (or two) that you’ll enjoy, too!

Concept Art & Illustration: Chris Oatley’s ArtCast is generally an amalgamation of the other podcasts, including excerpts and interviews.  I find the interviews with other artists, such as with Jason Brubaker of Coffee Table Comics, are hugely entertaining and insightful.  If you have any interest in pursuing a career as a (visual) artist, the interviews are the best thing on the internet you can listen to.

Paper Wings: Elevate Your Visual Storytelling is focussed on the craft of, well, visual storytelling.   Most recent podcasts have included interviews with writers and novelists, but include podcasts on how to create a professional storyboard portfolio.

Stories Unbound is focussed on those of us who have a special place for kidlit and children’s stories.  Similar to the other series from the Academy, podcasts center around how to pursue a professional career in this genre.

Finally, Oatley Academy Now! is as much a meta podcast, as it were, on the comings and goings of the Academy itself.  A lot of podcasts include upcoming events and opportunities at the school.  It’s nevertheless a reasonable podcast to listen to, assuming you have a desire to eventually attend one of their online courses. Ahem, note to self to take a 3-month sabbatical at some point in the not-to-distant-future to do just that!

On top of all the free content vis-a-vis podcasts, the Oatley Academy is an actual place for online learning of the visual arts.  I have not taken any of the courses (yet), but their is great breadth and depth to the offerings.  Painting Drama in particular seems like an intense and awesome opportunity for those who really want to go from just drawing pictures, to telling stories visually.

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