I’m currently 24 years old and I now teach Photoshop and Motion Graphics at Westwood College (Anaheim, CA). I love teaching and learning, and I have found some very valuable lessons that are essential for young artists to learn.
Where you come from and your history is a big part of your art. Great people can come from anywhere, and I hope I’m no exception.
I’m originally from the town of Waco, TX. That’s the crazy place where David Koresh and his followers went out in a blaze of glory. I didn’t actually grow up there – my parents left within a year of having me. I actually grew up in an even smaller, scarier all white town called Huffman, TX. If you havn’t heard of it that’s ok. People who live within 30 minutes of the town may not even have heard of it. Most people near me would never have been to my town unless they had taken a wrong turn somewhere. We had a cow pasture across the street from the school and behind most of our houses. We didn’t even have a McDonalds, all we had was Dairy Queen and a pawn shop. We had to drive to the next town for anything else.
After attending state school for a year in Houston I came out to California to study animation. At the Art Institute of California in Santa Monica I worked extremely hard training myself to become a disciplined artist. We went to school all year round and only had 8 weeks of vacation each year. Animation is so competitive that I actually did more work for my portfolio during those 8 weeks vacation than I did during school! I learned 2D animation, 3D animation, Life Drawing, Illustration, Storyboarding, motion graphics, Digital Video editing, and I even learned how to use lighting equipment. I designed my own characters, wrote scripts, developed my own stories, created fake commercials, 3D characters, learned a lot of technical stuff, and by the end I greatly improved my drawing abilities. I did everything I could to find the best way to make it as a commercial artist. But even though I taught myself so much I still could not solve my fundamental problem. I ran out of food, I had no place to live, I still did not have my own computer, no car, and I still only made a little more than minimum wage.
Just before I graduated I learned a new bible study. What I learned changed the course of my life. I then began to think about how I could do something more meaningful. I now help teach that bible study and it has become the philosophy by which I live my life.
Since then I’ve worked professionally as a flash animator, story board artist, character designer, illustrator, and web designer. I also managed to develop my own digital graphic comic and 5 websites. Now I’m teaching Photoshop, Motion Graphics classes, and Animation at Westwood college.
I’d love to take credit for all that I’ve learned over the years but when I look back I can see that God was preparing me, encouraging me, and guiding me through His inspiration the whole time. I was simply following and putting in some effort. Becoming a professional artist was so much more work than I could possibly have imagined, and without God I would have given up or not started at all a long time ago. I made many mistakes and fell into many traps along the way. I worried myself endlessly trying to find a way to follow my passions in a way that would solve my fundamental problems. Why do we work so hard as artists for so little? To help young artists avoid accidents and pitfalls I wrote the following book/articles. Within them you’ll find many helpful resources and they will help you to form realistic goals as an artist.
I have a couple other websites including my portfolio site, www.DrawaLot.com, and my comic strip, “Grief or Glory” at www.GriefOrGlory.com . You can also download my book, “The Art of Shaun McMillan” for free at http://www.lulu.com
I currently reside in Fullerton, CA and may soon be leading some local drawing workshops. Feel free to email me at email@example.com. with any questions or comments.