Back from Berlin
24 October 2006

Well, I'm back in Toronto, have almost recovered from jet lag and am finally offering my summary of the pictoplasma conference. Better late than never!

Ah, Berlin - it's an amazing city, full of artistic beauty in both expected and unexpected places. For instance, I'd heard about the cutting-edge architecture, world-class museums and leafy boulevards. But what I found more interesting and inspiring was the abundance of street-art, stencils, stickers and doodles decorating the streets. In some places the stickers and posters were so thick they became beautiful, illustrative skins spread across sides of buildings or covering an alley wall from the ground up. Talk about a perfect place to hold a conference about character design, not to mention a wonderful source of sketchbook material!

The conference itself was a lot of fun and very inspiring. To be honest, I missed a good portion of the early presentations due to drinking with pals (as mentioned in my previous post) and, subsequently, sleeping in / recovering. However, the presentations that I did make it to really blew my mind. I found the work of Jon Burgerman, Ian Stevenson, Fons Schiedon, Shoboshobo, Studio aka, Friends With You and Doma particularly enjoyable. And of course, I must mention my fellow Canadians, Nathan J and Derrick Hodgson who both showcased some great new work.

In addition to enjoying the incredible visuals, I found it encouraging not only to see so many people gathered together to celebrate character design and share ideas but also to hear the various speakers describe how they had stayed true to what they wanted to do and ended up finding outlets for their doodles. For me, it drove home the importance of balancing professional work that pays the bills with personal projects that feed your soul. And if the two can be brought together, even better!

Will I go back to Berlin for the next pictoplasma conference? Hell ja! And this time, I'll be bringing stickers of my own to add to the mix.

Ich heart Mitte
13 October 2006

Guten morgen from Germany! This update is a little late, but I've barely had eine minuten to spare since we arrived here on Monday. As such, I think that I am going to opt for a summary of the pictoplasma conference once I return to Canada instead of constant updates, seeing as they likely won't be happening.

However, I will say that it's been an amazing trip so far, and Berlin is a fantastic city. We're staying in Mitte (middle), an area which was formerly part of East Berlin. Despite being slightly shabby and rough around the edges, this is apparently the hip part of town, evidenced by the fact that it's full of artists, not to mention amazing shops and bars. We've done some sight-seeing, a fair amount of drinking (beer here is very good and very cheap) and, amazingly, even spent some time at the pictoplasma conference listening to speakers and visiting gallery shows. We leave on Sunday for Zagreb, Croatia, which will likely be a very different experience. More to come, if I can find the zeit!

Off to Berlin...
08 October 2006

Well, after months of waiting, I am finally heading off to Berlin for the pictoplasma character design conference with some other illustrative pals from Toronto. What will it be like? I have no idea. Apparently there is a "character parade" as well as "character karaoke", so it should be interesting to say the least. Add a few pints of fine, German beer and multiple sketching opportunities to the mix, and you've got the makings of a fine time indeed (not to mention a great business write-off). I'll do my best to post a few bloggy updates once I'm over there, so stay tuned. Tschüss!

Welcome!
05 October 2006

Welcome to the completely redesigned aaronleighton.com! It's new and improved, lemon-scented and bursting with strange, illustrative odds and ends, including a new characters section. Go on, take a look around! And while you're doing that, I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to Davin Risk for his mad design skillz and zinc Roe for letting me monopolize his time. Keep checking back frequently for updates, new imagery and overall bloggy goodness.

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