Victor Osaka is a multitalented designer living in Los Angeles. He is also an adjunct professor of interior architecture, photographer, industrial designer, mechanical designer, apparel designer, and 3D CGI artist. His most recent teaching assignment was at Santa Monica College.
Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Victor Osaka and I am an artist living in Los Angeles, California. First and foremost, I am an educator. That is my love and my passion. I have been a college adjunct professor of architectural illustration, a former industrial designer, a 3D CGI artist, and I have a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandizing (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Currently, I create courses for both lynda.com and digital-tutors.com and I am a photographer/partner at TrueLightDigital.com
How did you get your artistic start?
From an early age, I loved to play with pencils and crayons—I still love the smell of crayons. I’m sure my parents had to repaint the walls a number of times! In grade school, I was placed in a gifted students class where we were exposed to art on a daily basis and creative experimentation was encouraged. In high school, I loved technical drawing and excelled in mechanical drafting. Of course, this was way back before computers.
Eventually, I became an industrial designer, discovered and fell in love with 3D computer graphics, and used the computer as a product development tool. During that time, I was the founder and president of the3D Art Forum International, the largest computer users group of its day with members worldwide. 3D graphics and animation became my world and I closed my industrial design company to work full time as a 3D artist. I’ve worked on all kinds of projects: theatrical releases, forensic 3D animation, in-house videos, and just about everything else. What I like most about computer based art is that the possibilities are virtually unlimited and that is so very exciting.
What are your tutorials about?
Yes, my courses at lynda.com. I really enjoy creating these. It’s amazing how much work goes into conceiving, developing, scripting, and refining them. At Lynda I work with a talented video production team with a director, producer, crew, and technical support. It is a very exciting process.
My first course is SketchBook Pro for the iPad. This course covers the full use of the program, from basic to advanced techniques. Students learn the interface, the settings for tools and brushes, how to manipulate layers, and tons of techniques and tips for the digital artist. I also discuss ergonomics and how to prevent repetitive motion injuries while using the iPad. I also guide students in how to choose a proper stylus and a case that’s appropriate for creating art.
In my course, I am recorded live working with the iPad. Students can see me work from my POV (point of view) not just from a screen capture, therefore they can actually see how I hold my stylus, where I tap an option or setting, and my body position as I paint. I take students step-by-step, through two complete projects. Not too fast or too slow. At a pace I think they’ll appreciate. The first project emphasizes specific techniques and methods such as making the best use of tools and brushes and implementing a non-destructive methodology into the work flow. The second project places emphasis on multi-layer techniques to refine the work by adding textures, shadows, and highlights.
My other course is called Learning to Draw in One-Point Perspective with SketchBook Pro 7. For some artists, perspective remains a mystery. And I totally understand that. I’ve taught many college students how to draw in perspective and I take those lessons and condense them into this course. In this course, we have the incredible perspective tools of SketchBook pro 7 to work with.
Through examples, I explain perspective theory and my method of using photographic templates to practice perspective, which is easy to do with SBP7. I demonstrate how to develop proper perspective guidelines, composition, color and shading techniques, and how to add shadow and lighting effect layers.
Much like in the iPad course, I take students step-by-step from beginning to finished drawing through a single-point perspective project. The feedback has been really awesome. As of today, my courses has been viewed over 9,300 times.
Who should watch your tutorials?
Why, every digital artist of course! Truly, I do feel that my courses offer something for everyone. My iPad course for example, while designed for the beginner includes many advanced techniques that anyone can use. And I give practical instruction as well. Like how body position affects your ability to draw on a tablet or iPad. You may be surprised how many of us suffer from wrist, neck, and back pain as a direct result of our posture while drawing! Ouch!
What’s your favorite thing to draw?
My personal folio includes a great variety of subjects and styles. Everything from digital paintings in the style of the old masters to algorithmic and fractal art. My favorites however would have to be either industrial design or fashion design. I particularly love the product development sketches as it shows the progression of an idea. Fashion sketches show emotion and movement.
What’s your advice for aspiring artists?
Well, software cost is no longer the barrier it used to be. For the price of a few lattes, you can buy Sketchbook Pro. You have to start somewhere to develop your personal style, so download the software to your desktop machine, grab your smartphone or tablet and draw, paint, and manipulate imagery. Learn your program inside out. Because if you don’t master your technology, it’ll only get in the way of your artistic vision.