David Apatoff’s Illustration Art blog has a wonderful post on how the great illustration artist William A. Smith taught his daughter Kim how to draw and paint, and how she applied that in becoming a special effects designer for the movies. I love the way he connected the imagination and skill of the last generation of visual artists, who drew for books and magazines, to the place where the really imaginative visuals are now — movies.
Smith’s daughter Kim watched her father work and was inspired to follow in his footsteps. She learned traditional art skills from him. “He gave me LOTS of advice,” she recalled. “He talked about composition quite a bit. Also, that the whites of eyes aren’t white at all. He taught me to make a good green from yellow and black.” Kim learned to draw beautifully at a young age and went on to learn painting, printmaking and sculpting.
But when Kim began to work professionally she discovered that the art world had changed. The work that had sustained her father’s generation of artists was disappearing. She moved to the west coast, where she eventually found work in movies building models.
She ended up working on just about every blockbuster you can name, from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Star Wars” series to designing the white feather for “Forrest Gump.” Be sure to check out the video clip of some of her work on the blog.