Michelle Dickens earned her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University in 2003 and her MFA Illustration degree from the School of Visual Arts in 2005. Michelle's career includes visual development and environment artwork for animation and game studios on a wide spectrum of projects ranging from television series and advertisements to virtual reality and online games. Most notably during her tenure in the industry, she has held the role of Supervising Storybook Artist at Nickelodeon Animation Studios on "Dora the Explorer" and "Dora and Friends: Into the City." Among her clients are MTV Animation, Titmouse Inc. and Curious Pictures; credits include "The Venture Bros." "Bubble Guppies," and "Go, Diego, Go!" Michelle has also worked as the lead concept artist at Phaser Lock Interactive on the virtual reality game, "Final Approach." Passionate about delivering a quality education to aspiring creative professionals, Michelle has taught at Syracuse University, the Austin Community College, and the Gemini School of Visual Arts and Communication. She has also appeared as a guest lecturer and art judge for numerous educational programs and game development organizations including AAUGA Austin, Women in Games Austin, and Game Worlds. Michelle is a member of the Society of Illustrators and Plein Air Austin. Michelle currently teaches art in Round Rock ISD.
PROFESSIONAL ART EXPERIENCE:
PHASER LOCK INTERACTIVE- Austin, TX 2015
Lead Concept Artist-"Final Approach"
Developed innovative concepts for virtual reality game including vehicles, environments, props, characters and effects. Supported team with inspiration art for game play sequences; created marketing illustrations.
HIDDEN ACHIEVEMENT LLC-Austin, TX 2015
Created digital matte background paintings for fantasy starter pack of Pictodon Character Designer program.
AUSTIN VISUALS LLC-Austin, TX 2015
Created large scale whiteboard illustrations for a visiting company’s presentation at UT campus.
NICKELODEON ANIMATION STUDIOS- New York, NY 2007-2015
Supervising Storybook Artist - “Dora and Friends: Into The City” “Dora the Explorer” Seasons 6, 7, 8
Storybook Research Artist - “Wallykazam!” “Shimmer and Shine”
Senior Storybook Research Artist-“Explorer Girls” “Go, Diego, Go!” Season 4, “Dora The Explorer: Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure”
Lead Storybook Research Art Designer- Nick Jr.’s "Bubble Guppies."
Duties: Drawing and painting storybook art, including designing new characters, props and backgrounds. Scheduling dates for booking freelance artists and delegating work assignments among the creative team. Supervising art output for tight deadlines. Communicating revision needs to artists. Meeting with writers and research analysts to collaborate on storybook design content; thumbnailing art panels during conferences. Printing final panels for field research.
PRODUCTO STUDIOS- Redondo Beach, CA 2012
Background Painter-developing game project.
KEVINA.TV ANIMATION New York, NY 2012
Background Artist- “Angry Birds-Philadelphia Eagles” Fall 2012 game app promo trailer.
CURIOUS PICTURES- New York, NY 2008-2012
Concept Artist, Background Artist- developing projects.
Concept Artist, Background Designer & Painter- Syfy’s “Eureka” Christmas special, “Do You See What I See”
Concept Artist, Background Designer & Painter, Character Colorist- “NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core”
Storyboard Artist- Betty Crocker and Mars Bars advertisements.
TITMOUSE, INC - New York, NY 2011
Background Layout Artist & Painter- developing project.
PLATINUM STUDIOS- Los Angeles, CA 2011
Background Artist- “Cowboys & Aliens-The Prequel” Motion Comic
NICKTOONS- New York, NY 2010
Background Artist- “NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core” Promo Trailer
MOTHERLAND- New York, NY 2010
Character Lipsynch Artist- Motion Comics projects.
WORLDWIDE BIGGIES- New York, NY 2007
Background Painter- Interactive level/location map for "The Princess Bride Game.”
SHERMANSTRAVEL MEDIA, LLC. -New York, NY 2007
Logo Artist- vectorized "Sherman's Top Twenty Five" logo in Illustrator.
SAATCHI & SAATCHI- New York, NY 2007
Storyboard Colorist- "Trix: A Fruity Odyssey," General Mills ad campaign.
MTV ANIMATION, VIACOM- New York, NY 2006
Background Painter, Prop Designer- "Friday: The Animated Series."
WORLD LEADERS ENTERTAINMENT- New York, NY 2005-2008
Background and Character Concept Artist/ Color Stylist- “Econo Lodge Ad Campaign.”
Concept Artist, Background Designer & Painter- "Mighty Giants," General Mills website and television ad campaign.
Concept Artist, Background Designer & Painter- "The Quest: The Lucky Charms Webisode Series," General Mills.
Background Painter- "The Venture Brothers: Season II," Cartoon Network.
Background Painter- "Camp Lazlo: Lumpus Interrupted," Johnson & Johnson PSA spot, Cartoon Network.
Background Designer & Painter/ Character Color Key Artist- "Sunday Pants: Exam Pixie," Cartoon Network.
Character Color Key Artist- "Turkey Days: Week of Thanksgiving" Commercial, Cartoon Network.
BYRON PREISS VISUAL PUBLICATIONS- New York, NY 2005
Cover Illustrator- Puffin Graphics reprint of Jules Verne's “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.”
ROUND ROCK ISD- Round Rock, TX 2016-Present
Instructs elementary students on art history, principles, theory and practical skills. Demonstrates techniques for various materials and applications, evaluates projects and exhibits student work both on campus and in locations around the district. Organizes and orders art resources, plans engaging and enriching lessons within the approved curriculum that incorporate differentiation for diverse learners, and attends professional development conferences. Developed an after school spring animation club and assists with the fall art club.
AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Austin, TX 2015-2016
Adjunct Associate Professor-2D Design For Games course
Taught proficiency in Photoshop for the creation of game assets, including screen mockups, texture maps, and user interface design. Promoted self-management, organization, collaboration and leadership skills among students. Prompted participation through class critiques and positive reinforcement. Fostered visual problem solving and reasoning skills through career related challenges. Conducted formal and informal assessments. Incorporated technology, maintained records, provided progress reports. Participated in faculty meetings and professional development sessions focused on learning goals.
GEMINI SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS AND COMMUNICATION Cedar Park, TX 2014-2016
Instructor-Children’s Book Illustration Course, Sketch Class
Children's Book Course-Created and taught a curriculum that focused on the illustration process for the publishing market and the development of a career portfolio. Emphasis placed on composition, design, character creation, pacing, consistency, color arcs, and text layout in progressing the visual narrative.
Sketch Course-Organized and taught a figure drawing curriculum in a multilevel classroom. Focus on motion, proportion, balance, weight, shape and form through a series of quick poses, anatomy exercises, and hand, feet and head studies.
Planned and implemented differentiated instruction for diverse learners. Encouraged creativity and engaged students with cognitive challenges to develop observational and draftsmanship skills. Coursework involved multimedia experimentation. Incorporated art and illustration history to encourage analysis. Guided student progress through critiques and class discussions.
Maintained a positive learning environment that fostered respectful dialogue and critical thinking.
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY- Syracuse, NY
Visiting Instructor- Illustration Concepts Class, BFA Illustration Program 2011
Taught a senior level course focused on fantasy art and conceptual development of character and environment design geared toward film, gaming and animation.
Visiting Artist-Reviewed senior illustration portfolios. 2015
Guest Speaker, Viscom Symposium 2012
CATSKILL ART SOCIETY Hurleyville, NY 2003-04
Taught courses in children's book illustration, comic books, and painting. Instructed workshops on pastels, impressionism, color theory, and watercolor application.
Computer: Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketchbook Pro, Flash, Indesign. Basic Maya 8.5. Mac and PC platforms. Skilled with Wacom Tablet and Cintiq.
Film: Experienced with Oxberry 16mm Animation Stand and Bolex camera for cel animation and claymation. Utilized flatbed editors for sound and film editing. Strong knowledge in history of film, comics and sequential art.
Society of Illustrators
Plein Air Austin
LECTURES/ JUDGING/ EXHIBITIONS:
Plein Air Round Rock Art Show- Jester Williamson County Annex, Round Rock, TX 2017
"After the Bell" Round Rock ISD Visual Arts Faculty Show- Jester Williamson County Annex, Round Rock, TX 2017
"Close to Home" Round Rock Plein Air Show - Lamppost Coffee, Round Rock, TX 2016
Art Judge, Guest Lecturer- Game Worlds Camp, Austin, TX 2015, 2016
Art Judge-Texas Women in Games Conference, State Capitol, Austin TX 2016
Plein Air Austin Anniversary 10th Anniversary Show- Austin Art Space, Austin, TX 2016
Plein Air Austin Summer Show- Corridor of Art, Austin, TX 2015
Guest Portfolio Reviewer for Syracuse University- National Portfolio Review Day, Austin, TX 2015
Guest Speaker, Featured artist- AAUGA (Autodesk Animation User Group Association) 2014, 2015
Plein Air Austin Summer Show- Dougherty Arts Center, Austin, TX 2014
Captivate Conference Art Gallery-ACC Highland Campus, Austin, TX 2014
Featured Artist- Syracuse University VPA Alumni Spotlight Magazine- 2013
New York Comic Con- Artist’s Alley Exhibitor 2011 & 2012
“Being There” Group Show- Visual Arts Gallery New York, NY 2006
MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Thesis Exhibition- Visual Arts Gallery New York, NY 2005
Catskill Art Society Faculty Show- Hurleyville, NY 2005
AIGA: The Turning Page Exhibit- New York, NY 2004
School of Visual Arts, MFA Illustration 2005
Syracuse University, BFA Illustration, Summa Cum Laude 2003
VPA Scholar, 2003
Highest Department Honors in Illustration, 2003