At one point, I found out that artists at Industrial Light and Magic in San Rafael, California were conducting life drawing sessions, and they were open to anyone. Industrial Light and Magic is the special effects division of Lucasfilm, creators of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.
I was excited, I went to the life drawing sessions and met Frank Ordaz, he was a matte painter who did fantastic backgrounds for Return of the Jedi, E.T. and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I got to see the matte paintings they were working on, at the time they were working on Young Sherlock Holmes, which came out in 1985. I also got to see the special effects studio, where they had some sort of rooftop model set up for filming.
My main motivation to do the drawing session was to show my work to Lucasfilm. After some weeks, I asked Frank Ordaz if I could show him my portfolio. I had done some movie poster paintings, like Star Wars, Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Not actual jobs, but samples for my portfolio.
Frank said that maybe I could get work doing ‘comps’. Comps are rough preliminary sketches or marker drawings used in the planning stages of a movie. He didn’t say that my work was bad, but when he said that he could recommend me to do comps, basically what he was saying was that my work looked unfinished.
I was crushed, because to me, they WERE finished. I was very depressed, but I had to open my eyes to realize that I wasn’t good enough to do movie posters. I realized that I had to work harder to improve my work.