Monday, December 14, 2015

Cubebrush Launches Today

Journey by Marc Brunet, founder of Cubebrush, a new marketplace for digital art tutorials, goes live today. I interviewed the founder, Marc Brunet, who is also a concept artist for Blizzard Entertainment.

Gurney: How did you get started with Cubebrush, and how can you find the time to run it with all your other professional responsibilities?

Brunet: Cubebrush started as a YouTube channel a little over 3 years ago as a way to help spread artistic knowledge via video tutorials. It quickly grew and it became impossible to interact with everyone via the comments section, which led me to start a website based around a big art forum: cubebrush X (

This was finally a place where everybody that was really interested could hangout and help each other, and the platform allowed me to start inviting other artists to participate with lessons - it wasn't only me anymore and that was great for everyone. This was probably the turning point when I started to think about and how awesome it would be to have everybody with awesome content all in one place. That was a little over a year a go, and here we are now about to launch that very platform.

Now, how I find the time to run all of this while still working full time? It comes down to 3 things: my wife is amazing at helping me out and taking care of the kids when I can't, I work with the best team ever who help support the project in amazing ways, and lastly, I don't sleep!

Gurney: How would you describe the community of artists that has grown up around Cubebrush?

Brunet: The first word that comes to mind is "inspiring". I'm constantly amazed at how helpful towards each other, welcoming and nice our community is. We've seen a number of users go from average artists to working professionals in the span of the last 18 months and those that have not yet made their pro debut have improved tremendously with the help of everyone. With all the negativity that you can find online, it's great to see none of it has been able to pollute the Cubebrush community.

Gurney: What makes your store different from other online tutorial marketplaces?

Brunet: Cubebrush is the only marketplace dedicated for artists in the game, film, media & entertainment industry (and of course hobbyists and students) where you can find a wide variety of art resources ranging from tutorials, 3D assets, textures, brushes, plugins and more.

We do a few things differently like screen our sellers to maintain a high quality of content but we have no strict guidelines or restrictions after that. They are free to create and sell whatever they see fit. Our sellers also make the highest share of revenues of any marketplace out there, they are provided with what we think is the best store UI available and we simply go by the idea that the best experience will attract the best talents. Happy sellers, happy customers, everybody wins!

Gurney: In general, what are your pet peeves about video tutorials, things you'd wish could be done better?

Brunet: My biggest one is that a lot of content creators underestimate the importance of good editing in how well it helps the end-user assimilate the content. Too many artists will speed up the video so fast that it becomes impossible to follow, or record their audio next to a jet engine, or talk too slow and bore the audience to death. Finding how to do the basics properly is just a few free YouTube tutorials away, this should never be an issue!

Gurney: When you look at a lot of student portfolios, in general, what skills are not getting covered well enough in art schools?

Brunet: I think the biggest problem with art schools is that they are too disconnected from the real world. There are of course some hidden gems, but what I notice the most in portfolios is the lack of direction in the content. The majority of the art industry works the opposite way, where you'll generally focus on a few skills and get really good at them if you ever want to make it. There's just not enough time to try to master everything. This is always a sure way of getting passed by others who specialize more.

This has to be the tip I give away the most - have a focused portfolio that shows your passion for a certain art form. Not only that but be aware of the industry you are jumping into, do your research, it's super important. Schools definitely drop the ball often when it comes to that.
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Zach Heckert said...

Thanks! Great information. I'm going back through all his Youtube stuff and then I might pick up a few tutorials.

Tom Hart said...

What great insights. Particularly appropriate for me right now is the bit about art schools. (My son is a high school senior looking at pursuing a career in art, and therefore the question of art schools.) Thanks for sharing this!

widdly said...

I bought the Watercolour in the Wild stuff of Gumroad and got a bunch of files including an extra video. I notice on this Cubebrush site it says there is only a single MP4 file. That would make buying from the Gumroad site a better deal then.

Sesco said...

James, congratulations on the release of your new video "Fantasy In The Wild". I just wanted to make an observation about the last paragraph of your interview with Marc Brunet regarding his view of the need to have a focused portfolio. I have read of this career cornerstone from several other experienced artists, and I can understand from one logical perspective how specializing in a narrow niche improves your probability of securing a commercial gig. Marc's point of an unfocused portfolio (or said another way, a portfolio demonstrating a breadth of understanding) being passed over for a focused portfolio (or said another way, a portfolio demonstrating a limited, albeit masterful, understanding) may make some sense when it comes to commercial work and I take Marc's word for that. Yet, I've always chafed at the idea of having to create repetitiously, with blinders, within guidelines, for painting after painting, week after week, year after year, in order to create a brand, an identity, a persona, a style that can be recognized from across the gallery. Most wonderful things in Life are utterly ruined through repetition. Stay on a beach long enough in your lounge chair with your cooler-full of shrimp cocktail, an endless chain of Mimosa drinks, and there will come a time when you long for a change of scenery. Any thing you can think of, done repetitiously, will ultimately prove soul-deadening. I looked into "Hawthorne On Painting" and found there, among many tomes urging the same impulse, the call to play, the joy of creating, the wonderment of spreading color for his students. I sometimes feel this joy gets tamped down as we attempt more sophisticated techniques and as we narrow our focus in order to be employed. When I read the biographies of so many contemporary artists on their websites one begins to immediately see an underlying formula leading to their implied contentment: "I left the corporate world to paint what I wanted to paint." It appears to be a common career path whereby an artist limits and focuses, earns, saves, then retreats from the corporation to feed her soul with less limitation, less repetition, cushioned in the transition with the money earned. Not so egregious a path, but certainly there seems to be an implied trade off. I'm not sure what I'm feeling, but a friend once told me that Art is Play, and that is something I never want to forget.

James Gurney said...

Sesco, I suppose if you want to show in a gallery or get work for a big entertainment studio, a narrow specialty is a good thing. I like doing a range of things, and that's one of the reasons I developed Dinotopia and the art instruction books that I do. For those, diverse subjects and media are an advantage.