Student Review: Concept Art & Digital Illustration Foundations

Art by: Sai Usha Poojitha Mannuru

We spoke with recent graduate, Sai Usha Poojitha Mannuru, about her time studying Concept Art & Digital Illustration Foundations at CG Spectrum. She chose the one-on-one mentorship option and was paired with award-winning artist Tyler James (Blizzard, Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games). Sai now works as a 2D concept artist and digital illustrator at Eitri Studio! Hear what she has to say about her time at CGS.

Hello, I am Sai, I received my personal mentorship from Tyler James through CG Spectrum.

Why I chose CG Spectrum

I was looking for a good, trusted institute online to help me progress my art skills. I stumbled upon the CG Spectrum website in May 2022, and I really loved how mentors are existing industry professionals and the fact that there is the option for personal, one-on-one mentorship, too.

My experience as a CGS student

CGS, in three words, is Humble, Inspiring, and Productive.

As a CGS student, I loved how much of a home it felt like learning from my mentor, sharing my work every week, and getting his feedback. It almost didn't feel like it was online. It was such a productive and calming experience.

When someone learns it's online, often the immediate response is negative, but CGS is amazing when it comes to that since the mentor gives one-on-one feedback in a live call during every week's one-hour Zoom call session. It's very interactive and just like any other offline class.

To anyone who wishes to progress in their skills and turn into an industry-standard artist, CGS is such an amazing, promising place for you to be!

Sai Usha Poojitha Mannuru Digital IllustrationDigital Illustration by Sai. 

Receiving industry mentorship

My relationship with my mentor was so humble and friendly. I remember calling Tyler "Sir," and his response to that was, "No, you can call me by my name, that's fine." That gave me such homely, comfortable, and friendly vibes because I had this internal nervousness to talk with such a professional artist live on call every week. 

Tyler is such a friendly, interactive, and humble person. I loved how he gave feedback on my work in a constructive way, backing it up with technical fundamentals while talking about how it works in industry.

My favorite memory from my time at CGS is when Tyler and I used to discuss and observe our favorite artists' works once his feedback on my work was done for the week. Sometimes, the discussions even went beyond the one-hour class. It was very inspiring to know about the thought processes of a highly skilled artist.

Timber-Drake-Tyler-JamesTimber Drake illustration by Tyler James. You can see more of his work on his website.

How my technical skills evolved

My skills were very beginner and not up to industry standards prior to the course at CGS. My one-year interactions and constant feedback from my mentor helped me progress very well, and my presence in the CGS community gave me that internal motivation and inspiration to get better at my work. It feels very warming to see other alumni, student, and mentor interactions about the art industry and their experiences.

A challenge that I overcame during my studies

A challenging moment was that I used to take quite some time to finish my work, but after getting to know my mentor's quick techniques and ways to optimize steps in my art process and understanding the idea that sometimes 'less is more' when it comes to rendering an artwork, I started finishing my works much faster—in a few hours.


What I'm doing now since graduating

CG Spectrum helped me build a good portfolio for my job search. Once I completed my course at CGS, I started working at Eitri studio as a 2D concept artist and illustrator! Eitri Studio Private Limited is a video game art asset development studio headquartered in Hyderabad, India. It specializes in 2D and 3D art, animation, and cinematics, catering to a global clientele.

I now have a year of experience in the industry. Although it's a smaller company, it still requires skills to get into the art industry, the skills which I have gained with my mentor's guidance during the Concept Art & Digital Illustration Foundations course at CGS. With this experience, I know I can progress more and more.


To see more of Sai's work you can visit her ArtStation and follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

Want to learn concept art from an award-winning artist like Tyler?

Transform your passion for concept art and digital illustration into a thriving career and join graduates like Sai in the film and games industry!

Under the guidance of an experienced artist, you'll master the skills to plan, develop, and showcase impressive, industry-standard artwork using Photoshop, including how to effectively work with client briefs.

Take the next step towards your creative career.


[more]Read Sai Usha Poojitha Mannuru's bio[/more]

Sai is a concept artist and illustrator. She graduated from CG Spectrum's Concept Art and Digital Illustrations Foundations course and now works in the industry as a 2D Concept Artist at EiTri Studio.