My first weeks in Latvia

It’s been one week and a half since I arrived in Riga, Latvia. I started my studies in Janis Rozenthals Riga Art School, which concentrates on fine arts and also media studies. I will be here for ten weeks.

At first I was nervous for it has been a while since I had art lessons with other students. However, as a animation and game development student, it is always good to practise, so I was happy to start this new experience. Here is the story so far:

I arrived in Latvia on wednesday, January 10th. However, that week was mostly about getting prepared for the studies: on thursday (January 11th) I was introduced to the school and its teachers, and the next day was about getting to know Riga.

Riga is a very beautiful and convenient city: everything is nearby, and I liked the way it combined its precious traditions with nice modern things. There were many museums and other places for cultural events, and also some beautiful churches. I didn’t have that much time to visit them all, but I will write more about the wonders of Riga on my upcoming posts.

After that weekend, on monday, January 15th,  started my first official week in Janis Rozenth?ls Riga Art School. My weekly schedule consists of mostly painting and drawing lessons but there is also some time for 3D modeling and animation lessons, as well. There is also possibility to do own projects.

Janis Rosentals Riga Art School (Jana Rozentala Riga Makslas Skola)

I was very excited about painting, because I hadn’t done that in a long time. I decided to focus on oil painting, so I went to buy all the necessary tools. During this first week I practised mixing the colors, which was helpful.

Graphic design was only once a week, and I was too confused to start anything particular, but luckily there were many fellow students who helped me. The lesson was about understanding the distances between letters. Fascinating!

Drawing lessons were also very interesting. There were many separate lessons from sketching to technical drawing. It was good to sketch different objects after a long break. I got some very good tips from my teachers. For example, I learned to draw more tenderly than I usually do. I also learned a little bit about proper shadowing techniques and a good sitting position while drawing. I also learned a valuable lesson about patience. I was afraid that I was too slow so I tried to hurry up with some of  my works, but when I found out that there was no need to hurry, I was relieved.

3D animation was  also this week, even though it will officially start in February. This lesson was more about explaining the basic fundamentals of motion capture technique. We are going to record moves for our own 3D characters and then use them on our own short animations. The topic of that short animation was “cosmos”. Very interesting!

2D animation lesson was pretty interesting as well. All of the students in the class had already been working on their own short animation projects. I also have a possibility to make my own animation. This is a great chance to finally start my film project that has been in my mind for a long time. I started to draw storyboards on paper, but next time I might be able to do a cinematic storyboard with TV Paint Animator Pro,  a computer software.

Oh, I also had one sports lesson. We had floorball. It felt refreshing to move after hard work. I came well along with other students and the sports teacher, even though I was first afraid of not being understood.

Speaking of others, all of the students and teachers have been so friendly to me. I tried to pay respect as much as possible, even though I was sometimes considered too polite and careful. I spoke mostly in English, but I also tried to use as much Latvian phrases as possible. Some teachers and students were happy to hear me speak some Latvian. I will try to keep speaking it more in the future.

Yesterday, some of the students gave me another tour to Riga, so I could see the locations of every historical and cultural places such as museums and statues. There were some places I didn’t notice on my first tour. I’m looking forward to visit them all and write about them.

See you next time. Ata!