Jerad S. Marantz started his career at an early age interning for SFX houses, eventually narrowing his focus to character and creature design, and costume concept illustration. Now freelance, he was formerly a concept artist at leading facilities including Stan Winston Studio and Marvel Studios. His movie credits include Batman vs. Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Noah, Clash of the Titans and Sucker Punch. When he isn’t working on commercial design projects, Jerad teaches at Pasadena’s Concept Design Academy and the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, where he will be discussing his workflow in an online workshop at Gnomon Master Classes 2014.
Tell us about your journey
I’ve always wanted to be an artist working on films, designing characters and creatures. When I was 13, I was fortunate enough to take a creature sculpting class at a school called Associates and Art in Van Nuys. The teacher there saw something in me and got me an internship at a local effects house called SOTA FX when I was 14. While there, I realized that I cared mainly about design, which influenced my decision to put sculpture aside and focus on illustration, since the design process in the film and game industries is mainly illustrative. I studied illustration at Art Center College of Design, where I built up a portfolio with one goal in mind: to work for either Rick Baker or Stan Winston. As soon as I graduated, I set up interviews. The first place I interviewed was Stan Winston’s studio. Stan himself hired me on the spot.
How do you want to impact the world?
I’ve been very fortunate to work on some really fun projects over the years, but my dream is to create my own properties. I’m currently developing three projects: an animated series, a children’s animated feature and a science-fiction trilogy.
What are you passionate about?
I’m always focused on the next image and doing something better than my last design. Music inspires me a lot. Before I start a project, I tend to create a playlist. The music helps me visualize what I’m trying to create.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
Find out exactly what you are passionate about as soon as possible. Knowing exactly what you want to do will help you prep a solid portfolio: it’s never too early to contact studios that you want to work for to see what they’re looking for in an artist. Always refine your portfolio, and be honest with yourself: being able to take constructive criticism is imperative.