CTNx 2015 Wrap Up and News!

Ahoy all of you amazing visitors!

WOW!!! What a trip!!!

I just recently returned from the trip we have been planning and it was a BLAST! I was going to do a long video for all of you to tell you about the experience of the CTNx 2015 show I attended from November 17th-22th.  I even recorded one and then tried to patch together an edit and after loosing a week trying to learn what I didn't know...I realized that I needed to cut my loss and stick to what I have time for; blogging and photos before I get back to making art!!! So, in this post I will share photos from the show, pics of friends that I met and hung out with and my art haul with everything from business cards to AMAZING prints!

Click below ( if you are on the home page ) and lets get into all of the CTNx show fun!!!

Ok, to start off the article I want to share some "thank you's." First, I want to thank God that I made it there and back safely and that I was able to spend time with other creative minded people while I was there. I also want to thank Him for the blessing of the talent I was given. I love making art and I love creating things that I can share and entertain others with and I am very thankful that I have the ability and the opportunity.

Next I want to thank my wife and children. I was gone for a five days and my family worked it like champs even when my wife had a toothache. I would have had so much more stress and anxiety with out her help on everything from planning to packing to loving on me before and while i was gone. All of this just so I could go do something fun for myself; be around and talk art with other creatives! She is amazing and I am a blessed guy to have someone like her in my life. I am thankful that though our kids didn't drive her *too* crazy and though they wanted to be there with me, they were excited for what I was doing and handled it with grace. One of my new goals for the next few years of the show is to work it to a point that I can include my family in a leg of the trip before or after the show! I cannot tell you how much you and the kids have done for me, thank you sweetheart!

Next I want to thank Chris Oatley for everything he has done for me in the last few years leading up to and including everything he did for me at the show. Chris is the director of The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling and has become a dear friend to me. I became a fan of his content years ago from his podcast, Chris Oatley's ArtCast and then another podcast he cohosts with Lora Innes and Justin Copeland called The Paper Wings Show. They have taught me so much about the creation of great content and how to be a stronger, more thoughtful and inspired artists and those are lessons that I still carry with me today.

Chris left a career at Disney to start his own art school in 2012 and at the end of 2014 asked me to join on the support staff for the Academy. Though I am not able to put in the hours I want to with the academy due to full-time work, family, home and DutzWorks responsibilities, he still brought me further into the school and gave me even greater opportunities to help he, the teams and the students. Chris has chosen some of the most amazing artists I have ever met to work with him and if he has brought me into those ranks, then he sees something special in me and one of my goals is to ensure I live up to that potential. Thank you Chris!

I also want to thank my coworker Gary, my brother Korey and so many others for help with the flight and so many other aspects of the trip! Thank you all for being so amazing! You all have helped make this trip possible for me!



It is hard to put into words all that the trip was and what I experienced. It was fun, educational, inspirational and encouraging. I have so many things I will be working on this coming year. I will be finishing my book with new project goals after that and will be connecting to other artists in more intentional ways in years to come!

I am so excited! I have lots of pictures from the show so I will try to be brief on the rest of the article and let the photos do some talking too. I also have links below that will take you to many of the awesome things I mention in the post! Also, click here to see the new Illustration Portfolio I took with me to share are as I met others during the events!

The show is called CTNx which stands for the Creative Talent Network Expo and it is a trade show geared toward creative professionals in the entertainment industry. It has a heavy lean toward animation and the different talents that make it possible such as character designers and visual development artists but the show also has room for illustrators of books and games. It is a great place to meet other artists and professionals alongside also being in the right place to be part of educational sessions and product reviews. The show ran Friday to Sunday, November 19th-22nd.

The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling team, podcasters and I spent the Wednesday before the show at Disneyland....yes, Dutz at Disneyland! I warned them that I was going to be the biggest kid they they saw out there and I sure lived up to that! I giggled, skipped around and stared in wonder at this place drempt up by artists and built by craftsmen that all began 60 years ago! We had so much fun and I collapsed into the bed and remember almost nothing in the blink between going to sleep and waking the next day.

Thursday was OA (Oatley Academy) Family Day and the staff and I met with OA students who traveled in for the show. We all met at The Getty Museum and after a few hours of gazing at the work of master artists, we went to Stephen Silver's studio in Burbank for OA Family Time and pizza! There Chris talked to the students and staff, shared news about the growing school and shared his love for the teams and students. He loves what his work and who he does if for and it shows in so many things he does!

Friday through Saturday was the show. We were busy at the Oatley Academy booth each day practically from the time the doors opened to when the staff of the expo kicked us out. It was invigorating and tiring all at the same time and I am so very thankful I could be a part of it!

I was able meet artists in person whom I have admired for a long time only online. So many amazingly talented and inspiring people like Mel Milton (one of my favorite artists and people) to the amazing Nic Gregory and I freaked out when i looked over when behind our booth to see Jake Parker booth-ing right next to us! Jake is a wonderfully talented artist and a very active force of encouragement in trying to connect artists with their fan bases and the public at large.

He created the art event Inktober ( ink drawing event in October) and Art Drop Day and my participation in those events has encouraged a great amount of growth in my art over the last two years. I was geeking out to work at a booth next to him and the print I bought from him is one of my prized items from the show. At the bottom of this article you will find photos of the items I picked up and links to the creative folks who made them so you can check out more of their work too!

The expo showed me just how connected this industry can really be and just how many amazing varieties of talent feed into it. I will try to tell you more about the details of the show and how it affected me as I work through projects throughout the year. Until then, please enjoy these photos and pictures of the art from the trip!

The awesome Bill Main and I!


Chris Oatley - Chris Oatley's ArtCast podcast

The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling (The Academy I work with, sorry for the fuzzy image)

Mel Milton - Seriously, check this guy out! He is a great artists and an amazing person!
( That is the awesome Drew Blom photobombing in the back, like a boss! )

Jake Parker  - SkyHeart Print and Robot Bookmark

Chris Ayers - The Dailey Zoo - Munchasorus Rex Print

Christine Knopp - Kikidoodle - Neverending Story Print

Tinosukae (Chaichan Artwichai) - "The Bunny Band" Print 

Business cards and art I gathered from the show!!



Here is some art I made during the trip too!!


The above drawing was first illustrated in my sketchbook on the flight to Los Angels and then I took a photo of it with my Note 4 phone and then used my "Sketchbook for Galaxy" app to add color with it using the built-in stylus!

These two image are of illustrations I made at Wacom's booth the two times I was trying out the new 27" Cintiq screens! They are computer screens you can draw and paint on and they can mimic your pen pressure! They worked great!

The two pieces above are illustrations I made on the flight home along with the ballpoint pen illustrations below!

Ok, enough art! Go live your awesome life and create things too!! Until next time my dear family, friends and fans,

Best be to yee', me mateys!
May the winds be at your backs and friends be at your sides. Blessed be your journeys.

Derrick "Captain Dutz" Utz


  1. This is such a great wrap up, Dutz! I'm so glad you were able to come this year. It was great to meet you in person and spend some time together. I hope I get to hug you again next year :D

    1. Thank you Maria! Yes, it was all a blast and I hope for more time, fun and hugs next year! So uch awesomeness to get done before then! Love you guys!

  2. This is a great summary, takes me back! :D It was so great to meet you in person captain Dutz! - Henrike

    1. Thank you Henrike!! I was awesome to meet you too and so much fun! Thank you for being a blast to hang out with!

  3. This was a great read! It was amazing meeting and talking with you and all of the other great people whom I've only known online. It was an experience I'll never forget. I already can't wait for next year!

    1. Thank you Bobby! I am glad you liked the post and I am sorry it took so long to get it published, whew! Cray Cray!

      I too am looking forward to next year and am excited for the projects you and I will have finished by then!! Stay awesome!

  4. Awesome! I am so happy I was able to meet you in person and hang out! You're an awesomely positive and fun guy. Pirates of the Caribbean with you sitting at the front was epic. I am so excited to see your book develop over the next year!

    1. Thank you for all of the kind words and for being so much of a fun and thoughtful person to hang out with for the trip! I am glad you enjoyed the Pirates with the Pirate! You helped make it so very epic! I too am stoked about where our projects are going and how much we are going to geek about them at the next show!

      Thank you!