Among the most unique of texture artists, and having created a long line of male characters, he was the perfect choice to be first here at Chariot's Wheels and I want to take advantage of the opening lines here to thank him very much for agreeing to be interviewed and for participating in the process; he readily agreed to join in, with us having had next to no prior contact and I really appreciate that.
Since there was so little prior contact, I opened the interview with a fairly broad question (my questions are in italics):
Anything you'd like to share about yourself?
Me? Hm. I'm cranky. Obstinate. Curious. Argumentative at times. Observant (most times). Stubborn. Open-minded. Obsessive. Among other things, traits that get you into trouble (and I've seen plenty)
can help when you're an artist. I am a third generation artist. The first, however, to touch upon the digital field rather than the traditional mediums. I'm also fairly private, more so online, about my private life.
Fair enough answer. You describe yourself (on your Facebook page) as a 3D Artist and Illustrator. Would you tell us a little bit about your other art projects?
I do, however I am also a traditional artist and have branched out into many things to keep me occupied. A bored Darwin is a bad Darwin.
I dabble in special effects make up, using mainly liquid latex, scar wax, gelatin and other things found around the house. Gotten fairly decent at it. The traditional mediums include ink (quill and well as well as modern pen), graphite, oil, acrylic, a little watercolor and pastels-but I haven't done much on that end of things. I used to dabble in calligraphy, and have branched out into learning sumi-e, or ink wash painting. I've also started to try to get some hand-drawn artwork together for future tattoo work.
The special effects make up is a little surprising, but makes perfect sense; a little creative cross pollination. How'd you get into 3D art, specifically the Studio platform and what drove you to become a content artist?
Honestly, I stumbled onto this. I was working on a pencil and ink piece and was trying to find a hint online to work out an issue I had and came across Renderosity's forum. I had no idea there were any programs such as Poser or Studio, or even what was used for 3D work in the movie platforms such as Zbrush, 3dMax, ect. I browsed through the forums, found the gallery section and was stunned. So, I heard about Poser first, but the price of it once I found out, was prohibitive to me even exploring it. Then...I read about this free program called Studio in the forum. Viola! This was release 2.5, I think. I signed up back in 2007 or so, downloaded it and was hooked. I think it was after DS3 Advanced when I won my first Poser program, and shifted that way for some time. Between Studio and Poser I have been fortunate to win several programs, including Poser 10, Shade 14 Pro, Wondershare Video Editor among others.
Reach out, branch out, and if someone says it can't be done-challenge that. Defy it. Darwin's Mishap
What drove me to become a content artist was simple; no one was making what I wanted, so I started to learn how. This started in Poser Pro 2010, migrated to Poser 10, and finally back to where I started
with Studio 4.2 when Iray became available. It was all over after that. I have a different flair of things, and thankfully there are a few out there that like that kind of flair as well and have purchased
products from me. I am honored and hope to continue to do this and eventually make this my full time gig.
Let's hope that does become a reality; its a niche market, at best, but hopefully there is still room for growth in it. Now for the dreaded inspiration question: when you start a product, what inspires you? Do you start with a general concept, or some specific visual? Have you got any idea what you want the finished product to look like or does it just develop as you go along?
Well-those are great questions!
Life inspires me. Ten to one, every character I create is based off of a few people I've seen in life, photos, or know personally. A general concept is crucial; I have an idea of what I'm wanting to make, even if it's general. If there is no concept, there is no where to start from or aim towards. There are a few characters that I had a specific visual in my head as to the end result, most of them are general ideas of the finished product that may or may not change as they evolve. I think Parker is the only one that I had fleshed out in my head as to what I wanted when I started with him to the end product with no changes.
A big difference is if I mess something up, I can re-do it, fix it, or re-work it without having to worry about erasing (Pencils) or having to start completely over on new paper. LOL, I do that, a lot.
Case in point- I was working on an acrylic wash of a red dragon, scrambling around a corner in something like the Grand Canyon during the daylight. I had finished the acrylic portion of the entire
piece, and was going over it with quill and ink for details. The nub on the quill broke just as I was working on a portion of the dragon's neck and dropped a blob of India ink onto the paper. You want to talk
about artist's rage? The board the paper was taped to was flung across the room and left a dent in the wall. Turns out, all of that was for naught. When I picked it up finally the ink had swirled
into the area I was going to cover anyway.....yeah, I can be temperamental. With 3D art, I just swear at my monitor. A lot. Seriously.
Other than that-the way I approach 3D art is less constrictive than traditional methods, but essentially the same.
I'm glad it worked out with the dragon; I have zero skill with traditional media, but I can imagine what that must feel like. There is a question here that I am having trouble formulating....this is not quite it, but I guess its as close as I am going to get: since becoming a content artist, and a relatively prolific one of late, do you approach your art differently?
I do, and the question works well enough that I get it. ;) Now, I can't just make something I like and want to use...I have to go into it with more of a "will this be something that others might want to use? Is it too niche? It it bent too much theme-wise that it won't be picked up to sell?" Editing myself is not easy. It's necessary, but not easy. I'm still learning how to do that, as well as trying to make sure what I make isn't re-hashing what I've done already, or what others have done as well.
Any final thoughts you want to share? Any upcoming products after Parker?
I've learned a lot by asking questions; not just in one forum, but numerous. I was, at one point, part of about 50 different 3D and Photoshop forums to get answers. cgsociety.org - this is one of those forums, and I'm still there. I've learned a lot by going through the workshop forums, trying my hand at lighting and texturing contests, learning about photo- manipulation and even tried one of those contests just to learn. There are not only serious artists there, but professionals that work for gaming companies, Pixar, etc. I know people mention how Studio and Poser art is looked down upon by others of the 3D world, but don't let that limit you. Once you do, it's over. Reach out, branch out, and if someone says it can't be done-challenge that. Defy it.
Gods, yes. I have a list of 15 characters that are waiting, I want to branch out into accessories and eventually clothing and props. Be prepared. Be warned. ;)