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Interview with Andrew Hickinbottom

By 3dtotal staff

Web: www.andrewhickinbottom.com (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 4th July 2014

3dt: How would you describe life as a freelance 3D character artist in the UK? What are the inherit highs and lows involved and how do you persevere?

AH: Freelance work can be a little unpredictable. Sometimes I get more job offers than I can accept, and have to turn them down due to being too busy, and sometimes I get nothing at all, leading to periods of inactivity. I keep busy during my downtime though, and would rather do personal work than laze around.

This is a cute cartoon caricature of a colorful friend of Andrew's, created for a tutorial series in 3dcreative

My personal work is the truest expression of my inspirations at the time, and it is mainly what gets me noticed, leading to more exposure and job offers. I like the variety that comes with freelance work. Full-time jobs working on the same project for years on end sapped my creativity, so I like the fact that I get short, varied jobs now that I freelance, and I get much more creative freedom, often being asked to design the characters as well as create them.

A retro-styled illustration inspired by the pin-up art of Gil Elvgren

3dt: You've been very good at building up a loyal community following over the years! Do you have any advice on marketing yourself for artists who are not perhaps quite as savvy in this area?

AH: It's hard to say really. Just keep doing good work that catches people's eye and people will notice. I haven't really proactively worked hard on my online reputation – it just happened naturally. Things like setting up a Facebook page helped my work to spread quickly, especially if you are part of a community of artist friends, as your work can get passed around. Be modest, realize your own worth, don't force your work down people's throats and work hard to produce good stuff that speaks for itself. It will all eventually pay off if you keep doing good work.

Homage to comic conventions and the brave people who cosplay in skimpy outfits!

3dt: You have some impressive collections of artwork by other inspirational artists out there. Can you share with us a few names of artists that inspire you on a daily basis? Feel free to go to town on this list!

AH: I owe a lot of my creativity to artists I admire, as they inspire me greatly every day. When I follow so many artists on Facebook, it's great getting so much inspiration appear in my news feed every day. Virtually all of my inspirations are 2D illustrators. My favorite illustrator is Shane Glines – I just love the simplicity, style, shape and appeal of his characters. Other well-known artists include Dean Yeagle, Bill Presing, Bruce Timm, Gil Elvgren, Bill Ward, Dan DeCarlo, Alphonse Mucha, Norman Rockwell and George Petty.

First prototyped in 2010, a sell-out run of 50 Trixie figures was made in 2011

Trixie – Andrew's favorite and signature character. She has appeared in many outfits, always with her distinctive red pigtails

The great thing about online social networks and forums is that I follow dozens (maybe hundreds!) of more active and (relatively) lesser known illustrators such as Otto Schmidt, Serge Birault, Melissa Ballasteros, Kyu-bum Lee, Babs Tarr, Anna Cattish and Nic Ter Horst to name, umm... a 'few'! So many great, differing styles to be inspired by!

Based on a sketch by Serge Birault, featuring the likeness of Maria Gibson – a Swedish model

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