How do you go about planning one of your cartoon character images? Do you start by sketching a few ideas before you begin modeling or do you go straight into 3D?
A little bit of both. With most of those born directly into the 3D viewport, I usually drop a cube or a plane in, and ideas and volumes start to flow. With some personal projects, when I come up with a new idea, sometimes I allow myself to make something on paper, but I prefer to go straight into 3D. But as with everything in this field, good planning and a good workflow helps you to save a lot of time and avoid common errors.
It always amazes me how 3D artists use their 3D software as a way of sketching and generating ideas. What technique do you use to generate ideas in 3D and do you find it easier to do this kind of idea-generating work in Maya or Mudbox?
In my case, I feel more comfortable sketching in 3D directly in Maya, If you get a nice and readable silhouette with a blocky base mesh and a bunch of primitives, I feel more confident it will work when in full detail. But on the other hand, sometimes I sketch directly in Mudbox using the default base meshes or one of the many unfinished ones I have. Once you've learned to work with technical constraints, it feels good to have more freedom and spend more time on the creative process, and that is one of the many advantages, I find, to having a sculpting application near you.
I was taking a look through your favorites on Deviant Art and found a surprising amount of 2D work and digital paintings. Do you ever venture into this kind of work?
Yes, 2D is something I grew up with, and my love for drawing led me to try several traditional techniques, from pencils and charcoals to oils and watercolors. It is a discipline I admire a lot, from classical painting to comic strips. I still use the long render times to sketch and capture ideas on paper.
Regarding digital painting, I have a good amount of unfinished work on my computer. It is not my strongest area, but is a good way to refresh myself from 3D jobs. Some of those paintings start with sketches on paper; others directly inside Photoshop. The bad thing about me is that at some point I decide to make them in 3D and that is the moment they become unfinished work because I