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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: We love that you also welcome other artists in the community to create fan art of your own characters. Can you tell us about a few of these? Have any of them changed the way you perceive your own creations?

AH: I'm so happy with how this happened! I had a few fan arts in the beginning, but when some of my 2D illustrator friends started doing some amazing fan arts of my characters, it all snowballed from there! I commissioned a few artists I really like to do fan arts of my Trixie characters (I collect a lot of original art), which made even more un-solicited fan art flood in. It's massively flattering – especially as many of them are from artists I really like, and that my original characters are memorable enough to prompt such a response. It's very satisfying. It has certainly made me realize the value of some of my more stylized characters, and has given me some ideas for the various criteria that make them popular.

A pin-up of Mosh – a model Andrew is inspired by

3dt: Please tell us a little about your software choices. How have these changed – if at all – over the last few years? And what revelations have cropped up and changed the way you work along the way?

AH: I can be quite old-fashioned and stuck in my ways when it comes to software and technical aspects. I have used 3ds Max, Lightwave, Softimage and Maya during my early/full-time days, but for nearly 15 years now, I have solely used 3ds Max as I know it the most, thus giving me the best results. I have been using ZBrush here and there – mostly for detailing when necessary, but I still haven't quite gotten used to its interface or any of its features more advanced than basic sculpting/detailing.

Probably the best improvement new software has brought to my work over the last 5 years is the inclusion of V-Ray. Since learning and using it when working at Nexus, I can barely do without it, as it has improved my lighting and shading a great deal, and that was an area I found lacking a little in my work beforehand.

A picture of Andrew's friend Olivia, this time wearing latex

Olivia is modeled on an illustrator friend of Andrew's

3dt: Can you tell us a little about your 3D printing experiences – for example with your Trixie character? Do you have anything lined up for future projects, 3D-printing wise? Where would you like to see 3D printing take artists in the future?

AH: The Trixie figure started out as a 3D print for myself, but after I painted it, I realized how great it would be to make a number of them and sell them to fans. I spent thousands of pounds of my own money ordering a run of 50 printed, casted and hand-painted figures from China. The risk was well worth it though, as they sold out, and got the attention of a few toy manufacturers. I now have 2 more figures in the works being made by toy companies. I can't say any more about them right now, but I'm really excited! Having figures of my characters made is something I've always wanted to make, and the increasing accessibility and affordability of 3D printing has made that possible.

Cute, chunky tea-themed pin-up by Andrew

3dt: When working from home for long periods, how do you stay focused and avoid life's distractions? Or alternatively, how do you enjoy life's distractions and use them to motivate your work?

AH: I rarely find the pressures of freelance work to get on top of me as I like to maintain a relaxed workload. I work to live, rather than live to work, so I value my free time. Unless the deadline is really tight, I often find that if the client is understanding and you have a good relationship with them, I can take a day or two off if needed.

This was created as a present for Andrew's French friend, Serge Birault

Distractions in the form of the internet while working from home can be tricky though. If you are addicted to Facebook like me, it can be very difficult to avoid it – especially if I'm on a job I'm not enjoying that much. Sometimes, I apply a little 'tough love' and unplug my router, then place my phone over the other side of the room, out of arms reach! Good music that sucks you in also helps you get in 'the zone' and focus. Film soundtracks and Underworld always do it for me!

Two American high-schoolers who are friends, but have wildly different personalities

3dt: Finally, to wrap things up, tell us a fun fact about you that not a lot of other people know!

AH: It's not a massive secret, but my drawing skills are quite poor! I was great at drawing at school, but as soon as I started to use computers and create 3D artwork, I stopped practicing. I am now struggling to pick it back up again. I have been going to local life drawing classes, as well as Dr Sketchy (burlesque life drawing!), but I'm just not practicing enough to improve. I need to keep drawing more, as repetition was the main thing that honed my 3D skills. The vast majority of my favorite artists are 2D illustrators, and I'd love to be able to draw what my mind wants it to draw. 2D is so much quicker and more spontaneous than 3D, but I seem to be doing alright with my 3D stuff, so I can't complain – ha ha!

Andrew's first artbook

Related links

Check out Andrew's website
Find Andrew on Facebook
Buy Andrew's book, Polygon Pin-Ups
To see more by Andrew, check out 3ds Max Projects and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection

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