Our designer of the month for January is Thomas Davis! We are fans of his detailed designs, and we got a chance to talk to him about how he gets inspired to craft stories to complement his creations. Here’s our first designer of the month for 2016!
Pinshape: How did you start your 3D printing journey?
Thomas: For the past 7+ years, I’ve had the opportunity to design, sculpt, and animate professionally. The artwork that I have been crafting for clients has been primarily digital in its application. I love digital, but I’ve always felt a little disconnected from my work because it remains behind the screen, just out of reach. Growing up, the process of creating with my hands, connecting with the medium from the beginning of the process to the end felt so fulfilling and enriching. I think it was a natural progression to want to see my digital artwork come to life in the real world.
My interest in 3d printing grew when I started learning about the desktop machines that were coming out in the market geared towards professional artist and makers like myself. I found a MakerSpace in my town that had several different types of 3d printers, and from that moment on, I was hooked! Seeing my work materializing layer by layer was (and still is) a pretty exciting experience. Even though I love creating in a digital medium, connecting with my art in a tangible way again feels really great! It was at my local makerspace that I spent my time dreaming of all the amazing applications 3d printing had to offer now, and in the near future.
Pinshape: What’s the story behind your designs?
Thomas: I think I tend to wonder a bit when choosing what to create. I have so many unfinished projects on my hard drive that it’s a little overwhelming for me to think about. I am inspired by a wide range of things! Dragons, robots, cowboys, etc.. Even though I might be all over the place in terms of what I like creating, the story that each model has to tell is still very important to me during the design process. I feel like there needs to be a back story for almost every design choice made in order to make it a unique and appealing piece. For instance, the Dragon Rook design also has a narrative woven throughout. If you look closely, there are the tiny little bodies of guards laying in different locations on and in the model. We are seeing a snapshot in time right at the moment after that dragon took that tower by force!
Pinshape: You’ve got a lot of maker-related designs— what’s the story behind them?
Thomas: Some of my recent work, such as the Maker related designs were created for a contest hosted by Ultimaker. They have an amazing community of Makers and I thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight what makes the 3D printing community around the globe really special. While working on those models I also wanted to try and capture my own experiences at my local Makerspace. A lot of those characters are based on people I worked with at the Makerspace!
I hoped to tell a story of diversity, collaboration,and innovation with this series and plan to add more in the future.
Pinshape: How did you learn 3D design? Any tips for beginners?
Thomas: I attended the Art Institute of Washington DC for Media Arts and Animation, where I was introduced to 3D. While there, I learned a lot about the technical fundamentals and core concepts associated with 3D design. I think that formal training gave me a great foundation to build on. The best tip I can give to a beginner learning 3D is to find someone who already works in the field to help define a manageable project and goals for the beginner. Start simple, and get some successes under your belt and build on each one with the next project. Having someone there who is already familiar with the medium will be able to help a beginner figure out what is manageable. They will also be able to provide feedback on the work and I believe that is invaluable in the creation process.
Pinshape: How do you promote your work?
I primarily promote my work through my blog, but I’ve also stood up independent websites in the past for small ventures that I’ve worked on. I haven’t been creating a lot of custom sites like that lately though. I’ve found that sites such as Pinshape provide the tools and the community that I am looking for in order to promote my work! I really like that Pinshape has brought a community of like-minded people together, and from what I have seen, they are always working on developing their tools for us to communicate and share in an easier way. I like that. If I can share my work more easily with the world on a certain platform, I’m going to gravitate towards them.
Pinshape: Do you have a favourite 3D designer?
Thomas: I don’t. There are so many talented artists that inspire me! I find myself collecting and bookmarking different artists’ work daily. I like trying to imitate their different styles in my sketches and analyze what makes a certain piece really appealing to me. I marvel at how technical some artist are in their anatomy and how others stylized their work to the point where a single line has an immense amount of meaning!
Pinshape: Anything else you want to share with the Pinshape community?
I hope to continue to grow my collection of work that I have on Pinshape! The community is really important to me, so I would love to continue the dialog on what they would like to see me upload next! I think Pinshape is doing a really great job addressing the needs and comments of their community and it looks like there are a lot of really great things to come! Thanks so much for having me!
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