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Artist Journey: digital artist Travis Davids

Travis Davids

Freelance Digital Artist & Content Creator

“YouTube helped me tremendously and became my best teacher. I am completely self-taught.” Check out 3D generalist Travis Davids artist journey so far…

Travis' Youtube Channel

3dtotal

Thank you for sharing your journey so far with our readers. Let’s begin: please introduce yourself and let us know how long ago your journey started? What drew you to art? Any early influences?

Travis

My name is Travis Davids. I'm 29 years old and I'm from Johannesburg, South Africa. I'm a freelance digital artist and content creator. I focus primarily on creating free and affordable products for digital artists as well as providing educational content on YouTube. I'm inquisitive and love experimenting with different workflows so I consider myself to be a 3D generalist.

I've always been passionate and intrigued with the idea of bringing ideas to life, whether it was pencil on paper or pixels on a computer screen, the simple act of creating has always been something I enjoyed. My journey actually started when I was creating modded items for a videogame called “The Sims” back in 2007. This was the first time I started dabbling with 3D and I absolutely loved it so much. I later took a branching path to do graphic design which I thoroughly enjoyed but found myself going back to my 3D roots around 2015 when I decided to do 3D full time and actually take it seriously. YouTube helped me tremendously and became my best teacher. I am completely self-taught.

3D has allowed me to visualize and bring so many ideas that linger around in my brain to life. Those thoughts, emotions, and ideas spilled out onto a digital canvas still fascinates me and it's something I want to do for the rest of my existence. There is so much to explore that you never stop learning. It's a journey with no end in sight and that is what i enjoy so much about this career path.

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3dtotal

Do you still have any early artwork? We’d love to see your early work, be they digital or traditional. How do you feel about these works now?

Travis

I actually managed to find some early 3D work from 2007. At this time I was still learning 3D Studio Max. I don't use the program at all nowadays as I have found myself to be more proficient with Blender and its polygon modeling toolset. These images for me personally are a clear indication of progress. If you're willing to learn, practice, and dedicate yourself to your craft you will inevitably get better. We all have to start somewhere and I still have so much to learn.

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3dtotal

What training or learning did you do in those beginning stages? Could you see your progression?

Travis

During this period a lot of tutorials were written and accessible via magazines or online. It wasn't until I found tutorials on YouTube (with robotic voices as narration and text prompts) that it completely revolutionized the way I started learning. Instead of trying to figure out how to do something in a written article, I could actually see it happening right in front of me. I learn a lot better with both visual and audio cues and it's the main reason why I started teaching as well. Progression wasn't noticeable at this period of time as I was still learning, but as I look back now I can certainly notice progression. I don't think it's possible for any artists to be working hard on constantly learning and trying to get better without seeing any progression over time, you will get better.

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3dtotal

Were you always happy with what you produced, or was there a turning point where you thought; “This is it, I’ve made it!”?

Travis

Never, I don't think any artist is always happy with what they create. There are always those moments of self hatred and doubt. “Is this good enough?” “I don't like this.” There are certainly projects that I love but I never try to get too comfortable or complacent with the work I'm creating. There is always something I could have done better BUT I always release my work into the world, have it seen, and then move onto something else. I don't get too attached to any artwork that I create.

3dtotal

What are you still working on improving (if anything) - or have you reached a point of high consistency? Do you have any tips for keeping it fresh?

Travis

You could reach a point of high consistency and then get complacent with your design capabilities and never be open to learning anything new. I personally think this is where you stagnate as an artist even if you're skillful. I am ALWAYS treating myself as a student, eager to always learn. 3D is complex and has so many principles to understand and practice. I always humble myself and treat myself as someone starting out that is always trying to learn something new, or improve my current workflow.

If you want to keep it fresh then keep learning. There are so many amazing tools at our disposal now that can make our lives easier. I've even started implementing artificial intelligence into my workflow (Artbreeder) to generate 2D faces. This is something I never could have imagined a couple years ago but because I'm open to learning new workflows and techniques, I discovered it and it has helped me tremendously.

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3dtotal

What advice would you give to any of our readers who are just beginning their journey now?

Travis

I think my sentiments of "always keep learning" have been echoed throughout every question that has been asked and I firmly believe in it. STAY INQUISITIVE! Be open to new ideas, possibilities, tools and techniques. They could benefit you in the long run. Interact with other artists, Ask questions. Embrace failure and learn from it, failure is progress. Don't let social media and likes dictate your self-worth as an artist, just keep posting, even if you're not getting tons of engagement, it does not matter, you're slowly getting better so keep posting. Post final work, post work in progress. Focus on improving. Stay hungry, stay humble, keep learning.

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Travis

Plenty more useful products for digital artists on my Gumroad page. I'm always developing something useful. Anything that helps me personally I know will help someone else so I just want to focus on what matters to me the most and that is helping society. It feels meaningful to me and I just thoroughly enjoy creating useful products. I also have tons of tutorials that I'm working on that will be released on YouTube for a variety of 3D software.

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