Women on Sketchfab: Akiko Tomiyoshi

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How did I get here?

After graduating from university, I was lucky to be able to start my career as an IT consultant/engineer, which enabled me to gain a basic understanding of and experiences in programming. This was a domain that was very far from what I majored in (French) but I enjoyed handling programming languages a lot. After moving to the advertising industry, I heard someone talking about a JavaScript library called Three.js. I thought to myself, “I can build a 3D world on my own? How cool is that!?”. This was my first time stepping into XR technology and, not long after that, I started exploring Blender.

I struggled when I first encountered the Blender UI. But as we often say, “Do what you love and success will follow”; I soon got the hang of it. YouTube tutorials are always my gurus. I went through dozens of videos and from there I acquired various useful techniques. Not to only mention 3D related materials, I also follow instructions from 2D artists whenever I find them useful to help me improve in my area.

It’s been about 2 years since I started 3D modeling, and I still feel excited every time when I encounter new areas to learn and master.

My artistic approach

As part of my daily exercise, I look at 2D illustrations by various artists to get inspired by them. Instagram and Pinterest are my favorite go-to places to collect ideas, and whenever I come across an artwork with the vibes I like, I bookmark it as a part of my inspiration board. When I start a new project, I choose one from my board that matches the technical area that I want to focus on.

My latest work, Smoking Girl, was inspired by the stunning illustration of Tae402. Her artwork was a great fit for my objective since I wanted to experiment with turning linework into 3D. I really enjoyed the process of texture painting with just black and white. Although there is still a lot of room for improvement, I am very happy to have proven that this new style is feasible for me to recreate.

The process of recreating illustrations also helps me to show my love for the original artwork. I’ve been feeling a big void after reading the final episode of my favorite manga, Demon Slayer. But while immersing myself in 3D sculpting, I spent time digesting the story and, in the end, I realized that my sad emotion was already diverted! I also want to thank Ryosuke Takeuchi for his adorable character illustrations.

Although I love creating stylized characters, I also spend time going for realistic and complicated models in order to improve my skill. It requires a lot of patience when tweaking every vertex one at a time, but it is always very satisfying to see the original 2D blueprints coming to life in the form of 3D! My life definitely became much easier after learning about the theory behind clean topology.

Overall, this exercise of working on different styles works pretty well for me. The learnings from box modeling, which includes working on realistic and complicated objects, can oftentimes be used to upgrade my character modeling and vice versa.


Oftentimes, when I feel too excited about sharing my artworks, I have this bad habit of skipping the final polishing effort. And because of that, I tend to notice small missing details after posting them. In 2021, my aim is to strive for perfection, be more patient, and keep some distance from my artwork for a while, so that I can look at it with fresh eyes several days later. That way, I can work on subtle and final improvements.

I sometimes feel anxious when I recognize the area that I am not good at. Acquiring a new skill set requires a lot of research and troubleshooting, which makes me hesitant to start doing so. However, I need to keep pressuring myself to get out of my comfort zone. I believe this continuous learning process took me to where I am now and will take me to higher places as a skilled artist.


Sketchfab has always been my source of motivation as well as a great learning platform. The Model Inspector feature is extremely powerful when I want to comprehend how the whole artwork is constructed. It is impressive to see other artists coming up with various clever ways to realize the magic of 3D. The Blog series is also my favorite part of this community which keeps me updated with the latest techniques and even covers the philosophy behind the author’s artistic choices. The learnings I acquired here are becoming my indispensable fuel to improve and motivate myself.

Thank you so much to Abby, Mieke, and Jasmin for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my story. I am stoked that my name will be listed together with other talented artists. The fact that I am part of this community will encourage me when I have future difficulties.

If you want to see more of my work you can follow me on Instagram and Sketchfab!

About the author

Akiko Tomiyoshi

Hi! I am a self-taught 3D artist from Japan! I work in a global advertising company. I am a huge fan of Blender and I also love exploring foreign countries and taking pictures of beautiful sceneries.

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