Hi Sketchfab! My name is Alice Druzga, I’m a 3D Artist currently working in the Games Industry. I really enjoy creating interesting characters and environments with hand-painted textures.
Since I was little I always had a lot of interest in Art, Games, and Animation, my biggest dream was to work for Pixar. My favorite subjects in school were art, design, and computing. At the age of 13, I got my first graphics tablet for Christmas, it was undoubtedly the best present I ever got as it got me started with digital art.
After completing my school exams I decided I wanted to study Animation at University. Uni was amazing! It was great to meet many like-minded people and I made friends for life. My university degree did not focus much on game art; it was mainly focusing on different types of animation such as stop motion, hand-drawn, and 3D animation, being able to try out all these various types of animation allowed me to realize my real passion… 3D modeling and texturing!
After graduating I did a bit of freelance and contract work, I was finding it very hard to get my foot in the door but I kept applying and writing emails asking for work experience and managed to get a 3-month voluntary work placement in a small games studio. After the 3 months, I was put on a paid short term contract which got extended a few times, but I later got offered a full-time permanent position! It was a great experience working in a small team; I got to work on a variety of projects in different art styles. As a graduate, it was very important for me to learn as much as possible and refine my skills. I was lucky to work with other wonderful artists with industry experience who were happy to guide me and share their knowledge. After a great 3 years, the company decided to focus on hyper-casual games which did not involve as much artistic input and so I decided to move to a company specializing in educational games and visualizations where I make high-quality assets following PBR workflow.
I love stylized characters and environments with hand-painted textures. I don’t get to do a lot of it at work, therefore, I do bits in my personal time. I get most of my inspirations from Instagram or ArtStation. I follow many amazing concept artists and illustrators, and when I find something that makes me think ‘this will look so cool in 3D’ I save it to my inspirations folder. To be honest, there are 100’s of pieces in that folder, but when I finish one project I just open the folder and I feel instantly motivated to start next one. 🙂
I feel the most comfortable using Autodesk Maya for modeling, I have tried other software but I’m used to the layout and shortcuts. At first, Maya was very overwhelming but I quickly realized that it’s a very powerful software with an abundance of tools and, to be honest, I don’t need to use half of what Maya has to offer, but it’s nice to know it’s there. I mainly use it for modeling, UVs and occasionally I will rig and animate.
As for texturing, I use a mix of 3D-Coat, Substance Painter and Photoshop. Most of my characters I texture in 3D-Coat, as it lets me paint straight to the model, and there is an option to import my image and I can swatch colors so that I can get it as close to the concept as possible. Substance Painter is another wonderful tool, which I’ve been using mainly for assets and environments. At the moment, I’m working on a large room environment; I have textured it in Substance Painter, exported the texture from the 2D view and now I’m using Photoshop to make it fit the style I’m going for. I definitely recommend exploring Substance Painter and Designer as they are widely used in the games industry.
The biggest challenge for me was to believe that my work is good enough. Only in the past 6 months have I started sharing my work on Sketchfab and social media. Now I don’t know why I was so self-conscious—most comments made about my work are lovely and some people even took time to give constructive criticism and tips. I’m now beginning to really believe in myself and feel motivated to come out of my comfort zone, trying different art styles and techniques.
Finding motivation after work is another struggle, especially when I start working on something challenging. I started making spreadsheets on Google Drive, splitting the project into small parts, and this has made it so much easier. It feels great to tick an asset off the list, I can see I’ve made progress and how much more there is left to do. I have completed a lot more personal projects since I started doing this.
Another big thing for me was a workspace. I recently bought a house and I hated the room which was my home office. I didn’t feel comfortable sitting there for longer than 30 minutes. For many months I couldn’t do much about it, but I found ways to change the decor on a budget, fresh coat of paint, new blinds and lots of plants and art pieces made a massive difference. It’s now a bright pleasant place and I made sure it reflects me as a person, so I can feel comfortable and motivated when I work.
I’ve been visiting Sketchfab for years, I love the variety of skills and styles. There is an overwhelming amount of wonderful, talented people happy to share their art and knowledge. As I mentioned before I only recently started posting my art online, and I’m so happy I started with Sketchfab. The Sketchfab community is wonderful and it made me believe in myself and my work. I now started a Twitter account and I’m working hard creating a portfolio website. Sketchfab also lets me embed my 3D artwork to my website which is a great way to showcase my work!
Thank you for selecting me to take part in the Women On Sketchfab series. In my first Games job, I was the only woman in the studio, so it’s really exciting to see so many wonderful ladies having an interest in the industry! I really hope this has been at least a little bit helpful. if you have any questions feel free to reach out on my Twitter: @AliceDruzga