Interview with Mark Lambert

Mark Lambert is a Freelance Digital Sculptor from Liverpool, UK with 3 years of industry experience.
He likes to work with Maya, ZBrush and Photoshop.

When did you start working in the CG industry?

I’ve been making 2D commissions and such for the past 2-3 years but moved into 3D just over a year ago.

Favorite software packages

Thankfully I enjoy all the packages I need to use, those being Photoshop, Zbrush and Maya. Maya took a bit longer to get into but, as a supportive role for creating parts for my Zbrush sculpts, its perfect for what I need.

What led you into the CGI/2D? Tell us your story.

I’ve always been interested in art but my very first steps into art proper that involved a big time sink and deliberate practice was actually in the form of creating 2D portraits back when I was around 17 or 18. I enjoyed the process but still only considered it a hobby really and had no intention of pursuing it seriously.

As always seems to be the case, you get drawn to things you can’t do yet and so after a couple of years of portraiture I began to really get interested in concept art and illustration. Creating things from imagination, particularly in a stylised manner, was incredibly appealing to me, probably because of how much of a polar opposite it was to drawing realistic portraits.

I followed this path into University and began to find my space within it. This was also where I first dabbled in 3D work. I gained a bit of familiarity with Zbrush in an optional module in my second year there but at that stage I think I mostly saw it as a different direction to the one I wanted to take. Despite this I found myself returning to it every few months for a break from 2D and eventually it clicked sometime after graduating. I’d only really imagined 3D as part of a game dev pipeline but I discovered the world of vinyl toys, collectibles and miniatures and have developed within that ever since.

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Honestly Pinterest has played a huge part in my artistic life. Its a great way to find new images and artists and also doubles as a fantastic place to build a visual library to lend from.

Twitter as well can be a great place once you begin to build up a community. Like minded friends and colleagues are always a great support and motivation too.

In terms of individual artists I’d say some of my biggest Inspirations have been Nurzhan Bekkaliev, Claire Wendling and Alexandre ‚Zedig‘ Diboine but in terms of influence I’d have to shout out my friends Jared ‚Neer‘ Thebeau and Tom Lishman who have been a big help to me particularly in getting into 3D works!

How does a typical working day look like?

It varies depending on commissions and commitments but I’ll typically work a regular work day’s worth of hours overall.

What does your workplace look like?

I work from home at my desk with my cintiq 13hd used for sculpting and drawing with my pc monitor housing any references I need. Its a pretty messy desk but in a cosy way I’d like to think. I’ve got a set of shelves next to me which is where my artbooks and models live.

How do you stay motivated in this industry?

As mentioned a sense of community really helps be it through mutual support or friendly competition! You should want to show what you can do to others I think. Overall theres no real trick to staying motivated and ultimately there will be times that feel rough. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing and then after a bit of time you just find yourself getting the itch again.

What is your passion beside CGI/2D?

I enjoy playing games particularly Nuclear Throne and Path of Exile and harbour ambitions of being involved in some form of game development in an influential role in the future.

Im also a big football fan in a year that may finally be our year for Liverpool football club!

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

Every few months i’ll have a look over and by that time I can give some older works a fresh look and can then judge how well a display of my current abilities they are. Artstation functions as my portfolio for the most part so I try and keep that relatively trim on quality works only. I enjoy giving updates on works however so this is why having some other platform like Twitter is useful I think.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

Zbrush Maya and Photoshop

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

I think the software I currently use covers all the bases I need for the most part but there’s always more things to discover within them, particularity Maya in my case.

What music do you listen to while working?

Mainly ambient or instrumental pieces. Im a big fan of bands such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky although if I’m working on something thematic or based on a certain game for example ill look for an original soundtrack or something that matches that mood.

Any advice for new Artists?

That’s a tough question really. I wouldn’t necessarily know what to say to myself if I could travel back in time let alone a stranger. I think the biggest hurdles to overcome at the start are all the preconceptions or expectations you have on how art ‚works‘. I’d always try and explain to new people that practice isn’t like a video game where you get generic exp and then just level up all of a sudden. Its all muscle memory and familiarity. You have to practice repeatedly and you’ll improve at exactly the task you are repeating so be careful. Its deceptively simple I think, you can find yourself trying to draw something without really knowing what that thing looks like so always use references. Knowing what you want to do and being able to do it are separate and important skills to develop.