Lynton Levengood: Making Time is the Key to Advancing

by Joshua Diokno   

Been wanting to achieve something? All you need is time. Don’t have time? Then make it.

Nobody knows this more than Mr. Lynton Levengood. When you get to see his works, no doubt, you’d see that he has talent. And his influences? Superb. But of course, he didn’t get here easily. Mr Levengood recognized that he had to push his efforts further if he would want to be the best that he can be. For him to be able to do that, he has to allot time for it. And that’s exactly what he did.

He spent his breaks and other downtime to get better at the craft. Something that is completely evident today.

So get to see his amazing works here and get to know him better through this short but inspiring interview by Xeno Creatives!

Xeno Creatives (XC): ZBrush technology brought a lot to the industry. What processes did you have to learn to be skilled in it?

Lynton Levengood (LL): ZBrush is a very user friendly program. It’s easy to get started and the learning process, unless you are doing a specific course, happens quite organically. I learned by just jumping in and playing with all the tools and brushes. As I reached a wall in my knowledge, the answer was only a YouTube video away. I also have some knowledgeable friends who use ZBrush and were eager to share their knowledge. That is an amazing thing about ZBrush, there is a passionate community of users who share their knowledge which makes the process of learning the program easier. It’s actually such a deep program; there is always a faster way of doing something. I now have a surface level understanding of the tools. However, I still keep learning.

XC: As a dedicated artist how did ZBrush help you further your art?

LL: I think that as an artist there are so many options available now, traditional media, digital painting programs, traditional sculpture, and digital sculpting programs like ZBrush. I think there is benefit to doing more than one. I started my journey as an artist doing only traditional pencil, then I picked up digital art through Photoshop and learned how to color those images. Having gained confidence, I learned traditional painting in watercolor and acrylic paints.

Those traditional skills helped me in turn to improve my digital painting. ZBrush is just the next piece that slots into my artistic journey, working in 3D really helps you understand form, and all the things I have learned in all the other mediums feed into my ZBrush sculpting. There is something incredible about translating around something you have sculpted. Every angle is like a new painting. I love it!

XC: Was your craft really a passion to begin with, a hobby, or a mere job?

LL: I would say the desire to create has been a passion or a need my entire life. At times it has only expressed itself as a hobby, but I have been blessed to after high school slot relatively quickly into studying in a creative field (animation), and then swiftly into working in the animation industry here in South Africa. I have been working in the industry for 10 years now.

There will always be times that even in your chosen field it will be a mere job, where you are not doing exactly what you would like to do, but if you persevere there will also be many times where you are doing exactly what you would like to do.

XC: Given your experience in the industry, what do you think is your edge as a 3D artist?

LL: There are a few ways a person can have an edge in the industry. I think my personal edge is that I put a great deal of time into my work. Whether it’s lunch breaks or evenings after work I will apply myself to personal projects and keep pushing myself to improve. Being disciplined to do the work that I want to be doing, not waiting for someone to give me those kind of jobs but preparing all the time. Another edge I have is an amazing, understanding, and supportive wife who puts up with me working as much as I do! 

XC: Whom do you do you consider your influence(s)?

My first influences were John Howe, James Gurney, Alan Lee and movies like “Alien”, “Predator”, “Gremlins”, “Jurassic Park”, and “The Neverending Story”, all laid the foundation for my love of fantasy and imagination.

Reading also played a major part. I have had the pleasure of reading, Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, David Eddings, and Raymond E. Feist. The folks I look up to now are too many, to name just a few, Donato Giancola, Justin Gerard, Bobby Chiu, Adrian Smith, Jesper Ejsing.

XC: So far, what were the challenges that you had encountered working in the 3D industry?

LL: I think the challenges I have faced are the same as many others have gone through.  There is a degree of uncertainty when you work from contract to contract, which can be nerve wracking. Being flexible to learn new skills and sometimes working in departments that aren’t your first choice can be emotionally challenging. Though I found that all those times have prepared me and broadened my knowledge in really helpful ways. Rather view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

XC: What is your most exciting project to date?

LL: The most exciting project to date, is the one I’m working on now, but I can’t talk about it. Though I have been blessed to work on a few really exciting projects. The award winning, “Stick Man, Munki, and Trunk” a really fun animated show. Some really fun little animated short films “Hooked” and “Unsung Hero”.

XC: Do you have any advice to aspiring artists?

LL: Believe you can do the thing you want to do and then start doing it, even if it’s after hours. Make the time to do it, don’t wait for there to be time. Make sure you get your thinking right, keep positive and discipline yourself.

In your job focus on being a nice person and a joy to work with, be teachable. Listen to and apply the feedback that artists you look up to give you.  Realize it will take time. Don’t ever give up!

Want to see more of Mr. Lynton Levengood’s works? Click here!

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