Talent and Hard Work: Introducing Mr. Will Higgins

by Joshua Diokno   

Talent is one thing. Working towards its full fruition is another.

But of course, talent is sustained by the artist’s conscious efforts to improve and perfect. Like Language that grows when it enjoys attention, constant usage, and reinvention, an artist’s craft expands in technique and expression when practiced and given focus.

The claim is true with our featured artist.

Mr. Will Higgins, a Zbrush artist well-versed with rendering comic book heroes and Hollywood icons, is an artist we should all be watching out for. His attention to even the most minute of detail in the human face is outstanding, to say the least. His sense of anatomy is of note. And underneath all his work which are visually satisfying is his evident regard for the discipline needed in Zbrush.

Xeno Creatives is fortunate enough to have been able to sit down with Mr. Higgins. In this interview, he shares his experiences, inspiration, and the momentary setback that compelled him to own his craft.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that being an artist such as yourself, you start with the very basic of tools for honing your craft. As such, what processes did you have to learn (given the technical know-how needed Zbrush) to be well-versed in your discipline?

Will Higgins (WH): Hi there and thank you for taking the time to talk to me.  Zbrush can be such a complex and overwhelming program so it’s important to take small steps and focus on the art and the basics when starting out. You will learn the interface as you go but nothing beats a strong understanding of the basics.  I still have a lot to learn there.

XC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue Zbrush as a medium? Would you want to expand to other media or do you want to focus specifically on it?

WH: I realised I wanted to use Zbrush and do digital sculpting as a medium during a sculpting module at the university.  We actually used Mudbox at the time and we had to sculpt a human bust.

Looking back now it was so bad but I was hooked and wanted to be a character artist since then.

I think, as per industry standard, I would like to focus on it but my job requires more than just high poly sculpts unfortunately. As such, I have expanded into texturing hard surface modeling as well.

XC: Have you tried your hands on other media? If so, what were these?

WH: I hadn’t done traditional art in a long time.  I unfortunately took a long break from art.  I would love to get my hand back at drawing and using clay to sculpt as well.

XC: Did delving into the art start-off as a want or a necessity?

WH: My art started off as a necessity.  I had always been artsy as a kid but life drove me in another direction.  I still did the odd bit of art as a hobby but I was in construction when I hurt myself and could no longer work. My wife helped convince me to go back to school and do digital art again.  I put in a few years of hard work and started my own company and now I’m freelancing and working in a game studio.

XC: Seeing your portfolio online (specifically on Facebook and Art Station), was such a visual treat! To describe it as impressive would be an understatement. Your superhero renders are super-awesome, and your sense of anatomy is noteworthy. Do you have favorite pieces? What are they and why?

WH: Thank you so much!  One of my favorite pieces would have to be my Stan Lee bust.  It was my first proper likeness sculpt done for a class as part of my CGMA character arts course.  It was an early sculpt and I could probably do better now but it’s the piece that actually got me a good bit of attention and was featured on a few websites.  I also really like The Falcon statue that was done for a 3D print commission.

XC: Who or what can you consider as your influences? What attracted you to them?

WH: There are so many.  Glauco Longhi, Kris Kosta, Rafael Grassetti, Frank Tzeng, Danny Williams to name a few but I also spend a lot of time looking at art station and just being amazed and inspired by so many amazing artists out there.  Workmates and fellow students are also a big influence.  But there are also a lot of people who are willing to share their knowledge as well and are truly inspiring as you can see through their creative process.  Everyday life is also a major influence.

XC: Are there any other pieces that you would want to create? What are these and why?

WH: So many.  Maybe ¼ size figures of my D&D character and that of my party or a range of more super hero figures.  I really enjoy them and there are so many to choose from.  I do have some ideas in the works.

XC: Apart from creating renders of Superheroes across different comic book universes, do you also see yourself delving into Game Character Design?

WH: Those comic book characters were actually for 3d print.  It’s such a luxury not having to worry about UV sets or topology when working for printed figures.  I currently work as a character artist at a game studio where those more technical skills come into play.  I also deal with environments and texturing there as well.

XC: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing right now, what do you think you’d be specializing in instead?

WH: I’m really not sure.  Maybe environments.  Anything that allows me to build new worlds or the creatures and characters in them.  Be that for film or games.  Anything art-related really would make me wake up happy.

XC: What piece of advice or message can you give young aspirants wanting to enter the craft/industry?

WH: You need to put in the work.  There is so much competition out there that you need to be either really special or super-dedicated to what you want to do to succeed.  Anyone can make it with a bit of hard work.

Focus on your work and polish it. Instead of making a full environment and character for your first folio piece just start with a prop but aim for the best prop anyone has ever scene.  If you have a studio that you want to work at, try and get your folio to the quality of their art.  Also keep learning and never stop.  But above all, have fun!

Xeno Creatives is more than grateful to have had the opportunity to talk to an artist such as Mr. Will Higgins. We are hoping that we’d see more of his works and that he’d inspire future artists who would want to be a part of the industry.

For more of Mr. Will Higgins’ works, you may visit his Art Station account by following this link: https://www.artstation.com/search?q=Will%20Higgins&sorting=recent

You may also check out his works through his Facebook page,  “Art of Will Higgins” at https://www.facebook.com/VertexFx/ and his site, http://www.vertexfxstudios.com


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