Ep.19: About the power of tutorials with Andrew Price from Blender Guru

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 29, 2017 •  Interviews

Andrew Price is the founder of Blender Guru, the free video tutorials for the open source 3D software, Blender.  His goal is to help artists create better artwork with Blender. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.

He started using Blender in 2004 as a hobby, but now he uses it every day to create tutorials on explosions, space ships, and other cool stuff.

One night in 2004 I was playing Need For Speed II, and admiring the beauty of the 3D cars. I thought how cool it would be if I could create my own car in 3D. So I went online and searched for “free 3D software”. I went to a few sites before stumbling upon Blender.org. I was immediately sold. I remember making a commitment right then and there that I was going to learn how to use this software “Blender” until I could make my own car.

Get in touch with Andrew

Key Takeaways

“Just have fun, just do what interests you from the start and later you will find a way how to put money on top of it, instead of the other way around.“

Resources mentioned

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Special thanks to Andrew for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Andrew Price, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles

Hello, everyone and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva, and my guest today is a 3d artist and founder of Blender guru.com and polygon.com from Brisbane, Australia, he discovered blender open source 3d software in 2004, when he admired the 3d cars in his favorite game Need for Speed, and he wanted to create one just like them. He created blender guru.com out of necessity to learn the program himself. But also with a great goal of helping other artists create better artwork with Blender. He’s repeated guest a blender conferences with one of the most recognized dogs being the seven habits of the most effective artists. He dreams of creating successful short animated film and feature length film, they will influence the world with a positive message. So please welcome Andrea price. And let’s get to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And welcome my guest today, Andrew Price. I’m super happy to have you here.

Andrew Price

Hey, hello, everyone.

Iva Mikles

I would like to start with the background, you know, like how you got to art or when did you first realize you want to work with design, and maybe they do like 3d.

Andrew Price

Ah, I don’t know, when I, I was first interested in art. But I know when I was first interested in 3d, because I really liked video games when I was in high school. And I especially like Need for Speed, the car racing game. And so one night, I was playing the game when I probably should have been doing homework or something. And I was like looking at the car on the turntable as it sort of rotates. And I was like, I really want to make my own 3d car. Because obviously I could never afford a car. But if I made one myself, it would sort of feel like I owned it, you know? So I wanted to make one. So I went on to the internet and I just looked up free 3d software. I tried one, which was awful was his old program called animator couldn’t get anywhere with that. But then I tried. I kept searching and eventually found this red car, this beautiful render of a red car. And it was hosted on blender.org. And I was like, oh, what’s blender? And yeah, I realized that it was open source. It was free. You could learn everything yourself just by reading manuals and things online. And so I thought, if somebody else could use the software to make that red car, then I know I can as well because we’re at the same level, like everybody’s from the same same starting position. So that was like my mission. And it took me a very long time until I made that red car because I had to go through years of learning before I was able to actually model it. Right. But yeah, that was that was my start in. In 3d software. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And what was the car?

Andrew Price

What was the car that I need? It was? Yeah, it was a Mazda RX eight. I think it was Yeah. Mazda RX.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. Because the description is like a red car or something. But I would say that’s a red car. Yeah. Do you remember maybe like the first conversation you did? Or you had maybe with your family when you said like, Okay, I want to do this, like professionally or take this seriously?

Andrew Price

Um, I don’t think I ever really ever said that in a conversation with because I think I think they were Yeah, like my parents were definitely curious what I was going to do with my life as most parents are. But I don’t think they probably never thought that it would work all the way. All they knew was that you could get a job at Pixar. And then the chances of that happening were incredibly slim. So hopefully, I would get a job somewhere else. Maybe as a freelancer or something like that. I never. The plan was never to run blender guru as my job. That became something that I did when I I tried freelancing. I got my first job on this TV commercial doing some smoke or something like that. And I realized I hated it because it was the first time In that I was having to do what I loved, which was 3d and do it for somebody else. And I realized that the whole fun, the thrill of 3d came from you being able to create your vision and what you want to do. So having somebody else tell you what to make, I was like, Ah, this is actually really terrible. It’s no fun at all. So, so yes, I can that and then I just landed on blender and went from there. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

Did you have some mentor or someone who inspired you? Or how did you approach the learning?

Andrew Price

Actually, I think Andrew Kramer from Video Copilot.

Iva Mikles

So he was like, you’re always mentor there.

Andrew Price

Oh, not not mentor. No, he was just an idol. I never never met him or anything. I would just really like the way that his is all his tutorials look very professional. They’re very practical. And they’re very applicable to like the modern day freelance. I like the stuff that he teaches is what you could put in an actual TV commercial. And his products are very professional. And yeah, so he was always my idol. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles

what was maybe the best advice you ever received when you were like progressing in learning?

Andrew Price

Ah, best advice. Oh, actually, okay. And this didn’t even come from an artist. It came from my friend. And I don’t know where he got it from. But he said, I think imperfection is the digital perfection. And that’s just stuck with me. Because it’s so true. Like, when you’re making a 3d model, it lives in this perfect world, which is the computer where everything by default is perfectly 100%. Clean, because that’s how it looks. It’s a shader, it’s, you know, all that sort of thing. Whereas in the real world, nothing exists in this perfect vacuum. So, in order to make it look realistic, you have to add imperfection. So imperfection is the digital perfection. But I don’t know, that was one piece of advice. I don’t know if it’s the best, but it stuck with me. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

it makes sense. Because if you’re making car or whatever, doesn’t have scratches or like whatever detail which would be there maybe then yeah, yeah. Then you right away know that these?

Andrew Price

Yeah, I’m cute. Do you do 3d? I didn’t even check. No, not so

Iva Mikles

much. I tried some of the 3d softwares. But I don’t have the patience for it. So I stuck rather we do the end. I liked that part more. But I tried. I did Rhino and Maya. And then there was this software. What was it called? Freeform? Have you try that?

Andrew Price

No. What is that?

Iva Mikles

I think it’s called freeform. Because you can have this handle, which you can actually try and mold in a kind of in space. So you don’t have to use like a tablet or a mouse. So this actually felt quite good to do because it was easier for me more intuitive. But apparently these programs are extremely expensive. So you know. Oh, really?

Andrew Price

Okay. Yeah. Because we had that. Have you tried? Have you tried? ZBrush?

Iva Mikles

Yes, yeah.

Andrew Price

What did you think is

Iva Mikles

the well, I don’t like any of these softwares. Because it’s just too complicated for me.

Andrew Price

I know, zbrush is especially the worst, I think because their interface is like, it’s it is actually very fast if you can get the handle on it, but they do so many things that are counterintuitive to every other 3d software out there. It’s ridiculous. I almost want to make a video on just how badly the interface is designed, because it like doesn’t need to be as bad as it is. But they just turn everybody off. You open it up and click on anything. It’s and yeah, but if

Iva Mikles

you start there, you know, then you cannot use the other softwares because you are used for that. So

Andrew Price

well that’s it. You feel like you have to relearn everything whereas you can normally jump from one software to another pretty easily in the 3d zbrush is all that all?

Iva Mikles

aligned? Really? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That’s why the freeform for me it was like more intuitive. It was like, Oh, I click here. Okay, I do this. And that was just easy, but I haven’t I haven’t tried the the ones you’re using. So but

Andrew Price

maybe you should get into Tilt Brush that VR. Have You Ever Have you heard of? Yes. Yeah, I tried to. Oh, you did?

Iva Mikles

Oh, wait. No. But I think you also have to have like at least one day or two days just to get used to it like the same as you’re drawing on Cintiq or whatever. So the first trial was really hard.

Andrew Price

Right? Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. Be a totally new concept. I was sorry. I didn’t even know what it’s called. But it looked like somebody was using ZBrush in a VR headset. So you can like look around whilst you are sketching and pulling on this thing. That look pretty. But yeah, maybe one day there won’t be an interface. It’ll just be working with your hands. You Like,

Iva Mikles

that’s what they were talking about, you know, like VR that you can kind of approach 3d in a faster pace when you and you may be, you know, just to draw how to do stuff in 2d. But as you can like rotate it, then it will become 3d, basically. And you don’t need to have the software for it. But right, but I don’t know how it can be or how it is. But yeah,

Andrew Price

yeah, VR sort of exists in this world where it’s like, I think it’s like, I don’t know, like, like, in the early days of 3d, like, not like stereoscopic 3d. It’s like, it’s got all the marketing hype behind it, all the fluff, the marketing words and all that buzz behind it, but nobody knows if it’s actually going to take off. Yeah. And so some people are like, this is just gonna die horribly. And then it’s like, no, this is multi billion dollar industry people have invested in Yeah, it’ll be cool.

Iva Mikles

Like everyone is talking about it. No one knows what the dots actually.

Andrew Price

Yeah, that’s right. What it’s I was listening to an expert. Was it Kevin Kelly, I think his name was on the Tim Ferriss podcast. He said, like, right now it’s total amateur hour. Like the people that are making VR, nobody knows the rules yet, the format in which to present things. So everybody’s just trying everything, and most of it sucks. But just like television was when television first came out, they you know, they didn’t know the format in which you’re supposed to talk and how to how to conduct interviews, or you know, so it was all everybody sort of made it up. But then over the years, you develop the right format. So I think VR is Yeah, once it gets there, be interesting. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

that’s actually true. What when you kind of decided that you want to do with the tutorials? How was it like the first time you were creating?

Andrew Price

Oh, horrible tutorial I made was on a car tire. And I was just totally nerve nerve wracking, like, with a microphone there. And like, you can feel fine before you hit the record button. Like, you’ve got it memorized, you know, what you’re gonna do you know what you’re gonna say? And then you click it and your voice just chokes you click this, you know, and it just, it’s this stuttered. You know, horrible, horrible mess. And I think the only way that it improved was just through repetition, and just doing it so many times. And I think probably also growing up, I sort of start to get more confidence, you care less what people think that probably helped as well. But yeah, the first one was a mess.

Iva Mikles

So what did you have as a motivation? Or how did you keep yourself inspired?

Andrew Price

Hmm, good question. Honestly, I think the motivation for tutorials, was purely the attention that it got as shallow as that sounds, like when you make a piece of artwork, you could spend three months on this piece of artwork. But if it sucks, you know, chances are, it’s probably will suck, you posted online, you might get one person’s like, cool, you know, nothing. Whereas a tutorial, you could show anything, like, here’s how to save a blender file or something, I don’t know, whatever it is. And you’ll get people that are like, whoa, thanks so much for explaining this concept. Like, the appreciation just sort of overflows in the tutorial space, because you’re giving away a secret or a technique for free. And so yeah, it’s it’s a very appreciative format. And so I think that was probably what drove me. And I think, actually, the first time I sort of realized that there was a future in it, it was at the Blender Conference. So I’ve been running it just on the edge just did a tutorial every week or something for the first part of 2009. And then I went to the Blender Conference in Amsterdam in 2009. And yeah, these people back somebody was talking to me, and they asked what I do, and I said, I run blender guru. And they were like, Whoa, you run blender guru. I love that site. I love you tutorials. And I was like, Whoa, you’re a real person. There’s somebody you know, who actually appreciates it. And yeah, just meeting different people that had heard of my tiny little site at this conference in Amsterdam was crazy. So that was that was pretty thrilling. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And from then on, you did the talk. Right? On the on the conference. Was it? Yes. Right. So it was once or did it do more or this was last year right? If I’m not mistaken.

Andrew Price

Correct. The one that you’ve you’ve seen the seven habits of highly effective artists. That was last year. I’ve every time I’ve been to the A Blender Conference I presented. But it was only the one that last year that actually got any attention. But yeah, so everyone

Iva Mikles

should watch this, we will put the link to the show notes. So really good.

Andrew Price

Unless you’re in the US, apparently you can’t watch it. It’s copyrighted, for some unknown reason. But anyway, so

Iva Mikles

people from yours needs to travel abroad, so they are able to watch the video. Yeah. And so when you’re creating your artworks, what is kind of the mission? Or how would you describe your brand? You know, like, is there something that is always in your creations?

Andrew Price

Yeah, so all the tutorials that I make, they have to be based on something that people want to learn, which sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how ideas how many ideas fail, because they don’t read that like, just like the artwork analogy, like you could put in three months of work into a tutorial. But actually, if it’s something that people aren’t interested in learning, it’s, there’s no point in it. So like, for example, if you did a tutorial on how to make a letterbox, right? That’s not very interesting, because it could be the best looking letterbox ever. But there’s very little practical application of the you know, you could say modeling, you know, different things like that. But if you were to take the exact same time and the exact same, all the steps that you did for that letterbox tutorial, and you applied it to a house, it would be infinitely more successful. So that’s sort of my approach, I try to pick topics that people are interested in. And it has a real world practical examples. So for like title animations, I’ve done a few title animation tutorials, because people always want to know how to make a 3d logo, grass trees, basic architecture, I sort of try to cover most of the basic areas that people are trying to make. That’s yeah. And

Iva Mikles

so do you ask people to kind of give you tips for the videos? Or do you do some like, I don’t know, the research? Or how do you find out what, what is the thing to do?

Andrew Price

Yeah, honestly, most of the ideas come from just me, I do get a lot of requests from people online. But most, most of the time I ignore them, unfortunately, do those people. But everybody has a very specific request that they have. They’re like, Oh, can you make a tutorial of somebody firing a flare gun standing on top of a boat in a storm or something like that? It’s like, it’s not going to be appealing to anybody, but you. So so but I generally take different ideas from everybody else to sort of say that I don’t even know everybody, I would take maybe like 20 ideas that are sort of related. I might take the flare gun, and go, so he’s interested in, you know, light emitting in a foggy environment. This guy wants fireworks, they’re sort of related. And so I might make a new tutorial from that. But mostly, it just comes from the top of my head. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

So is there something you wish you knew before you actually started?

Andrew Price

Oh, a lot. Yeah. I wish I knew to be authentic. Definitely. Like when I first started making tutorials, I, very self conscious as I as I mentioned, and I would start imitating people that I thought had a good voice or presenting style. So I used to go to this. This sales marketer, I won’t say his name, but he’s a guy in Australia. And and I listened to a lot of his audio tapes, and he would talk about how to market and all that kind of thing. And I thought, like, oh, wow, he’s really confident he’s really, he’s really successful. I should sound like him. Because that’s what a successful person sounds like, without realizing that you can’t just copy somebody else’s style. Because that’s not you. You can try to imitate them. And you might figure out over time that you need to improve in this specific areas, but just looking at something and saying, I got to copy that. It’s completely inauthentic. So I did that for probably like the first three or four years of making tutorials. I had this fake voice, and I really hammed up the Australian accent. I was like G’day. Yeah, you know this. It was so cringe and I can’t listen to my earlier videos because of it. Because it doesn’t sound like me. Sounds like somebody completely different. But I think I learned over time that that that is a horrible, horrible trap to fall into. If anybody out there is listening and Curious, they want to start their own YouTube channel. Just don’t try to be somebody else’s like voice. It’s just not gonna work and you’re gonna hate it. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And so how do you use inspiration of, you know, like from other people or from nature or whatever? How would you combine this inspiration? Because like, yeah, okay, not copy one person. But do you also use the inspiration of the actual artists or only from real life?

Andrew Price

Yeah, yeah, um, actually, that was a good quote that I remember reading in the book, steal like an artist, that’s a great book, by the way, everybody should read that book. But it was that if you stop, if you copy one person’s artwork, people will say that you’re the next whoever or that you plagiarize someone, whatever. Whereas if you copy 100 people, everyone will say you’re so original. And that’s really true. Like, and that’s what the, that book was actually a big turning point for me. Because it was then it was through that book that I realized that, yeah, the best artists out there are copying other people. They’re just not copying one person. That’s plagiarism. They’re copying a whole Horde. They’ve got 15 idols, and they take, you know, the style of the pen strokes from this one, the lighting from this one, the crazy colors from this guy, this, this and this. And then it’s their unique style. It’s their unique voice. And that is not only like acceptable to copy, but it’s the only way to do it. Everybody copies because everything has already really been created. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know, there’s debate on that. But yeah,

Iva Mikles

sure, because then it’s nice to study, for example, how someone I don’t know, simplifies a hand or whatever. And then you study more art. And then you go to like, real life study. And then you kind of combine your knowledge and, like, see what you like, actually. And that creates some kind of style, I guess.

Andrew Price

Yeah, exactly. Right. That’s the way to do it. Yeah. And you guys have so many awesome museums, art museums in Europe, do you have access to a lot of them? Yeah.

Iva Mikles

I mean, you can go basically whatever you want, and you can just fly, you know, like, 100 euros, and then you can just go to different cities.

Andrew Price

Man, it’s so cool. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

But let’s back to you.

Andrew Price

Whenever I visit. Whenever I visit, Europe, when I go to the Blender Conference, it’s like, they’ve like if you throw a stone, it’s gonna hit an art museum, and probably bounce off that, on the way down, hit another one. It’s just they’re everywhere. They’ve got more artwork than I think they know what to do. Just like come on, send some to Australia, give us some culture?

Iva Mikles

Or do you have to come more to Europe? You know? That’s it. So is there some conferences you go to? Or is there something you’re planning to visit?

Andrew Price

This year, I’m not sure if I’m gonna go to the Blender Conference. Because I’ve got a trip to the US plant. I think, what is this interview going out in? September, okay, should be fine, then. But yeah, so the Australian Government recently gave me a grant to shoot a YouTube series, in well on whatever I want. But basically, they’re paying me and my plan is to go to Pixar, Disney Blizzard, and all the top studios and walk around their Studios film, what it looks like, and then talk to them about what they look for in an artist that they hire. So that’s, that’s the plan for this Youtube series. So basically, it’s going to take me most of the end of the year, so I don’t have time to do any other conferences, but that’s gonna be my big, big travel.

Iva Mikles

Do you know what I think? When are you going to travel? So is it like at the end of the year, or it’s like,

Andrew Price

longer? Yeah, like October? Yeah, yeah. Okay. Okay. So

Iva Mikles

okay, people, like look forward to this by the end of the year, probably the editing and all of that?

Andrew Price

Probably, I think so. Um, yeah. So it should be done by the end of October. Yeah, I reckon probably by the end of the year. We’ll have it up. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah, that’s good. Hopefully, hopefully, it works. I mean, hopefully, it’s not a huge failure, and there’s nothing up but anyway.

Iva Mikles

And so when you have so many different projects, how do you decide you know, like, what to say yes, and no to?

Andrew Price

That is a very, very good question. And it’s one that it’s challenging. I think everybody approaches it differently. So right now. So, Blender Guru is almost on the backburner at the moment because I’ve got another website called polygon, which you might not have heard of, but it’s a material Library website for 3d artists. So that has been what our focus has been on for the last year. So I’ve been juggling these two businesses. And it’s only sort of now that It’s sort of this one’s profitable as well as this one. So it’s, it’s nice, but it’s like, I realized that I have so much to do, that I’ll never actually get to. And I realized, like, the number of hours that I work during the day is eight hours, work five days a week, there are things that I just won’t ever get to, which is an odd thing to realize, because you always think I’ll get to it eventually. But you keep kicking stuff down the road four or five years later, and you realize it and you still haven’t done, it’s probably never going to happen. So you have to be really, really careful. One thing that I do is like I try to, if I’m going to accept something, try to, I should be able to learn something in the process. So actually, one reason that I accepted this interview, not only because the I saw all the artists that you’ve been accepted, there was lawyers there. And I’m like, well, like she said, Okay, but, but also, I’m thinking of doing some video interviews, as well. And so I thought it would be cool to be in the interviewee seat to see how that feels. And also how you’re recording and all that kind of stuff. So I thought it’d be cool. Do the interview, learn something at the same time. So it’s sort of like two birds with one stone, you know, try and accept that. But yeah, I don’t know, how do you choose to accept ideas?

Iva Mikles

I had initially really good question. I think it’s more how I said, the the goal where I want to be maybe in five years or so because I read this book Miracle Morning. And also they are talking about how I’ve read Yes, see, so it’s more like, Okay, so where I want to be? And if I accept this project, would it help me to get where I want to be? So,

Andrew Price

right, right. So so where is your wanting to be five years? So I

Iva Mikles

would like to do the projects, which are kind of also my ideas and inspire people. Because when you are in a big company, then you always work on someone else’s dream. So I was like, okay, all right, then do something on my own. So the planet Yeah.

Andrew Price

Nice. Like, and you thinking Patreon or something? Yeah,

Iva Mikles

actually, there was kind of Yeah, in discussion, because like my husband, he’s helping me with, like, all of this organizing, and we were thinking like, okay, Patreon or not, and, yeah, now, I think we will not do it yet. And we will see maybe in the future, so.

Andrew Price

Yeah, nice. Okay. But curious to see how, yeah, me

Iva Mikles

too. But, like, we can inspire so many young people, because if we, you know, like really is now like, five times a week, so they always have some content to listen to when they are drawing or going to school, or basically whatever activity.

Andrew Price

Right? And when you say inspire young people, what do you hope is the end goal like that they feel more fulfilled in their life, or that they’re more employable. So off the streets.

Iva Mikles

So the idea is that, you know, how you can turn your passion into profession, you know, so how people like you kind of make living and how they go to it. And because there are so many different ways to live the creative life. So that’s kind of the idea that you can choose what is like, closest to you, and that actually, like, you can do this, you can do that. And basically how you can do it.

Andrew Price

Nice. Yeah. Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah. So

Iva Mikles

that’s the idea. Because when I was growing up, then it was not so much going on around me. You know, it was like, the only art I was like, okay, so you can be only fine artists, and go to galleries. And that’s

Andrew Price

right. Yeah. Yeah. But there’s so many different avenues now. Yeah. Yeah, I feel the same when I when I speak to kids. And I’m like, you know, what do you want to do? And they’re like a teenager, and they’re entering the workforce. And they’re like, I don’t know, I’m probably just gonna go to university. I’m going to do why. I don’t know, whatever is good pay, maybe a lawyer or something. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, it’s so sad. Like, why why not? Try? I don’t know. And I can’t figure out what it is that, that that that child that just doesn’t want to try it. Versus the kid is like, I don’t know, I’ll just give it a shot. I don’t know what it is. It’s almost like I don’t know that they’re too much of an eighth grade student to want to fail. I think it’s maybe

Iva Mikles

more than unknown. You know, like, when you go to university or gather like full time job then you know, how it looks like, you know, like, this is the day how it looks like then this is what will happen afterwards. But if you go to freelance and or do you do when it’s like okay, where the money comes from, or how do I live on basically all of this so,

Andrew Price

right? Yeah, maybe the unknown that’s true. So

Iva Mikles

how would you actually combine your income streams? What is your main income right now?

Andrew Price

Right now it’s polygon. as of a few months ago, it overtook the revenue from Blender guru, which is nice. Yeah, so that’s, that’s it. So YouTube doesn’t pay me much, I think 1000 or 2000 a month from revenue, which isn’t a lot when you consider that most that’s most YouTubers sole income. Yeah. Two grand a month, they couldn’t really live on that. So yeah, so I make most of by far most of my income from polygon and blender, which are selling assets, essentially to 3d artists. Yeah, that

Iva Mikles

makes sense. Yeah. Because like, if you want to go like full time for either YouTube or whatever, then you can kind of set what is the the level you need monthly, maybe. And like, if you can accept that you live with roommates, or all of these, like, what is your comfort level? And then if you are okay with that, then okay, so you can continue or go freelance or something like that.

Andrew Price

Right. Yeah. Because if you I was reading a book, originals, have you heard that book,

Iva Mikles

but I haven’t read it.

Andrew Price

Okay, it’s a great book. But it was saying, I did some research on like the top startup companies and like successful people, and it was showing that if you stay at your full time job, whilst you’re trying to get your new thing off the ground, you’re X percentage more likely to to succeed. And they had like all these studies, like the most successful entrepreneurs in history, they actually stuck with their job like Steve Wozniak stuck at HP for years until he actually quit that to start at Apple. Yeah, but yeah, I think that’s that’s applicable to like, yeah, today to artists. Like, I started blend digger while I was actually scrubbing toilets. I used to be a laborer. So I was just scrubbing the toilets or whatever. And then in the evenings, I would do the artistic stuff. So I think that’s, that’s definitely an option for most people. So

Iva Mikles

how long did you do it for, you know, like, job and, like, developing your stuff on the side.

Andrew Price

Um, I think about two years. And then I officially quit my day job. When I sold my first ebook, like, it was able to create more sales in a month than I got from like, a year of working. So I was like, oh, cool, I can quit my job. And so I just quit it then. But it was yeah, about two years. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And so how did you do that ebook, they do Kickstarter, or did you do the Amazon ebooks? Or how did you approach the publishing of the book if like, you know, young artist wants to do this?

Andrew Price

Okay, yeah, I did it a terrible way. I mean, it was successful, he worked. But it was, I built up a lot of hype with marketing, because as I mentioned, I, you know, follow this marketer. So I was really into, yeah, building up hype and getting people into the thing. So I had a countdown time I had this trailer, I had all this stuff, and the actual, and then there was a sales page, it was one of those long sales pages, you know, like 20 pages, you keep scrolling. And it’s got flashing by now, you know, horrible, horrible stuff. Whereas now to somebody, if you were to just start and you wanted to make a book. It’s very easy to do for one Gumroad is fantastic. And it’s given whole, I don’t know, generation of artists, it’s given them an avenue that they can just like distribute digital files, it’s so easy, and it’s, it’s just great. So yeah, you would use Gumroad, you would write it about something interesting. Maybe make a YouTube video for free, where you’re explaining some concepts from your book. And then you say, if you want more, just click the link in the YouTube description, and you can buy the book. And that would be enough for most people to I don’t know, at least earn some revenue on the side. But yeah, my method was crazy. And I wouldn’t recommend it.

Iva Mikles

But then yeah, you’ll learn a lot of things, you know, when you are creating Yeah, so maybe what was the best thing you learned about this process?

Andrew Price

Mmm hmm. I learned to be careful about the advice that I take. Because I remember I, on the day that I launched the book, there were so many hateful comments, because of the way I had marketed it. It was so scammy and so horrible sounding but I thought that was the way you sold things online. Because my idol at the time was this marketer guy, and I remember I called him up on the phone and I was like, Hey, I wanted to ask you, what do you do about hate comments and people saying that they don’t like your marketing. And he’s like, Ah, you don’t listen to them, you know? And he said, if you haven’t Pay somebody off before they’ve eaten breakfast, you’re not trying hard enough. And I was like, Oh, okay. So it’s, it’s a good thing to turn people off with your marketing. And it wasn’t until like three years later that I realized that that is a short term goal. Like to be that sales page guy, and to market in a really distasteful way. It ruins your future brand, your long term strategy. And so his advice was actually terrible advice, because I wanted a long term business, whereas he was the short term guy. So I learned from that experience that, yeah, you gotta be careful whose advice you take as cliche as it sounds, but yeah, well,

Iva Mikles

that makes sense. And you’re building such a big community on YouTube, right? So maybe if you can share some tips for people starting their channels, and what they do something what they should do, or shouldn’t

Andrew Price

do. Yeah. Okay, so I mentioned be authentic, I think that’s really true. So in that, you have to be very strict on yourself and not read YouTube comments, especially at the start, because what YouTube does is it’s it’s the median, if you can imagine the the median curve, or whatever the majority of people are in here. And those people are going to try to tear you down if you reach any of the fringes, but this fringe area, that’s where you’re actually creating the most valuable content. And so when you’re saying something, which is challenging some of their preconceived ideas, it’s revealing something embarrassing about yourself, or something that people could use as an attack against you. That’s the stuff that actually gets you attention. But the comment is, they want to drag you down to the median value of what is acceptable. So if you want to make acceptable videos that get, you know, 2000 views each and you just keep pumping out these vlogs, which I hate, of people just pumping out the same “beep” content that everybody else is, then you should read YouTube comments, because the YouTube comments will tell you exactly what you need to do to remain average. So you need to avoid YouTube comments, unfortunately. I mean, everybody says that, but it’s so hard to do. And I’m sure when this interview gets posted up, I’ll be reading the comments, because I can’t help it. But until you can develop a thick skin, I think it’s just it’s a terrible idea when you’re starting out to read comments, because, yeah, it’s, it’s not, it’s not going to help you get started.

Iva Mikles

And so how did you learn to take feedback? Or? Because also, you do now, some reviews of the artworks. So what is your approach of, you know, giving constructive feedback or taking it?

Andrew Price

All right, taking it. I don’t know, I always thought I was good at it at taking our org until, like, recently, I every time I post something on Twitter, I get all these comments like, oh, you should fix that, that little, the lighting is horrible. Why did you do this? And I take it really personally, and I get bummed out. And I think like, Oh, come on. I’ve been doing this for like 12 years, I give critiques on my YouTube channel to other people, I should be able to handle it. And yet, it’s still it’s the same feeling of like, you put so much work into this. And you slaved away on something when you could have been doing something fun. You could have been watching TV or on Reddit or something. But you did this painful stuff. And then where’s your reward? It’s not, because you still get shut down? Yeah. So it’s hard to take feedback. But I learned during that six months of the painting challenge that I did, that that is the fastest way to grow. It’s the most uncomfortable thing. And you’ll want to reject it. And you want to listen to the people that are like giving you compliments and saying like, hey, it’s so cool. I can’t do any better, you know, but the people that are the top achievers, they’re, they’re basically looking for every single thing that they can improve upon. So you have to unfortunately, even if you make a great successful piece of artwork, and people say is great, you should ask them. Yeah, but what would what would you want to change about it? And just even the successful one. But it’s, it’s easier said than done. As I mentioned. Before giving feedback on my YouTube videos, I, I tend to I try to look at it from like three, three points. So there’s technical, like how have you mastered 3d software on the technical side? Is the shading Correct? Is the lighting blown out? There’s no highlights, like all the nitty gritty, you know, geeky stuff. That’s one aspect of it. But then there’s the artistic side of it or the aesthetic, that’s the other one. And that is does it visually look pleasing to you, which is subjective and There’s 100 different people that will disagree with you on things. But it’s just my reaction on is this aesthetically pleasing to Me. And then the last one is like storytelling slash mood, which is like, how does the artwork make you feel? So I mean, sort of related the two there, but I find that the really best artworks have all three. They’re technically correct. It’s visually appealing. And there’s a very interesting story. It’s very rare to find one with all three, but that’s the ones that are all actually, having said that, like, do you go to art station a lot?

Iva Mikles

Yeah, yeah, I started more.

Andrew Price

Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s addictive and depressing.

Iva Mikles

Mostly on the Instagram, you know, at least crawling and now I go more to our station. And he’s like, super professional, you know, and you’re like, wow.

Andrew Price

It really like it puts you in your place, like you realize, like, Oh, my goodness, I’m no good at all. Yeah, exactly. But um, but I’ve noticed actually, like, you can also make a successful piece if you have one of them. One of the three areas that is superbly knocked out of the park. Like if you’ve got something, which is a technical demo, like I saw one, and it was like somebody made like a gummy one with like, the crystallized sugar on it. They made this shader in. Octane, what’s it called? Can you remember, but anyways, some render engine, he did this technical shader thing. And it was the most realistic gummy worm you’ve ever seen in your life, which has been scary as well. He’s like, Yeah, and it was like, Whoa, that is insane. And of course, it failed. Aesthetically, it had no story. But the technical area was blown out of the way. So whilst it’s best to aim for all three, you can still do it if you do one area really? Well, I think.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. Because I really liked as well. The feedback what you did on one of the 3d characters, there was this girl like kind of frontal view. And there was really cool how you pointed out there can be a story, they can be different angle, they can be, you know, like expression. So you kind of have better connection with that character. Because if it is just like character with normal clothes, you don’t know the backstory or anything so.

Andrew Price

Right. Yeah, there’s always something that you can do to try to inject story into it. But it’s whether or not you want to. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

yeah, exactly. So he’s like, Well, damn, and also if there is a story, and so it’s super cool. Yeah. So where do you find your stories? Or where do you get the inspiration? Or do you have something really weird which inspires you? You know, some cool story?

Andrew Price

Actually, we’re what really inspires me is all those beautiful drawings on art station. Of it’s always girls. I don’t know why I have a theory, that it’s just like women. I just more they hit that aesthetic category. Then, because even even you know, lawyer, she’s a girl, and she just only draws girls, right? It’s like, I don’t know. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so sometimes, like looking at a beautiful drawing of a girl. I’m like, oh, I want to know how to how to do that. So that inspires me. But stories I don’t. I don’t take my own advice, unfortunately. Because I rarely make something with a story because most of my artwork is purely for tutorial sake. So for example, I’m making an anvil at the moment, you know, like a blacksmith hits the piece of metal. It’s just an anvil. There’s no story to it whatsoever. In the past, I I tried to inject a story whenever I could, but nowadays, I’m trying to. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t take my own advice of making something with a story. Except rarely, like twice a year. Yeah, good.

Iva Mikles

Design your day. Because you said you work five days a week, right? And eight hours. Is it that you do maybe like meditation every day or exercise or whatever? What could kind of contribute to your success?

Andrew Price

Oh, yeah. Um, so my day is I try to go do some form of exercise in the morning. And I fill out this thing. I don’t know if you’ve got one yourself. The Five Minute Journal. Oh, yeah. won’t even show up. It’s just a whiteboard, apparently. According to the screen. But yeah, The Five Minute Journal, it just asks you, what’s three things that you’re thankful for? What’s three things that would make your day awesome? Something like that. And then I do meditation. Then for about five minutes. And oh, and then this was a really important one. So I read the book The one thing recently, which is a book, have you read it? Yeah. Yeah, oh, it’s a fantastic book. And something that I mentioned was like, everybody’s most important thing that will get them anywhere in life is not what most people spend the start of their day on. Most people spend the side of their day on emails, doing stuff for other people answering calls replying to this replying to that, because it’s actually the easiest thing to do, the stuff that’s gonna get you, you know, five years in the future, where you want to be, is really hard. And that’s the stuff that you need to be doing at the start of your day. Because if you leave it to the end of the day, guess what, you’ll never find time for it, because you’ll fill it up with other stuff. And so over the last month, I’ve started setting like a four hour block of time, whereby I only do something which I’ve got in like an Evernote file is like a hard thing related to business usually, like how can I get this user group involved in Python or something like that? That’s a really tough question. So I use a program called freedom, which is to prevent myself from visiting websites, which are going to waste my time. So blocks, Facebook, Vox, Reddit, anything you put on there you want. And I set that up at the start, and I set a four hour block of time. So that because I do it without even thinking, you just type in Facebook, where you just type in Reddit. And then what this thing will do is it’ll just say, you know, page not displayed, and I’m like, Oh, that’s right. I got to do my work. Yeah. So yeah, so that’s sort of my, my, my routine. And then the last hour of the day, I just do emails. And it’s amazing how quickly you can do it. When you set you’ve only got one hour block of time, because previously, that would take three hours. I don’t know how, but it will become a three hour event. But now it’s one hour, because it’s the last thing I can do before I go home. So yeah, that was a huge, huge change for me. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

definitely. Because that’s the kind of the rule like either you have one hour or two weeks for the job. And then you complete it in that time, basically.

Andrew Price

Right? Yeah. They say what’s it? I think there’s a word

Iva Mikles

that has a name. So I don’t remember. But it has a name.

Andrew Price

Yes. The time it fills the block of time that you give it any task fills the block of time. I can’t remember. Yeah. And so

Iva Mikles

you mentioned the work. Not at home. Right. So you have a studio which you traveled to? Or is it like part of your house? Or how did you find your studio?

Andrew Price

Yeah, no, it’s, um, I got lucky. So I don’t live anywhere. Fancy or like what you would think you’d need to be to be an artist I live in like, a labor is town. Basically everybody here is an industrial worker. I pass people on the street that are like, doing welding and lifting up pallets and things. And I walk and I’ve just got this tiny little office, which I’m renting because it’s a five minute walk from my home. So I don’t have to get in a car. But I found that when I was working from home, I’ve done that for many years. It’s really hard to switch off at the end of the day. So yes, I just went online and I found an office nearby. It’s like literally like tiny. That’s the wall there. And then that’s the other wall.

Iva Mikles

But you have there, so that’s good major.

Andrew Price

Yeah, yes, I do. Yeah. And I keep a plastic plant. Yeah, it’s great. I, I don’t have that, that drive to maintain a plant. Every time I buy a life plan. It just dies. I’m like, I feel like a failure.

Iva Mikles

No, I have plans, so I can’t help.

Andrew Price

Right. But how do they get light? Because if you got natural light coming in, they’re

Iva Mikles

not in this room. That’s yeah, it’s only like the planes. They don’t need that much light. But yeah, but orchids are actually really good. Because they don’t really need that much. If it is too sunny. They don’t like it. But okay, yeah, so

Andrew Price

yeah, like I sure I’d find a way to screw it up.

Iva Mikles

But, uh, so but let’s talk about future like, where would you imagine yourself in like five to 10 years and all your dreams come true. You cannot fail. You’re not scared of anything. So what are you doing?

Andrew Price

Oh, gosh, five to 10 years. Um, so I’ve been saying for years that I want to make a short film like an animated short film. And there’s no reason that I couldn’t have done it. I think I’m just afraid like, I’ve got to be honest. I’m just afraid A lot of failing. And that is why I haven’t done it. But, yeah, five years, I would like to have, like some successful short films online. And 10 years. I don’t know if I can look that far in the future. But I don’t know how it’s probably incredibly difficult to make a feature length film, I’m sure is a nightmare. But it’s like that that would be a challenge. That’s a real challenge.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. Because I think the theme right, and, you know, like people

Andrew Price

and some sort of team

Iva Mikles

alone probably will take quite a long time.

Andrew Price

Oh, you’ll never finish it. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And the short film I would want to do with the team as well, like, I yeah, I don’t think I could finish anything. If it wishes me. I’m yeah.

Iva Mikles

So yeah. And maybe then there are people they can sign up to want to work with you. Or because if you want people, you know, around the world, maybe you can create like a community for it like, Okay, send me some portfolios.

Andrew Price

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I think you see, that’s the thing. There’s, there’s no excuse for not doing it, because Kickstarter gives anyone the opportunity, even if you have zero funds to do it. So I was saying for years that oh, the reason I’m waiting is because I want to build up income with polygon first, and then I use that income to make a film. We don’t need it. You can do it on Pixar is. Yeah. So that’s what I should be doing.

Iva Mikles

I’m looking forward to see that. Yeah. So the last question where they would like to ask you, it’s, what would you like to be remembered for in like, 100 years?

Andrew Price

Oh, my goodness. Ah, you know, I was thinking like, what is? So the one thing that I like about short films is that it gives you an unfair platform to broadcast your message. Because I don’t know what percent I think what 10% of people read books. So even the best author in the world, they’re only ever going to reach 10% of people. At best, if every reader read read the book. Whereas movies, they’re so digestible. And I think we’re seeing it with YouTube at the moment. Like it’s just taking off, it’s becoming, I don’t know if it’ll ever surpass Google in search terms. But it’s like, all new content that’s successful is a video. And that’s because anybody can watch it. And I think the same with with animated films like so, okay, so I’m, I’m, have like, avoided politics, because I think it’s just such a messy, everybody’s shouting, and nobody knows what’s right or wrong. And I just, I’ve hated politics for so long, to the point that when my parents bring it up, I’m like, I don’t want to hear about it, just you know. But I think also there is. There’s something that hasn’t been said yet related to politics in the like, if you want to improve the world, and you want people to start listening to other people, and you want to share different sides of a story? Well, if you can create a really popular animated movie, about that sort of message, then you have a huge platform by which to broadcast it to the world. So your question was, what would you want to be remembered for? And I would hope to be remembered for a short film or something which was able to affect the world positively? That’s what that would be. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

Do you have like any Movie or Documentary now, which you would recommend to people?

Andrew Price

Um, I was thinking when I was talking about that Zootopia, I think is a really that’s what like they they took that idea of, you know, being fair to each other and fairness and equality, that sort of message and they were able to, like, who else was able to broadcast to that millions of people around the world in all their languages? That message? No one because Disney has this unfair advantage to tell everybody they want not? Not Donald Trump, not Mark Zuckerberg, nobody has that ability, except Except for the most successful movie made because I think it’s the most it’s the biggest, broadest platform you can use. But yeah, Utopia to cool.

Iva Mikles

Well, I wish so. So I’m super happy that you took time here and from your busy schedule and help us to inspire young people. And maybe if you have last advice for everyone before we say goodbye.

Andrew Price

Oh, last advice, um, gosh, just have fun. I listened to a lot of people on there saying like, how can I get a job in 3d? What different industries are available? How long will I need to work on it before I get paid? And I think all of that doesn’t matter. And it will actually hinder you if you focus on that at the start. Because if I give you advice and say, Hey, actually an untapped industry of 3d is medical visualization, which is true, I think, because nobody wants to do medical visualization. But if if I gave you that advice, and you followed it, well, then you’re now just going to be doing another job that you would hate anyway, the same as if you were to get a law degree, if that’s not your calling. So you should be doing what interests you at the start. So just have fun with it. And in the future, you’ll find what, what will actually like you’ll be able to add money to the thing that you love instead of starting with money and then trying to find love out of it. That’d be my advice.

Iva Mikles

That’s perfect. So thank you so much for being here. And thanks, everyone for joining.

Andrew Price

Yeah, no worries. Thanks, guys.

Iva Mikles

Hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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