Who is "Propschick" and how did you come by that username?
Well, I'm going to sound a bit silly, but here we go! First off, the username "PropsChick" initially had nothing to do with 3D whatsoever. About 6 or 7 years ago I developed a fondness for the game Scrabble and joined the Internet Scrabble Club. I found that there's a world wide community of Scrabble players that play in live tournaments online, and there are Scrabble clubs all over the place. I took a real liking to it. The idea of exercising your brain daily, meeting new and interesting people, and learning new words. It was quite the appeal.
In 2004, I attended a Scrabble tournament/picnic in Chicago and met 'Walter,' who I married 4 years ago in June. We were instantly best friends, and we make a great team. His online scrabble name was 'PropRod', as he was from Michigan working with crash test dummies in an automobile company. In case you don't know what a proprod is, it's the piece that holds up the hood of your car. My online username eventually became 'PropsChick', and when I discovered 3D in 2005, it just kind of 'fit right in.' At first glance, my name isn't what it seems, but then again things are never as they appear, hehe. So nowadays, when I am working and need a break from 3D, I pick up a game or two of online scrabble to clear my head, and it really helps my workflow.
As to the question of 'who am I?' I'm a mother of teenage boys, a crazy cat lady (I adore my kitties as you can see in my gallery), a friend to many, a lover of nature and the outdoors, a chess player, but in the same breath, would love to be fishing everyday. I adore going camping and riding my bike in the country. I adore my family and my husband. I'm a book reader when I have time, a big movie lover, and a fan of the show "Lost" (don't even get me started on the series finale). I love cooking, trying exotic new recipes, and tasting unusual wines. The wildchild in me loves hard rock and alternative rock music, and I sometimes wish I could dress like my Poser girls, LOL. My passion is art, art, art. Someday, I do hope I can turn my 3D into animation and make a career with animation. So, I guess that's me (I hope I don't sound like too much of a geek)!
Have you had any traditional art experience or training?
I've been drawing since I was 5 years old. I started out with sketching Garfield comics, and from there it grew. I've never had any official training/schooling, but I assume that art is in my blood. My father is an architect, and my mother a brilliant watercolor painter. I believe I inherited their amazing talents. We are moving to La Crosse, Wisconsin on July 1st, where the University has some great 3D classes available that I'm looking at. I'm hoping these classes will help my skills.
What are you currently working on?
Wow...well, about 8 different projects right now. A few outfits, a few hairs, another colaboration project with several vendors (which you'll see towards the end of the month), and working on packing for our move.
What software is currently in your digital toolset and why?
I use Paint Shop Pro 9 still, Photoshop 7 (yes, I've never upgraded as the upgrades can get expensive), I adore Poser 7 and CINEMA 4D 9, Lyrra and Netherwork's morphkits, Autogroup editor, Dimension3D's 11 tools set and UV Layout on a regular basis. Without these, I would just simply be lost! I can't give much of a 'why,' other than these seem to work best for me.
How would you describe your creative process?
I have to have my morning coffee. Then I do most of my work in the mornings. Having an organized computer and desktop is important to me, or I can't function with a mess around me. I usually work a little on one project, then switch to another mid-morning. I am almost never working on the same thing all day. There are some days I need inspiration, so I browse the internet looking for artsy websites that inspire or give me ideas. But routine is a must for me.
As you are always eager to help others, are there perhaps any tips or tricks you have found in your own work that might be of help to others learning the software you use?
As I have found, don't ever be afraid to ask others for help. I was taught to model by Bobbie25, who was patient with me and helped me through each step. She helped me troubleshoot each roadblock I ran into while learning, and even went out of her way to help me get products out. Without her, I think I would still be texturing just hair! There are no tricks to learning to model, except the ambition and drive to learn it. Online tutorials, some of the amazing forums on the net, and meeting people who have the know-how helps. Listen to the feedback from others, as you'll always find some golden nuggets of knowledge in conversation with others. I have recently assisted -Wolfie- in learning the hair-modeling process. She recently released her first hairs, and I have to say I'm very proud! Around Christmas, I worked with Vex on modeling some, and I think she's going to be a natural as well!
Don't ever be afraid to come ask me for help. If I can't answer you, I'm sure to find you someone, or a place to go to for help, that can!
Lastly, put together a testing team to test and render your products. Listen to their feedback and see their creations. You can learn from their usage of your products. I can't thank my promo/testers enough!
Where do you find inspiration for your products, and do you have any particular favorite among the products you've created?
Every single vendor I have ever talked with, worked with, newbie, or someone who has been around for a long time, inspires me, as well as online art, TV, magazines, books, sometimes music, and fashion. I think my favorite product to date is my V4 Cupid outfit. Adiene drew the design (she has an amazing creative mind) and I modeled from her idea. All the little details that were added, I found were fun and cute and original. I had a lot of fun creating that set and working with the other vendors who were involved with that project.
What amazes and inspires me the most is when a vendor releases a product that leaves me wondering 'Why didn't I think of that?' Then, the inspiration to create something just as unique starts.
I've been working with some wonderfully creative people, past and present, who inspire me every time we work together. Sveva, Rebelmommy, Digiport, Infinityrain, Ryverthorn, Adiene, Freja, -Wolfie-, Bobbie25, Vex, -Silver-, Countess, Cimerone, Black Star, BlazerWiccan, Kaleya, and I'm sure I've left out a few. I mention these names, because these are just some of the people who keep me creating, encouraging me and keep me positive. I think at times our products compliment each other's.
Have you ever created product in response to customer feedback?
I have recently started adding Cookie fits to a lot of my products, based on a lot of others telling me my stuff would look adorable on Cookie. With a little support from Little Lady Fox, I have made Cookie a large part of my store. I've found that I adore her and enjoy creating content for her. Sometimes, I will create a hair upon customer request, sometimes not. I guess it really depends on if that idea 'clicks' with me or not at the time.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
YES! First, don't EVER listen to the negativity and others who tell you that you cannot make a living out of this. If you love doing it, the success will come. Remember, nothing happens overnight, and not every product you produce will be successful. Patience, determination, the willingness to learn (even from your mistakes), having the drive to keep going even when you have a bad month, are all important. I remember how thrilled I was when I was payed out my first $35.00! I thought it was great. Over the course of my first year, I heard a lot of negative comments about how one can't be successful in this business. That only drove me to prove them wrong! I have also found that you need to make the time for this, like a full-time job. You need to put the time in for it to pay off.
As unrelated as it seems, taking care of yourself, eating right, getting excersize and having a stress-free life helps. You cannot be creative and be dealing with a lot of drama/stress.
Nobody is your competition. Everyone is your inspiration. People have different tastes and different needs for their own art, and if you keep this in mind when creating, you'll continue to feel ambitious. I have heard 'it's all been done,' or 'everyone is copying each other.' That's just not true. Everyone has their own unique style and no 2 people will create the same. Spend your time looking at what the hot sellers are; study the products. What do people want to buy? What do you see time and time again? You don't have to copy, but rather contribute.
Lastly, I cannot say this enough, respect the site that you broker through. Don't give them a headache. Be patient with them, as they will begin to respect you as well. These are the wonderful people you will learn from and they can help you, if you ask for the help. I cannot thank Renderosity enough for being here in my life.
How has this online Community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Well, without it, I wouldn't be doing much right now. I've met some amazing people, learned some really cool things, and have blossomed a little more each week. So, I'd say it's enhanced my content creation 100%!
Do you have any final words or advice for other digital artists?
Yes. Be self-disciplined. Set aside so many hours a day to dedicate to your creation process. Make it a POINT to learn one new thing each week, whether it be rendering, modeling, texturing, tutorials...find something new to learn. Practice really does make a difference, but the most important key to your success is whether or not you want it.