We talked to artist Sam Lyon about his work as an artist, and about creating his incredible Jelly Gummies GIFs that are three-dimensional and full of texture. Check it out below! Also, be sure to check out his blog!
Needless to say, we love your Jelly Gummies characters! When did you first start making them? Were you creating other GIFs prior to Jelly Gummies? What was the first GIF you created?
I started making them near the end of 2012 I think. There were probably loads of deleted ones but this is the oldest gif on my computer (it's my girlfriend dressed up eating a sweetie) There's a whole video that goes along with this that we might start working on again.
What attracts you to the GIF format specifically? What do you see for the future of the GIF in art?
I love how simple it is, they can be quite large files sometimes but it's a nice neat way to display a quick looping video. I really like that I can make the background transparent too, that's one of the main reasons I like using it because they look so good displayed on a screen like that.
Could you tell us a bit about your creation process? Are there any particular places you find inspiration from?
I usually start off with a photo of a dog or a toy or a persons face and work from there, sometimes it's just a case of opening up a program and seeing what happens. I use Sculptris and Blender to make everything. Sculptris is a free digital sculpting program that's really easy to use with a graphics tablet (it's made by the same people as ZBrush) and Blender is a great free modeling/sculpting/animation/rendering program that I use to add any final touches to the sculpted model and arrange the scene.
Who are a few of your favorite artists?
I always worry that I'm going to miss out someone when I get asked this. I made a whole separate blog to post other artists' work that I love at Toadsville.tumblr.com and it's full of stuff. Most of it is a direct link to the original artist's page as well so I hope you have fun scrolling through it. If anything turns up on there I really like it.
Current favorite GIF?
I really love this one, everything about it is perfect. The cute lazy dog, the flinching reaction to the packets falling and then the resignation as the everything builds up and buries her. She's also got a vine account called Rosie Pig which is stunning.
Your work is super interesting in that you have taken it from digital to physical in various forms (fabric design, buttons, notebooks, etc). Do you have any technical training/schooling in any of that? Is there a specific medium you enjoy working in most?
I went to Dundee College for a few years taking Illustration courses. It was really good in that I got to try out a few different mediums and ways of working, as well as meeting people. I didn't work out what I wanted to do until after I left but what I learned about preparing artwork for printing has helped me a lot. I discovered the digital 3D stuff quite recently so I'm mostly self taught in that respect. I always enjoyed working with clay but there's so much more you can do with the digital version. As long as you have access to a printer you can turn you're images into anything you want.
Making stickers and notebooks started because I needed a way to use the artwork I'd made. I really like the idea of having a shop as well, not just for prints but for anything I can think of.
Most of my practical skills have been learned online or just from trial and error. I wish I'd known I'd be making dresses and bags when I was in school or I'd have asked the textile people for some tips. There's a nice Youtube channel called SeaLemon that taught me how to make the notebooks, maybe I'll do some tutorials at some point too when I get really good at something.
Are you working on any new products for your shop now? Any other upcoming projects you can share with us?
I've been saying this for months and posting photos to my Instagram account, but I'm making a squashy foam backpack. It's taken me ages to gather the right materials and to figure out how to put it together but it's almost there now and it's starting to look good :p
I also want to make a video game and some proper animations as well if I can team up with some talented people. That's been a goal of mine for a while so hopefully I can get around to it soon.