12 Days of Christmas Contest 2020 Winner Interview
Congratulations on winning the 12 days of Christmas contest, SilusCrow. You’ve warmed the audience’s hearts with a wholesome SFW image. Tell us about the inspiration for your piece?
Thank you Elayn!
The inspiration was sort of...what I felt people (myself included) were feeling given all the craziness of 2020, or at least what they were lacking at that time of year. Being able to be with your loved ones, your family, friends, significant others, etc. Because of...like, everything in 2020, I feel that a lot of people were deprived of that, so that was one factor. The other was that I'd previously done about three other "Sexy Christmas" pictures (one was actually used for the promo for the contest) and I felt that, at least for me, going with a sexy theme would be like redoing or remaking a previous piece, and that didn't really sit well with me, at least insofar as a contest entry was concerned. You can do only so many "pretty girl wrapped up in ribbons and bows for Christmas" before it gets stale. All of that, combined with the prompt, resulted in my entry, I would say.
An SFW victory with nary a peen in sight could certainly be considered a transgressive win. How does it feel?
As for how it feels...I would say it ultimately feels good. I mean, finally winning a contest is pretty great, and with a pretty unique entry, even more so I think. As for it being transgressive, I wouldn't say that exactly, though for one of the more general contests, such as the Public Exposure or Goth ones, sure, I could see that. But for this contest, I feel that at least for what I was going for, making it sexy or lewd would have detracted from the tone, and I would like to think that the tone and general coziness was what won people over.
How long have you been making 3DX art? How did you get started?
Oh I've been making stuff for about... Well if my old Tumblr is anything to go by, a little under three years now (My first post was Oct 7, 2017), though I started fiddling with DAZ in 2018. My initial background with 3D stuff though is Maya, as I initially went to school to learn to do computer animation. It didn't stick, and I eventually gravitated towards being more of a generalist and working on getting my teacher's certification so I can actually TEACH art (would love to teach animation or digital art). Anywho, I got into 3DX sometime after a rather bad breakup, and I needed to do something to keep my mind off things. I forget how it happened, but I started fiddling around on a Japanese h-game called Honey Select by IllusionSoft. It had a studio mode where you could make scenes, and a pretty hefty character creator, as well as a very healthy modding community. From there I ended up moving to DAZ after actually learning about it, and I haven't looked back.
Describe your creative process. What tools do you use, and what do you draw inspiration from?
Mostly my process is "this is the idea, how can we make it happen". Usually, I try to approach things from a character-oriented perspective, like "would these two characters interact? How so? If not, why not, and how can we make it work?". For example, one of my characters, Mary (the red-eyed goth girl) would absolutely hook up with...pretty much everyone in my little cast. Everyone except Illania (the tall, slim, freckled brunette), because I can't see them having that sort of relationship. That's not to say that they won't be in a scene together, just that it's unlikely that there'll be anything sexy going on between them. Exceptions can be made, however, of course. Insofar as tools are concerned, I mostly just use DAZ and Photoshop for some post-work--tweaking the lighting, running a little Photoshop Action to give it a bit more of an HD kinda deal, and adding a watermark.
In terms of inspiration, I'd be lying if I said I didn't look to porn and hentai for ideas and inspiration on occasion. Artists like InCase, Legoman, MrPotatoParty, Andava, Dave Cheung, and Fred Perry are the ones that spring to mind most readily. Other times though, it's more just things I'd like to see or a situation I'd like to be put in, like waking up next to a pretty girl that's giving you a "hey you" sorta look. All in all though, I'm kinda all over the place with ideas and inspiration. It's kinda hard to nail it down to just one thing.
Do you have any advice for artists and writers; generally, and specific to 3DX? Any plans to apply your education to teaching courses in 3DX?
My advice, in general, for artists and writers, is don't stress. Art is a skill, and skills can be learned, practiced, and honed if you're willing to put in the work for them. This goes for 3DX, traditional art like drawing, painting, ceramics, digital art, acting, writing, anything where you're being creative. Nobody gets amazing overnight, it's all a process that people work at. There's a quote by Dan Avidan I like to reference (Dan from the Game Grumps and Danny Sexbang from Ninja Sex Party):
"Whenever you look at another creator or an artist that you respect, you’re only seeing what took them a long time of work and doubt to push through. You never see the struggle behind it. So you think you’re the only one struggling, when in fact, everyone goes through it."
Reach out to your peers as well, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Teaching yourself is all well and good, but having people that can help you, and that you can help in turn, is best I feel. Also, networking, if you're having trouble getting your work out there to a wider audience. Everything from Discord servers (the 3DX and Slushe ones are good starters) as well as making use of the various Twitter Art Share posts that pop up on occasion. It helps you get your work spread around without having to resort to posting your content on...less than great websites.
Lastly, insofar as content is concerned for both writers and artists in general, make what you want. Try not to feel pressured to please the masses. If you force yourself to put out work that you feel nothing for, but will be a huge hit with the crowds, it's less enjoyable, at least in my opinion. Do what you like, and let your passion for what you do shine through.
As for teaching courses in 3DX, I currently don't have any plans as of right now, though it's not something I'm ruling out. Maybe if I eventually set up a Patreon or something I'd have classes as part of the tiers or what have you. For now I'm pretty content with just helping people with stuff as it comes.
Do you listen to music or watch something in the background while you create? If so, what do you enjoy most?
I usually have something going on on one of my other monitors while I work, usually music or some Let's Play or something of that nature. I mostly listen to some variety of Power Metal, like Unleash The Archers, Sabaton, Dragonforce, Blind Guardian, Dragony, Nightwish, etc., or more funky stuff like Ninja Sex Party, TWRP, The Protomen, or The Megas (been listening to the VA-11 HALL-A - Second Round soundtrack recently as well). I do try to keep it to music for the most part, because otherwise I'd likely get distracted and end up watching videos instead of working my 3DX stuff.
Tarja, Anette, or Floor?
I never really listened to any of Anette's time in Nightwish, at least that I remember. I liked Tarja because she was very operatic, and reminded me a bit of Sarah Brightman from her role as Christine in Phantom of the Opera (the first musical I was introduced to). Floor took a while for me to get used to, but she's certainly grown on me. So Tarja for the operatic-ness, Floor for in general, I would say.
What is your favorite fantasy that you can only show through your art?
So I feel like I should be talking about things like...fetishes, kinks, sexy liaisons, and all that jazz. But if I'm being honest, it's the small quiet things that are my favorite. The little moments of intimacy, not necessarily sexy or lewd kind of stuff. Like there's that meme where it's like "Guys literally only want one thing and it's fucking disgusting" and it's a guy with his head on his girlfriend's lap and she's stroking his hair. That sort of stuff, like where the tone is less "pin her down and fuck her silly" and more "snuggle on the couch".
Though if we're talking fetishes and that sorta content, exhibitionism and super casual sex/free use is fun to work on.
What themes do you want to explore in the future?
Well insofar as the porn angle is concerned, it'll mostly be business as usual for the foreseeable future. Maybe a bit more futa than previous, as the mood takes me, but no outrageous content as far as I can tell. Wanna do more PoV stuff with some of the characters I've not done PoV stuff with as much, and maybe some more...interesting pairings.
Outside of that though, I'm looking at some...heavier topics. Self-worth, loss, sacrifice, trauma, confusing relationship statuses, that sorta stuff. 'Cause honestly, sometimes you just gotta make some serious stuff.
Anything else you would like to say to your fans?
I'd like to give my fans and supporters my most heartfelt thanks. It means a lot to me, and I get the warm and fuzzies with every like, favorite, reblog, and comment ya'll slap up on my works, both here and on my other social media sites. So again, thank you, and if ya'll have any questions, I can see about answering them in the comments.
Also thank you Elayn for the interview, I really enjoyed it!
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