September 15th, 2017
Editor’s note: Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Earlier this year, we launched the Artist in Residence (AiR) program to showcase what’s possible when creative artists experiment with this new medium. The resulting works of art have been amazing, and you can check some of them out on our website, or right in the Tilt Brush app itself.In this series, we go deeper into these artists’ processes, explore their creative influences, hear about their experience using Tilt Brush and share any tips they have for aspiring VR artists. For this post, we caught up with artist Liz Edwards. Want more? Check out our previous posts on Steve Teeps, Isaac Cohen, and Estella Tse.
1. Could you walk us through your creative process in Tilt Brush?
Working in Tilt Brush has always felt very natural. At no point during my first doodles did I ever feel intimidated by the software, and I think that's a huge strength of Tilt Brush. Getting comfortable drawing in this new medium was just a matter of putting in the time and experimenting, which is easy to do when it's so much fun. Lots of moments of, "I wonder if this would work?"—even a year into working with Tilt Brush.
2. How is Tilt Brush different from working in other mediums? Is the openness ever daunting?
I don't find it daunting at all—it's a very liberating way of working. I've spent years working in traditional professional 3D software, bogged down in the interfaces, clicking around for hours making 3D shapes on a 2D screen. Tilt Brush removes all of that tedium and places the artist directly into a creative space where they can conjure up anything with a few gestures in thin air. It's magic.
3. What inspires you?
I come from a video game background, so I've kind of approached my VR art from that direction, creating places, vehicles and characters I'd like to see come to life in a game. All my spaceship stuff comes from a childhood of playing X-Wing, Wing Commander and the like. A cool thing—I'd never been interested in designing any kind of vehicle, even awesome spacecraft, before Tilt Brush. I've always much preferred drawing and sculpting characters over dealing with perspective in 2D or tedious (to me) hard surface modeling in 3D programs. Tilt Brush really opened the door for me in that regard and I'm getting to explore brand new, really fascinating subjects.
4. Were there any funny moments or cool things that happened while using Tilt Brush?
In the dark days before the ability to scale sketches was added, I had to work in some pretty silly positions to draw things like feet and the tops of heads. I nearly ended up standing on a chair to draw a tall tree but decided I didn't want to be the first VR casualty! I have the opposite problem now—I'll end up moving far, far above my environment to work on the sky and startle myself when I look down. I actually think it's really cool that my own art can spook me like that!
5. Do you have any neat trips or tricks?
A lot of people ask how I get my sketches so solid. Here's a secret: they're not solid at all. I fill the space in between my lines with the "Wire" brush. This brush is 3D and unlit (no shadows or highlights), so even if the geometry it makes is a messy bunch of tubes, you'll never see the mess—only the solid silhouette. As long as my silhouette looks good from most directions, the sketch looks solid and totally 3D. Same with the various "Marker" brushes— they're all unlit, so you can get away with being a bit messy!
6. What’s your favorite piece?
My favorite personal piece has to be this spaceship in asteroid field (displayed above). The 3D-comic style I'd been pushing for finally started coming together with that piece, and I started feeling confident about doing more vehicle and hard surface work. When I look at it, I get excited to make more things in that style and world.
The piece I'm most proud of, though, has to be Wonder Woman: Art of Wonder (displayed above). It was a huge honor to bring the amazing Wonder Woman to life in Tilt Brush, and so much fun!