Want my job? with graphic designer and 3D modeller David Cotton

"I think there are common misconceptions regarding how CGI is made and how much work and time really goes into making something look good. On-screen the best visual effects are often invisible as we only tend to recognise bad CGI."

Want my job? with graphic designer and 3D modeller David Cotton

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi there! My name is David Cotton and I am a graphic designer. I’m currently studying for a Masters in Graphic Design! I go by the name of Nythim on Instagram and I like to see myself as a generalist when it comes to art and design. 

What does yourcareer involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?A typical day starts with a list. Each day I tend to sit down and write what I want to get done within that day, this can vary from completing parts of a project, reading a chapter of a book or even going out to buy groceries. I like having a bit of a routine and lists have played a huge part in maintaining that. What’s great about lists is that you apply them to anything, it doesn’t have to be work-based and it helps you break the day down into manageable steps (it’s also completely fine if you don’t manage to complete everything on the list that day).a207ec5fe13e608bb74458ef4a9a97b009b53b5a.jpgDavid's 3D modelled robotscreativeWhat does being an artist mean to you?

It means the ability to have creative freedom. To express your interests, your opinions, your social and political commentaries on your terms.

What’s great about your job?

What I love about my job is that I get to make cool stuff for a living. I am a huge fan of science fiction and it influences my work quite a lot. From designing abstract posters to 3D modelling robots, tanks and spaceships! 

4dc3b976bcef699084130140cee13a8af541688d.jpgDavid's 3D modelled robotsWhat are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

Personally, I don’t see why art has to have a deep meaning or an explanation to it. To me art is art and sometimes it doesn’t need to have a reason other than because it’s cool.  As for challenges, when I am faced with a challenge I just get to work. I solve one problem, then solve the next one, and the next, and eventually, I overcome that challenge. And then the software crashes, and I have to start again.  

Do you think there are any misconceptions about your job?

When it comes to computer-generated imaging and visual effects, I think there are common misconceptions regarding how CGI is made and how much work and time really goes into making something look good. On-screen the best visual effects are often invisible as we only tend to recognise bad CGI. Achieving those levels of effects can take more than just a fast computer.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

A personal highlight has to be the start of 2020 (before lockdown) where my friends and I got the chance to paint a wall mural in the library at the University of Huddersfield! Each day we would come in and paint until the late hours of the evening and it was a blast to work on such a large scale. Every time I walk past it, it makes me smile because It reminds me of the fun I had working on it!

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the Arts?

My career path started as a design and print technician at my old college and it was my first real introduction into an ‘industry standard’ design workplace. This is where I learnt the ins and outs of print-based Graphic Design but more importantly, it’s what sealed the deal for me and started me on my journey to being who I am today. I also worked in Subway but I don’t think “sandwich artist” counts.

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge as a designer was trying to find the motivation to continuously produce artwork. At times I used to think creating art was work instead of something that I wanted to do and I’d procrastinate...a lot. Luckily I was able to break that cycle by first realising what it is that I wanted to make and how I wanted to make it. Since then I've had trouble switching off! I look at real-world objects and start to break them down and picture how I could recreate them or redesign them! 7c6746b79df7fd0bd7910c0295a77648cefc549c.jpgDavid's graphic design workHave you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?

NFTs and Crypto art has to be the hottest thing off the press lately and It’s amazing to see digital artists, animators and designers alike have the chance to really get their work out there. An NFT or Non-fungible token is a cryptographic token of something unique. It is currently driving a surge of digital art auctions with some art selling for thousands, even millions.

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?

Slow down and enjoy life. There’s no point trying to rush through things in life and being stressed in the process, everything will start to slot into place eventually.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

Always give it your all! Even when you feel unmotivated or uninspired, design anyway and that motivation may come. (But remember it’s completely ok if it doesn’t!) But most of all, do what you want to do and what makes you happy. It’s one thing to chase likes, follows and money but in the end, is it worth it if you aren’t enjoying it?

Also! I urge people to read a book called ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy. It teaches you how to tackle the most challenging task of your day first (the one you are most likely to procrastinate on) and not only will you get more things done faster, but you’ll get the right things done. It has had such a positive impact on my life, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. 

You can find Nythim on Instagram here.


Header Image Credit: Nythim


Elle Farrell-Kingsley

Elle Farrell-Kingsley Kickstart Team

Elle is a Journalist and Presenter interested in all things arts, current affairs, technology, gaming, culture, politics and policy. She's based in Surrey and London, and when she's not writing, she's taking part in her local MMA classes or travelling.

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