My name is Jonathan Vårdstedt, I'm a 3D artist from Sweden. I currently work as an 3D Artist at Important Looking Pirates in Stockholm, Sweden. My main tasks from day to day range from asset creation to lighting. I also sell 3D-models and share personal 3D artwork online. I started to work in the industry before I graduated high school and I'm currently in my second work year in the VFX industry.
I started doing 3D when I first started high school. However I quickly reached a level where I surpassed the teachers and had to teach myself in order to reach the level needed to work or get an internship at a studio.
I created the Chameleon in my last year in high school. It was a really fun and short little project I did. I started off figuring out what type of lizard I wanted to create. After that I went on to search for references that we're really colorful since I knew I wanted to challenge my texturing skills, it's always harder to paint something with a lot of variety and hue shifts. After that I went on to create the base mesh in Maya and then brought it in to Mudbox to sculpt the details. Painting was also done in Mudbox, however I would recommend using another software for painting like Mari or Substance Painter. I rendered the final image with Octane.
Not really on that project no, I guess the hardest part was painting the guy. Other than that it was a pretty short and fun project.
Try put the focus on learning a bit of everything ranging from Asset creation, Lighting, Animation, FX and Comp. This will help you find out what you're most interested in and eventually will go on to specialize at. Also understanding all the aspects of a pipeline is important to be able to work effectively with other departments and it will also make you as an artist more attractive to the company since you know how do more than just one or two tasks. Also something that is very important is to not be religious about software. Try to be open minded about software because then It will be easier to pick the right tool for the job at hand.
I don't really have favourite artists. I admire a lot of artwork here and there but no artist that I could think of no.
The most challenging 3D project I worked on so far that I can talk about is Westworld Season 1. I had to model Dolores so that she would hold up as close as she was in the final shots, and at the same time figuring out the dynamics of her body and how she would be able to move in a realistic manner. It was quite a challenge but it was also super fun at the same time. Also I had my first go at Lighting in a VFX production which would prove to be very different and way more challenging than doing it at home on your own personal projects.
Here is a link with an article of all the work we did on Westworld Season 1.
The best part about what I do for a living is that I get to work with something that I loved doing since I was 15 years old. I always felt the need to work with something that I like and not just making money to pay the rent and get food on the table. I also feel that I get to grow and learn new stuff on a daily basis which is really important for me.
You can find Jonathans portfolio on Artstation.