Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to freelance 3D Artist and Illustrator Shanaz Byrne. Read more about Shanaz’ work in this interview:

Hi Shanaz! After working as a 3D Artist for Klang you are now freelancing for Shedworks as well as working on some other projects. Having worked both as a freelancer and in a company, what are the pros and cons of each for you?

There are many pros and cons for each – the biggest pro for freelance is being in control of my time and work hours. I also enjoy being able to jump between several different projects, it keeps any monotony in life at bay! This sort of spontaneity and freedom in my workflow really fires my creative process. With that said the biggest pro of being with a company was the security of a full time job and being able to learn how a larger studio operates – you are much more invested in the project and culture of a workplace when employed. I learnt a lot of new skills whilst with Klang, and got to work in other areas of game development which helped expand my 3D and artistic skills.

Often the problem with freelance is not having a consistent income – unless you are prepared for a bad month, or spate of bad months with no work, then it can be very difficult to sustain this way of working. This can also have a really bad impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing which in effect can harm your creativity. When I made the decision to return to freelance, I had to make sure I was in a position to sustain myself before jumping straight into it – thankfully so far I’ve had the opportunity to work on some great projects, as well as make time for my own work, which was difficult to balance with the 9-5 lifestyle at Klang.

I think the pros and cons will totally differ depending on the person and their situation. Although I value the learning experience from working with a company, the freedom that comes from freelancing is really good for my creativity, and I feel happiest being able to work on different exciting and new projects. But to sum it up, as long as I believe in the work and enjoy what I’m making I don’t have a stronger preference for either!

When it comes to your work as an 3D artist you are known for a very soft Low poly Art Style that usually revolves around nature and sci-fi. What are the main sources of inspiration to you?

I am very in love with fantasy and sci-fi, but my inspiration for these themes often come from totally unrelated sources. I want to avoid cliches so I try not to reference anything obvious – I delve into things that aren’t related to games or fantasy to encourage new ideas.

I love anything experimental. Experimental fashion, story telling, music, graphic design – if it’s experimental I’m curious to know about it! I train in olympic weightlifting too, and I’m very inspired by strong women, and how such technical movements can be carried out so elegantly (I think this type of inspiration especially comes out in my machinery and female protagonist!) I also like to surround myself around a diverse range of people, with different interests and backgrounds – I’m often learning so much from them and being introduced to new endeavours which light fire for new ideas. Having an open mind, being curious and exploring different ideas always lead me to creating work that I am the happiest with!

What advice would you give to your younger self after just starting out in the games industry?

Be more confident!!! Treasure your mistakes, as you will learn the most from those. Your progress isn’t linear – there will be bumps, but as long as you believe in what you’re making, and love the work you do, you will eventually get to where you want to be.

Thank you for your time Shanaz, we appreciate it!

Shanaz’ Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shanazbyrne
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nazbyrne/
Shanaz’ Website: http://nazbyrne.com

WWW Feature by Anne Zarnecke