Today we have the awesome opportunity to chat to a friend of mine, who I met while I was studying and here at Pixelsmithstudios, we love sharing stories of artists like Kyle here.

Kyle Herring made his break into the animation world not that long ago and has been rocking it like the rockstar that he is since starting at Triggerfish Animation Studios.

I know for a fact, that his journey has been one of many challenges and many difficulties that he overcame in his craft and he has agreed to share some of his experiences with us. It has been a real privilege to interview this artist and I hope you enjoy this read.

Please tell us who you are and where you’re from.


My name is Kyle Herring, and I’m a perfectly normal worm baby from Cape Town.

 

How did you find your way in your career?


Lots of luck, lots of perseverance, lots of practice, and a ton of pep talks from a friend and mentor I used to work with about 3-4 years ago.

 

What has been your most memorable moment where you felt that you are in the right place for your career?


When I landed my first concept art job from out of the blue. I had just been to the dentist, feeling numb in my face and not so happy with my career and I received an email that I am needed to create a bunch of awesome league of legends-like characters for a mobile game.

What’s your highlight of your day for you?


The highlight of my weekdays is to get home and work on my own art and stories. I have a lot of stuff I want to create. On the weekends the highlight is spending time with my girlfriend. And of course there is allll the gaming inbetween.


What is a day in your office like for you?

The first thing we do at 9am is have a short meeting about all the things we have on our to-do list. After that I have my first cup of coffee, then I just get stuck in. As well as being a concept artist and illustrator, I do quite a bit of marketing art, UI designs and at times work in After Effects. Some of the things I do in after effects includes animating my illustrations in 2.5D like those League of Legends Login Screen vids.

 

What do you enjoy most about your journey as a creative professional so far?

I opened myself up more to being social, I’m quite a reclusive person as many of my closest friends and family can confirm, and I’ve been meeting so many awesome supportive people and artists. The other thing I’ve been enjoying though is that I’ve been able to create art and not completely dislike it a few weeks later. I’m very hard on myself but not so much lately.

What would you say is a vital skill that every artists should have in this industry?

The ability to take constructive critique without breaking down or getting defensive is crucial in ones development. Don’t be shy, send your art to an artist or person you trust and tell them to DESTROY your artwork and learn from that. That being said, stay true to your journey, to the kind of art you want to create and know what critiques will help you on your path.

 

Have you encountered a severe drop in your career that made you feel you are going to give up and how did you overcome that obstacle?

Like many artists starting out, I was incredibly impatient to be working in the industry as an illustrator. My dream was to always work for Blizzard or Riot Games. This was a dream of mine since I was 13 and is still a dream. But when I was in high school my Life Orientation teacher told me Concept art was not a real job, and this seemed to be true because I couldn’t find any colleges that was teaching what I wanted to do.

So like a month before I matriculated I quickly enrolled in a 3d course and got in. Even though it taught me a few things, I still look back and think I wasted about 5 years of my life, because I stopped illustration for some stupid reason altogether and only returned to it when I was 23. So I felt like I was completely *behind*.

When I turned 25 I became extremely anxious about my illustration career because at the time I was doing cheap dead end work for tv ads. And it was at this time I was about to give up on everything and just submit to the motion graphics life, if that’s what it even was.

But the guy I was working with kept me on the right path, telling me that I just need to keep practising, and he would tell me that everytime I started doubting myself. So that voice line would play in my head even till this day, ‘’keep practising’’. The other thing that helped me though was just listening to podcasts featuring the likes of Brad Rigney or Dave Rapoza.

Every artist started out the same — duh! And that kept me motivated.

 

Who is your biggest inspiration in your industry?

Anything Blizzard and Riot Games releases inspires me, be it art, cinematic trailers or even just fan art of those franchises.

Beer, wine, coffee, or tea?

Coffee and tea, I’m not much of a drinker of the ethanol.

 

What has been the highlight of your career for you, up to now?

Getting my first full time illustration and concept art gig at Augmentors about 14 months ago.

 

You have your own online persona, Kyle Kayhos.

 

What inspired you to go with this name?

I have no idea why I went with ‘’Kayhos’’, or why I even decided to spell the word itself incorrectly. It was originally my gamer name, Mr Kayhos. I just think it sounds better than my surname I suppose.

 

Where can we find your work online?

You can find my work on artstation: https://www.artstation.com/kylekayhos

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kylekayhosillustrations/

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KyleKayhos

Now for some questions that go deep and serious.

 

What would you say has been the biggest breakthrough moment for you, where you realised you are doing what you want to do?

In all honesty it was once I started getting a lot of feedback on social media. A lot of people have told me that ‘’likes’’ and ‘’follows’’ don’t matter. I agree with that to a… degree. But when I get a good reception with something that I create it tells me that I’m heading in a good direction with my style, subject matter and execution. Twitter has helped me a lot with this, thanks to a WoW friend of mine that showed me the way of the Twitter. A few of my artworks have gone very viral and my senpai’s, Blizzard had hand picked one of my illustrations to show on their official page for Hearthstone. That is a step in the right direction for me xD

 

If you could give a piece of valuable advice to aspiring artists and students towards landing their first major job – what would you say to them?

I ain’t going to lie folks, this road is a challenging one to take but its insanely rewarding once you achieve those art knowledge gains. My advice to you is to constantly challenge yourself compositionally. Try different lighting techniques, draw artworks with multiple characters interacting, do those studies, go on Schoolism and do all the courses more than once, go outside of your comfort zone and chat to people, even industry professionals, contact them and just ask them to critique an artwork of yours, be hungry for knowledge and never ever start thinking you are the best once you start reaching a level where you feel like you are really good. Stay humble like the wonderful Artgerm (Stanley Lau) or Ross Tran. Enter as many art contests as you possibly can and interact with other artists and give them critique and maybe they will give critique to you as well. And more importantly just have fun with your art and *that* will show through. Companies love that. If you just keep this all up you will land a major job.

 

We would love to find out more about you and what you do, where can we stalk you online?

I’m pretty much always on either Twitter, Instagram or Artstation. Check out my stuff on there (Links above) but if you do have any questions just find me on Facebook and message me. I am always willing to help out an artist.

Neal

Written by Neal Strydom


Co-Owner of Pixelsmithstudios. Specialising in creating content for digital platforms Working fulltime in marketing & Advertising Always meeting new talent