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CG Boost - Updates

🎭 Dealing with self-doubt as a 3D artist

Published about 1 month ago • 7 min read


Hey Reader,

Zach here,

If you are struggling to find the motivation to learn 3D, or if you have abandoned projects and courses half way, you are most definitely not alone. In fact, I believe it is the most common struggle all artists go through.

This also happened to Tetiana Markov, one of our passionate CG Boost students and challenge participants.

We were very excited to interview her, to share her story of how she overcame all kinds of self-doubt and got her work featured on Blender Nation and on Blender Artists.

Interview with Tetiana Markov

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

My name is Tetiana Markov. I’m 36. I’m Ukrainian, and I’ve been living in Germany for several years now.

I have various specialties: chemical technologist, interior designer, software engineer, and nutritionist.

Creativity has always been closer to me, but due to the influence of my surroundings, I believed that I needed to have a serious scientific specialty because I couldn’t make a living from art.

However, after moving to a new country, I experienced a crisis that led to depressive disorder, which led me to therapy and taught me to listen to myself and my needs.

Luckily, my husband always supported me, and it was at his suggestion that I ventured into Blender, and he even purchased a few courses for me at CG Boost.

Tell us more about your creative path: How did you get to the point you are now?

At the beginning of 2023, I finally agreed to my husband’s suggestion to try myself in 3D. So, I downloaded Blender and started doing the donut tutorial. I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow the result turned out decent.

Then I did the free Blender Beginners Course by Zach.

I felt that blindly following tutorials quickly tires me, and I wanted to add something of my own.

So, first, I recreated a scene from the course, and then I wanted to redo a scene according to my imagination, but I didn't know how. Thus, I had to search for answers on YouTube on my own. So, within the first month, I completed 2 projects and gained some experience in Blender.

Among the courses my husband purchased for me at CG Boost was the Master 3D Sculpting in Blender course.

I slowly started learning from this course, but I felt lonely in the 3D world. I had no one to share my progress with and receive criticism or advice for improvement. This frustrated me, so I didn’t finish the course and abandoned Blender for 9 months, unsure if I would ever return to it.

In October 2023, I saw the new Robotic Planet course on CG Boost, and Louis’ incredibly creative teaser for this course couldn’t leave me indifferent. I bought the course and started learning.

When at some point I got stuck, I found out about the existence of the CG Boost Community. It changed everything for me. At that time, I considered officially starting my 3D learning journey, and I also felt that I would love to make it my new profession.

When I completed the first half of the course, making the Basic Bot, the “Robotic Wildlife Challenge” was already running. I enthusiastically watched all the incredible works of other people and felt a bit sad that I didn’t have enough experience to participate.

So, I dismissed these thoughts and planned to simply make something clear to check what skills I had already acquired. My idea was to create a robot "Clank" from the “Ratchet & Clank” game.

While I was looking for references, I stumbled upon a 2D concept of an incredibly cool mechanical fish. And at that moment something clicked inside my brain, and I said to myself: I want to make this fish in 3D no matter what!

That same day, I started participating in my first challenge.

Honestly, I didn’t have any ambitions to finish the challenge, but somehow I managed to go through the whole path in just 18 days.

I had support from friends in the community, and I didn’t give up. I learned the most important thing - I’m not what I think about myself, and I have no idea where my limits really are until I try.

I highly recommend all beginners to participate in challenges. Through this experience, you can learn even more than with a course.


What was your main motivation for enrolling into our sculpting course?

I simply fell in love with Zach’s Cute Creature at first sight.

My brain gets inspired when it sees or imagines a beautiful aesthetic result. And this was going to be an awesome render!

It’s always essential for me to have a sense of how a project should look, and it’s not indispensable at all that I may not yet know how to do it. When you already know what you want to do, it is much easier to find ways to do it.

After completing the challenge, I decided to return to the Master 3D Sculpting in Blender course and finish the abandoned Cute Creature. I no longer cared about the thoughts swirling in my head about my talents and skills. I just worked on the project.

The Cute Creature captivated me again, and I named it Lumi and reimagined the concept palette.

I just followed my inner feeling of what I liked more and didn’t stop until I achieved the desired result. Now I constantly say: there are no poorly made projects, there are unfinished projects.

By the way, the Master 3D Sculpting in Blender course is my favorite. Not only does it contain comprehensive information on the fundamentals of sculpting, but it also has a ton of useful information about all the brushes and additional tools, as well as mini-challenges.

So, if you get a little tired of working on a creature for a long time, you can always distract yourself and have some fun. After working hard on this course, you will be able to sculpt anything!


Before we move on with the interview, we would like to remind you that both our Master 3D Sculpting in Blender and Creature Forge courses are currently 20% off (for the duration of our Urban Monster Challenge).

20% Off Coupon Code: URBANMONSTER

Learn more about the courses here


Can you give us a short breakdown of your final Lumi project?

At first, I didn’t really believe I could sculpt It, but I felt this desire to create the Cute Creature on my own.

Like any sculpting project, this one started with blocking out the base mesh of the creature's body.

That was the first time I learned about the method of modeling an object with references on the background. I also used it while working on the Goldfish.

Next, I sculpted and corrected all the necessary lines and shapes. After that, there was a long stage of retopology that lasted 3 days. I did this work completely manually, without using any add-ons.

After that, I began sculpting such details as eyes, nose, gums, tongue, teeth, horns, and claws. My 9-month break from Blender happened just after the first day of work on the fur on the creature’s head.

When I returned to the project, the end of the year was approaching, so I finished working on the fur: my cute creature was finally no longer naked. 🙂

Next, I worked on additional feathers and this is where my tablet came in handy, because it was much easier to do these small details with the pencil than with a mouse.

I liked the tenderness and charm of my creature. The closer I got to completing the project, the more I adored it and was inspired.

The sculpting of the creature was completed. The final touch was to make a backpack for it.

When I made the first renders in clay shader, I realized that I felt the need to give it a name. I called it Lumi because I still can't figure out if it's a boy or a girl, and this name sounds neutral. And besides, it fits the meaning, which will become visible later in the color rendering.

By the way, I really liked Zach's approach to lighting, rendering, compositing and truntable settings in this scene. This has been useful to me in other projects as well.

My favorite part was working on coloring and lighting for the final render. I got a great color palette reference as an idea. I didn't try to use the exact same shades, but the general concept is very obvious.

That's how Lumi was born. And I still can't believe I did it.

Thank you so much to Zach for such an incredible course that took me through this whole amazing adventure! You showed me how much fun sculpting can be, and that it is not necessary to have any special talent to do it. I am sure with this course anyone can learn sculpting.

You can see more renders and turn table animation on my ArtStation page.

I'd be delighted if you stopped by and told me whether my story inspired you.


Are you going to join our current challenge?

Yes, I’m participating in the current challenge. This time, I’ve also chosen a challenging project in which I want to achieve the impossible for me. I’m usually most productive during a challenge. I love this feeling.

Interestingly, I didn’t expect this challenge to be about sculpting.

After completing my last sculpting project (Lumi), I was satisfied with my result, but I didn’t expect my renders to be so well-received by the community.

Something crazy started happening - Lumi began to be reposted online, I received a lot of approving comments, people started subscribing to my ArtStation page, and Lumi was featured on BlenderNation and BlenderArtists.

I felt a strong impostor syndrome; I felt like despite working hard on the project, I didn’t deserve all this recognition because it wasn’t my personal project, but rather a project from a course created by Zach based on the concept of a talented concept artist.

To prove to myself that I deserve this applause, I have to create my own project based on my own concept independently. And when the Urban Monster Challenge was announced, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for me to prove my capability.

By the way, I’m currently working with a therapist on overcoming impostor syndrome and lack of self-confidence. It’s crucial to learn to take pride in our achievements and not devalue them.

I’d like to thank the CG Boost team for this great opportunity. I hope to see all of you guys at the end of the challenge.


Thanks for the interview, Tetiana.

If you want see what Tetiana is currently up to, check her posts in our community.

Stay creative!

~Zach

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