Interview with Digital Illustrator and Animator Oshomah

Who is Oshomah?  Tell us about yourself.

Oshomah is a human being with a lot of interests. He was born in Jos some donkey years ago to Mr and Mrs Ehimeakhe Abubakar. I’m from Edo state. I’m the first child of 5 of my parents.  I have always been fascinated by the beauty of the world. I was always drawn towards animals and nature. Thanks to the documentaries about nature I watched as a child. I also loved cartoons and movies. The screen was my friend.  Art was always with me. I was always fascinated by the way art was made. But I never knew how to draw or paint. I thought it was a thing you were born with. Not something you’d learn. I didn’t have the patience to learn how to draw until later in my teenage years. I dropped it and was inconsistent in practice. But I always came back to the paper and pencil. What I have is an urge to create stuff that are beautiful and can make you feel something.

what  is your design background?

My design background isn’t a formal one. I studied computer science in Ajayi Crowther University. My main aim going in to study the course was to learn how the computer works and using it to create stuff. I was also hoping to learn a thing or two about creating games and animation. I was disappointed in my second year when I found out we were just wasting our time trusting the system to give me quality computer science training I craved for. I was having a crisis at the time and I fell into depression. I was disappointed in myself and felt like I didn’t have any purpose in life. I chose to distract myself with whatever I could find. Games, music, movies, anime. Anything really. After a while we were introduced to an Entrepreneurship course. We were asked to write about who we were and what we thought our purpose in life was. I wrote that assignment. It changed the way I saw myself in more ways than I expected. I became a little bit more self aware of what I wanted. And just like icing on the cake, we were asked to pick different crafts to work on. We were introduced to design and photography. I loved both but I was curious about design. I searched my hostel for anyone who could help me with a photoshop software and that’s where it all began. I never looked back since then. I checked out tutorials on psdbox.com on photo manipulation. I also checked out tutsplus.com. I still check out other tutorial websites out.

Do you work from home or do you have a space/office to work from?

I work from home and office. I have a 9-5 that supports my growth as an artist, so I have a better command of my time with them. I’m super grateful for the environment because I’m able to learn more and experiment with what I’ve learnt. Even when I leave the office I still work from home on projects. Which is really cool.

What is your typical work day? Describe what you do.

My day usually starts between 5 – 5:30 am. I scribble whatever comes to my head in my tiny journal for about five minutes. Then I pray. After that I try to meditate(I’m a bit inconsistent with this). After meditation I do some light workout routine for about 15 minutes. After that, I read for about 30 minutes to an hour. I then make a to-do list before eating something light like pancakes or cereal. Then I hit the shower before heading out to work. I read up on some medium posts before getting to the office where internet access and excess electricity is aplenty. Then I work on my to-do list and ticking the tasks off as I go through the day. After I’m done completing my tasks I find time to check social media. I try my best to make sure I don’t go on social media at the beginning of my day.

Do you prefer working alongside a company or taking the whole project on yourself?

It depends on the kind of project. If it’s an animation project, I don’t mind working with a company to create something amazing. I’m still learning a lot about animation and would love to work with people who have experience in animation. The same applies to illustration and graphics design as well.

How important is social media for you?

Social media is huge! Without social media, I doubt if anyone would know that I create illustrations or animate. I probably won’t be having this interview. Social media has helped in spreading my work around. It’s important to post my art online, because at the end of the day, what is the point of creating awesome stuff and no one gets to witness it’s beauty or in some cases it’s ugliness. I think social media is good and bad. Sometimes it hurts my productivity so I try to regulate it’s use and how it is used. I try to stay away from social media during the early hours of the day. This helps me to structure my day. And when I’m on social media, I try to make proper use of it by putting out stuff that people can relate with. And stuff that I come across daily.

What has been your favourite job to work on?

My favorite job(It keeps changing) so far has to be an animation series I was working on last year. I’m not allowed to say much about the project but the project is trying to tackle the scourge of illiteracy in Nigeria through easy to learn techniques for kids in school. Why I love this project is because it tries to tackle the scourge illiteracy. A lot of children are lost in the world they don’t understand. They don’t know how it works because they weren’t shown how. It hurts to see a lot of people not able to do anything because illiteracy has crippled them. The more we know the more we grow. It’s as simple as that. The system needs massive reform. And I’m 100% in support of this. A country can’t move forward if the masses are massively uneducated. We’ll just be tools for a team of smart corrupt elite.

Do you feel you are still learning whilst working?

Yes! I learn on the job. I am being supported to learn a lot where I work. I experiment with shorter techniques and sometimes I fail, sometimes I triumph. The thrill remains. Sometimes, when I take on a job, I barely know anything about how to make the project come to life, it could be a technique or a tool that I’m not familiar with, but I take the project on regardless. And what I find out most of the time, is that you’ll end up surprising yourself. You become better faster. Pressure is one of the best things an artist can be given. It helps you declutter your mind of the nonsense you put in the way of achieving your goal. You think you can’t but you can. I read somewhere that a lot of people stop at 40% of their capacity. I want to believe that is true. A lot of people choose to stop before they even start. It’s hard but what better use of your time than learning and creating? It’s your choice at the end of the day.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career?

Don’t allow complacency set in. That is the thing I fear the most. A lot of people hit a spot and just become ok with it. The plateau and become “fancy”. You then begin to question their intentions to start with. Like why would you begin a career you’re not willing to get better at? So that’s the lesson I have learnt and I’m personally afraid of. I don’t want it for anyone. I love seeing it when people become better at what they do. It feels refreshing. It’s amazing. I don’t like to be in the same spot for too long. I get very uneasy. I don’t know if I’m the only one that feels this way but the need to create is heavy immediately you’re done with a project. Keeping the momentum is key, because once you lose it, it’s hard to get back on that train. So guys, don’t be complacent.

What software, plug-ins or templates do you use the most?

I use Adobe photoshop, Illustrator, Aftereffects and final cut(for video editing). I hate corel draw man! I use it very rarely. I use illustrator draw and Autodesk on my tab.  I use DUIK tools for rigging and anchor point plug in on after effects.

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What are you working on currently?

I’m currently working on a personal project where I’m trying to let every black man on planet earth know that they are kings. I pick a king from ancient civilizations in Africa and illustrate them. I started with the Pharaoh of Egypt, Tutankhamun. After that, I’m moving to the richest person ever in recorded history, Mansa Musa. He was the king of the ancient Mali Empire. It’s really fascinating that these things aren’t talked about a lot. It hurts that they aren’t but what can we do to let the world know that Africans aren’t poor or third class world citizens that aren’t capable of any form of sophistication and intellect. We were kings. We are kings. We are royalty. The world just needs to deal with it.

Your top 5 creative websites ?

Abduzeedo.com (Design inspiration)

Behance.net

Schoolofmotion.com

Youtube.com (University of Youtube)

Creativebloq.com

What are the 3 things you couldn’t live without?

Pencil, paper and food

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