Sculptor, animator and artist James Braddock answers some questions for BLAC
and explains that sometimes, universities don’t make artists – artists do.

James Braddock has spent the last eight years honing his skills in traditional methods like drawing, painting, markers and clay, all for the purpose of melding those techniques with digital mediums to create transitive works.

Growing up, he says he had an early eye for art but spent his time in nature and playing sports like tennis, basketball and track. In 2013 when he was a freshman in college, he began making t-shirt and graphic designs for a little extra pocket change until he met a fellow Detroit artist who saw his work and urged him to begin drawing and painting in earnest.

“I didn’t know how to do that so I said nah at first. But the challenge and interest pushed me, and I fell in love with art and taught myself through trial and error,” Braddock says.

He used the free and timeless tools of practice, YouTube and books to gain knowledge. His favorite subjects to incorporate into his designs and characters come from the nature he spent so much time in as a child like birds, trees and flowers.


What do you remember as your first experience with art?

Growing up, my dad worked at a huge marketing company. I remember walking through the cubicles and seeing different people working on different logos. Some of them had their own drawings hanging up. Some had foam boards of comic books covers.

My dad was skilled at illustrations but he wasn’t an illustrator, he was a graphic designer. One day we were sitting in his cubicle and he whipped up a really quick spiderman sketch. I said “show me how to do that.” He did a spiderman fist clenching a web and he said, “alright, draw that.”

I did it five-10 times, and everytime he was like, “nah that’s not right but you’re getting closer.” By the 10th time, I thought it was horrible. I stopped, and I didn’t start again until I was a freshman in college.

How did you get into 3D sculpting?

After a while of dabbling, I was starting to feel limited with painting and kind of trapped by the mediums, almost. I wanted to do character work, but it takes so long for me to get to the certain point that I want with it and I’m satisfied with it. It was starting to become too much of a task and becoming more tedious to get the ideas off the ground.

I saw little figurines and models for games and concept art that I thought were cool. I started messing around with clay, but I have clammy hands, so clay isn’t the easiest to work with for me. I discovered digital sculpting softwares like Zbrush and Blender and a few more. When the pandemic hit is when I found the most time for practice. I bought a computer and got busy.

What else are you working on for 2021/2022?

I have a clothing line I am working on with Valor Miller. I am also working on a story project with Hanniyah Cross, my girlfriend and Valor. I also have more toys and figurines coming out soon.

What are your overall goals for your art?

I really want to put out a cartoon, something that appeals to Black kids, appeals to me. A lot of times I do feel left out watching cartoons. I want to tell my own personal story and get my art out there. I see myself being an all-around artist and creator putting out toys, clothing line, TV shows and more.

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