Kayleyss began his artistic journey years ago as a Mangaka (manga artist) before his introduction to 3D tools like Daz Studio and ZBrush. As a Daz Published Artist, he’s now become an integral part of the Daz team by supporting tier 1 releases with attentive sculpting work and a willingness to adapt and grow. Known for his lifelike figures — such as the powerful Freja 8 — Kayleyss strives to capture realism in all of his creations.
He’s an incredibly talented, self-taught creator and an inspiring example of what can be achieved on your own with a little patience and a whole lot of practice. We interviewed Kayleyss to get a closer look at his artistic process and his experience working with Daz 3D.
Kayleyss, thanks for taking time out of your day to talk with us. First, how did you learn about Daz 3D?
Well, it was my dad who introduced me to Daz back in Victoria 2 (or 3, I don’t remember, it’s been too long hehe).
Wow, that’s been a while! When did you start pursuing 3D art?
I started a long time ago as a Mangaka. Then my father got involved, making me discover the wonderful and addictive world of Daz, but also Zbrush. After losing my previous job, I decided to go for a full 3D adventure.
How did you pick your artist name?
I am very fond of Celtic culture and legends, especially the Arthurian cycle. We find the character of Kay, the keeper of the keys of Kamelot. But there is also another Kai (but with an “i”), this time in the world of music, and I am also a musician. Why did I add “Leyss” you may ask? Because Kay was already taken.
You’ve become an integral part of the Daz team and have done impressive sculpting work for Daz Original releases over the past year. How has your experience been during these collaborations?
This collaboration is for me something rich both in terms of learning and on a human level. Life is a constant learning process and it is easier to do it when people believe in you and support you. In France, our system is based on highlighting the negative points and what needs to be corrected. The positive things come later. With the Daz team, I discovered a new way of working.
We’re glad you’ve had a positive experience! What has been your favorite collaboration with Daz?
It’s quite difficult to answer this question because each character brings its share of discoveries and challenges. But Freja 8 was the beginning of my collaboration with the Daz team (and the little lady will soon be one year old). So she is for me a key moment in my creative career.
Her inspiration came mainly from the weightlifter Sara Sigmundsdottir. But I added a little bit of Jaimie Alexander and Katheryn Winnick. What makes this character my favorite feature and the biggest challenge was to combine an angelic face with a very athletic body, to mix fierceness with softness.
She’s incredible. Where else do you get your inspiration when designing a product?
Music, movies, and video games are my main sources of inspiration (but not necessarily in that order).
What does your artistic process look like after finding inspiration, and how would you describe your style?
My modus operandi is to find references for the character. Then, do, undo, redo and re-undo and re-redo and… until I arrive at something satisfying. My style is to continually strive for realism in my characters. It is a constant learning process.
What would you say is the most difficult part of designing a character?
The face and its emotions.
And which character was the most fun to create?
Behemoth. Because it was a technical challenge and also because I didn’t need to look for references (no, it’s not Diablo, he doesn’t have a tail). There is no real inspiration for Behemoth, he is a nightmare creature from my thoughts. Yes, he might look like Diablo, but in fact, he looks more like Darkness from the older movie Legend (1985).
What’s your favorite thing about Behemoth, and what challenges did you face when creating this character?
He changed a lot between the beginning of his creation and the final result. My favorite part is obviously his seductive smile. He has the smile of the guy who wants to skin you, but that’s just a detail haha. Everything in Behemoth was a challenge, sculpting, proportions, rigging… in short it was a technical nightmare, again haha.
That is one hell of a smile! Behemoth and Freja 8 are two very different characters, how would you say your work has changed over time?
My work changes all the time. It is always evolving.
I am constantly looking for new sculpting techniques. This includes the creation of brushes for Zbrush but also working on primary and secondary forms to give the character some personality. I am constantly learning new tricks, just the other day I learned a new trick for importing that saves me time.
What challenges have you overcome as a self-taught artist, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Published Artist with Daz 3D?
There are many: learning software, the anatomy of the human body, and especially patience which is a constant challenge.
If I could give any advice to someone who wants to become a Published Artist, it would be to take time in creating a product. Quality over quantity. Seeing people create a world, stories with your products, and bring your creations to life, is the greatest reward of all.
That’s great advice. What can we expect from you in the future?
What you will commission me, except maybe a sea lion in a tutu on roller skates. I can’t do it. 🙂
No promises. What’s something we might not notice about your products? Any Easter eggs or hidden messages?
There is often a musical reference in the title of my products. Something Wicked, Birth of the Wicked, Fire and Ice, Hunt or be Hunted, Behemoth, and naturally Michelle.
Awesome! How do you know when a product is finished?
A product is NEVER finished.
Only abandoned, right? We get it. Now for a few bonus questions. What do you like to do when you’re not making 3D products or renders?
Play guitar, it’s a way to create according to the mood of the moment. 🙂
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say to myself: “Little boy, just because you don’t have a degree doesn’t mean you’re stupid. Imagination doesn’t need an official document and you have imagination. So don’t give up!”
We’re glad you didn’t give up. Speaking of your younger self — as a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archeologist or a ghostbuster. That didn’t work out for me haha.
Lofty goals, indeed! Do you have a spirit animal?
The Brainfall test says that my animal spirit is the eagle. It says: “The eagle is a vision of creativity, dignity, and grace. Your spirit animal is the eagle because you have keen eyesight — an ability to probe the unseen. This gives you a strong will and spirit, and makes you an exceptional problem solver.” Don’t know if it’s true hehe.
We’d say it’s pretty spot-on. Last question: you can choose one superpower — what is it a why?
It would be the one to travel in time, to be able to see again some people that time has taken away from me too soon.
That’s beautiful. Thank you so much for your interview!
Thanks to you, and thanks to the Daz team for giving me the opportunity to work with you. The Daz community is full of great artists.