SPOTLIGHT: From ‘King of Thieves’ to ‘Jagun Jagun’ heroics, David Davies’ inspiring CG artistry journey

 SPOTLIGHT: From ‘King of Thieves’ to ‘Jagun Jagun’ heroics, David Davies’ inspiring CG artistry journey

David Davies

Meet David Davies, the visionary CG artist who is based in the vibrant city of Lagos. With a profound passion for storytelling through the lens of 2D and 3D media, Davies has etched his mark in the world of character and props design, modeling, and production preparation.

From the blockbuster “King of Thieves” to the animated sensation “League of Orishas” and the Netflix Original “Jagun Jagun,” Davies has seamlessly blended creativity with technical expertise.

Join us on an exploration of his journey, where every brushstroke and pixel tells a captivating tale of innovation and artistry.

CrispNG: Tell us about yourself, your education and career path

My name is David Davies, I am from Oyo State, Nigeria. My whole Education from the start till Tertiary institution was in Ibadan. I went through a lot of processes to get to where I am now. My early life was quite rough.

CrispNG: How did you start your journey as a computer graphics (CG) artist and storyteller?

My whole journey started when I was very little. I knew that I was very dramatic, and also very creative. Before I even knew what art as a concept was, I always imagined a lot of stories in my head and I’d make sure to draw them on either paper or the sandy floor of my nursery school after closing while I waited for my parents to come and pick me up.

When I got to Primary school, there was this subject we took, which was CCA (Cultural and Creative Arts) I fell in love with it a lot, I think it was my favourite subject then because I put in a lot of energy and I started falling in love with the concept of art itself but as a kid, I still didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew I loved this way of life and it was interesting to me.

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There were times I just created imaginary characters and started creating a story for them in my head and scribbled at the back of my notes, so during lunch break, my classmates gathered around me while I scribbled and told them stories and made everyone happy. I can remember I got flogged for that a lot of times.

I was also inspired by my dad and how much he was dedicated to what he did. He was an artisan, he also loved works of art, he painted, he did carpentry, he designed the traditional way (before Adobe software became popular), just a bit of everything and he is a man I admire a lot because of his zeal and strength,u he put into his work the fact that he loved what he did. These also added immensely to how I took my passion for art even as a kid.

My Dad is a man who believes in doing things excellently and perfectly, so every work he did, he did it zealously and excellently which also inspired me. There were times when my dad would create dolls for me and my younger brother from the remains of planks and other materials he worked with because he didn’t have money to get actual toys for us.

After primary school, I knew I liked fine art so when I was going to do my promotional exam, I wanted to go to a school where they also did fine art so I was enthusiastic about it.

When I got to Secondary school, I was introduced to some comic books and I got inspired by them. One of them was Super Strikas and all I wanted to do at that point was to draw them and even create something like that. I was also inspired by Avatar, the Last Air Bender animation which was a show I loved to see a lot when I was young.

I wasn’t exposed to a lot of animated content because I just couldn’t afford to, the only time I got to see them was when I went to my friend’s house so most times after school, I was always looking forward and eager to go to his house.

I was really good at art, and interestingly, it was the only subject I did well in when I was in junior secondary school, which made me my Fine art teacher’s favourite student and it even spiked a lot of jealousy among my mates. There was a time, I was supposed to represent my school in a drawing competition. Since then my creative mind developed and I continued drawing. I didn’t go to an art school because we couldn’t afford it, so I just continued with my art in school.

In 2013, I went through a major psychological crisis that deeply affected me and changed the way I felt about life. I got depressed and I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and I kept to myself a lot. I just wanted to speak with art and also speak people’s ideas to life.

After the encounter in 2013, which lasted for about 5 years, art was just what I could console myself with. Within those years, I saw Avatar which was directed by James Cameron and I got really inspired by it, the art, the concepts and I started digging and researching.

I also got the opportunity to study Law at a university which I turned down because I then knew that I wanted to do art for films, animations and game production although that decision cost me another 3 years of my life just waiting.

In 2016, I started learning to draw professionally, but it was tough because I was self-teaching. I looked for art schools in Nigeria, but most were abroad and beyond my family’s financial means. So, I mainly practised using online resources and books. During this phase, I realised I wanted to create art for films and animations. I just wanted to communicate.

In 2017, I took an important step by enrolling in a media academy in Lagos for an 8-month professional graphic design course. It was incredibly helpful. Since then, I’ve been dedicated to practising and learning. I’ve relied on online tutorials, observing others’ processes, and trying out new techniques. Despite not having a formal education in CG art, I’m eager to pursue one someday.

CrispNG: One of your major feats is inspiring the building used as set extension in Jagun Jagun, can you tell us how it came to be?

Creating Ogundiji’s Mansion was a lot of work because it wasn’t an ordinary one, neither was it common in that era, so i had to create something that was believable enough to make people think and agree that a Mansion like that could have existed in that era.

When I first heard that we needed to create a set extension for the film and i would need to create a CG mansion for Ogundiji, I knew that i had to come up with something awesome and out of the ordinary, i had to invest quite a number of time into doing a lot of research and studies, I didn’t really get much because something like that had not been done before, so it was more of creative thinking and execution for me.

Also, while working on it, i had to work with a tight deadline which is something that is quite common in production, However, i am glad it all came out really great!

CrispNG: What was the creative process like and were there challenges you faced while working on it?


First off, every work of art in production has its challenges, Jagun Jagun is a big Project and it also came with its challenges. on this project, I worked hand in hand with the VFX team at Anthill Studios where I had to create the CG Assets that were used in the film.

CrispNG: How does it feel working with top names in Nollywood?

For me, working on a movie like Jagun Jagun was an experience that i have always imagined to happen, it felt like a manifestation of a long imagined experience. I have always wanted to be a part of projects like this, where i get to interprete someone’s idea and bring it to life and i am glad i got to do that on Jagun Jagun. I had the opportunity to work with industry stars and i hope to work on more real soon.

Apart from Jagun Jagun, what other major projects have you worked on?


Yes, I do have quite a number of them.
I have worked on King of Thieves as an Illustrator, I also worked on Mikolo, an African Family Fantasy movie, as a Character Designer, a modeller, and an illustrator.

CrispNG: More than often, those behind creative projects do not get the deserved recognition in Nigeria, what do you make of this and do you think things are getting better?

Well, I think that is a very serious issue that i want to be careful about for now. A lot of creatives don’t get the recognition they deserve at all and it is disappointing. I would say it can be way better that it is now.

CrispNG: Do you think Nigeria is giving young creatives the opportunity to explore their potentials or is the environment limiting them?

Yes, I think Nigeria is still far back in the kind of environment it creates for Creatives to express themselves. I think Nigeria still has a long way to go now to make creatives feel important in the society as well as create opportunity for the Creatives.

I also feel like the Exposure that other creative have gotten studying and working outside Nigeria has also helped foster more opportunities for creatives because some of them come back to Nigeria and help other creatives explore their potentials.

CrispNG: What’s your advice to young creatives out there trying to find their feet?

There is lots of advice from top industry professionals that has really helped me, and some of it, I would advise enthusiasts and aspiring CG Artists. These are things that have helped me grow, learn and develop myself to where I am now.

No matter what a person’s passion is, there is always a room for them in the industry and creative world, as CG Artists, our skills are always needed and will always be sought after, also new things, new technologies are always coming out and getting introduced to the creative space which requires new sets of skills to be implemented, therefore new sets of professionals in that aspect would be needed for it, so find your place and be the best you can at it.

Another thing that has really helped me is having a very curious mindset. A mindset that always wants to know about something related or affiliated to what i do, and the industry and it has always increased my growth mindset too.

Another thing that would be very important for an aspiring CG artist is to learn as much as they can learn, be vast about whatever you own, be genuinely interested and involved in learning and growing! You need to be intentional about it. The industry is really saturated with people who are very good at what they do, so to come to limelight, you have to be very good too and even better.
I would also advise people to know as many people as they can, ask questions and be proud of every stage they are, because everything is time related and every time is very important is the growth process.

Another important point is to be open to feedback. It is gonna go a long way in shaping and reshaping you! Working as a CG Artist in a studio like Anthill, I have discovered that Art is indirectly a collective and collaborative effort. There should always be room for feedback and you should be able to put them to use. Not all feedback appears correct and favourable, but if you take your time to process the feedback, even if it is wrong, there is always something useful in it that can help you. So be open.

Be sure it is really what you want to do. The road to making it in this industry is quite rough and if you can’t endure somethings, there would be a lot of issues. The ability to endure comes from the love you have for what you want to do, the purpose behind what you want to do, and what is at stake if you fail to do it. You won’t get the most of being a CG artist if you are doing it just because of the money.

Also, don’t be scared to show what you have. I advise a lot of people to push out what they have, put your work out there, let people know you for what you do early and be open to feedback. It is important that people are able to testify of your progress and journey.

Lasty, I would say that it is never too late or early to start. Everyone has a race to run and it is a solo race, you don’t need to compete with anybody or judge yourself by what others are doing! Take everything one step[ at a time, but make sure you are always growing! It is important.

CrispNG: Are you working on any major project for now?

A lot is still in the making that I don’t want to disclose right now. These projects are majorly aimed at fostering a collaborative environment and exploring what the African CG community can do as well as how much CGI can contribute to filmmaking and other aspects of entertainment and content creation and give back to the community and audience at large. I have some personal projects that I am also actively involved in and I will share some time soon.

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Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Well, in the Next five years, I see myself at the top of my career. I see myself working on some of the biggest productions in the world.

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