Author Spotlight: Eric3dee



Puppet-makers who also design apps, husband-and-wife duo eric3dee take their Instructables to the next level with beautifully edited final pictures. In anticipation of their sons' homemade Halloween costumes this year, I asked them a few questions about what it's like to work as a team on- and off-line, and the maker scene in Tulsa.

This account belongs to a “husband/wife team.” Tell us a bit about your family!

Nathalie: We are a close-knit family from Oklahoma.  We like to work on creative projects together - especially ones that involve our boys.  Our personalities and careers draw us toward creating imaginative and kid-friendly projects.

You both are very creative people, professionally and in your spare time. How valuable is this? Why are you drawn to this lifestyle?

Eric: It is a very natural thing for us.  Hand-made projects produce such personal, unique, and priceless products and can be a lot of fun (not to mention affordable) to do!

What's it like to work as a team on your projects?

Nathalie: We have different skill sets that compliment each other well.  Eric's talents include artistic design and pattern-making, while my talents include sewing, soldering, and editing.

How did you discover the site and what inspired you to start posting projects?

Nathalie: Eric has always been a DIY-er.  He has followed many Instructables over the years. Your Halloween contest presented a great opportunity to get involved!

Eric: I have always liked getting my hands dirty and figuring out how to create things.  I think it is a natural thing for an artist.  I've built a few music fx pedals, messed around with mold-making, and done a variety of other odds-and-ends crafty projects. In fact, after winning a Dremel tool from your Halloween contest a couple years ago, I was inspired to try my hand at building an art doll, which you can see here. Nathalie has always been into crafty things like sewing, scrapbooking, and even had an odd job soldering circuit boards in high school, but I think it was the combination of her skills and my imagination that really spurred us on to these sorts of projects.

Your sons are adorable! Do they enjoy dressing up as much as their parents enjoy seeing them dressed up?

Nathalie: Thank you!  They have always liked going out to do shoots in their costumes.  Going to the park or to the arcade is a great inspiration to be happy!  As our oldest is almost 4 now, we definitely see more understanding and excitement as we talk about this year's Halloween costume!

How’s the maker scene in Tulsa? You visited your local Fab Lab for the panjolele project. Is there a community to get inspired and work alongside down there?

Nathalie: Tulsa has a burgeoning maker community.  The Fab Lab has been growing in popularity and awareness since its launch three years ago.  This past weekend, Tulsa held its first Mini-Maker Fair.  Our city library will be launching its own maker space in the near future, as well. 

Eric: Just this year Tulsa also opened a new Children's museum which has a kid-focused makerspace that is pretty fun!  Our boys got to go there and build their own rubber band guitars, which they really enjoyed after having watched me build the Panjolele!

Eric showed us his skills struming a few chords on the ol’ panjolele. Do you guys play any other instruments?

Nathalie: Eric plays a variety of instruments, but his favorites include the ukulele and (above all) his Moog synthesizer.

Your profile says that you guys are into puppets. Sock- or Muppet-level? Do you make your own?

Nathalie: Muppet-style for sure!  Eric came home from work one day and said, "Let's build a puppet!" We went to our local fabric store, bought some foam and felt, and started working.  We were hooked.  We've made several puppets and stuffed animals over the years.  We've even hosted a puppet-making workshop!  Maybe one of these days we'll find some time to write an Instructable about our process. 

Tell us more about these apps you two design together.

Nathalie: We currently have one iPad app and two iPhone apps available on the App Store.  The first is an interactive children's book called, I'm Not Afraid!  The other two are toy iPhone apps called, Banana Beats and PuppetHead.  Please check them out!  It has been a few years since we made these, but there is a new one currently in the works.

Eric is a 2D/3D designer, and your username is a testament to that. Is this your own photo-editing and screen test work in your Instructables? What other kinds of projects do you work on? What’s your tool of choice?

Nathalie: Yes, all of the special effects you see in our Instructable photos are Eric's handiwork. In his day job, he works as an animation director for Steelehouse Productions.  He uses many of the products in the Adobe Suite, as well as a few pro 3D apps, such as Maya and Zbrush.  At home, his tool of choice is his Samsung Series 7 Slate.  (Say that seven times fast.)

Now that the boys have outgrown their costumes from last year, are you guys working on any new ones for this Halloween?

Nathalie: We are!  We look forward to unveiling our "Dynamic Duo" on your site this October!

Are there any other Instructables in the works? What can we hope to see from you two next? What are your DIY creations we won't see on Instructables?

Eric: My current other project is building another interactive app.  But perhaps we'll take on another puppet just so we can do an Instructable!  I'm sure there are plenty of our creations that won't appear on Instructables, not because we don't want to, but simply due to a lack of time and planning on our part.  In addition, to my DIY endeavors, Nathalie is always finding fun things to sew as well.  She made me a really awesome hand-sewn case for my tablet PC!