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Interview with Marcin Jakubowski

By Simon Morse

Web: http://www.balloontree.com/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.eertnoollab@nicram

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Date Added: 11th January 2012

You were involved in a really interesting project animating the history of Poland (click here to view video). What exactly was your involvement with this project, and was it nice to work on a subject as personal as your country's history?

The animated history of Poland has been created specifically for the Polish pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. It's eight minutes long and has been rendered in stereoscopic 3D (of course). I was responsible for developing the visual style of the animation and planning the shots and the mood. We used hand-painted environments projected onto simple 3D geometry and full 3D characters. I painted about half of the backgrounds and designed the base characters.

Our film is only an impression of Polish history because it's simply impossible to show over a thousand years in just a few minutes. I guess it's rather unsatisfying for hardcore history lovers, but for people looking for some kind of inspiration it's enjoyable. The history of our country is very dramatic and it was quite a challenge to withstand the temptation to make a film full of heroic action. From an artistic and technical side it was a very interesting project, particularly considering the 3D world and hand-painted images.

Can you tell us a little about the process you use to create your work? Do you have a set process or way of working, or does it depend on what kind of image you are working on?

Usually I've got quite a clear vision in my mind before I start painting. After collecting some reference material I launch Flash or Photoshop and sketch until I get a few versions of the object or scene. Then I make a few color schemes in Photoshop. After choosing the most promising version I add some color variations by mixing some textures or other images. If the image is interesting enough I merge all the layers and continue painting details. I use a tidy and not too sophisticated set of brushes. Working on many layers slows me down so I prefer using as few layers as possible. The whole process is rather simple without special tricks or advanced tools. I love hand-painted images and would rather continue improving my skills in that direction.
On your website it says that you work as a freelancer. What types of projects do you take on and what would be your ideal type of work?

FI do a lot of things and I really can't say that I'm bored. Usually I make concept art and matte paintings for animated films and advertising. I design characters and environments in many styles - from cartoon to realism. Sometimes I paint a book covers or illustrations for a card or board game. I was also involved in many architectural designs and even scenery for a theatrical play.

I would like to focus on concept art for animated films. I won't be original but it's my dream to join an experienced studio and work on some outstanding full length animated production. It's probably a typical dream of many artists so it won't be easy. Anyway I'm trying to improve my skills in that direction while waiting eagerly for new challenges.

To work on feature films does seem to be the ultimate aim of many artists. As you're skilled in both realistic and cartoon art, what kind of movie would you like to work on? Would it be a Pixar-like animation or maybe a realistic blockbuster movie instead? And do you think that you will have to move abroad to work on this kind of project?

I would appreciate any kind of film with an inspiring atmosphere. I love stylized animation with a rich color palette like Pixar, but also realistic films with a dark and sinister mood. If I had an interesting opportunity I certainly would go abroad. It's not only because of career chances, but because I'm just curious about new places.

What do you like to do when you are not working? Do you have any hobbies that you find help keep the creative juices flowing?

Since I'm a young father I spend most of my free time with my little daughter. We draw a lot (believe me, I really don't force her!) and read many books. Most of them are pretty bad and definitely not inspiring, but there are also some great examples of creativity. I started to think about my own stories that I could tell to my daughter some day. A casual walk with a happy child on a nice day can be fascinating, just like in Miyazaki's My Neighbour Totoro. I love his films even more now.

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by 2DArtist. It has been a pleasure talking to such a talented artist and I am sure I am not the only one who is looking forward to the day when we get to see your work on the big screen. Thanks.

Many thanks. I hope that the readers find my work inspiring. Thank you for your time!

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