Indian concept artist and illustrator Sudhan L. talks about designing memorable characters and creatures, his Facebook group project, and keeping his portfolio up to date...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hey people! I'm Sudhan. I live in a tiny sweltering town in the southern part of India. I graduated at the end of January 2017 from the Digital Direction course at Supinfocom Rubika. I've been freelancing as a concept artist/illustrator ever since, mostly designing characters and creating key art to help clients pitch their ideas. Designing memorable and relatable characters and creatures is my thing!
This one's for my fellow Roosters!
3dt: What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?
My latest gallery entry is titled, "Crimson Pink.” I sculpted and rendered a basemesh in ZBrush
which I then composited together and painted over in Photoshop
. This is the workflow I've been experimenting with a lot in the last few months. The idea for the image itself was inspired by the Art Nouveau works of Alphonse Mucha, one of my favorite artists.
3dt: What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?
Up until this one I've usually avoided painting backgrounds. And with this image I took the plunge and finally did it. I learned a lot from the experience and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The other thing I had a bit of struggle with is finding interesting shapes to simplify the long flowing hair. Constantly referring back to Mucha's work to study how he simplified hair shapes helped a lot in applying that to my own work.
3dt: Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?
The toolset I use on a daily basis is fairly standard in the concept art community, which is using a base sculpt from ZBrush as a starting point to paint on top of in Photoshop. I've been experimenting with MODO recently for rendering base-sculpts, not fully certain how I'd implement it into my workflow yet. But I'll figure that out as I go!
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Start something new every single day. I'd like to quote what Iain McCaig had to say about daily practice here: "If I don't do something for a day, I know it. Two days and my audience knows it. And on the third day everything goes to hell in a handbasket.” This is something that has helped me generate a lot of ideas that I can go back to work on if I ever feel stuck at any point. And it keeps me from growing attached to one piece of work; if something goes sideways I can always move on to another one.
That being said, it is important to make the distinction between what's an experiment and what you want to turn into a portfolio piece. Although they are interchangeable. Sometimes I'd spend several hours on something I'd intended to be a portfolio piece only to discard it. And sometimes what I intended to be a sketch I'd turn into a portfolio piece.
3dt: Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?
ArtStation and Pinterest! My morning ritual is sketching ideas while I browse those two places to find new artworks and artists. I am also a part of the Ten Thousand Hours
group on Facebook. This is one of my favorite places to check, simply because there are a lot of people sharing their work in progress shots as they're putting their piece together. It is a very good reminder that all those finished pieces of work I drool over did not start out or always look that way, but instead gradually added up to it.
3dt: How important is the recognition of your peers?
I appreciate it when it does happen but it is not a necessity. It is not what drives me. For me having a tribe of fellow artists and people to share work with, to be inspired by and to watch and help with their progress is much more important than whether or not what I do is acknowledged by others.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
To be the very best like no one ever was! Haha! Pokémon references aside, up until a couple months ago my goal was to prove to myself that I could create work that is in line with what I wanted to do and actually get paid to do it as a professional. Having achieved that, now my focus is on experimenting with storytelling and making compelling images and designs.
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Ah, I'll try not to make this a super long list. My favorite artists include but are not limited to:
• Leonardo Da Vinci
– think about it, diving suits, armored vehicles, flying machines. Arguably he was one of the earliest concept artists
• Frank Frazetta
– for his compositions and colors
• Norman Rockwell
– for the way he captures story moments in his illustrations
• Goro Fujita
– for his quirky themes and use of light and colors
• Jake Parker
– an indie artist I admire for his work ethic
• Dei G.
– another indie artist I look up to a lot, for the amount of diversity in his style and workflow
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
"Monsters, people, and stuff!” I call it MonsterArchives.rar on Facebook. This is a long-term thing that I got started a few weeks ago. The idea is to build something that can be identified as a brand rather than an individual. For now I'm using it to explore monsters and critters of all shapes, sizes and colors. Although I'm not fully certain yet where I'm going with it, it'll be a fun experiment!
Check out Sudhan L. on ArtStation
MonsterArchives.rar Facebook group
Grab a copy of ZBrush Character Sculpting