"Mythical Beasts” artist Cosmin Podar talks to us about his ‘craftsman' style, working in video games and the importance of challenging yourself...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
My name is Cosmin Podar; I am currently based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I worked for more than six years at Gameloft Cluj where I was lead artist for over four years, but thought it was time for a change. I now work as a freelance artist for two companies.
P.A.W. Elite images – This personal project was based on the idea of making cute animals into deadly mechs, very simple but challenging for me.
3dt: What inspired you to get into art? Who are your favorite artists?
I have always been fascinated by drawing since I was a child. I used to draw dinosaurs all the time. I also liked to play video games but back then I didn't know that there is an entire industry dedicated to making them. I only found out about this at twenty three and it was quite a surprise to see the level of involvement and financial investment.
Apart from the traditional artists such as J.C. Leyendecker, Rockwell, Sargent, Rembrandt, Repin; I know admire some digital artist too, Sergey Kolesov, Moby Franke, Max Kostenko, Piotr Jablonski, Wouter Tulp, Sam Nielson, Tonko House.
My love for line drawing is never-ending.
3dt: Apart from art, where to you draw inspiration from?
I used to make the common mistake of getting inspired only by other artists, but I stopped doing it because it was counterproductive, so I turned to the real world. I love animals and the human figure; those things are a big inspiration for me, also fashion, cultures, a bit of history. Basically, I have turned away from trending sites and just trying to be myself, but still keep an eye open to what's going on.
3dt: What software, techniques and tools do you use in your workflow?
I am a very simple ‘craftsman'. I have a ten-year old Wacom Intuos 4 medium, my first and only tablet. I use Photoshop
CS6 today with roughly fifteen brushes that were shared on the internet. The only other tool I use is Coolorous
and with very few preference changes. I always try to keep my workflow simple; line art for design and exploration, and then I use colors. I would like to learn some 3D in the future too.
This is a character concept based on a Facebook group theme; it was something nice to work on and also related to my country's myths.
3dt: You work in a wide range of styles, how do you decide what a particular piece is going to look like?
The wide range of styles is a direct consequence of me trying new stuff out. I don't want to make random work so I decide from the start if it's going to be full colors or line art, and I'll always try to make at least three or four pieces in the same style. It's very hard to improve if you don't try to challenge yourself.
3dt: What has been your favorite project to work on? Is there a project, property or an idea that you'd really like to work on?
It's very hard to decide on a favorite project, I always take them all seriously. I love the project that I am working on now, designing anthropomorphic animals in a cartoony style and I also liked working on Iron Blade
from Gameloft. They are very different projects, but also challenging and rewarding.
I don't know if I would like something specific to work on, but it would be challenging to work on a Dishonored
game or project like Team Fortress
I was not happy with the color, so here is the character sheet for this one. This was also done for CDC group.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
My ambition is to always surpass my artistic level, I am slowly and constantly learning to be a better concept artist and for the future my plans are to create my own studio, for outsourcing or creating personal IPs. I am always open to opportunities and experiences, because taking a different path can also gain critical knowledge in achieving your main goal, so it's always a difficult choice.
I think the title is self-explanatory for some of the sketches I did. I had been consistent for thirteen weeks.
3dt: If you weren't an artist, what do you think you'd be doing?
If I wasn't an artist, I would have liked to work as a carpenter or some kind of hands-on crafting job. Now I have a new hobby; fitness. It started as me wanting to be healthier, so I lost a lot of weight and these past three years of discipline vastly improved my health, my thinking and career dramatically, so I guess doing something on this path would be an option to.
Another character from the CDC Challenge, with this one I wanted to push forward the gladiator title into the "Mad Max” universe.
3dt: What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
If you really think this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, then learn the craft. Focus on the basics of art in whatever field you want and please be patient. Learn to fail, work hard and respect other peoples work. Failing is the key to success; you will never know what a good piece looks like without making the bad ones.
3dt: What exciting new projects can we expect to see from you next?
To be honest I am not sure. Now my portfolio is 90% personal work, so I really want to make an industry portfolio and to create a studio for the future. These are my main goals now, I am taking baby steps but everything is new and exciting story for me.
Yet another CDC image, who or what could be more punk than a rooster?! Those were my thoughts then, it was a very fun theme to play with.
Visit Cosmin Podar's website
Pick up a copy of "Mythical Beasts” and check out Cosmin's chapter on the fearsome Boggart
Read more about Cosmin's creations on his blog