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Interview with illustrator Alex Negrea

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 16th March 2015

Freelance artist, Alex Negrea shares his path into the industry and useful portfolio advice for aspiring artists!

This was one of the first fan art pieces I did. It was also the time when I discovered Miyazaki's art. It was mind-blowing!


Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
I am a 25, close to 26 year old artist from Romania. I currently do freelance work for various companies. I draw mainly digital but I am also trying from time to time to enhance my traditional sketching skills. I get very motivated when I see hardworking people from this industry and that has been my fuel since I started doing this 5 years ago.

Tell us the story behind your artwork: What brought you into the digital art world and what software do
you use?
I used to play guitar as a hobby, but when I went to college to study informatics I didn't have room for it anymore. So one day I decided to buy a drawing tablet. I bought a pretty bad one, since I didn't know anything about tablets and such. But I think I kept it as a decoration element for more than one year. I really started drawing after I was miserably failing at the informatics college and decided to switch careers by signing up to a design college.

Failing at one college made me really motivated not to screw up again, and I've put more than 100% into practicing drawing and art. That's when I started to post on forums, asking for advice and getting motivated from the artists such as Algenpfleger, Jana, Dave Rapoza, Andrew Jones etc.

Another fan art for one of my favorite shows.

How did you learn to paint digitally?
I still consider that I am learning! I don't know all I want to know in this field yet and I think it's impossible to know everything. But to answer your question, I learned by drawing a lot. No matter how bad the drawings were, I kept on picturing my idols and what they did in order to achieve their skill level. I can't thank them enough for the inspiration that they gave me back then and now! I would love to represent one day for the artists starting out, what they represented for me when I started!

This is a special card for me, because I chose to portray my wife as the main focus.

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
So far I was working with Applibot, and they were allowing the artists to post the artworks in a short time frame on the internet. So most of my recent work is up online, but it's a style that is not representing me, even though I did it. So I am trying to do personal paintings, to explore more and find myself in my artwork.

If you are posting images in a certain style, that doesn't represent you, you end up doing something that you don't really like, and what's the worst, other future clients will see that and hire you to do the same style. So if you are doing this already, be careful! I recently was in a really bad place with art, because I was doing too much of what others told me to do and too little of what I really wanted to do.

This was supposed to be a Gypsy thief/assassin.

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Algenpfleger, Jana Schirmer, Vitaly Bulgarov, Kekai Kotaki, Craig Mullins, Dave Rapoza, Dan LuVisi, Wes Burt, HR Giger, Brom, Iain McCaig, Scott Robertson, Kim Jung Gi, Dylan Cole, Coro, Jason Chan, Jaime Jones, Brad Rigney, Alejandro Mirabal, Adrian Wilkins, Melanie Meier, Max Verehin, Chuvabak, Zoonoid, Ross Gramms, Atey Ghailan, Velinov, Oxan, Bjorn Hurri, James Zapata, Trevor Claxton, Min Yum, and so on!

These are the guys on top of my head right now, but I am sure I forgot some big names! Most of them I appreciate because they have a clear goal in their head and they pursue it no matter what. These give me the fuel to push harder and try to do more than them (even though I fail miserably).

It was really fun to paint this one. Wish I knew how to paint snakes better.

What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skill set, and why?
I am already playing around with ZBrush. I think it's really fun and intuitive. I will want to implement it into my workflow because I can do some things super fast in it that would usually take me a lot of time in 2D. So basically because it's fun and it's fast!

Sometimes I like to step away from client work and just do studies. This is one of them.

Related links:

Check out Alex Negrea's personal site
Interested in 2D art? Visit Layerpaint
Get your hands on a copy of Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements

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