Now that the Holiday season is over, pixelstains.net is finally getting some fresh content up – and not just any kind of content, but perhaps the best I could wish for to kick start the New Year.
I had the pleasure to interview Darek Zabrocki, a Polish concept artist currently working at Sony Guerrilla Games.
Darek is well known for his phenomenal art skills, but also for being a helpful and giving person. He provides free art advice, critiques and does live paint-overs on a regular basis. He is a co-founder of Level Up, an educational program aimed for aspiring concept artists and illustrators.
You can read the full interview below.
1. When did you start your journey as an artist, and what led you on this path
I always liked drawing and painting. I started when I was 3 years old and I always treated it as my hobby. But as a very intensive hobby to be fair. I was drawing for 5-6 h everyday and I couldn’t stop haha. I always dreamed of being an artist working for video games and movies. In 2007 I switched from traditional medias to digital and after 2 years I started dealing with it professionally. Now I am a concept artist at Sony Guerrilla Games and I am also doing freelance work.
2. Do you use any traditional mediums? If so, which are your favorites?
Not that much anymore, but I used to a lot. I am sketching at the studio from time to time because sketching with pencil is just sketching with pencil and it gives you a lot of freedom you can’t find in any other medium. It’s like the most essential thing to start with. When you are good at drawing with traditional medias you won’t have any problems switching to tablet! I used to paint a lot with acrylic paints and these are awesome as well ☺
3. I think that you would certainly agree that there is a lot of digital art work on the market these days, how do you differentiate yours from the rest and what are your thoughts on the subject?
It’s not an easy question. I think it all comes with the style of an artist. There are many amazing artists but some of them seem to have almost the same style. I always wanted take up different subjects, stay out of my comfort zone and do many things to be as versatile and stand out from the people that specialize in one thing only. I was inspired by many people during that time and still finding a new inspiration. It’s the best way to create your own style when you learn from others, adding your own extra touch that creates a unique style. It’s also very tricky and tough but exciting at the same time.
4. What do you think is the most challenging part about being a digital artist?
Definitely the moment when you have to make your own breakthrough. It can be a happy accident and get you there quickly, you can get there qui or you have to work hard for years to get noticed. I started using digital techniques in 2007 and for years I was working on my skills trying different things but I couldn’t find a golden rule that help me break into industry till 2013 that changed my life completely. I won a contest from the US and I had a chance to go there for a week and expose my work to people abroad. It was an amazing lesson of life and it opened my eyes on many things. I was super inspired and pumped to start working harder and I was doing new daily works, finally I made my own website and I started to get big jobs from studios I always wanted to work with. As you can see there is no golden rule, I always believe that working hard is the key to everything
5. How do you promote yourself?
I just post my stuff online, I do tutorials and I keep doing Level Up! An Educational program with my friends Wojtek Fus and Jonas De Ro where I am one of the founders of. It’s very important to stay in touch with people that are following you, creating some cool contests for them and especially feed people with new works! There is nothing more beautiful than the feeling you have when you make people happy with your art ☺
6. What’s the most valuable art advice you’ve ever received?
Work Hard Play Hard-I found it somewhere and I always pass it to others. Furthermore, one day someone sent me an email and told me “Stay true to yourself and never give up” I still have these words in my mind ☺
7. Do you have any personal projects going on that you would like to share with us?
I post my Night Life pictures when I only have some time. I am planning to do some cool personal project in the future but for now this is not really possible since I am working at the studio and on freelance in the same time.
8. As a compulsive reader of art books and non-fiction, this is the question that stands closest to my heart. Could you please share the titles of your favorite art books; or some of your favorite books in general?
For art books: definitely Practical Color and Light by James Gurney! Such an amazing book that really helps you to understand colors and change your perception on many things!
9. What is an average Tuesday like in the life of Darek Zabrocki?
For now it’s just typical Tuesday so I am waking up around 8:45. Then I walk to the studio and start my job at Sony around 9:30 am. I finish my work at 18:00, after work I hit the gym for a while. Around 9pm I am back home and paint a little bit or do some other projects work. After I am done with it I am going to bed and watch some tv series, I love Hannibal lately, it’s very specific but it is a very good watch!
10. Who are your role models? Could you name three persons — dead or alive — who inspire you, or significantly influenced your life?
My Mother/Father-they always believed in me and supported me in what I was doing. Thanks to them I always had tools to paint/draw and they helped me when I felt burned out or just bored by art.
Marek Okon- polish great digital painter, thanks to him I started doing what I do these days. I discovered his works around 2005-2006 and bought my first tablet to finally switch to digital medias in 2007. It was such a great move!
I want to thank Darek for taking the time to share a little bit of his wisdom with us. I know these insights are really valuable for anyone striving to get into this industry.
If there is any more room on that piece of paper you wrote your new year’s resolution on, hopefully this interview will inspire you to stretch those art goals just a little bit further and achieve all your aspirations in 2015.
Check out Darek’s website at www.darekzabrocki.com
Darek’s YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/darozchannel
Check out the Level Up! website at http://www.fusroda.com/ — you can ask for an over-paint!
Check out also their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/levelupsessions — they have truly amazing content.