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Artist Spotlight: Igor Puskaric

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
For example: where are you from, where do you live, do you have any formal education or are you self-taught, etc.
Hello, my name is Igor Puskaric, I was born in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. (eastern Europe). I have never had any formal education in terms of art or any digital software creation tools. All my current technical knowledge is acquired over the years of experimenting, passion to persist against the odds sometimes, and some very kind and generous people who have helped me with advice and direction and of course a large number of tutorials. I spread my wings to 2D, 3D, concepting, design, modeling, animation and 3D printing.

2)What experiences influenced your artwork? Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
2)I was always open to ideas and potential of everything that surrounds me. My imagination was flowing through me in one way or another since forever, however, my biggest influence I can remember was Cartoon Network in general, then the first Alien movie, and after that when I was introduced to video games, I was sold immediately. I had never before seen so much professional knowledge and talent merged into one single creation. And everything I saw, made me think wow, I love this, or wow I would make this so much different. I just felt engaged, not just by playing, but also by understanding how it all worked, mechanics of design, approach, measure and functionality. Also, then I knew I wasn't alone in this world in general. My ideas are something that simply comes to me with a sense for shapes and intricacy, but I cannot deny that I am very influenced by every game and movie I have ever experienced.

3) Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How do you create your artwork? Do you sketch an idea first or do you keep the design in your head until you're finished?
For my own designs, I don't have a procedure that is set in stone. This also depends on what I am going for, is it 2D or 3D, traditional or digital, or if there is a pre-determined design goal. Most frequently I play with shapes randomly and loosely, and I always have a general idea in my mind only. Many times I get to a certain point where I test out a new idea and it becomes much more interesting than the original idea, so I just make a design detour and create a completely different concept than originally intended. I love these cases because they entertain me quite a lot. My favorite way of concepting is straight to 3D and I prefer Zbrush, unless I work with low poly specifically, then 3D Max is better imo. This gives me more overall immediate control and awareness of all angles of the model. And it is way more fun. Here is the example of one design I did this way: YouTube video.

For presentation I like to use 3D Max Vray renders in a studio-like setup which is always different in terms of environment and light position and values, depending on how I experiment with it.
After that I do after work in Photoshop, to remove the overly perfect and unnatural look you get with renders and CGI in general.

4) When or how did you decide to get into digital artwork? Did you start with traditional media first or did you jump right into the digital world?
4a) What tools do you use to create your artwork?

Naturally, back when I was a small child, traditional was all we had. No internet, no computers, pen and paper ruled! Later, my life lead me in completely non-artistical directions, but I never gave up on my passions. I spent more than 10 years doing jobs I dislike, and only thing good about it were the great people I met and worked with and some priceless life experiences and lessons. As for my transition to digital art, I was what you may call a late bloomer, I started with digital art 5 years ago, when a group of my 5 close friends collected money to buy me a small Genius drawing tablet, while I was still working at a shipyard as a pipe fitter. The best gift ever and I still use it today. I am forever grateful for that! It is so old, I can hardly find drivers for it. :D For my work I use Zbrush, 3D Max, Photoshop, After Effects, Xnormal, nDo, Camtasia, VideoMach and whatever else comes to be of use for a specific purpose, sometimes just a wooden pencil!

5) What made you decide to submit your artwork to the DeviantArt galleries?
I guess, there was no competition in my immediate surroundings, It was so widespread that even some of my non-artsy friends over-heard something about it. One other thing, Deviant art is very welcome to all levels of art so it wasn't intimidating like some other super pro sites... At that time I didn't even know how good, or how bad I was. Also, my first uploads were full of fear that someone would steal my work, since the internet itself was new and uncharted territory to me. I now consider Deviant Art my artist home.

6) What piece of artwork are you most proud of? Why?
I am always most proud of my most recent artwork, because it contains the most new ideas and experiences accumulated over the years. I never repair or improve my existing work, unless it is for a job or a commission. When it is done, it is done, sealed in time.

7) What keeps you motivated when things don't seem to be going your way? What are some challenges you've faced in your career?
I always know what I am about, I just do what makes me happy, and that is creating. Surrounding conditions will always change, many times beyond my control. I am also aware of the fact that life is never a straight line, It simply must go up and down, I try not to make it a too serious concern, if possible. The largest challenges were the ones where I quickly needed new knowledge that I didn't have at that time. And I was blessed with fantastic people who gave me their time and support to let me learn and grow. I owe them my life as a 3D artist, and I always try to help others like they helped me. Also there were periods when I couldn't earn enough money and I had to rely on my parents, which showed me how important it is to have a loving environment to support you in a vision they themselves do not possess or understand. Sometimes it was tough but you must hold on, sometimes private life can mess you up professionally. If your art comes from your heart and it always should, than you must ensure the soul is free, kind, open and healthy.

8) Do you accept commissions from people who enjoy your artwork?
8a) If you do accept commissions, have you worked for worked for many clients? How does your creative process differ when making your own artwork compared to making artwork for a client?
Yes, I do, however I sometimes get overflown and I cannot take more than 1 at a time, specially because of my dedicated work with Taitale studios. Other than that, I always work close with my client and I prefer to give my best to every project I am involved with. If I would take 3 bigger projects I would explode. Aside from my regular job I have worked for around 10 clients so far, not many I guess.
8a) Well, when I design my stuff, I am totally free in terms of design language. I can make an elephant ladybug with chocolate wheels on its forehead doing pushups with its chest hairs, just for the fun of it. But when you have client, it mostly means a designated frame and you must obey its limits, and you cannot go 200% wild but it is still really interesting. I learn something new every single time, plus I sometimes do things I myself never thought I could, If I hadn't been influenced by my boss or client. Pushing the limits is the key to having fun and good personal and professional growth.

9) How do you handle criticism of your artwork?
I am always thankful. No criticism, no learning. However, I never repair my existing personal work, but rather transfer the learned stuff to a new creation. This is how I can see my progress as the time goes. You must remove your ego a bit and you will be ok, as long as it is a real constructive criticism from people who actually know what they are talking about.

10) What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists who want to improve their artwork?
Follow your vision, copy only for learning, never steal, be careful who your friends are, learn from the best, learn from the worst, help others and learn from them, always give your best, take risks, explore.

11) Some people claim that digital art isn't "real art" mainly because it's made with software programs. How would you respond to this?
I suppose this attitude derives from their unfamiliarity with the digital medium. For some reason they hold a belief that you just push a button and BAM an amazing 60 million polygon swamp monster appears on the screen just like that. To be perfectly logical, tools are what they are. Tools. Far more advanced, but still tools. I personally think that some old and famous painters would have killed to have had Photoshop, Zbrush, 3D printing technology and such. They didn't paint for months or carved stone for years because it was a romantic ride. They did it because the technology was limited and they were genius enough, and devoted enough to master it. I think that traditional art is wonderful in its own right, but to oppose it so violently against digital medium is way overly romanticised.
A good artist will do good art with any medium of individual choice.

12) What are some of your more notable achievements? Have you been published in a magazine or exhibited your artwork at an art festival or gallery?
Back when I was a child, I was published once in a museum in some school project, cant remember the details, but in the digital era I have been published once in a Croatian magazine Enter for my bug illustration, It was not nearly my best work, but I was really proud of it! I also had one set of gallery exhibits in my hometown, that was awesome too. But, my most treasured achievement is when I went to USA with my team to promote our game Novus Aeterno at PAX. An amazing experience I will never forget. Twice!!!

13) Any other comments or anything else you'd like to say?
Never give up and brainstorm every day. Sounds cheesy but it is true beyond belief. And I wish to thank you very much for approaching me and all the people who supported me so far, I will always do my best to justify their belief in me when I had nothing but potential to offer. That will always mean a lot!

You can see more of Igor's work at: IggyDesigns.DeviantArt, YouTube, and Shapeways.


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