Alex Negrea is a professional illustrator and concept artist from Romania. Alex changed the course of his studies to focus on concept art and digital illustration and was soon able to boast clients such Volta Canada, Crytek, Applibot Inc. and Gameloft Romania. Alex tells us about his journey as an artist, how he progressed, and what keeps him inspired.
Hi Alex, thanks for chatting with 2dartist today! First, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your background in digital art? Where did it all begin?
Hi! Thanks for having me. My whole career started out of desperation I think. I was studying at a Computer Science College and I was really bad at it. After one year I was pretty sure that I had no future in this field, so I started looking for other options. That option was art.
I went to a design college hoping that I could study there and fortunately the admission was done without a test or portfolio. And that was really my first step into this. Since it was the second college I was attending, I promised myself that I'd have to do this super hardcore, no matter what!
Recently, some friends and I have been doing challenges between us with a picked topic. This was my entry and it's supposed to be a zombie hunter
What was it about the digital tools that made you want to pursue a career in the industry?
Every few months I do a self portrait with a mirror to practice drawing from life
I was actually thinking about this recently. If it wasn't for digital tools I probably wouldn't draw; or at least not on a professional level. The main reason I like digital is that it is a forgiving medium. It's easy to change or undo in an easy way. And the second thing that makes it more appealing is that it's way cheaper than the traditional medium.
But when I started I was approaching the digital medium from a wrong angle. I was a super fan of Andrew Jones and seeing his creations made me think that it was the software that created them, or at least a huge part of it is due to the software. When I tried it myself I realized that I'd still have to know the basics of art, so that's why I started studying the fundamentals really hard.
This was done for a challenge with my friends
Where do you draw your inspiration from? What influences your work and motivates you?
I do a lot of studies of armor and anatomy, and this is the way I combine everything into original designs. I try to do them daily
I get motivated by everything. If it's a success story I want to hear it! One of the first success stories was Algenfpfleger's. He was my main motivation for a long time. The way that he was breaking up the learning process and the intensity that he was doing it at was super inspiring for a beginner artist like me.
But I absorb motivation from every field. I like to listen to TED Talks, watch documentaries, and listen to celebrity biographies, sports and so on. I don't really need inspiration if I have motivation. I realized I can draw whatever I set my mind to if I put the effort into learning the "why” or the "how” of the subject.
Could you choose one of your favorite past images (that you've created) and explain a little about its creation, and why it's your favorite?
I don't have a favorite image from my gallery. It's because I get tired of them before they are even finished. I like to compare it with the desktop background changing routine. You can see an image and really like it for just a couple of days. After that the magic goes away and you have to change it for a new one.
But process-wise almost all my images follow these steps:
1. Lineart sketch ‒ finding out the composition and solving the design of the image
2. Research ‒ once I figure out at step 1 what I need to study I start doing studies and research about the subject
3. Apply all the knowledge from step 2 into the image
The way I see every artwork is as a collection of small problems. If you solve them all you might get a good image.
Here are the steps that I do when I am about to draw pretty much everything. Lineart, blockin, render and final touches
Another image done for a challenge among friends
This image was the first successful image I ever did. It was like this because I have spent a lot of time researching how to render everything you see in it