Artist Journey: concept artist Mert Genccinar

Mert Genccinar

Concept Artist

Turkish concept artist Mert Genccinar outlines his journey so far, from a fine arts school to self-learning the digital tools of the trade. Find out more…

Mert's Artstation


Thank you for sharing your journey so far with our readers. Let’s begin: please introduce yourself and let us know how long ago your journey started? What drew you to art? Any early influences?


Hi and thanks for the interview. My name is Mert; I am a freelance concept artist and illustrator living in Turkey, currently working with a wide range of clients (for a feature and some short films in development, commercial matte painting concepts, illustrations for board games and digital games). Like all artists before me, my journey started in my childhood. I don’t have any siblings and as an only child of a small family, paper and pencil was my sandbox. I was always amazed by the covers of fantasy novels, artworks of games and movies, so I started to imitate them with my twists and narratives. The internet was a luxury in Turkey in those years so my main inspiration was video-game magazines: it was like a published social media and writers of the magazines talked about fantasy/sci-fi novels to popular movies, cult films to newly released Rock/Metal albums…

In those pages I saw the artworks of Frazetta, Todd Lockwood, Brom, Giger, and many, many other masters! It was a new world introduced to me, I can’t thank them enough! The masters living now or passed away are the beacons for me. And it was just beginning; it opened the door of legendary painters for me: I met master Goya’s works at the age of 12. Fell in love with all of them.

sci-fi atmospheric design 3d environment art


What training or learning did you do in those beginning stages? Could you see your progression?


After discovering famous painters and fantasy/sci-fi illustrators I decided to go the Fine Arts University after high-school. After the exam, I was accepted to the Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty, Painting. But something was missing; the digital mindset of industry, experience of workflows and pipelines isn’t there. It was a little disappointing for me but I understand the nature of the Fine Art and Academy, so while studying there I focused on learning 3D and started learning 3ds Max.

I didn’t want to take any special classes or lessons for it so I just leaped with a self-taught mindset. I learned a ton of fundamental art lessons in 3D software with experimenting: planes of geometry, lighting behavior and color logic was a huge help for my bad painting and drawing skills. Even a bad screen grab from a 3D viewport was better than my humble drawing attempts so I figured out I needed to move from there.

I applied at some local game companies and joined a small indie studio as an unpaid intern just for learning the ropes. Thankfully they gave me a small space and let me hang out with them. I met very talented people in there! For months I did 3D models and base renders for concept artists in there. But I started to feel tired, and still something was missing! So I left the studio after a while and decided to be a concept artist and illustrator, because I can use any tricks up my sleeve in those disciplines and it leaves room for the creativity that I desire and have been seeking since the beginning.

Since then, I am self taught! I bought some books from 3dtotal and read the interviews of the amazing artists! Used social media for contacting them, learning from them and if they have any tutorials just bought/read/watched them. It opened the door for me. Now I knew what I wanted most and which path I should take.

The rest was simple; I bought a cheap tablet and followed the tutorials, found artists that I admire, shared my works and always focused on being better than before. I listened to critiques and learned from failures. I still have a similar mindset, it helps me a lot.

It’s a cliche but true: it’s a lifetime path of searching and learning, understanding your personality and focusing on what you enjoy most.

Viking cave traveller warrior man under land environment design


What are you still working on improving (if anything) - or have you reached a point of high consistency? Do you have any tips for keeping it fresh?


I am not happy with my anatomy skills. I mostly prefer environments and enjoy them but I really love drawing characters too! But live model drawing is the key for that knowledge so you need some space or atelier/studio for it. After this crazy pandemic ends, I will join a live drawing model group when I have time. I am really looking forward to it!

For the environments, I always keep away from comfort zone. If I made a snowy scene, I will make a sandy one next. So I can’t say I have mastered my environment skills, but I am challenging myself with different settings and compositions. It’s keeping my mind fresh, my curiosity alive, and gives me the energy of constantly learning new things. I am a curious person and I enjoy the process a lot!


What advice would you give to any of our readers who are just beginning their journey now?


Gadgets are a little bit overrated. So don’t limit yourself to what you have. Master artists in our industry didn’t have the top notch systems back when I discovered them. Their average PC specs were worst than today’s ordinary phones. Make use of everything you have! This makes you “SPECIAL”!

You have to make it every day. Even if you don’t have energy or interest, or have a hard time to find a thrilling topic for yourself, just sit down to your table and look at your last artwork. Don’t take any action just look and think how could you make it better. It’s the same as the working. Helps a ton!

Art block is a misunderstanding. If you feel exhausted or can’t find anything thrilling, that means either your character is changing or you’re just tired of the things you consume. Try something new ASAP! If you play same game over and over again, your visual library will only have that information. Get rid of it and start new adventures. Make radical changes in your daily habits. And don’t forget to take a break.

If you don’t like the process, the final artwork will reflect that. People tend to see the passion in your work, it’s an evolutionary outcome. Even if they don’t have any art basics or knowledge, they will see and admire your hard work. Be honest to yourself.

Finally, be patient and consistent. This is a marathon, not a race.

sand pyramids stone sunny enclosed environment hot


Have any of 3dtotal’s published books been useful in your development?


More than anything! I bought the Digital Painting Techniques Vol 1, Vol 2 and Vol 3 back in the day. There were amazing Turkish artists I was introduced to, and it gave me hope and direction for what I wanted in my life. Also tons of masters in our area giving tips to tutorials! I am still going back to those interviews and tips. There is so much information, I can still find a new knowledge or a solution for a problem I am having. Can’t thank the publishing family enough!

sci fi base building illustration design art


What can we expect to see from you next?


I was always a huge fan of Dark Fantasy and Cosmic Horror genres. So lately I decided to focus on them, but mostly sci-fi/horror with cosmic horror elements. I have tons of fun while making them so surely there will be more!

I’m also working with amazing clients overseas but I am under NDA so when the time comes with my clients permission and blessings, I will share them! Very excited for it!

dark village atmospheric night time horse traveller art

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