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Milan Maksimović: concept artist & illustrator interview

Milan Maksimović

Freelance Concept Artist & Illustrator

“I found my purpose in visual art, in creating the perfect moment, capturing a specific kind of atmosphere and bringing something new to life.” Learn more about Milan Maksimović’s art story so far…

Milan's ArtStation

3dtotal

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located? Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Milan

I'm Milan Maksimović, 23 years old, a Serbian concept artist and illustrator working in the field of games and animation. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design at the Faculty of Philology and Arts, University of Kragujevac. Currently, I am on master studies of Graphic Design.

Ever since a child, I have always been drawing. Cartoons and animated movies have had a huge influence on me. In the beginning, it was only copying cartoon and movie characters in my sketchbook which I brought with me everywhere. Somewhere along the way of replicating art, I started producing my own. Illustrating different objects, both real and imaginary, became more than a hobby. I found my purpose in visual art, in creating the perfect moment, capturing a specific kind of atmosphere and bringing something new to life. To be able to create something like that became my goal. So I did not have a hard time choosing my profession.

wealthy city castle environment sketch draw
The biggest and wealthiest city of all in the world of Hammerdale. I've used various visual elements and compositing rules to guide the viewer's eye to the focal point, the city.

3dtotal

What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?

Milan

As my final exam project for a Master's degree diploma, I decided to visually develop an RPG game with everything that goes with it: environment design, character design, posters, banners, UI/UX, and so on. Yeah, it seems like a huge project, but I am working hard to pull it off. At the same time, I am developing my skills, learning new things, and upgrading my portfolio. I started exploring the world of my RPG game by firstly creating environments. One of those environments is The Romrod.

The creation process for this artwork is pretty straightforward. I had a basic idea that I want to create a huge and wealthy city, the capital of the kingdom that every inhabitant of that world admires. I spent some time searching and gathering references for my work and generated a series of sketches. I picked one that I was satisfied with and continued to work on it in black-and-white. Once I was satisfied with composition and values, I introduced basic colors by using gradient maps. After that I started heavy painting, adding more details, fixing some things that didn’t work at first until I was happy with how it looked. I primarily wanted this artwork to have a more painterly look, therefore, I left some loose brush strokes here and there.

stone environment 2d illustration

3dtotal

What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?

Milan

I am always trying to learn something new from every artwork or project I do, and to expand my knowledge and skills. Capturing the right atmosphere is always an ongoing challenge for me, as it is something that makes good artwork, a great artwork. If I had to answer what is the greatest thing about any painting my answer would be atmosphere as it is something that binds a viewer to the artwork emotionally.

3dtotal

Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?

Milan

Yes, of course. I am using every tool that speeds up my creative process. Mainly I use Photoshop but I also use Blender, 3D-Coat, Octane, Keyshot, and ZBrush depending on what I am working on in the given moment. Knowing how to use multiple programs is important in order to be efficient as time is the main concern in any production.

3dtotal

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

Milan

I'm constantly exploring new tools, technologies, and online courses. I consider myself as a constant student and willing to explore as much as I can in order to improve my art. Learning different techniques and approaches, and at the same time creating unique and original artworks is my recipe for keeping the portfolio up-to-date. Furthermore, I see the chance of developing a portfolio by working on personal projects in my spare time, since the projects that I am working on for clients are usually confidential.

reptile raptors 2d illustration

3dtotal

Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?

Milan

I am a member of numerous groups on Facebook where I share my work. The community in those groups is very supportive, and I am constantly getting feedback and positive critiques on something that could be improved in my pieces. Besides, every day I see a bunch of inspirational and mind-blowing works from other people, which motivates me to work harder. Some of the groups that I am a member of are Level Up!, Concept Art and Illustration, and Loish’s digital art group.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Milan

To become accomplished in what I aim for requires hard work and dedication, which I am more than happy to do. I believe I have to offer a lot to the world and wish to become the best I can possibly be. Considering the fact that my main areas of interest are concept art and illustration, I anticipate great improvement and expansion of knowledge in those areas, in terms of my abilities. Somewhere in the future, I would like to start my own studio that will produce inspiring and innovative animated movies.

scenery 2d illustrated painting

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Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

Milan

I was always inspired by the artworks of Franco-Belgian comic artists (Uderzo, André Franquin, Moris)  and Impressionists (Monet, Pissaro); they had a huge influence on me so I started creating my artworks using a vibrant and colorful palette. These are some of the artists that come to my mind at this moment: Slawek Fedorczuk, Jama, Eytan Zana, Nico Marlet, Piotr Jablonski, Nicolas Weis. There are loads of excellent artists that I skipped to mention here that are inspiring for me.

nature scenery 2d digital art

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Milan

My main goal, for now, is to finish my ambitious final exam project for my Master's degree diploma. So basically you can expect plenty of new environments and character designs related to that project. Stay tuned!

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