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Today we bring you an interview with Hrvoje Beslic, a talented Croatian digital painter. Hrvoje's work features some stunning character designs that are rich in detail and color. In our interview Hrvoje discusses how it was only natural to transition from drawing on paper to digitally painting, and also how he created one of his best works. Be sure to check out this great interview with an interesting artist.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?
Hello everyone. My Name is Hrvoje Beslic and I come from Croatia. I have graduated the school of civil engineering and art academy. I actually found out about digital painting and character design by accident when I stumbled upon some amazing art on Internet. I had no previous knowledge that people make these amazing concepts for movies, games, books and whatnot, and in school no one introduced us to it. But nonetheless I was just drawn to that type of art immediately and started basically relearning to draw.
Q From looking at your portfolio we see that it is mostly made up of paintings. What exactly draws you to that specific style instead of say photo-manipulation, or abstract design?
I love to draw and that's what steered me to that style. I also love matte painting, I think its amazing but it requires a large database of photos which I do not have, and there are of course authorship right violations when using other peoples photos, so I stick to drawing it all myself. Also I never had a pc growing up, I only got my first pc few years back so most of the time I've spent drawing it was on paper and I think its natural to continue that on the computer. After all the only difference is in media you use, instead of canvas there's a screen.
Q A lot of your paintings feature beautiful scenery shots of mystical lands, what would you say is your favorite type of scene to paint and why?
I like to paint everything, but of course fantasy type is dominant in my work. I also enjoy sci-fi and a combination of the two. As for environments I like to paint, its probably mountain type areas, but I do compress different types of environments into one scene. As for why I like mountainous terrains, well where I live there are none so I guess that's a part of it. But I will try and paint anything really because it only adds to experience even if it doesn't turn out as good as you hoped. I also like battle scenes, or anticipation of such, they are always fun to draw.
Q Since many of your paintings are character creations it's fitting to ask what you think are some important factors to creating an original but still interesting looking character?
I'd like to know the answer to that question as well. But I guess you have to start from yourself, would you like that armor included, for instance, a movie or a game. I like using patterns to make armor more shiny and cool. Linking armor into set is important in my opinion, it makes it visually more pleasing then armor that has no visual connection between its parts. So repeating an element or style will achieve that. But it boils down to just trying it out and seeing if it works, if it doesn't take the best parts from it, remember them and apply them to another piece.
Q Painting "P46" features some interesting imagery and great character development. Please walk us through the process of creating this great painting.
Well in this painting I wanted to draw a knight standing on top of some sort of cliff with the forest spreading beneath her. The sort of thing where you can say "I can see my house from here". I usually split my works into 3 layers, 1st plan- 2nd plan- background, there is no real benefit from that except that I can control values a lot faster then if I had to make masks or paint. I just move sliders for particular layers to make it darker or lighter. I tried to make cool looking shield with a dragon in middle to be a focal point of the painting, and a girl in more winter type clothing. I used warmer colors on her to separate her from background which is cold and cool. I don't start with black and white rendering and then color it, I start directly with color. It may be a bit more difficult than gray scale but it has more benefits.
Q What do you think is your biggest challenge in terms of your paintings? Have you overcome this obstacle yet? If so tell us how.
Speed. I often get caught up in meaningless details that make no difference to the overall piece. Also I had issues with color, they were muddy and quite poor in terms of the palette. I had lots of help from amazing Croatian artist Stjepan Sejic. He really helped me to get better. But at the end of the day everyone can help you only so much, it comes down to you and willingness to get better. The more you draw, the more mental maps you make, make each successive piece easier because you have already done that. I think getting better is a lifelong process, and no one truly overcomes all their obstacles, you will always think you could have done a better job.
Q All digital painters use tablets when designing, so tell us what tools you use to create your amazing paintings? What does your specific equipment bring to your design that you wouldn't get with another tablet?
I use Photoshop cs 5 and wacom intuos4 which I got this year. Before that I had very cheap Trust graphic tablets. Intuos is a whole lot more precise which allows me to stay zoomed out for a very long time. That makes things a lot easier and better I think. One bad thing of intuos4 is tips wearing off very fast. There is also great pressure sensitivity of wacom tablet, which gives you the ability of gesture painting, making things look more natural and fluid.
Q Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thank You for having me. As for final thoughts all I can say is keep faith in yourself and you're abilities. There will always be people who will say you are not good enough or that you are wasting you're time. Use that as incentive to get better, keep practicing and you will get better. Always accept constructive criticism it can only help you even if you don't like what you hear. At the end of the day doing what you love is the most important thing.