On Overcoming and Rising Above: How Mr. Pankaj Kumar Emerged as a Promising Digital Artist

by Joshua Diokno   

Working as a Digital Artist for 4 years, Mr. Pankaj Kumar can no longer see himself being in any other industry. He had prevailed, emerged as something that he had been wanting to be for years despite the many hurdles put on his way. Mr. Kumar admits that choosing to be in the arts in country such as India is a challenge, if not an outright impossibility. And through all the odds, he had emerged wiser and more able. Bereft of pride, he admits that he has yet to find his place in the industry and that he has a lot to learn.

One look at Mr. Kumar’s works online tells us that this artist has true talent and knowing that he humble enough to say that he has plenty to work on, ultimately humbles us—makes us want to be better.

Through this feature, Mr. Kumar shares his experiences and wisdom to inspire others who would want to become part of the Digital Arts industry.

Xeno Creatives (XC):  We understand that with just about any craft, passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling” as a lot of your contemporaries do?

Pankaj Kumar (PK): I have an interest in Art, video game, cartoons, movies, and series since childhood. I have been drawing inspired by comic books and comic strips in newspapers. By the time it had become a passion for me and I wanted to join an art school, but was not able to do so due to me being handicapped. Travelling was an issue for me. I am from a small city and internet was not everywhere and also expensive for my parents. I had no option. With time, the interest faded away.

After a few years, my parents bought a computer for me, which was the first computer in our family and I was very happy to finally have one. I eventually learned how to use the computer. Alongside this, I learned paint and Photoshop on my own to create art.

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who served as a catalyst for your involvement in the craft? When did you get involved fully in the 3D industry?

PK: As I mentioned before, I have an interest in the art field. I used to watch lot of cartoon series and played video games. My favorite game was “God of War”. That game and its main character “Kratos” inspired me a lot. After this, my interest grew and I started thinking about learning about 3D art. After finishing high school, I started looking for an art institute but none could be found in the city that I resided in.

After a few months, my younger brother attended a seminar from the Picasso Animation College in my town. My brother then told me about this college. This inspired hope for me but was difficult for me to get admission for because they wanted me go to their main office and take an entrance exam. However, I was not able to move there at that time. So I requested for online entrance exam which they agreed to. While I did pass the exam, I felt it was not enough. My most difficult personal issue my handicap alongside making my parents believe that I will survive in another state for 4 years on my own. I thought about it a lot and decided to push myself and accept it as a challenge.

Long story short, I was able to move to begin my study. I struggled 4 years on my own and with the help of some really good friends. After graduating, I started work as a freelancer which I still do up to this point.

XC:  Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have pegged a solid place in it?

PK: I don`t think that I have pegged a solid place in this industry. I still have a lot to learn and I recognize that I have to do more. 

I believe that the more you get involved, the more you will realize that you don’t know anything, but I am trying my best.

XC: How does your day look like in production?

PK: I currently work as a freelancer at home. Mostly I do 3D work for 3D printing.

From my clients, I receive specifications for creating concept art. Afterward, I search for references related to the project. Mostly, I do work in ZBrush which is a superb 3D software.

I start creating 3D concept art from scratch. First I try basic shapes then I do quick retopology with ZRemesher, a very useful tool in ZBrush. Then, I do the UV mapping process. After that, I do projections then try to achieve secondary and third for where I do all the detailing parts. Once I do the modelling part, I move on to Polypaint in ZBrush. I love to do hand painting for both coloring and texturing work. Upon completion of modelling and texturing, I cut the model into some separate pieces then prepare it for the 3D printing process.

XC:  What are the common challenges that a 3D artist like you encounters day-in, day-out in a project?

PK: Every project has a different art style and workflow. What that means is each has its own problems. To create good art, there are many challenges behind it. When I encounter difficulty in any project, I try to do a lot of research through Google, YouTube, and other website. But I think if we go through it step by step, we can easily move forward. While doing any project, it’s very important to give our best and keep trying.

XC: It’s such a delight to see your works online. Your creature concepts are endearing. But among your works, do you have favorite pieces? If so, what would these be and why? Also, what would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

PK: Thank you! Your appreciation of my work means a lot. In my work collection, I like them all but one of my favorite pieces is the recent one I did as a Fan art from the game “Apex Legends” Octane character with game asset and create a full scene with this character, which was my own Idea. Whatever quality I achieved was a result of self-study. I learned from YouTube and other websites tutorials. This personal project was really fun for me as I learned a lot. It gave me more confidence to create more projects and be better than what I am already capable of.

I want to learn more from industry professionals and join online courses. But for now, these are bit expensive for me. Maybe in future I would finally be able to learn from other artists. I am huge fan of Rafael Grassetti.

XC: If you were to market yourself what would you highlight as your edge?

PK: I love to do 3D work for 3D printing. I give my best in all pieces that I work on. I will keep pushing myself every day to further my skills. I like to face new challenges and experiment with art.

XC:  What is your message to other artists especially in these trying times?

PK: I believe that people are losing their faith. I would advise them to keep working hard and never lose hope. No matter how many times you fail, always keep trying; we have to learn from our mistakes. If you are working on any project, try to do research, keep references, and follow other professional artists as it helps a lot.

In India, many parents don’t accept this field easily; it is still growing here. As such, there are less successful artists in our country. Maybe it is the reason parents don’t want their child to go to this field.

I understand it is a bit hard, but you can convince them, nothing is impossible. If you want, you can find a way to do it. Be passionate and work hard.

XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?

PK: Honestly, I never thought of being anything else rather than being an artist. So if I was not a 3D artist, I think I would be a Gamer.

Want to see more of Mr. Pankaj Kumar’s awesome works? Click here!

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