The Constant Student: Self-Taught Artist Stefan Kostic

by Joshua Diokno   

Stefan Kostic is set to go places. At the young age of 27, he produced an outstanding online portfolio. One look at his body of work and you can easily see the uncompromising technique, care for detail, and undeniable talent. And what’s surprising is that Stefan is a self-taught artist, inspired only by his love of the Fantasy genre and video games.

His discipline is noteworthy as he goes out of his way to keep learning day by day. To Stefan, no time is wasted. he makes the best of the time he avails for himself. Stefan knows that while he already has a grasp of the grasp, he can always do better; be better. And this is the kind of mindset that artists, green or tenured should adopt.

Xeno Creatives is more than honored to have had the chance of interviewing an artist like Stefan Kostic. We invite you to get to know him here.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, the 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?

Stefan Kostic (SK): I’ve been drawing ever since I was little. I liked art since I can remember. I always had a passion for it. I could say it’s a “calling”.

It has always been a dream of mine to do art for living, but life kind of steered me onto a different path. So I forgot about art at some point in my life. Many years later, I rediscovered my passion for it and started seriously learning and building my knowledge from scratch.

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who bolstered your interest in 3D art and motivated you to enter the space? When did you get involved fully in the industry?

SK: I can’t pick just one. Fantasy was always my favorite genre to look at and create, may it be in the form of cartoons, movies, and of course, video games.

I was always mesmerized by the art in all those media. I enjoy tons of artists’ works but just to name a few, I’ll have to go with Ahmed Aldoori, Christophe Young, Wlop, Steven Zapata, Jodie Muir, and Sinix. I especially love the work of concept artists and fantasy illustrators. Also the art from “Magic the Gathering,” is just so amazing to look at!

I’m not involved in the industry yet. It’s still in progress.

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

SK: As mentioned, I’m not a part of the industry yet. I’m currently focused on learning and gaining skills. I did do a few commissions, but I am looking forward to some freelancing jobs and full studio work at some point. We’ll see how it goes.

XC: How does your day look like in production?

SK: Since I have a full-time job in another industry right now, I try to squeeze out as much free time as I can to focus on drawing and painting.

So during the work days, I spend around 4-5 hours painting, while on weekends I push even more – around 8 hours, sometimes even up to 10. During work days, since the current job is a standard 9 to 5, when I get back home I start as soon as I feel rested and then work until late in the evening. On the weekends I tend to spread sessions in chunks of around 3 hours, but overall I feel like I’m more focused and productive in the late evenings. That feeling of everything calming down in the night kind of puts me in the zone easier.

XC: What are the common challenges that a 3D artist like you encounters daily in a project?

SK: As I’m mostly focused on learning, I’d say challenges come from there as well. I do try to give myself deadlines like when I post on social media. I do this to get deadlines into my comfort zone, but they do present a challenge from time to time.

Also, some of the commissions I have done did come as challenges. When the piece doesn’t go well, me just submitting because the client demands it. Had some frustrations with them but I managed to push through with most of them.

XC: We have seen your works on ArtStation and we find them to be impressive. While we can see the influence of other media and known icons, there is an originality in your work that cannot be denied.

SK: Ah thank you very much! I’ve been doing portraits a lot recently! I find them very challenging but also really fun and rewarding! Also, since I love the fantasy genre so much, I recently dove into some Fantasy character design as well.

I wouldn’t use the word, favorite. I love each piece that I make as each one of them taught me something and allowed me to progress. It’s hard to pick a few, but here are some that I’m very proud of:

“Vea” – I gathered only the things I deemed appealing and crafted an original character from them, and I’m quite proud of it!
“Warlita” – I enjoyed rendering every single little detail in it
“Dryad” – I started pushing outside reference with this one, bringing my sense of appeal into my pieces

XC: Do you have any favorite works? If so, why are these your favorites?

SK: Probably the fantasy streak of paintings that I have been doing lately. With each one, I’m trying to design and add my appeal to them.

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

SK: I’d say rendering. I love to sit for hours and just carefully render each little thing. Rendering human anatomy and forms is probably my favorite thing to do. I’m also interested in doing some monster designs soon as you can go wild with anatomy there!

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

SK: Still not a full-time artist, but I’m working towards it. I’m currently working as Software Engineer, so if I wasn’t pursuing an art career, I would’ve probably just settled for doing that.

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

SK: Just keep doing what you love! Learning to love the process more than the result itself. It makes everything so much more enjoyable. I’d recommend everyone to at least try to adopt this mindset.

Want to see more of Stefan Kostic’s works? Click here!

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