In addition to designing High Tech Streets, we asked Concept Artist Fábio André Fernandes about his beginnings in the industry and the process he's since formed utilizing KitBash3D.
KitBash3D: Welcome, Fábio! Before we dive into the designs of High Tech Streets, tell us a bit about your career to-date as a concept artist...
Fernandes: My professional career as a concept artist actually started in the beginning of the year, with KitBash3D! It began with an awesome email I received on Christmas day from Maxx Burman after having met him a couple months before at an event. Something I´ll never forget and am very grateful for.
KitBash3D: Maxx is a good person to bump into, what was the event called?
Fernandes: We met at an awesome event that I never knew existed, called “We Are Playgrounds” in Eindhoven. As a result from working with the team for a couple of months and showing off some of the work done, it led me to be considered for other job interviews.
KitBash3D: What is your favorite memory working as an artist?
Fernandes: My favorite memory as a working artist? Gosh, so many... I'd say maybe the time I got my first paycheck, which made me realize this career is a dream come true! I took the paycheck and replaced my old 22 inch LG monitor. Another occasion was when me and half a dozen classmates back at FZD spent our first "all-nighter" together to deliver a SketchUp project due the next morning. Memories like these keep me energized and positive on weaker days and always push me to do better!
KitBash3D: I hope you got plenty of rest after your “all-nighter”. Can you share any insights of your artistic process with our community.
Fernandes: My process usually starts off with a keyword and a "Main mood board" that is given to me which represents the kit itself:
Fernandes: After observing and digesting the information passed on to me I'll expand more ideas on a "Design Board" with some mind maps, diagrams, writing, etc. Basically anything that helps me narrow down the scope for the team to have a look and be on the same page:
Fernandes: The quick diagrams help me understand the locations for each potential prop on a city street/block. Planters, Kiosks, Charging stations, walkways, hovering billboards, etc.
The direction of this particular kit was a bit of a challenge since the team wanted it to be a "sci-fi-ish" kit . But with the awesome vision that Darren Butler had in mind, we discussed how the kit could potentially look or even the angle we could pursue for the "visual hook". Adding a ton of holograms and borrowing from the bulky halo architecture with some beveled corners would help sell the direction we wanted for this one.
KitBash3D: Nice seeing all the detailed notes before you begin designing. What are your research methods, did you use any references?
Fernandes: My research methods are pretty much observing and understanding what is out there in terms of the scope and topic. Other intellectual properties are a good start to expand on what can be done differently.
Google, Wikipedia and/or YouTube are my main research tools to investigate the subject matter.
KitBash3D: What other tips and tricks can you share with your fellow artists?
Fernandes: I'd say the best tips I received are more mindset focused that allow the least amount of stress and the most productivity. "Learning how to learn" is a quote I love because ultimately it taught me how to overcome personal/professional barriers and “hack” my mind to achieve the results I envisioned for myself.
KitBash3D: Walk us through step-by-step how you completed this project, including behind the scenes stills and/or videos.
Fernandes: As a concept artist, it is important to find fresh ways to tackle a design and not use other IPs as reference but at the same time knowing what other products are out there and what to avoid.
As soon as all the pre planning is done, it´s reference hunting time! It's very important to observe and evaluate what an image will give you. Quality reference not quantity reference! I'd say this could be a good tip for upcoming artists!
Fernandes: After having a vague idea of what to do, I'll do a combination of rough thumbnails on paper and/or quick 3D block outs in SketchUp. I try capturing the larger shapes/functions and doing as much as I can to show my client:
Fernandes: Lastly, I'll do a clean line art pass on the concepts to flush out the details while turning off my brain and listening to some music or podcast on YouTube. Do that long enough, and eventually the auto-recommendations end up with me listening to "how to fix your neighbors' broken ceiling in Korean", (totally a flow booster right there).
KitBash3D: Who inspires you in the industry?
Fernandes: Artists and designers such as Feng Zhu, Mike Hill, Ivan Tantsiura, Yogi Soelestama, Danny Gardner… the list goes on and on. When learning, it's important for aspiring concept artists to pick only a few that truly inspire and help develop their work. Remember, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth!
KitBash3D: Lastly, why do you make art?
Fernandes: What inspires and drives me is always asking myself, how can I do better? Seeing the progress and constantly asking that question reflects in my personal life. The ability to observe and understand the world around me and how to adapt to it, pushes me forward as an individual and professional.
About Fábio André Fernandes:
Fábio André Fernandes is a Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist in the video game and film industries. When he isn't fleshing out awesome concepts, he is on his bike cycling or sharpening his cooking skills.