Soviet Blocks: Behind the Render
With Soviet Blocks, our latest 3D asset kit, you can recreate the industrialized dwellings of Cold War era cities or build alternate realities with constructivist-inspired architecture. To give a taste of what’s possible with the kit, we turned to our good friend Danar Worya, a freelance Senior Concept Artist and Illustrator whose work includes titles like Call of Duty, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Horizon Forbidden West, and the critically acclaimed The Last of Us Part II. After designing the cover art for the new kit, Danar spoke with us about his creative process and the importance of staying true to yourself as an artist. Read below for more.
KitBash3D: Hello, Danar! It’s great to have you. Can you share some of your background and creative journey up until this point for our readers?
Danar Worya: Hello! My name is Danar Worya and I am a concept artist working in the entertainment industry for over 5 years now. I’ve worked on titles such as The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West.
I am of Kurdish descent but grew up in the Netherlands my whole life. I always loved movies, games, and cartoons that took me into their realms, so I decided to contribute to the industry and started painting back in 2011. Ten years full of ups and downs later have led me to where I stand today – and hopefully another ten years of it will keep me motivated and wanting to grow.
KitBash3D: We look forward to seeing where ten more years will take you! For those who don’t know, Danar has plenty of experience using our kits, including in his concept work for The Last of Us Part II and his cover art for another one of our kits, Dark Fantasy. What was your first thought when we asked you to make this new cover art?
Danar: I thought, “Oh, that feels like a challenging task!” Because we always relate Soviet architectural design to cold colors without much life, I knew I had to find a way to make this concept look more alive.
KitBash3D: How did you approach that challenge? Did anything inspire or influence your design?
Danar: I used actual reference images from the places which inspired the kit. I looked for things like finding out in what kind of pattern they aligned the buildings and what other elements make the places still feel alive (e.g. foliage, water, fog, etc.).
KitBash3D: Did you learn anything new from that process or is there some advice you found helpful to keep in mind?
Danar: DON'T GO INTO DETAIL TOO FAST! I should have spent more time figuring out the composition first. I first started with another composition but it just kept bothering me because I felt like it did not match the feeling I wanted to convey and it didn't have much room to breathe. Save time and solidify the composition first!
KitBash3D: Too true! That echoes what you discussed at GameDay when you mentioned the importance of quickly iterating so you can determine the best ideas to move forward as soon as possible. Is there anything else you would like to try next with Soviet Blocks that you didn’t get to for this cover art?
Danar: I would probably go full “crazy” and do big stacks of buildings on top of each other. I’ve always had a thing for overpopulated concept designs, and I finally managed to express that idea in my own work with this cover. It would be fun to take it even further.
KitBash3D: There is something intriguing about overpopulated cities in concept designs. Perhaps it’s the humbling sense of scale? Regardless, is there anything else like that that drives you as an artist or influences what you create?
Danar: I noticed recently that I am a person who is very active and wants/NEEDS to be busy to clear my mind. So, in other words, I like to explore the idea of creativity and see how I can taste that in different mediums. Whether it’s ZBrush or Blender or playing guitar, as long as I can express my emotions and what I think is cool, I’m happy.
KitBash3D: We appreciate the window you’ve given us into your experience with this cover art and your other works. Are there any artists you look up to as you explore those facets of creativity?
KitBash3D: Thanks for sharing (and for shouting out our cofounder Maxx)! Hopefully their work can also inspire our readers as they create. Do you have any final thoughts for us or our readers before we go?
Danar: Insert Cliche: Get inspired and borrow from your artist heroes and try to see which path fits you the best. KitBash3D has shown us that even if we use the same kits, the outcome is still very much your vision and ideas. Never let other people’s idea of what ‘art’ means hold you back. Always trust your gut feeling and keep making the thing that YOU like and not what you might think works online.
About Danar Worya
Danar Worya is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. His clients include companies such as One Pixel Brush, Apple TV, Parallax Studios and Naughty Dog, working on games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West.
*This interview has been edited for clarity