Darko “Darmar” Markovic is a designer from Belgrade, Serbia. You might be familiar with his work "Earth Giant", which placed 1st in the ArtStation Challenge - The Journey, back in 2016. You may even know about his upcoming Sci-Fi personal project "Inside 44". With his expertise in vehicle and product design, Darko was the natural choice to create our Spaceships cover art.
Darko, how was the experience and process of creating the Spaceships cover art?
First of all, I want to thank you for the chance to make the cover for the Spaceships Kit!
Whenever I start with a project I investigate and read about what I want to do, which is either accumulated in weeks before or if it is a fast project, I read one day before. Then I gather my reference board, so it enriches the design and possibilities.
However, since I already had a story in mind, from my personal project "Inside 44", I knew what this vehicle needed to do. I always tell people, the more reference/insight you have, the better the project will be.
Next- I always plan in 3D – “Basic initial design” – this is a super important step, and I need to do this carefully – because this determines the overall shape of my design. Here I let myself get loose and create something that will be logically functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Then after that, I took KitBash3d and started to put the necessary assets in place to get the desired look and enrich the design with more gestures and details.
The story I hatched out was that the central vehicle has a command station – and it has a giant energy beam in the middle that transferred energy to the planet, so that it can stop other energy species like Neptunians from getting what they want.
(If this premise intrigues you, just wait until I release Inside 44 and you will get a whole lot more!)
I had to be careful while designing, that this vehicle conveys that large energy blast and that it can hold it. Of course, KitBash3d helped me do this much easier and faster, because I didn't have to spend the time designing all the incredible pieces.
Is this ship on the evil side or the good side? What is the story or emotion you want to evoke with it?
This ship is on the evil side, but I never planned it to look aggressive or evil – the idea for it was to be neutral.
Why, you might ask? Because if it was too aesthetically evil, then it would cloud over the other evil designs that should pop out in the first plan of the Inside 44 story. This is just a vessel/vehicle to tell part of the story - and how evil guys are trying to control this universe.
It is one of the big vehicles that they plan to use for the control of the universe, and so it should portray that as the backstory vehicle.
When did you discover your love for 3D design?
My story is quite an unorthodox one, as some people that have been following me might already know. My interest in art/design came quite late - at around 18-years-old, and it all started first with me seeing the 3D program and trying it out. I was immersed in it, and fell in love with being capable of seeing even a simple box in the 3D viewport – it occupied my body and soul completely. During this discovery time in my life with 3D, I realized I loved designing vehicles the most, especially cars and designing them.
I wanted to pursue a career similar to 3D/car design (because back then there were no Universities for 3D or car design- especially not in Serbia, Belgrade where I come from) - so my decision was to enroll in design or an architecture university. And guess what? I was rejected by both universities and was told that I am not talented and should pursue a different career other than art/architecture.
However, at that moment there was a new private university opening and my father made me go to it (private universities here are not like they are in the EU/USA - they are much worse and you literally have to pay for your diploma). The whole situation made me angry because I was really in love with 3D and design, but I was told not to do it.
By the end of the B.A in Industrial Design, I had more than 10 international awards in design, and then came the Lamborghini scholarship, which took me to M.A on SPD in Milano Italy. I did really well, but then the economic crisis hit as my university was coming to an end, and the car field was the field that was most affected by it.
Nobody wanted me due to not having EU/USA work-eligible passport, so I had to return to Serbia. This sparked a bit more determination to push even stronger and do car design. Eventually, after I sent 380 portfolios all over the world, I finally got invited to one company in Italy, but I had to go illegally and they would in turn provide papers once I proved myself. I went there and worked for 1 year, really proved myself in every possible aspect, but was tricked by my employer, never received papers, and in 2015 had to return to Serbia, Belgrade.
In 2016, I realized the dream of car design was finished due to the passport issues, and I decided to start doing something new that was unknown to me: concept art. In that same year, I won the ArtStation challenge with the infamous Earth Giant Project, and started to appear on the world map of concept art.
I then went to the IFCC festival in Zagreb and met artists from this industry, one of them was Dan Luvisi who asked me "why don't you create your book?" Since the age of 13 when I got diagnosed with Type One Diabetes I had a dream to make a story with a main character who was diabetic, so my feeling was that I had lost everything already, so why not give it a go? I started working on the book at the end of 2016, and since then, many amazing things have started to happen.
I worked with amazing clients in product design, movie design, game design and I've lectured around the world, become a face for Wacom, BenQ and developed the DarMar brand. But what is most fascinating is that I've created a whole SCIFI universe that is called "INSIDE 44".
How long have you been working on Inside 44?
It has taken 3 years and 8 months, or to be even more exact, after 21,902 hours the Sci-Fi universe of Inside 44 is done. The Sci-Fi universe is developed with characters, their backstories, planets, vehicles, weapons, equipment and the entire story is created. Inside 44 can immediately be pitched for a movie, series or a video game production. I am really happy I have endured doing this, and dedicated my time to create something like Inside 44. At the moment I am organizing other stuff since the book is ready on my table, like toy collectibles, t-shirts and other goods that will be up on Kickstarter later this year with a book and the brand of Inside 44. I want to thank everyone who supported me during this work, all of the amazing people on my social media who helped when I was in down moments, and of course, I want to thank everyone who ever tried to backstab Inside 44, and destroy it. Listening to them say, something is not possible or that project is bad, or doing bad stuff to make me quit gave me all the confidence and strength in the world to finish Inside 44.
To end this epic interview, answer us one last question. Why do you make art?
I do it because I love the process of the unknown where I have to investigate the possibilities for solving all the problems that any given project requires.
It’s something in my nature/personality that likes to play with something that is new and uninvestigated, like a missing puzzle that no one saw and you have to find it and put in the right place at the right time. Sometimes I think that drive inside of me is like a drug, that I need to have every day so I can breathe.
Inside 44 is definitely a project that will shape my career as a designer, if all the pieces fit together like a puzzle.
Darko “DarMar” Markovic is a 3D concept designer that designs for movies / games / products and cars! Make sure to follow his work below: