CSP Featured Artist: Stefan Kostic
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How did you become an artist?
I loved drawing ever since I was a little. I used to draw whatever I felt drawn to and mostly that was cartoons, anime or video games. I drew a lot but never quite took it seriously. The first time I did take it seriously was around the high school, when I really got into animation. I animated stick figures fighting at a time and had so much fun with it! It was also a first time I started thinking that maybe I could make a career with animation. At a time, life had different plans and it pushed me in different direction, to software engineering.
I finished the faculty for software engineering and worked in that industry for few years. During that time I wasn’t thinking much about art, but the idea of doing it more seriously always kind of lingered in the back of my mind. Few years in and I started feeling like software engineering is not fulfilling me anymore. Even though I was advancing and had stable job, I didn't feel like that was really it. So I started looking for what I really want to do, and rediscovered my love and passion for art! The only problem was that I never had any proper education, I love doing it but I wasn't on any professional level at that time. So I gave myself a year, learning on my own, practicing every single day to see how it goes and to see if this is something I really want to do. Initially I had the idea of doing animation, but as I was learning drawing and painting first, I fell in love with the those aspects of art so much, that I decided not to pursue animation anymore, but to go more into the illustration!
After that year I simply confirmed that my love for art just keeps getting bigger the more I do it, so I decided that this is what I want to do going forward!
Eventually I started getting commissions and offers, and at one point I quit my software engineering job, and went fully into art freelance, which I’m still doing right now!
Where do you get inspiration?
I mostly get inspiration by looking at other people's art! There are so many great artists out there and such an unbelievable art to be seen, enjoyed and studied! Also I navigate a lot towards fantasy genre, so anything from fantasy games, movies, cards and similar really inspires me!
Artists that currently inspire me the most are Steven Zapata, Christophe Young, Jodie Muir, Sinix, Ahmed Aldoori among many others!
For references, I’m huge fan of Grafit Studio's reference packs, I bought so many and definitely recommend them! My second go to reference packs are definitely from Rachel Bradley, and for the rest I mostly get from Pinterest.
What’s your hardware setup?
I draw on a PC using Wacom Cintiq 22 when I’m drawing at home. However I also have a laptop with Wacom Intuos Pro M for when I’m travelling.
What do you like best about Clip Studio Paint?
The fact that It’s clearly built for artists! All the tools are obviously designed for painting and drawing in mind, and are behaving exactly the way you would expect! Brush engine is really powerful too, and I love the fact that you can import Photoshop brushes directly! That is so great because a lot of artists are actually offering Photoshop brushes, so I can just import them and use them out of the box! Oh and you can even animate with Clip Studio Paint!
Also since I switch between pc and laptop I love how simple and easy it is to backup your workspace, brushes etc. and have it all exactly the same on the other device. Additionally, of course the price, it's really affordable, and I love the fact that it's one time payment instead of the monthly subscription!
How long does it take you to make a single illustration?
Depends on the illustration but my average I’d say is around 8h-10h spread over multiple days. However, some simpler studies take me around 2-3h but if I’m doing some more serious illustration, which also include some character designing, it could even take me more than 10h.
How has Clip Studio Paint improved your workflow?
Most definitely it improved my speed because of its great customization and ease of use! I'm really into keyboard shortcuts, and I absolutely love the fact that you can customize and assign anything in Clip Studio Paint in any way you want. For example, I've created quite a few auto actions, and assigned them to keys, so I feel like that speeds up my workflow quite a bit!
Again, as I mention before, I think the brush engine is really great! It helped me to adjust brushes to get them to be exactly how I want them to be, specially with the color mixing options, they are really powerful! And I also have to mention the liquify tool. I think it's working very well, specially because it's doing its magic directly on the canvas without opening a new window! It helps fine-tuning quite a lot!
Where can we follow your work?
I’m active the most on Instagram, but you can follow my work on DeviantArt and ArtStation too. I also have YouTube page, currently there’s only a few speed painting videos there, but I’m planning to add more in the future! Here are the links: