While browsing through some of the entries in the Epic Gamers Group at deviantArt, I stumbled over a thumbnail of concept art and the design looked very familiar. As soon as I clicked on the image, I saw that it was from an artist from our Poland studio, People Can Fly. The image was beautifully illustrated by PCF Senior Concept Artist, Maciej Wojtala and depicts a courthouse location for Gears of War: Judgment. The image was also published in Game Informer in July of last year.
I just had to see more of Maciej’s work, and browsed through his deviantART gallery. From the dark and foreboding “Evil Fortress” to the beautiful and bright “Modern Villa,” Maciej’s work is stunning. I reached out to him for an interview and he humbly accepted. Of course, I reached out to him a week or so before Gears of War: Judgment went gold, so I had to wait awhile for the interview. It was worth the wait, and it is a must-read for artists looking to get into a career in concept art.
Flak: Where do you find inspiration?
Maciej Wojtala: I feel there are a few ways to get inspired. One is purely visual, seeing something beautiful. Discovering new places, art, photography or maybe watching a good movie will help a lot! There are so many crazy and wonderful things in the world, you just have to find them and let them inspire you.
Strong inspiration can also come from a good story that needs visuals. Then you just have to gather visual reference and work with that. The story should guide you and keep you inspired through the process. On the other hand sometimes simply taking a break and looking at work of classical painters or online CG galleries and forums can give a great boost too.
F: How did you feel about having your art featured in Game Informer?
MW: It was awesome, it is such a terrific magazine! It surely feels great to be part of the the team developing the Gears of War universe. Ability to have input on that world is amazing. We often try different approaches, iterate. Seeing this process can be intriguing for anyone who wants to have better insight into the game. I am really glad some of the concepts were shown.
F: How long have you been illustrating?
MW: It is hard to answer this one. I had been drawing a lot since I was a kid. I also had always been drawn to visual arts, tried different hobbies that were actually close to illustration. Eventually I had discovered demoscene, which lead me to digital art and it seemed a lot of fun. More or less 10 years ago I realized it can be a full time job. I trained and freelanced for a few years but eventually joined the People Can Fly team in 2005 and became a full time concept artist.
F: What made you decide to start creating concept art for video games?
MW: I have always loved games! For a few years I was a gamer and proud of it. Concept art seemed to be a great job, combining the world of video games, art and design. Seemed demanding but rewarding. I was amazed when I started and I still am.
F: Who are some of your favorite artists?
MW: I really love the classical painters – Hudson River School, the Impressionists, Romantic Era Art painters and many more. However my love with art started with digital artists and their work – Craig Mullins, Ryan Church, Nicolas Bouvier, Feng Zhu, Massive Black crew! Thanks !
F: What are the biggest challenges you face as a Concept Artist?
MW: Deadlines can be crazy sometimes. Nailing the visuals fast is the ultimate challenge. It can be tough, but it is an interesting part of the job too.
Thank you Maciej! Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future!