ArtStation Masterclasses 2 Spotlight: Dominic Qwek

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Inspired by the unforgettable creatures that slithered their way through many classic sci-fi thrillers, Dominic Qwek spent countless hours in his youth filling notebooks with drawings of nightmarish creatures. This passion led him to an art career spanning over a decade where he would work in the games, film and collectibles industry for companies like Blizzard Entertainment and Guerrilla Games. He has since contributed to franchises such as Killzone 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Overwatch. He is now at Bonfire Studios working on a new IP.

Masterclass – Creature Sculpting

Dominic will share his process for creating a creature bust using Zbrush, Keyshot, and Photoshop. The course will begin by going over the design process and demonstrate how to block out and evolve a design in 3D.  Dominic will then detail the sculpt in multiple stages and provide insight on the various techniques used in each stage. Lastly, he will show how to use Keyshot and Photoshop to create a final render for presentation.

What inspired you to follow a career as an artist?

As a kid growing up, drawing was a huge hobby for me. I still remember the 6 year old of version of me drawing on the walls of my home as my first foray into the arts. What came after that was just an explosion of media, Saturday morning cartoons, comics, movies, video games and toys. Being a kid in the 80’s was the best, it was just non-stop exposure to entertainment media. When Toy Story came out for the first time, something in my brain clicked. I realized that I wanted to get into the CG industry to do 3D art. The thought of being able to do CG for a living was mind-blowing. A few weeks later, I found myself signing up for art school.

What was one of the biggest challenge you faced working in the games industry?

Adaptability and versatility. Being able to learn new skills is crucial especially in team environments. I’ve had to completely switch roles to see projects to completion. I’ve also dabbled in various disciplines such as compositing, 3d asset creation, lighting, FX, and collectibles. Thinking back, that work experience definitely helped me grow as an artist.

What are some problems or mistakes you often see beginners make when designing creatures?

The most common one is a lack of anatomical knowledge. Anatomy is unbiased, you can look at anatomy and determine if it is flawed or not. The next one is more subjective and it’s design. A good design may appeal to some but not others. To me, a good design has a few key factors. It aspires to be unique, even when not much really is anymore. It should evoke a reaction or an emotion, making it memorable. The last factor is more intangible and the most subjective. A good design will have, for lack of a better word, flavor.  To me, flavor is when an aesthetic component of a design stands out and hits you like a ton of bricks, yet you keep coming back for more.

Tell us a bit about your limited edition sculptures and what inspired you to create your own designs?

I’ve always done personal art in my free time and saw 3D printing as a means to realize my digital works as physical pieces. I’m also really into sculptural art, collectibles and running my own business. It’s all of the above that inspires me to keep creating my own designs. Thanks to the continued support of people who enjoy my work, I’m able to keep producing these pieces.

Find out more about ArtStation Masterclasses.

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