Ep.66: From studying Law to successful art career with Georgi Georgiev (Goshun)

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Dec 05, 2017 •  Interviews

Georgi is an illustrator and concept artist from Sofia, Bulgaria.

He worked on concept art and matte paintings for movies such as Conan and Expendables. Also, he creates concept art and Illustrations for various clients such as Imperia Online, Murka, Fantasy Flight Games and Trazzy Entertainment.

Get in touch with Georgi

Key Takeaways

“If you really want to be good at art, you have to put a lot of hours of hard work into it … and it really pays off. When I began drawing, I used to draw until 3-4am in the morning with school starting at 8 am!”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Special thanks to Georgi for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Georgi Georgiev, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva, and my guest today is an amazing illustrator and counterparties from Sofia, Bulgaria. At age of 22, he decided to stop studying law and fully immerse himself in the studies and creation of art. He draws mostly digitally and he’s well known for how he drove hair. During the day he works for a new Breanna film studios and concept art and matte paintings for movies such as Conan, and Expendables. during the evenings, he works on his own projects, the ladies being his first art book of his artworks, accompanied by a great story to be really sometimes in 2018. He has been an active member of Deviant Art for more than 11 years. So please welcome Georgie Giorgio. And let’s get to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have my new guest here today. Georgi. Hi. Hello. I’m super happy that you took time off from your busy schedule. And maybe we can start with your background. And if you can tell us a bit more how you go through art or maybe Do you remember what you drew first time?

Georgi Georgiev  

Okay, maybe my story about getting in art is not the very useful one. I started drawing at age 2223, a bit late for art guy. And I was doing different stuff before that I was studying law. And but I always like to sketch as a kid. And when I saw this digital media coming up with the tablets and Photoshop and all this game stuff, I said to myself quite much give it a shot. And actually, I remember the thing that really got me to trying to draw seriously was a friend of mine brought me a comic book. It was called Battle Chasers. I don’t know if you know it is by artists, Joe Matt. He’s very talented. It’s like a mixture between manga and American style of comics. And I was super impressed by this. And I never seen things like this. I said, Okay, maybe I should try to do something like this. And it started slowly. And I developed from that on.

Iva Mikles  

And so did you have like a mentor? Or did you find some inspiration online?

Georgi Georgiev  

No, I just got inspired online. I watched a lot of tutorials from YouTube. And there was a forum called concept art.org. I think it was very popular back in the time. And I learned a lot of stuff there.

Iva Mikles  

So you were actually already working as a lawyer. When you decided,

Georgi Georgiev  

no, I stopped. Like, at the fourth year of my studies, because the things were not getting really well for me there. I was not good student.

Iva Mikles  

Because the art was calling you. Yeah,

Georgi Georgiev  

my destiny was calling for me.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because actually, I had another guest recently. And she was also studying law. And she actually just finished school. And she also decided, like, oh, I want to do art. Law.

Georgi Georgiev  

Very similar. I didn’t finish it, though. And I probably will never do.

Iva Mikles  

And so when you decided that you want to take art seriously and like take it as a career, whether it’s like your discussion maybe with your family or friends. What did they say?

Georgi Georgiev  

Oh, nobody was supporting me at the first time. And it’s normal. It sounds crazy. And I was painting for a couple of years, probably the digital media tablet for the shop. And I thought that I’m getting good. And a very famous Bulgarian artist called smuggling well enough. I don’t know if you know him. He saw my work. And he said, You got talent, you should try to work with that. And that thing really ultimately inspired me and I started trying to find a job. And I found like, three years later after I started started rolling, find a

Iva Mikles  

job. Yeah. And then also he advised you to try DeviantArt or there was someone else or how did you find the website?

Georgi Georgiev  

It was a contest of public contest. I don’t remember for what? Sorry about it. And I just tried to draw a picture for this contest. I didn’t do anything great, of course, but I started that way in Deviant Art. Yeah. Because

Iva Mikles  

maybe for the audience, they don’t if they’re No, then you are on DeviantArt for 11 years, which is impressive. So

Georgi Georgiev  

I did this contest. And I think I didn’t post anything, two years after that. But then again, I started, I saw the people reaction for my work there. And they were very positive audit. And I say, Okay, this will inspire me more, and I should post more artwork there.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, perfect. And so maybe if you kind of think about it now, what was your best advice from the whole art career so far?

Georgi Georgiev  

Best advice for a bouncing car? Or

Iva Mikles  

no? What do you ever received? Oh,

Georgi Georgiev  

to work hard to.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect, anybody. But the worst advice you mentioned, like, oh, maybe you cannot leave from art or are doing art is crazy.

Georgi Georgiev  

I got an advice to do more complicated stuff. More like compositions with a lot of percentages or monsters or stuff in debts. And that was not very good at my skills, yet, and I tried to do more complicated stuff. And I failed. And I felt depressed about this for a few months. And I think this was the really worst advice that I took. Because everybody should do what he is strong about at the moment.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how did you motivate yourself afterwards? You know, when you found that, like, Okay, I’m not maybe the best at this one. And how did you kind of keep yourself going?

Georgi Georgiev  

My fans inspired me really? They said, Okay, the stuff that you’re drawing right now, are very cool. And this always inspires me.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, perfect. That’s really nice. And now when you’re creating your artwork, do you have like, vision or branding in mind when you’re creating your work?

Georgi Georgiev  

Not really. I know that people know me, mostly because the way of the, the way I’m trying to hair. It’s very weird. And I know that I should do the hair that way. And everything else is just what comes after that.

Iva Mikles  

So what where did it come from, you know, the style of the hair.

Georgi Georgiev  

I think I saw something like this in a comic book, but not just like this, but something similar. And I said, Well, I should try to do this in more painterly style. And I think it worked out really well. And I continue to do that. I really like it. I’m super lazy to do realistic hair.

Iva Mikles  

That’s actually good excuse like, it’s really stylish and cool. And then it’s like, also easier than or less time consuming.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, definitely.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. And now the mediums you use? Do you use digital? Mostly right? And what would you maybe recommend to people to start with, if they would want to do what you do now?

Georgi Georgiev  

Yes, I do. Mostly digital stuff. I sketch with a pencil, but I’m not really good at this. To be honest. I will recommend for beginner artists to look around the web, there’s a lot of free tutorials in YouTube especially and get the basics first and if they want to get a better skills and digital drawing to try cheaper tablets first, not to go with a Cintiq which are really expensive, and I think this small into stablish that they’re selling now. I think they’re very well or they’re very good. And anybody can do perfect things with that.

Iva Mikles  

And so what do you use now? Do you have a Cintiq and

Georgi Georgiev  

I still use my intros. I use Intuos Pro arch. But I think this is the perfect tablet for me. I don’t really like the syntax drying Yeah, I I’m just not used to draw the screen and maybe years later I will try it again. But for now I’m not comfortable with it

Iva Mikles  

and you Have you tried also like the iPad Pro or some of your

Georgi Georgiev  

iPad Pro is awesome. By the way, I own iPad Pro. It’s very good for sketching, but for finished finished paintings. No.

Iva Mikles  

So you’d like more the Intuos for that.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah. For my finished paintings. I always use my materials.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And for the iPad Pro do you use procreate? Yes. And then on the computer Photoshop, I guess Yes, for sure.

Georgi Georgiev  

I used painter like, few years ago, but Photoshop implemented a lot of painterly functions right now with this urge and real. How do you call it? blending brushes? Remember domain

Iva Mikles  

brush or something like specific painters?

Georgi Georgiev  

Do you have some blending brushes right now? Yeah, you’re really, really cool. And so I started started.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because in every youth painter, so actually, I didn’t meet the special features, you know, but that when they’re introducing is like, Oh, this is cool. Oh, this is even cooler. And so and then now when you can mention some of your artworks, and maybe you can talk about some of your projects, maybe something which you are working on now and something exciting coming up?

Georgi Georgiev  

Well, I’m creating some artworks for art book that I intend to release, I hope in the coming year, and I’m slowly progressing with the content. I’m not showing anything on the web, because I want it to be a surprise. But when the time comes, I will start showing stuff from it. And I hope that people will like it.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. And you are doing something with the tutorials or a showcase of your artworks or even know yet

Georgi Georgiev  

more like a story with artworks, not tutorial just collection of images. Like connected in a story. Like a book, like a jeweler has BookBook for serious.

Iva Mikles  

So it actually like not only like a team of like, I don’t know, like for example, mermaids, like actual story like with the actual story. Oh, nice. Nice. And do you know already when it will be released? Maybe

Georgi Georgiev  

I have no idea. I’m sorry. I’m really slow progressing with this. Cool. And so my day job, I have a little time to do it. But I slowly

Iva Mikles  

go forward. In your day job, you also work digitally rather than working on a different project.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yes, I work only digitally. And on my day job. I do totally different stuff from what people can see in my portfolio. I do concept art and matte paintings for movies.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, really cool. And so how would you describe maybe the difference between working on your own staff and working in a studio maybe which are the pros? In both them? Kind of we from your experience.

Georgi Georgiev  

Working on my own things is always the best thing because I do what I wanted to. And nobody’s pressuring me with deadlines. But on a day job, you learn some discipline. And you work on very various things like tasks that you’re not to use to do. And I think this is the biggest pro because you develop yourself as a artist more.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And when you are creating your own work, how do you get inspiration? Or what is your biggest inspiration, and maybe if you have something strange which inspires you.

Georgi Georgiev  

I look at a lot of free images in the web. I like Pinterest. There’s a lot of cool stuff there. But mostly I just sit down and start scribbling something and something comes up. And most of the times, I don’t have a clear idea what I would I will do. But with the progress of the image stuff comes up and I finish the image.

Iva Mikles  

Do you have maybe also like a favorite color combination or something like Oh, I want to paint this light? Or what is your kind of the biggest excitement about the art you do?

Georgi Georgiev  

I always loved the finishing touches like highlights and stuff. And about the palette that they work. I always like more colorful stuff more warm gamma and stuff like this.

Iva Mikles  

Oh really cool. Yeah, because your images, also rethink this vibrant coloring and it’s really cool.

Georgi Georgiev  

I really like to paint this colorful thing things to make people happy. I don’t really like to paint depressing stuff.

Iva Mikles  

But it’s good because we need more like happiness and laughter in the world, obviously.

Georgi Georgiev  

And in my day job actually, I drew a lot of creepy stuff like, yeah. I will never show is.

Iva Mikles  

And so for people who don’t know, maybe you can mention the studio you work for.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, it’s called Drupal. Jana is moving company for visual effects and pre production of movies located at Sofia, Bulgaria. We work now on the new chapter of Hellboy, which actually is not a new chapter is a reboot of the movie with a totally new actor and a new story. So I think it’s more realistic than the previous one. And this is all I can tell for now.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect looking forward to see that. And when you are working on on the new project as well, like on your own, how do you decide what to say kind of yes and no to for different, maybe commissions? Or how do you decide what to do next?

Georgi Georgiev  

Well, right now, when I’m taking commissions, I prefer to take what’s interesting for me, I’ll just take what the people require from me. And I like people, I like drawing people, I like drawing funny situations or stuff like this. So this is the things that I take for my commission work.

Iva Mikles  

So nice. And now how do you design your day? Or what do you do daily, which kind of contributes to your success? If you do like meditation, or this part, or? I don’t know.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, I try to work out every day, in the morning before starting anything, because it’s really pumps me up and give some occupation of the day for me. And during the week, I go to my day job, and I if I’m not really tired after that, I started drawing for myself in call.

Iva Mikles  

So do you also draw over the weekends? Or like so you kind of work seven days a week, or?

Georgi Georgiev  

No, I? Sometimes I sketch in the weekends, but I prefer to rest for a bit lately.

Iva Mikles  

And so how do you kind of how do you say unwind, you know, like the relaxing time, like nature or just sleeping? Yes, eating.

Georgi Georgiev  

I really like taking trips into nature. We have a really, really great nature here in Bulgaria. Near Sofia is a mountain cold future show. So I take a lot of trips with friends there in the weekends. And it’s really inspiring and in the same time, refreshing.

Iva Mikles  

And do you also paint outside sometimes, like in the nature or in cafes, like drawing people? No.

Georgi Georgiev  

I have to be honest, I’m really not good in traditional drawing. You can. Yeah, with iPad Pro, I do sketches sometimes, by the way, especially in cafes, but in the nature, I never tried, actually. Maybe I should.

Iva Mikles  

I tried it once and I went in with other people. They’re like, really? We have to wait for it again. And I was like, okay, then I didn’t take everyone with me. Yeah, look at the squirrel. I want to go look at these. Like, Oh, no. So I guess Yeah, then you have to go by yourself and just really like spend time and

Georgi Georgiev  

I want to see anybody Oh,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, exactly. And do you maybe have some recommendations also for books or like movies, documentaries.

Georgi Georgiev  

For art books, I collect a lot of Sir art books for their movies. They’re really good and really inspiring. And I watch a lot of movies, not just current tools or stuff, but the real movies and it’s pointing but the more realistic movies inspire me the most, even if I’m not drawing depth, realistic stuff. I lately watched Dunker by Christopher Nolan. I was really impressed by it and the atmosphere of this movie gives me a lot of ideas. What can I enhance in my paintings?

Iva Mikles  

Okay, so you will look also like the maybe the layout and the light of the atmosphere or what?

Georgi Georgiev  

Always I’ll take a look at the composition of some shots. The atmosphere, the color gamma, everything actually, it’s a bit annoying, maybe for the people who are watching movies with me, but I really like to examine all the things in the shot.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I like to do that too, because I have what was the recent one? I really like lala land. I don’t know if you saw that. I did not. So it really nice colors and layout. It was really cool with the whole setting. So that was quite amazing.

Georgi Georgiev  

I should watch it.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, yeah, I think it would like it. Because I mean, maybe not your favorite story, or I don’t know, like, it depends, like with your language stories, but the layout and colors and how they like set up the whole movie with like dresses and how it fit with the screen. It was amazing. So

Georgi Georgiev  

nice. I should watch it. Yeah, yeah, it’s

Iva Mikles  

really nice. And what about like, maybe documentaries, they also have some kind of documentaries, or favorite quote, I love quotes.

Georgi Georgiev  

But well, for documentaries, say. I watched some National Geographics television, all this stuff. But the movies I don’t like them to watch. And of course, I don’t remember any specific right now. I’m sorry.

Iva Mikles  

And so we haven’t talked about maybe like, the most difficult or kind of the worst time of your career. And maybe if you learn something from these are kind of the key takeaway.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, it was like, how many years like six years ago, I created a great painting back then. The people response was really great. And I said, Okay, my next painting should be even better than this. But I try it like couple of days, maybe three times. And all of my painting sucked. People, I saw by direction to the people that they don’t like them too much. I even deleted them from my portfolio. Yeah. And this was really depressing for me. And I sat down and probably didn’t paint anything for myself for three or four months, which was really killing me. And I learned something from this time that I should, when I’m not inspired on or I’m not feeling good. For my artwork, I should at least do your studies, but continue drawing.

Iva Mikles  

So So afterwards, this did you start to do some, like, I don’t know, like the daily drawings or daily sketches, or

Georgi Georgiev  

I forced myself to do a new painting. And it was not really nice. It was okay. But after that, I think I got the courage again, to start drawing paintings. I got back and track.

Iva Mikles  

And do you go for like life drawing sessions as well, sometimes with the real life models.

Georgi Georgiev  

I really want to what I’m doing now I just go to the internet and take some photos of models of Saudi Arabia central draw it out. But I know this is not a real thing. So I want to do it one day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I just found out also in my area, that it’s something like that is happening here. And I’m like, Oh, my God, this is super cool. So I started to go like, I think it’s like once a month or so. So that’s quite cool. But then there someone told me that actually, you can find it on YouTube that they are these like model poses where they just pose for like, I don’t know, two minutes, five minutes. So you are like in a real class?

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, I think I saw something like this. I didn’t I don’t remember. I don’t remember the name of the channel, by the way. But I think I saw something like this. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So that’s really cool. We can just spend all the time on LIDAR. You don’t have to go out.

Georgi Georgiev  

Just sit on your chair. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And so when you are drawing and creating yourself, how long does it usually take you to create one piece or does it depend on each creation?

Georgi Georgiev  

For my finished paintings, I’m really slow. Because I take a lot of time because nobody’s putting a pressure on me and I I pay attention that every big soul I want it to be perfect and sometimes my drawings takes like total time. 5060 hours, and of course stretch in time, maybe in a month or something like this, but when I’m doing sketches, I just draw a couple of hours for sketch for sketch portraits that I’m doing now for Instagram. And that’s it. But for my finished paintings that I publish on my Deviantart, or, or, or our station, I really take my time with them. A lot of our school there.

Iva Mikles  

And so we try and use your go to platforms, they are like, is it now more Instagram? Or do you still spend more time on DeviantArt or the art station?

Georgi Georgiev  

I really like Instagram, and I think it’s getting really well. And a lot of people are visiting this website and the communication is great. But I still visit DeviantArt and art station and I’m a bit feeling a bit guilty that they didn’t publish a serious painting in the last month, so I should probably do it. I even started something lately, and I hope I can finish it off or something like this, but I really like Instagram. Facebook, I’m not really a big fan of it. I don’t quite understand it. And but our station and Deviant Art are great also.

Iva Mikles  

And then do you have maybe some tips about social networks? What you learned so far?

Georgi Georgiev  

Well, yeah. For Instagram, actually, you have to draw more, more fast stuff. Like I published my, my older paintings there. And I know that I drew so many hours for them. And nobody paid attention for this painting, say, and I felt angry, I felt angry. And but I started doing sketches and more quick stuff, more fun stuff. And people really liked them. And I think the quick stuff goes well for Instagram, and especially if you’re posting regularly, like few times a week, not once a month, like beyond on DeviantArt or something like this. But for our station and in deviant art i i noticed that people pay attention at the more serious stuff more finished stuff. So I’m not putting their the stuff that I’m doing in Instagram.

Iva Mikles  

That’s a really good point. Yeah, because actually, that’s true. I noticed that as well that people really appreciate when you do like repost unfinished stuff on Instagram, because they kind of see you working or present.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, it’s more like a Live Journal. Even if you picture yourself with what you’re doing right now with a pencil in hand, not just the copy of the drawing. I think people really respond to that. Well, yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

so do you maybe have like a goal of how many art pieces you want to create, like per year or per house a year?

Georgi Georgiev  

Well, I go for three or four good paintings, good finished paintings for a year. But I know that if I go sometime someday freelance or full time freelance, I have to do more of them more of the finished pieces. But for now, when I have a full time job, go for three or four really nice paintings very year, and a lot of sketches.

Iva Mikles  

And do you also sell your artwork on some of the online stores like art prints?

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, I use society six for selling my prints. And if somebody likes my paintings, he always can go there and purchase a print or something like this. But I really want to print them myself, because we have a really nice printing house here at Sofia. And I want to take care of it. But because of my time schedule for the week, I cannot afford that for now.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because also like when you plan your month, you plan also some of your drawing time, or it usually just comes more naturally, as you mentioned, like you sometimes draw and sometimes you relax

Georgi Georgiev  

is more naturally, like every morning could just decide, well, I have to go to work now. If I’m not feeling tired after that I started drawing.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so maybe let’s talk about the future. One of my last questions is about like about five to 10 years in the future. And if you have like a dream scenario and you cannot fail, you’re not afraid of anything. So how would it look like where are you what are you doing?

Georgi Georgiev  

Well, I really want to go full freight free last time. I want to in two years So of course, I will quit my day job and I will wait to try. I want to try more artistic projects more like projects connected with drawing. Because I feel that my strength is there, a matte painting, the thing that the things that I’m doing in my day job are really interesting. But I feel this is not my strength. So I want to try a freelance someday. And if I succeed, I will produce more art. And this will make me really happy.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you have now maybe something which simplifies your life when you’re creating your stuff? So you can balance out the good, you know, like, work life and art side?

Georgi Georgiev  

Not really. It’s pretty chaotic. I think that I just sit down and start drawing. Sometimes I feel that it’s okay, it’s 3am. I am at work and 8am. The next morning, what should I do? But when, when the feeling comes that I should draw, there is no stopping. Yeah, just start drawing, and I just pass out.

Iva Mikles  

And this is all digital, as you mentioned. So you

Georgi Georgiev  

Yeah, I do a lot of sketches with pencil, but maybe like, couple of hours for a few days or something. Right. So I tried to do a lot of sketches. But it’s more like for training, because I’m not really good at pencil sketching, I want to learn and I’m doing more studies, anatomy drawings, or composition stuff, and fingers.

Iva Mikles  

And so while this may be something you wish you knew, before you started the whole art career, something you were the kind of advice to young self.

Georgi Georgiev  

I started doing a lot of cheating, if you want to call it like that, in my painting, I used a lot of color dodge a lot of color burn. You know, for the shop, you know what I’m talking about? A lot of these adjustments. And I didn’t really pay attention at the basics and construction and stuff like this, when I was starting out digitally. And I would advise myself, first learn the basics and then use these party stuff.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, all the effects and all the cool stuff yet.

Georgi Georgiev  

Yes. But I think that couple of years after I started drawing digitally, I totally ignored that all these options, because they really were dragging me down.

Iva Mikles  

And so one of the last question like in the far, far future, what would you like to be remembered for in like 100 years.

Georgi Georgiev  

For my I hope art books are both collections stories that they will make, I hope that I can do this someday. And I want to be remembered with that. If people can recognize my style and an offender tears I will have to

Iva Mikles  

perfect and before we say goodbye maybe you can share like last piece of guidance or advice or key takeaway people should like think about

Georgi Georgiev  

well, if you really want to be good at digital art or art specifically, you have to put a lot of hours of hard work into doing it but it pays off really pays off. In the end, you should not be scared to dive in and put dollars when I when I began drawing. I was always drawing until 234 Am and then the next day I go to the university or the job or something like this and but do not be afraid to put the hours and really dive into learning art and doing art.

Iva Mikles  

Perfect. Amazing. And thank you so much for being here. And Thanks. And thanks everyone for joining today. And thanks again and see you in the next episode.

Iva Mikles  

Bye bye. I hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you so go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you Also don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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