by Frank Forte
Nenad Gucunja (born August 19, 1980 – Osijek, Croatia) Award winning artist, freelancing as an illustrator, comic book and web/graphic design hitman. Finished art school and wandered off into unknown waters of wast creative universe. Notable collaborations with Hustler, Heavy Metal Magazine, Girls’n’Corpses Magazine and tons of other publishers/artists. Respected throughout the world, Milky Way, time, space and beyond.
Nenad is the artist on Undead Evil, currently being serialized on this website (it’s true – click the link back there). He also has a story in the upcoming Heavy Metal #277 (Horror Special) shipping in October.
HEAVY METAL: What’s on the Drawing table today?
NENAD GUCUNJA: Currently working on character design and some comic coloring.
HM: Can you tell us a little about your day job working in gaming?
NG: Fun job, at times exhausting. Mostly doing 2D artwork, like characters, props, maps, interface, game elements and other game stuff people don’t care about.
HM: Do you have any work lined up for any of the major comic book companies? Covers or short stories?
NG: Been talking to Frank Forte about some future short stories for Heavy Metal magazine. Aside from that, not much going on in the comic world for me, at the moment. I will return to it once I get fired from gaming industry.
HM: Please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you?
NG: By eating colored clay for children and stabbing myself with pencil in the eyeball.
HM: How long have you been doing art?
NG: I would say since I was 6 years young. Still have some awesome creatures in my infantile sketch book. Amazing how kids can create nice stuff. I guess traveling through time takes away some of the innocence and purity in the art. Too many boundaries set by current trends.
HM: What were/are your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media….What inspires you to create your artworks?
NG: Other artists, tons of them today. Simon Bisley, Mike Mignola, Juanjo Guarnido, Carlos Meglia, Frazetta, Giger, Beksinski, Nicolas Marlet, Carter Goodrich, David Coleman etc.
HM: How does “a normal day of artist” in your life look like?
NG: Spending most of the day in the company studio, doing nice, shiny and polite artwork. Laterz at home, doing Satan, demons, guts, weird looking hairy dudes and overall not so pleasing eye candy.
HM: What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art?
NG: Used to go to art high school, learned nothing, applied at the academy of arts but got rejected, then started discovering and learning things by myself at my own pace and in my own, unfurnished style.
HM: What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
NG: Surprises and progress. Feeling of being fulfilled and useful, happy and isolated from the ugly truth around me. Being creative means being able to push things out of their ordinary orbit and make something beautiful along the way. Making thoughts materialize in the best possible form through effort and problem solving.
HM: Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
NG: I am using Clip Studio Paint (aka Manga Studio for US market) software for all off my work today. Fantastic illustration kit, been using it for years now. Recommended. Switched to digital and never looked back. I still miss the feeling , the sound and the smell of traditional mediums. Guess I have to grow out of the computer world to go back to traditional. Still have a special place for the pencil on paper in my tiny heart.
HM: Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
NG: This one is easy. Sculpting, oil painting, cell animation.
HM: Tell us more about your workspace/studio.
NG: At work I have pretty decent computer machine with huuuge monitors and wacom intuos pro tablet. All the stuff I need is there. At home I utilize a bit smaller monitor and trusty grey wacom intuos 3. All the stuff I don’t need I keep at home. And of course some chairs, walls and carpet.
HM: What is/was the most strange thing hiding in your studio?
NG: Still don’t know what it is but smells horrible from time to time. I have yet to discover what’s hiding over there. I think it’s the undefeated Huge Shit Monster King from the Slimy Pipes Pit.
HM: What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career?
NG: Lack of money and art supplies (books, videos, pens, brushes, papers…), constant struggle with living place. Over-saturation with the same and repetitive tasks. These things block me really bad.
HM: What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
NG: Best advice – keep practicing and you’ll get better, study , steal techniques and think about what you are doing.
Worst advice – dress weird, do drugs, speak in tongues and art will come to you eventually.
HM: What is the hardest thing on being an artist?
NG: I guess it’s not the creative side, the mind, but more of a financial thing for me. If one wants and needs to create he will create no matter which obstacles are in his path. There is no excuse for being lazy and uninspired. There are whole worlds out there to reach and share. Not getting feedback, be it good or bad, is also something that can ruin an artistic person. I do it to express myself. If you cannot express yourself there is no point in doing art. Now I sound like a bad advice.
HM: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
NG: Yes, your art sucks and you need to improve. Do it again.
There is always someone doing more awesome stuff than you, BUT no need to get depressed about the truth. Just grind and grind and grind. Practice gives you speed and skill. Think about what you are doing. Strive for the best of your abilities.
Never think you reached your maximum and be thrilled with your artwork. You can always be better than you are now. Somewhere in the future you are master of your art. This works for me.
HM: Your favorite art or life quote is …
NG: Good artists copy, great artists steal.
HM: What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
NG: Playing electric guitar, playing computer games, learning new software, fixing and welding stuff around the house. I also like beer and vine and other consumables. Pathetic, but happy in the end.