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Janna van Vliet

CBN
Janna van Vliet
Country Flag NL
I can work both traditionally as digitally but lately, I have been enjoying starting studying/sketching in my sketchbook and finishing in Photoshop. I like the perspective challenges of environments and conveying a tangible mood in keyframes. But above all I like to learn and improve to apply new smart notes and feedback I pick up around me.
Q

Tell us about what drives your personal projects.

At the moment most of my attention is going into producing/art directing a class continuation with my former classmates from Tiffanie Mang's advanced class. It is a lot of work and tons of fun.

If I have time left I like to chip away at my adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Chivalry. I am in love with my interpretation of never being too old to start a new love.

Illustration of two lumpy characters on a hill
Q

Could you please share with us a little about your background and family?

I am from the Netherlands and have one brother. Together with my mom we are a tight little family, my mom is like one of those wise people that will never show it, prefer to joke or laugh about life, but can smack you left and right with interesting life realisations when needed (preferably in a clever joke). And my brother is like a stubborn GFG. Annoying but a big softy.

Concept illustration of cabin interior
Q

How do you balance creativity with the business side of things?

Love the creative part, less of a fan of the business part. I don't want to claw and shout for your attention (marketing), I am always torn by what price to ask, I know what I need to make but I also don't want to encourage selling out for cheap(er) and mess up the economy for others. And I am no accountant, for all my taxes I just take extra time and patience. Luckily, I can organize very well so I can build a second brain for busy times, excell sheets for financials and use organic planning to keep everything and everyone involved up to date.

Q

Tell us more about the concept art process while working on a movie?

This depends on the project, and is also never set in stone. When my job is to just paint characters/environments I will always ask for preferred methods, brush sets and results. I will probably do a few practice runs in my own time (don't tell anyone this) or when I feel confident just "have at it".

When there is designing involved I have been gravitating towards my sketchbook lately, to just test and explore. I can do that everywhere and I like the process of messing up and having to just move on. Looking back later some of those "first mess ups" can hold gems.

If there is time I like to start with just some free explorations without references to get out all my own ideas first, and continue from there.

I like it when the final line art is done. It looks so nice and neat. And then of course loose it al by painting over it, if that is indeed required.

But I am also very interested in your ways and techniques, that is how I can improve mine.

Two female pigs in suits of armor
Q

How do you balance delivering a high-quality output with meeting tight deadlines?

Planning and organizing. I will plan out the slowest route towards the deadline to know what the minimum is to stay on track, and then I always love to try and beat that. Which can then leave more time for improvement.

But that is the ideal situation, because some deadlines can be set impossibly tight for my desired quality. I will often try and set up the right expectations in that case from the start, or as early on as I can get these expectations in.

Illustration of a work war 1 soldier
Q

As a Concept Artist, is it possible to create anything that you can imagine?

Well, of course! Sure enough, maybe I might not feel adequate for some subject matter or render finish. But for this there is research, VR sculpting, Blender and photo bashing. As long as I can "taste it" I can get there.

Q

You have worked in a multitude of realms in the entertainment industry, what is next for you? Is there more you want to explore?

Oh nooo! I am not done here yet! There is so much to see, so many people I'd like to work with and grow as an artist so that I can just Paul Felix something in a few lines and convey the mood. John Nevarez, Armand Serrano, Marcello Vignalli and Pascal Campion for when I am feeling really crazy. But there are so many new and upcoming as well. The list is ENDLESS.

However, if I would want to branch out I would like to help out beginners trying to break in. Setting up the perfect in-between step to start getting some experience already and help connecting. I would like to help others. So, teaching on the side would not be unthinkable as well.

That being said, some of my friends have subscribed to this crazy idea that I am running my own studio within 8 years. I am not sure if I agree, but maybe that is the point for right now.

Concept art of a WW1 trench game level
Q

As creative professionals, a large chunk of our process is finding inspiration for our work. How do you come up with new ideas for your projects?

- I'll probably ask a lot of questions to understand the assignment and get a feel for it.

- Free brainstorming - thinking on paper

- Taking a walk or doing the dishes

- Some free association

- Talking to people (if possible/allowed)

- Google references

Illustration of a man walking through the forest
Q

You have worked as a Concept Artist at multiple studios and on multiple projects. With each project demanding a different aesthetic, how did you shift gears to excel in that position?

I always try to find the essence in my own way by studying and making notes and testing. I understand that my hand has to interpret the new world. Sometimes that takes a little longer, sometimes it is the feedback from the art director. But as long as I have enough references, I can find my way through.

Q

Your concept art portfolio includes a wide array of subjects, from environments to characters, among other things. What’s your process for approaching such varied designs?

Well, a lot just comes to me. But there is always a process in place. For me it always comes down to feeling/emotion. I'll know when I hit it.

Two male pigs in suits of armor
Q

What got you interested in Concept Artist particularly?

I have always been very curious and interested in so many things in this world. Always felt that itch, that spark. So, grew up with the idea that I just wanted to be many things. I've been called "ambitious" as a kid very often. And a role as concept artist is basically that for me. Getting something new in front of me to explore and get into. Loving to find the storytelling opportunities when I am imagining myself in that world. I think my brain is just wired that way.

Finding out that there is a profession named "visual development artist"/"concept artist" was a big relief! Now I didn't have to become a light technician, archaeologist, car mechanic, psychologist and software developer all at once. I mean, that just takes a load off.

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