Today, we are joined by Theodoru Badiu, he is a Illus­tra­tor. You can view his portfolio here.

  •  Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the interview. We’d like to understand how your interest for illustration started shaping up. Tell us a bit more about what made you go this route!

I always wanted to work in this field but It took some time until I got were I am today. I had a few different jobs I got where I am today.
My path to become an illustrator took me to the Art School in 1995 and to the SAE College in 2005 when I got my Multimedia Design Diploma.
I could say that my illustrator and character designer life started with Surreal photo manipulation work that I created using Photoshop and digital photographs that I shoot using my cameras. Apocryph.net and the work displayed there was where what it all started, back in the year 2000. I did that kind of work until 2004-2005 when I came in contact with Cinema 4D during my 2 years time at the SAE College.
It was then 2005 when I took the decision to set up my Theodoru.com website and to switch from what I done before for Apocryph.net to illustration work. At the beginning I resumed to create vector illustrations based on my drawings using Adobe Illustrator and learned beside Cinema 4D more deeply.

  • Tell us a bit more about how you learned it all. What changed in the last few years in terms of ease of expanding your skills and knowledge?

After the set up of Theodoru.com it took one or two years until I was ready and able to translate my imaginary worlds and character to 3D. But I did succeeded and I create 3D based illustrations since then. At the beginning using Cinema 4D and since 2010 using The foundry, modo. The switch from Illustrator to 3D modelling programs was not easy and it took some time also until I made the change from Cinema 4D to modo but I am really happy that I took all that burden  and that I succeeded.  I can’t say that I am done with learning. I believe that I will never be ready because it is an ongoing learning process based on the evolution of the software and the need to expand the own skills that will bring new possibilities needed to translate my imaginative worlds to something real.

  • What does your creative process look like?

Most of the time I start with a drawing or with a quick PostIt sketch to chatch the main idea of a character.

That sketch based idea will be taken afterwards into the 3D software to be modelled, texture and rendered first as stand alone characters and as soon all the characters taht I need for an illustration are ready I will put then together in pose and create props or eventually I will create an own world around those that could also be populated by some other characters that would fit in that imaginary world.

  • Do you have any recommendations in terms of good books, programs you use, or media choices you’re willing to share with us?

Because I use The Foundry, Modo myself and because I love to work with it I can only recommend it. But this recommendation is based just on my personal taste. Some peoples will love it some will hate it. As a learning curve start I will recommend a daily to visit all the amazing 3D based websites in the internet that are packed with a lot of related articles, interviews and tutorials. Just to name a few like:
http://www.cgsociety.org
http://community.thefoundry.co.uk
http://www.3dtotal.com
http://www.itsartmag.com
http://www.artstation.com
Another great source of inspiration and a good and useful read are magazines like §D World or 3D Artist.

  • Do you have a special place or object that boosts your inspiration and helps your creative drive? What is it like and why does it have this effect on you?

Yes I do. I have a big collection of  Vintage Rubber Toys that is still growing with each visit that I make to the Flea Markets in Vienna and the cities that I visit. A big source of influence on my work have the classic cartoons, from Disney, Max Fleischer or Ub Iwerks, Grim Natwick but anything else could be a trigger for an idea for a new character. It could be music, a movie,  books, games, magazines, etc.

  • Could you describe how a productive day would look like from your point of view? Which are the most important hours for you?

For me the big part creative process ends with the drawing of the character idea and that happens mostly each morning during my coffee time before I go to the office. What comes next is just applying my learned skill to translate the idea from 2D drawing into 3D model. Another important creative part for me is then the textures creation and the creation of the colour palette for the characters keeping in mind to create a kind of color based relation between the characters and the world thy may belong to.
If I work only on one cartoon character I will need about 2-3 day for modelling, texturing and rendering. If the character is complex it could take a few day more. Most of the time I work on my characters only 1-2 hours, after the office work and therefore it can take a week or longer until an character is made.

  • What is your stance on today’s ever growing opportunities enabling artists to take on remote design work?

From my personal point of view it is the ideal situation. To be able to stay at home and to work with peoples and agencies around the world is it beyond expectations.
I could say that without all the today’s remote opportunities I won’t be at the point where I am today as an illustrator and character designer.

  • What would you prefer: a steady, well paying job in a local agency, or the freedom and often stressful life of a freelancer? Why?

In my case I will say both. I have a day job in a local company and I create everything for Theodoru.com at night and weekends. It is not easy to go on this path but I like safety of a well paid job on one side and the freedom to create a lot of personal work and the one of choosing freelance projects that I want to work on and not ones that I must to work on.
Of course it is not and ideal situation, but I have learned to deal with it and at this point in time it is ok for me.

  • How would you describe “the ideal project”? Did you have any recent opportunities to come close to this?

From my point of view the ideal projects are just the personal projects and I am in the happy position that allows me to work on different personal projects. One of those projects was my “Pop Artoons” exhibition this year that took place in May this year at Art Store Olschinsky in Vienna this year.