Continuing on with the Stock-Wizards interview series, I’m happy to welcome, KeremGo3D, a super-creative and positive Digital Artist, who is also venturing into the book cover world at Arcangel! Let’s get started!
Thanks for taking part in this exclusive interview for the Brutally Honest Blog. Please tell me about yourself. Also spotted the following positive mottos on your social media, could you please expand on them?
“Master Of My Fate ➕ Captain Of My Soul
Power Of Positive Thinking
Straight To The Top”
First of all, Alex, thank you for the opportunity with this interview, I truly appreciate it! My name is Kerem. I was born in Istanbul, Turkey and I’ve interested in pretty pictures, nature, technology, machines and humans since I was a little kid. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and computer graphics so making images using computer as art supplies has always been an interesting and attractive idea… Seeing other artists work – from traditional to digital – inspired me and made me to ask myself “how can I do such things?!” which was my starting point in the beginning.
Well, about my mottos; “I’m the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” comes from William Ernest Henley‘s poem Invictus which has always been my source of encouragement through rough times.
“Power Of Positive Thinking” is the title of a book written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale which is definitely most helpful book I’ve ever studied and still studying it everyday.
“Straight To The Top” is a bit too daring for a someone meek and quiet in spirit like myself but it comes from the song that I love Swedish classic rock band Creye which is really an energetic and uplifting rock song.
Your concepts are clearly full of colour, emotion and very futuristic & dystopian, Blade-Runner-ish (“Cyberpunk”) …how do draw your inspiration? (Did you live in other worlds in your past lives?) 😀
Yes, I did. These are just reflection of my memories from that past in distant worlds… No, I’m kidding. Some of my inspiration comes from music, art and movies. Most of my inspiration comes from my own imagination. I try to listen to the little voice in me as much as I can and spend my spare time with just writing, drawing and day-dreaming / thinking about characters, environments and colors. 80’s dystopian sci-fi movies also has an affect on me probably because I was watching all of them when I was a kid.
What is your favourite type of concept to create and why?
I used to love the natural environment concepts a lot and spend few years doing that. Even worked on a big project and created natural fantasy environment illustrations for a music video. Also worked on the re-creation of historical monuments discovered in Ireland. But recently female cyborgs, beefed up cars and streets with neon lights are the concepts I enjoy the most.
How do you stay on top of visual trends?
I don’t. I’ve given that short answer so confidently because my work is far from being popular on social media! 🙂
What brings you to microstock? Which agencies do you contribute to? Is there a market for your types of content? (I see you’ve amassed an impressive 13,000+ collection at Shutterstock.)
It all started when I discovered Dreamstime and worked with them exclusively for few years. After they simply decided to cancel the upload bonus for exclusive contributors I’ve made a tough decision and left the their exclusivity program to start selling my work on other agencies – particularly on Shutterstock. I’ve spent months to upload and keyword properly there. Among those 13.000 images, majority of them are my editorial photography I’ve shot for Dreamstime while working exclusively with them. So I already had the portfolio and it was matter of time and lots of patience to upload everything to Shutterstock.
If you don’t mind disclosing, how much do you earn on average every month with micros? Which are some of your best-performing agencies?
Shutterstock is still surprisingly good. But my income from there is never stable… Sometimes hardly $35 a month, sometimes $125 and sometimes but rarely above $250.
How do you foresee the future of microstock for the type of work you produce?
I prefer not to think about future especially as work, money and business-wise. Anything can happen; good or bad and anything is possible. I’m kind of a person that give thanks to his daily bread and try to do today’s work as best as possible. I believe that we can deal with the things in the future when they arrived. And I try my best to keep my heart with all diligence since the wisdom of the day comes with the day.
I see that you’ve been accepted into Arcangel, congrats! Perhaps your work is more well-suited there than Microstock…how is your journey going on there and would you kindly share any goals you may have?
Thank you so much! I had no idea about such area of work before; that I could join an actual book cover agency online and send my work to them. A great person, photographer and the man who wrote the book of stock photography named Alexandre Rotenberg suggested me to send my work to Arcangel Images and pointed me to right direction… you may know him too! 🙂
I will always be grateful for it because it is definitely a different environment than the world of micro-stock and an exciting opportunity. So far I have very few of my work accepted there mostly because I’m making all that from scratch and not sending any earlier work of mine.
Never heard of him, sorry! Do you sell/license your images elsewhere? I see that there may be a strong market for Print on Demand?
The funny thing about this that I actually had a pretty active Zazzle & DeviantArt Print Stores between 2007 & 2012. All I made through them during that time was a lousy $80 dollars which came in the form of a bank cheque and I couldn’t even cashed it. Bank refused to do so since it’s fees would be higher than the payment amount itself. After I discovered Dreamstime and idea of selling my work as stock images, I’ve took everything down on Zazzle & Deviantart. My images did much better in form of micro-stock than in print. And just few years ago after started sharing my work more on Facebook, people I’ve met there also started asking if my images available as print… So I started to upload my work to Artstation Print Store for sale and shared them on Facebook and then I’ve never seen those people who asking for prints of my work again since then.
I see from your social media that you’ve worked with Christopher Von Deylen and National Geographic, could you please tell us more about these projects?
Of course! I’ve worked with Christopher Von Deylen on his long lasting Schiller project. It was one of my greatest dreams for so many years since first time I heard his music in late 2000’s. Very inspiring and beautiful melodies. And they’ve contacted me and told me that they have this relaxation video project with gorgeous forest sounds mixed with analog and digital instruments and wanted me to make a 4K cover image, a natural environment illustration as the cover art of the video for their official website, youtube and social media. And I did! It was a lot of fun to work with them.
The project with National Geographic actually connected with our previous project with Mythical Ireland; author, historian and photographer Anthony Murphy‘s research and documentation about Ancient Irish culture and Neolithic structures such as New Grange and newly discovered “DroneHenge” – name is coming from the way that they discover the site from above with a drone during drought in Boyne Valley area. What I did was creating concept art depicting how those structures in that area would look during their glorious days, when they first built. National Geographic lately interested in the discovery and used my concept art to create a 3D model for their TV documentary.
Project we have worked with David Arkenstone was something I still proud of – even it was back in 2007 – simply because the amount of work I’ve done for it and how majestic and glorious the whole DVD videos are with such wonderful music and an epic ending. I’ve done over 40+ 4K illustrations for just El Dorado video alone.
How long, on average, does it take you to render one of your concepts? I imagine it’s very time-consuming which makes me wonder if it’s worth putting for sale on micros?
I’m trying to keep the whole process less than 2-3 days. However sometimes both modeling objects, texturing, lighting and rendering them can take much more time like weeks. I try not to think about the worth much because I love doing it. And when first I started I was doing all these for free just because I love doing it.
Which are your go-to software to create your Digital Art and why? Do you need a powerful graphics card?
It certainly does require a special, powerful graphics card which I don’t have one. I have an Nvidia GT1030 card on my computer which is the cheapest on the market.
Plans for the future
As technology improves, do you have plans to create something related to VR?
Why not?! If I had an opportunity I’d love to make models and renderings for VR too.
Could you please elaborate on some of your short and medium-term plans for the future in relation to your work?
If I get this question couple years ago I’d probably talk a lot about my future plans, short & long term goals and dreams. But in last few years, I’m living in “day tight compartments” and doing my best to not to look back to the past nor struggle to foresee the future. Plans that sound great for the future can become futile with one global change… And if this cause the worry about the things that we can not control, it is best to drop it for the sake of good health and apply the advice of Thomas Carlyle as much as possible which is:
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
Any tips for those wishing to start out as a digital creative artist in 2022?
As I’ve said earlier, I’m just a student and the best and only advice I could give would be a quote from another great teacher named Napoleon Hill:
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”
Thank you, Kerem, wish you success and happiness!
I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, Spain, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage, when things go back to relative normal (Spring 2022??). I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet, although happy to report that it’s coming to an end soon). I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography