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Interview with Jaemin Kim

Dear users and guests RENDER.RU, we begin publishing exclusive interviews with foreign CG artists. Today our guest is the concept artist Jaemin Kim. Jaemin Kim painter from Korea. Works as art director for APD GAMES. As expected all the work there day and night.

RENDER.RU: Could you tell our readers a few words about yourself, where you come from, how do you become a concept artist? Do you have any special education?

Jaemin Kim: Hello, my Russian friends. I’m Jae-Min Kim who is working for a small game company called APD GAMES in Korea regarding creature concept arts and art directing. 10 years ago when I began to work in this industry, there were a lot of MMORPG projects in Korea.

I used to enjoy animal documentaries and loved drawing monsters so I got to apply for the game company after my military service. There have been endless projects of monster concepts in the genre of MMORPG to make me concentrate into attractive job of my own interests and also my quality of drawing got better rapidly working day and night. I had no other chance to be trained, however, those artworks introduced in CG communities had been good teachers for me.

RENDER.RU: Of course, everybody interested in what software and hardware you mostly use? Do you use natural materials for drawing (for example, paint, pencil, etc.)?  

Jaemin Kim: There is no special tool for concept works. After sketching with pencil, it is scanned and colored by Photoshop. I do not test brush effects of the feelings of materials since I don’t research for diverse styles of illustrations specifically. I rather prefer to think about the materials more. But I do love the rough feelings of the pencil sketches. Those rough feelings of graphite powders on the paper go well with the skin texture of creatures such as reptiles so I always try not to pass the pencil sketching.

RENDER.RU: Now it is not easy to surprise people with new and interesting ideas. But looking through your work, one is struck by how each your concept is interesting and unique! How difficult was it to achieve such mastery? How much time you need to develop concepts of your characters?  

Jaemin Kim: I was surprised to the unusual reactions to my concepts of creature. There are thousands of unique designs in CG communities other than mine. The concepts of the Russian guys, especially the artist 'CHUVABAK', were so amazing. I was ‘Wow, I’ve never thought about this new approach.” Everyone has one’s own style. As long as the objective of expression is clear enough, I think anyone can have his/her own unique artwork. However, when the purpose is to follow certain artist not making something of his/her own but rather suppressing one’s own style, then there can be no unique thing. It is important to believe in myself and to understand myself as well.

RENDER.RU: Who/What influences your artistic style the most (Films, games or something else)? What is the source for your inspiration? 


Jaemin Kim: Before starting this job, I was greatly shocked to see a series of artworks of 'terrada katsuya'. To me, it showed how natural materials can be seen in a totally different way when fused together in the most dynamic way. I come up with the ideas for my work mostly when watching nature documentaries. When I was young, I rarely had chance to see arts and cultures. Not mentioning of games or comic books, movies were a huge culture event which is only available in national holidays. I spent most of my childhood catching bugs, fishes, or building secret huts. Those materials I’ve seen and touched myself are still useful for my work.

RENDER.RU: Tell us about some of your favorite projects. Why was it important to you?

Jaemin Kim: The project of BLUESIDE, "Kingdom under fire" was the most amazing one. It was the only console work undergone in Korea and its art team was also the best team in Korea so I could learn a lot as a concept artist working with good friends. 7 years have passed since then but I don’t find much difference in my capability since that time. I’m just refining what I’ve learned that time. The company got worse and all those friends are now here and there but still we are keeping in touch each other sharing information a lot.

RENDER.RU: Do you think it is possible if all the ideas for the concept art will be exhausted? 

Jaemin Kim: I think concept arts can be as much diverse as numerous species of living creatures classified in biology, just like new species being discovered continuously even though many scientists have been studied for a long time. In a new environment, the living things in it also evolve in a new way. Just like that, the concepts may change according to the purpose and there are unlimited purposes to be used. Also, there are numerous species in all different way they look in the same environment which is the same as new concepts being developed by different artists.

RENDER.RU: Looking back to your old projects / works, have you ever thought how you would have done them now, when you have more experience? 

Jaemin Kim: It’s true that my works in the past is not superior to the ones of now as a result. However, those were the best out of me at that time and situation which made what I am now. Their values are great enough only for that. I’ve been drawing dragons continuously, but don’t retouch or try anything previous ones to add something. Those are my memories of that time and situation to remind me of the feelings of that time in the beginning and motivate me to draw great dragons continuously. Of course I feel sorry about the works or projects I failed but I try to more concentrate on what I’ve learned from it.

RENDER.RU: In your opinion, what might be called the key to the success of the concept artist? 

Jaemin Kim: I’m not a successful concept artist yet so it is hard to say something. I’m not rich and have not tried something I really dreamed of.

I enjoy watching movies than playing the games, however, I’ve never participated in the movie production yet. I think this is not what you’ve expected for an answer but..

I think it is very much important for concept artists to have expert knowledge just like biologist or engineer before mentioning of drawing skills when compared to the illustrators.

RENDER.RU: What would you advise to a beginner artist? 

Jaemin Kim: It is important to enjoy what you are doing. It is wrong to make what I want to do the most the 2nd thing from other people’s advice. Please place what you want at the first priority. When you enjoy that job, you can grow while filling what is lacking to more enjoy your job. Never worry about how different your way of growing from others. Rather, it might be making you way more special than others. Hope you are always happy and excited at least when drawing paintings.

RENDER.RU:  Jaemin Kim, editorial RENDER.RU sincerely thank you for your time and interesting conversation, it was very informative.

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