Nikola joined Sponge Hammer almost two months ago as a senior character artist. He likes cycling after work to wind down the stress and meets with his childhood friends every morning.
You are very new here at Sponge Hammer. How do you find it?
This is a place that I’ve been feeling at home in from day one and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. Because of my special position I got Sponge Hammer as an additional team to be connected daily and share all the good things.
Sponge Hammer is a bonus for me and I am grateful for that. Everyone is so welcoming and super cool to me, so I’m happy.
If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
Well, if I could live anywhere without borders and limitations, I would go for a nomadic lifestyle. I would buy or make a school bus, convert it into a caravan and I would travel around the world and work from a different place every day. If I were a millionaire, I would live on a yacht or a boat and work from there.
If I need to choose one place and settle there, I would say New Zealand. But that would be way too far from the family.
How would you describe your role as a Character Artist?
I’m working on the pirate generator, helping to make characters for the games. I was a lead artist in a small studio before, but being a lead there is very different from being a lead in a giant studio. This step definitely required me to stay humble and see how the studio operates to learn and adapt to their way of working.
I usually say I have one foot in art and one in IT. There is an engineering side to working characters, and there are great technical skills you need to have just to be able to do your work. It is challenging but rewarding too.
What is your day like?
At the moment our flat is being renovated, so we can’t really use the kitchen, so we order food, eat out or visit our parents for lunch and/or dinner. I am lucky because I grew up here and many of my friends still live in the same area. So every morning, we walk to the café nearby where we meet with my childhood friends, whoever is available on that day. We spend the morning together and after ten – because I start at eleven – I get back, finish my breakfast if I have any left, and start a day with the Sponge Hammer call, which is with another bunch of lovely people.
I love how my mornings start, because it gives me so much energy for the day. After that meeting, I usually have another one with the other team. Once those are finished, I check my tasks and start to work until lunchtime, and after lunch continue to work until seven. Most of the time, I listen to music when I draw. If the weather is good, my girlfriend and I hop on our bikes cycle around the area to wind down.
If you could learn anything, what would that be?
I would love to be really proficient on two musical instruments. I’d also love to understand how musicians think when they compose music or play their instruments. I would love to just sit down and play music for myself. I have a ukulele but haven’t learned to play it yet.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love sculpturing. I’ve always thought that I was a good painter. I’m good at drawing, but everything got wound down over time except sculpturing. To give shapes volume and see them in three dimensions, and to see how light reflects off of them… my brain loves it.
The other thing I like very much is bragging about it to my parents, as they always said those hundreds of hours I spent on video games were a waste of time. My job proves the opposite is true, and that is a good feeling. The third thing is that I managed to stay in touch with the art world and that gives me continuous happiness. I believe that everyone should enjoy art on some level, and spend time doing it every day because it fills you with peace and keeps your inner balance.
Tell me something surprising about yourself we don’t know yet.
I believe I have the skills to become a stand-up comedian. I’m a firm believer in humour. I also believe that there are people who naturally find themselves in idiotic situations, weird, humorous ones and, I think I’m one of them. So many things happened to me, weird and funny things, which I could tell in an entertaining way.
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