Hi folks. Today I’d like to introduce Luka Cakić, a fantastic artist who made the chapter art for The Retreat to Avalon.
Luka was great to work with while I wrote the book. As I finished each chapter, I would send him a basic idea of what sort of picture I would like and we’d go back and forth over details and rough sketches until he had enough to finish the drawing and send me the results. Every time I was amazed! So here’s a short interview to learn more about him and his work.
Sean: Thanks, Luka, for being available for an interview. What would you like to tell us about yourself?
Luka: With my pleasure Sean! Well, I was born in Cetinje, which was once the capital of Montenegro, but I’ve lived my whole my life in Podgorica, currently the capital of my country. In 2009 I started studying Economics in college in Podgorica, but found myself in art after 3 years. So basically I don’t have any art education, I am all self-taught.
Sean: He’s 27 and single, ladies! Self taught in art? That is amazing! How did you end up moving from economics to art?
Luka: I started doing art as a hobby when I was 21. I always loved to draw before that age, but from 21 I dedicated myself more seriously to drawing. I started with portraits, then illustrations, and now even comic book illustrations and concept art and design, which is where my main focus is and will be in near future.
Sean: What types of art mediums do you work in?
Luka: I work in traditional art, all on paper. I love the feeling of having something original and unique, there is nothing that can replace that for me. I usually do drawings by pen or brushes with ink and sometimes do watercolors over the illustration. These are my favorite. But my media and technique is mixed and I enjoy that most of all. In some recent illustrations I used all kind of tools, sometimes pencil, gouache, watercolors, inks, and even acrylic colors if that is what I needed for the effect I wanted to achieve. So short thing to say – no rules when making art.
Sean: Are there other mediums you would like work with in the future?
Luka: Digital art, I guess I will need some day, because some people request speedy work, which is difficult in my traditional approach. But I wouldn’t compare the values of traditional and digital work, because traditional has, and will always have, a much bigger value for me.
Sean: What are some of your inspirations?
Luka: Inspiration is everywhere these days. I always find inspiration in a good story, movie (I love movies!), good novels, history, and everyday talks with friends.
Sean: Who are some of your favorite artists, and why?
Luka: On first place I will say Enrico Marini. Why him? Because his art, his graphic novel, “Scorpion”, had a great impact on me. It’s the first one that had that kind of impact on me when I was a kid, probably just 10 years old and I hadn’t even started drawing yet. I just fell in love in that kind of art. It made me dream of learning to draw stories like that. Other great artists I admire and love are Bill Sienkiewicz, Hugo Pratt, Hermann Huppen, Drazen Kovacevic, Milan Jovanovic. And many others, it is not possible to count them all.
Sean: Well, it would seem you have been remarkably successful in learning to draw. What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve done?
Luka: Well that would be my comic book, Crestfallen, page 1. I must say I’m proud of it because that’s the project I’m working on and I have no idea if I’ll succeed in presenting what I’ve imagined. Basically everything I paint or draw there is learning in the process. I can’t say “I know 100% what I’m doing”. Actually I never do; I love to experiment.
Sean: I’ve seen some of the work on that, and I think you have done a fantastic job. If anyone would like to see it’s progress, they can click this link: Crestfallen. So which of your pictures from The Retreat to Avalon is your favorite?
Luka: My favorite is the battle scene from Chapter 9. I succeeded in capturing the tension of the soldiers with the shields, which I am really happy about. Also by presenting depth in the row. And I love the opportunity to present energy in the picture, as I also did on the Chapter 11 illustration.
Sean: That one is my favorite, too. What did you think of the projects we worked on together? Be honest, you won’t hurt my feelings!
Luka: I loved the project! I learned a lot in the process about the history, which I didn’t know before that, and that is the fun part for me. I only regret that in a few illustrations I didn’t have more artistic freedom, but that is understandable because of the detailed, historically accurate concept that is required for your book. So I feel like a few illustrations could be done much better from my own side, so I see that as my own guilt for not making it even better. But I really enjoyed the whole process of making those illustrations.
Sean: Do you have any ideas of what you would like to do for the next book in the series?
Luka: Well, first, I’m really looking forward to the next book, and it would be my pleasure to continue working on it. As always, I enjoy illustrations where I can present people, their nature, and feel the story in my own way, but still present the concept of art required for the book. That is the bull’s-eye for me. When I mention concept art, maybe some armor and clothing from that period as concept art would be really great to see inside of the book, as a closer view of the details. But as long as the theme is of the medieval times, I enjoy drawing basically anything, so the pleasure is all mine!
Sean: Well, Luka, it’s been great working with you, and I look forward to seeing your art in the next two books. And more after! For anyone interested in seeing more of Luka’s work you can see some on this link: at Deviant Art, or see him draw on YouTube, like this link: Samurai Drawing, or check out the Kickstarter page for his comic book at this link: Crestfallen.
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, comments are encouraged!