We would like to introduce you to one of our fantastic Designers – Peeter Maimik!
Peeter is a Visual Development Artist at Industrial Brothers who is currently working on environmental designs for Daniel Spellbound, our newest production in collaboration with Netflix. Below, Peeter shares his journey in animation – a story of following his heart to find something that he loved to do each and every day!
What inspired you to work in animation?
Getting a job in animation was actually a bit unexpected. I love animation, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve always been inspired by the art of animation and behind the scenes stuff, but I was mostly focused on trying to get hired in the video game industry. That being said, now that I work in animation I have started to rediscover what made me want to become an artist in the first place. I feel lucky that my career path took this somewhat unexpected turn. Something I’ve been noticing in the video game industry for the last few years is that as the medium matures and becomes more advanced, the art and design process is getting more technical. Video game Concept Artists need to become more specialized as well as start relying more and more on 3D modeling. In animation, visual development artists have to rely mostly on their traditional sketching skills and that ties back to traditional art a bit more closely. At this point of my artistic journey this is very appealing to me. I actually used to work as a 3D modeler for many years, and while do I enjoy working in three dimensions, my original goal was to draw and paint for a living, which I guess leads to the next question.
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
The basic answer is that I get to draw and paint for a living. It really is a dream job, for me personally. It’s what my original goal was when I started my art education, after having realized that my first choice of what I wanted to study in college (Transportation and Logistics) had been the wrong choice for me. Doing what I do at Industrial Brothers is pretty much what I would be doing on my own time.
However, I’m also fortunate to be able to work with two great art directors – Rain Park and Aaron Hong. They’re very pleasant to work with and they’re great artists themselves so our communication always goes smoothly, and for a more junior artist such as myself I can often learn a lot from their guidance and feedback. My job isn’t really about drawing and painting, it’s more about figuring stuff out using that skillset. That’s the area where I’m able to currently grow the most with the help of Rain and Aaron.
Are there any other creative disciplines you do in your spare time?
I love painting outside using my little portable gouache kit that I made, or even on my phone, doing studies of mundane stuff around Toronto. It’s challenging but also therapeutic. Well, there was that one time when I was painting a couple of dumpsters in an alleyway and the garbage truck came by. I really had to make sure the dumpster didn’t fall on my head that time. So that wasn’t very therapeutic. However, I value the experience, it really is completely different from working behind the computer.
I also started to dabble in hand drawn animation but it’s too early to tell if that will grow into a real hobby. I dabble in a lot of different things, I’m kind of a dabbler.
Otherwise, since I spend most of the day behind the computer I try to be more active and outdoorsy with the rest of my time. I love riding my bike.
Is there any accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?
As I mentioned before, I used to work as a 3D modeler for many years. I didn’t hate the job, in fact I quite liked it and I was good at it. I had a chance to contribute to cool video game titles like Far Cry 5 and Watch Dogs Legion at Ubisoft Toronto. However, since the beginning, I’d dreamt of drawing and painting for a living. I’d studied painting at the Estonian Academy of Arts and I’d put a lot of work into developing the craft. Then after my studies, I wasn’t able to land a job as a Concept Artist and went into 3D, kind of as a compromise, to earn a living. As years passed, I started to have doubts about whether I’d ever be able to get back to my original passion. I kept the discipline of drawing alive by doing it every day after work (and during work, but don’t tell anyone… well you know how it is with 3D, you have to wait for things to render etc.). I was able to refine my portfolio a bit as well.
In the end, after all these years, I’m very proud that I was able to keep the dream alive, get back to my original passion and get a job as a Designer at Industrial Brothers.
Do you have a tip or piece of advice for aspiring animators/artists?
If there was only one piece of advice that I can give then I would give a quote from Edgar Payne and his book Composition of Outdoor Painting:
“The most important ally in the study of painting is the art of thinking.
Excepting natural talent or genius, individuality in thought is, without a doubt, the greatest single factor in creative work.”
The reason I endorse this statement is that it stresses the importance of both originality and creativity but also every artist’s individual ability to figure stuff out for themselves. That’s what it’s all about.
Good art education is crucial and it’s essential to get help and guidance from more experienced artists, don’t get me wrong, but at a certain point advice, tips, opinions, tutorials, pointers, YouTube videos etc. can become more of a hinderance to an artist’s personal work process. I think our own ability to figure stuff out is very underrated. There’s often a way to solve a problem by breaking it apart into simpler pieces. By putting those pieces back together in your own way, you’ll be able to find a solution that’s unique to you and couldn’t be achieved by following other artists’ advice.
Your relatable story and positive, problem-solving mindset is inspiring, Peeter! We are so fortunate to have you on team Industrial Brothers.