VANAS Alumni

Martina (Nati) Koeberlein

Concept Art Diploma

"VANAS Concept Art program definitely pushed me into directions I didn't expect to go to, and also pushed me out of my comfort zone immensely."

Can you tell us a bit of your art background prior to VANAS?

I've been doing art since I was a little kid, and always have been hugely inspired by fiction. As a kid I already made up my own stories and characters (back then those stories were mostly about animals), and as I grew older I taught myself how to draw humans and landscapes. I've been doing art since early childhood, but never really professionally (aside of some freelance commissions). I'm a huge fan of animation and games, and thusly mostly inspired by those mediums. For a long time I've also been very interested in Japanese animation and manga, but nowadays I'm really more all about cartoons and video games. I love animated media, and whenever I watch a movie/show or play a video game I can't help but analyze the character designs to see what intentions the designer put into this character. It's fun to do, and also a great way to learn!

Castle at Sea
Martina (Nati) Koeberlein Concept Art student artwork

What were your motivations to take the program?

I wanted to interact with professionals who have experience in the industry, learn from them and figure out where my strengths and weaknesses are. Really, what also interested me was that I could learn and ask questions about how the industry works, and what the daily workflow is like.

VANAS Concept Art Creature Design 1
Martina (Nati) Koeberlein Concept Art student artwork

How has VANAS helped you?

The Concept Art program definitely pushed me into directions I didn't expect to go to, and also pushed me out of my comfort zone immensely, as I always tried to avoid background artworks. I appreciate the focus on background/interior pieces in the program, since a lot of people are probably a little intimidated by those. I also appreciate that the teachers were very understanding to someone like me who gave their best but also worked a daytime job.

Can you mention some A-ha! moments during your education?

I think the perspective lessons at the beginning helped me a lot, as well as watching professionals work on demonstrations. What helped me the most were the lessons about thinking in silhouettes. It's so much easier to tackle an art piece if you first think in shapes, then in details, as I am usually an artist who thinks of all the little details and symbolisms and hints to storylines before even starting a piece, haha.

Fynn Character Sheet VANAS Concept Art
Martina (Nati) Koeberlein Concept Art student artwork

How do you compare your art skills before and after VANAS?

My skills were already good before I joined VANAS, and I think I'm a little more burnt out than I was (but that could also generally be because of the year 2020), but I am ready to tackle more environmental pieces and practice tech design now than I was before. I think I'm definitely more refined, but I still have long ways to go.

VANAS Concept Art Poses and Expressions 1
Martina (Nati) Koeberlein Concept Art student artwork

What was your favorite class/topic (why?)

Character Design, it's my comfort zone and characters are also the central part of a story. The world they live in revolves around them and vice versa, but getting the main characters and their stories figured out is always the most fun part for me. Everything else follows after the basic concept in my opinion. So yeah, definitely character design!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank my teachers Adrian, Todd and Carlos for the time and their feedback, their kind words and motivations they've given me! 2020 has been tough on us all, and seeing my instructors once a week has definitely given me a stability and a routine. Thank you, and I hope I'll be able to talk to you again at some point!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Learn more about our program:
Concept Art Diploma USA