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Artist Spotlight: Tolga Toykoç

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
I live in Istanbul, Turkey. I studied Software Engineering in college but I didn't like it so changed my path to design which lead me to the advertising agency that I work right now. I've learned every software and technics I use by myself. It was a long and painful process but I love it.

2) What experiences influenced your artwork? Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
I love airplanes since my childhood. My father was a fighter pilot in Turkish Air Force but I couldn't be one because of health issues. That injured my soul and all my aircraft designs comes from that wound. I really don't know where my other design ideas come from :)
I studied every single warbird from WWII and early jet era and I love them. But after some point, I found myself thinking about some original designs, asking myself "what if" questions about aircraft design. I scrap lots of design ideas after finding out those ideas have already been made by someone else. So I started to search internet for concept aircraft designs to find a gap to fill.

3) Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How do you create your artwork? Do you sketch an idea first or do you keep the design in your head until you're finished?
I usually draw a raw idea on paper then I start to make 3D model of that idea and detail the design in 3D software. For me, it is easier to tweak the design when I see it in 3D.

4) When or how did you decide to get into digital artwork? Did you start with traditional media first or did you jump right into the digital world?
I was drawing planes, cars and sci-fi elements on every possible surface since my childhood. None of them survived long years obviously. Then I met a friend who was studying Industrial Design in college. He mentioned me about Rhinoceros 3D and said that it was easy to learn, so I could make 3D models of my designs and never lose them any more. I still use the same software.

4a) What tools do you use to create your artwork?
Rhinoceros 3D is the main software I use. I prefer VRay for Rhino for rendering and Photoshop for creating textures and final compositions.

5) What made you decide to submit your artwork to DeviantArt?
Same guy who made me use Rhinoceros 3D :)

6) What piece of artwork are you most proud of? Why?
I think it is my cute animal character series called "Pantuff" which I started to produce and sell a few months ago.

7) What keeps you motivated when things don't seem to be going your way? What are some challenges you've faced in your career?
I just quit! If I don't like the project, I don't take it. If I don't like the person I met, I never call him/her again and if I don't like my job, I simply quit. It's not very easy for everyone to follow this path but it keeps me free and happy. I don't keep things that makes me unhappy.

The most difficult challenge in my career is to make a client understand that he/she doesn't know anything about design. They usually try to change every little detail that you love in your design. At some point they start to believe that they know the best. So what's the point of hiring a designer?

8) Do you accept commissions from people who enjoy your artwork?
8a) If you do accept commissions, have you worked for worked for many clients? How does your creative process differ when making your own artwork compared to making artwork for a client?

I usually design for fun, not for money. It makes me feel alive and relaxed. But when I design for a client, it limits me, I don't feel very comfortable. Maybe that's why I can't make money out of concept design.

I've worked for few clients over the past years. I've designed two villas for two separate clients, one of them is being built right now in Germany, other one couldn't win the competition. I also design machinery, characters and sci-fi elements for advertisement projects.

9) How do you handle criticism of your artwork?
If it is positive criticism I like to hear every single word. It helps me to see what I miss. But if the criticism is something like "I don't think that this can be made in real life" I just ignore it. I design because I reject real life.

10) What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists who want to improve their artwork?
I'd like to say "if you want to make money out of it, don't follow my path. Learn the most popular and best software in the market and learn it well. If you don't care about earning money with your artwork then listen to nobody but hear everyone. Go offroad, lose track whenever you can. Don't fall in love with your work. That just makes you blind and you miss the chance to do a better version of your work. Try to follow as many artists as you can so you will know what not to duplicate and judge your own work better."

11) Some people claim that digital art isn't "real art" mainly because it's made with software programs. How would you respond to this?
Art comes from mind and soul. What you use to realize art are just tools. A musicians instrument, a painters canvas, a dancers body or a digital artists computer, they are just tools. And if you think that my work is not "real" just because you cant touch it, hit Ctrl+P :)

12) What are some of your more notable achievements? Have you been published in a magazine or exhibited your artwork at an art festival or gallery?
I have been published in a local design magazine once, that's all.

13) Any other comments or anything else you'd like to say?
Well, thanks :)

Where can people go to see more of your artwork? Do you have your own portfolio website or do you post your images mainly at DeviantArt?
Yes I have my own website but the content is pretty much the same as in the DA.


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