When it comes to the look and visual style of a movie, TV show, or video game, it all starts behind the scenes with the concept artist. That applies whether the title in question is an adaptation of a pre-existing property or an all-new, original idea. Take, for example, our recent highlight of Danar Worya‘s work on The Last of Us: Part II which showed off the early designs for now-iconic moments and levels. So it’s with that in mind that we shine our Indie Spolight on accomplished concept artist, digital painter, and visual effects artist Didier Konings, whose work can be seen on the big and small screens past, present, and, of course, future.
Konings worked full-time at a design studio in Los Angeles for the last five years. As the Lead Digital Matte Painter and Concept Artist, he worked on several blockbusters (Wonder Woman, Rampage, Stranger Things, and Mouse Guard, to name a few,) and delivered iconic concept design work and memorable visual effects for those high-profile productions. Just this year, Konings began working in partnership with Mauricio van Hasselt at Nightroad Studios LLC, which specializes in concept art and other production and development services. Nightroad Studios is also aligned with StommelHaus, run by DP and Colorist Clifton Stommel. Together, the studios develop their internal projects in the form of short films, like Koning’s award-winning short, Uncario.
Nightroad Studios and StommelHaus are currently developing that short into a feature film with a financial partner, a screenplay by Evelyn Stommel and directed by Konings himself. The flagship short, directed and designed by Didier, was shot in Iceland, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles, and recently won awards for Best Director, Best Sci-fi Short, Outstanding Achievement in Production Design, and was a runner-up for Best Short Film at the Los Angeles International Film Festival (Indie Short Fest.) We can share a few visually striking looks at that short below, in addition to much more.
Today, Konings will be showcasing his work on the in-limbo feature adaptation of David Petersen‘s Mouse Guard during a special appearance on Petersen’s ongoing (and free!) OnlineCon. We can tease a few behind-the-scenes looks from that project below, but Konings has also shared more of his individual contributions to major films and super-popular TV titles.
Just a few of Konings’ current claims to fame include:
- Director / Creator / Designer of Uncario, an upcoming 20-minute sci-fi short film that’s already racking up the awards. It follows a moon colonist’s life as it’s “upended by vivid dreams and a mysterious signal from a long-abandoned Earth.”
- Mouse Guard – Lead Concept Artist – Designed key-scenes / mayor environment and set pieces, director Wes Ball, 20th Century Fox
- Cowboy Bebop – Lead Concept Artist – Designed architecture / environments, Netflix original
- Space Jam 2 – Lead Concept Artist – Character designs and key-scenes, Director Malcolm D.Lee, Warner Bros.
- Birds of Prey – Lead Concept Artist – Designed set extensions, Director Kathy Yan – DC entertainment.
- Stranger Things – Concept Artist / Digital Matte Painter – Environment designs, The Duffer Brothers, Netflix Original
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Lead Concept Artist – Designed Key-scenes and look of “The Phoenix”, director Simon Kinberg, Marvel Entertainment.
- Rampage – Lead Concept Artist – Key-scenes for the look of the fight scenes.
- Wonder Woman – Concept Artist – Environment design for Amazonian Island, Mural painting, Patty Jenkins. Warner Bros
Be sure to tune into the convention throughout the weekend, and head over to Konings’ site and ArtStation showcase for much more info on his career, experience, and to find out what’s in store for his professional future (hint hint, there are some big titles on the way!) A sampling of his work follows below: