#001 — Valentín Borowczyk

Inspiration, Motivation and Discipline

Interviewed by
#001 Valentín Borowczyk

Charlotte Simons

Published on

February 11, 2024

Sketchbook with graphite self-portait by French concept artist Valentin Borowczyk.

Hello Valentin! Could you introduce yourself to our audience? 

Hello Charlotte, certainly. I'm Valentin Borowczyk, a 23-year-old French Concept Artist.

I have a background in concept art from Ecole Pivaut, where I spent four years.
After completing my education, I embarked on my concept artist journey by working on my own project—a sci-fi short film called "Immortalité." I handled most of the designs related to the project.

Could you tell what made you want to get into concept art? 

I didn't really know the meaning of concept art until I finished school, haha.

When I was younger, I used to draw a lot (we could have a passionate debate about why I started drawing, which is the main theme of the short film "Immortalité" I'm working on).
I gradually transitioned to illustration. Initially, my interest was in digital illustration, but as I progressed toward my school's diploma, design became more prominent.

I found myself increasingly drawn to design elements, telling stories through them, being efficient and prolific, and swiftly transitioning from one subject to another.

I enjoyed proposing a multitude of ideas on the same day.

Concept art and Character Design by concept artist Valentin Borowczyk for his 3D animation short film , Immortalite. There are dystopian armour designs for soldiers, the designs are dark and surreal.

We really loved the concept art you made for your own short film Immortalité.
Which is why we asked you for Syntactic Labyrinths. The two projects are pretty different in genre.

How do you take genre into consideration when starting new concept work?

Many thanks, despite the distinct genres of these two projects, both delve into sci-fi hyper-realistic dystopian narratives.

"Immortalité" explores extremes in design, pushing the boundaries of insanity and venturing into uncharted creative territories.
When working with you on projects like "Syntactic Labyrinths", I focus on maintaining control over these creative aspects in alignment with the studio's vision.

It's truly fulfilling to contribute to projects with less extreme themes, as it provides a valuable counterbalance to my thought process.
I admire both "Harakiri" (1962) and "Mad God" (2021), and I would have relished the opportunity to contribute to these projects.
Despite their visual disparities, they share a fundamental aspect — storytelling.

In my perspective, embracing extremes and pushing creative limits allows for a more measured approach.
Taking a step back often results in a more nuanced and refined outcome.
The process of being extreme brings about subtleties and contributes to a profound and enriched thought process.

Concept art and Character Design by concept artist Valentin Borowczyk for 3D animation sci-fi story Syntactic Labyrinths by Blauw Films. We see colourful hazmat suit designs for the humans in the short film. The designs are futuristic.

Regarding Syntactic Labyrinths, what were your initial thoughts (design wise) when starting the project? 

Kurosawa and Ozu have been profound influences on "Syntactic Labyrinths", prompting me to delve deeper into their works to refine my design choices.
Exploring their cinematic legacies was not only fascinating but also a means to elevate the sophistication of my designs.
This is why I'm eager to continue working on the project!

Their films possess a certain quality that, I believe, I haven't fully captured in the designs for "Syntactic Labyrinths" yet, but I'm determined to do so.

Taking the Hazmat suit, for example, as I was concurrently working on "Immortalité", initially, I wanted to experiment with shapes and intricate embellishments. Gradually, I shifted towards a more slender design, playing with subtle details such as the texture of the suit and the tactile sensations it evokes when touched.

Personally I think your work is incredible, and the concept art you made for Syntax shone a new light on the designs.
I know you always take care to come up with creative and innovative ideas.

Could you tell us a bit more about that process? 

Thank you for your generous words. The creative process revolves around exploration—daring to venture into uncharted territories, fostering creativity, and deliberately avoiding the ordinary.

It's about pushing the boundaries of innovation and refusing to settle for the conventional or basic. The essence lies in embracing innovation and steering clear of the commonplace.

Concept art and Character Design by concept artist Valentin Borowczyk for his 3D animation short film , Immortalite. This is the character design for the female character. The atmosphere around her is futuristic, ethereal and surreal.

What do you personally believe concept art adds to a production? 

Concept art contributes a sense of liberation and creative freedom to a production.
It serves as a catalyst for innovation, unlocking new visual possibilities.

Yet, it's not without its challenges; navigating these challenges sparks creative problem-solving.
In essence, concept art serves as a gateway, fostering a realm where imagination thrives and breathes life into the vision of a production.

Which artists inspire you the most?

When considering a broad spectrum of influences, I would likely mention Rembrandt, Nicolas Nemiri, Rodin, Akira Kurosawa, Hideteka Miyasaki, the iconic Moebius and Jacques Brel, to name a few.

Each of these creators has left an indelible mark on their respective fields, influencing me a lot.

Character design study from concept artist Valentin Borowczyk, based on the designs from comic book artist Moebius in Arzach.

How did you start working with Blauw Films?

The collaboration with Blauw Films began when I reached out to inquire about the possibilities for bringing "Immortalité" to life.
During our discussions about the project, you expressed interest in my skills and expertise.

This led to an invitation to contribute to your own short film, and from there, our collaborative journey began.

Our ongoing communication reflects our shared commitment to exploring the potential of "Immortalité" and other projects, and I'm excited to see how far we can go and develop these creative ideas together.

Any words of advice for artists wanting to become a concept artist?

Certainly, aspiring concept artists, the journey is as much about personal growth as it is about honing your artistic skills.
Cultivate discipline in your practice, allowing yourself to consistently produce work and evolve.

Knowledge is your ally, so expand your horizons by delving into various subjects, especially those related to storytelling and creativity — these are the backbone of compelling concept art.

Don't underestimate the power of fundamentals; they provide a solid foundation for your artistic expression.
Also remember to take care of your physical well-being (because we are sitting in front of a computer everyday).

Continuous practice is key — challenge yourself, explore new techniques, and push beyond your comfort zone.
When faced with a problem, tackle it head-on; turning away only delays your progress.

Keep pushing, keep creating.

Concept art and Environment Design by concept artist Valentin Borowczyk for his 3D animation short film , Immortalite. The environment is hostile and dark, on an unknown planet. It feels mysterious and surreal.

Stay connected with Blauw Films! 
For the latest updates, breakdowns and exclusive content, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube

Valentín's Work