#004 — Diogo Costa

Design, Film and Storytelling

Interviewed by
#004 Diogo Costa

Charlotte Simons

Published on

February 11, 2024

Hello Diogo, I’m happy to talk to you! Could you introduce yourself? 

Hello! I'm Diogo Costa. I'm a concept artist - and - filmmaker.

I've been working on "THE HUNT", which is a horror animated film that I'm very excited about and can't wait to share with everyone.

You were the first director to approach Blauw Films with a Short Film project.
We were immediately intrigued with your ideas for The Hunt. How did the short film idea come to be?

How did the short film come to be?

Well, the idea (like all of my ideas) sort of popped in my head suddenly - I'm always daydreaming about random stories/images and vibes.
Sometimes it's an idea for a character design, other times it is an idea for a film.

The hardest part is not coming up with an idea - it's executing it - when I started this, I was not a filmmaker, but I've always wanted to be - so I proceeded to figure out a way of becoming a filmmaker and making this idea a reality.

I was not working in a vacuum though - I've been working in the entertainment industry for a few years, so I was familiar with a lot of what it took to make a film. Being a concept artist makes the development stage pretty straightforward - as it's sort of "easy" for me to do this stage: My day job revolves around visualising ideas and coming up with images and concepts - sometimes from virtually nothing - in a way, developing the film was just like another gig, but better - because this time, the original idea was mine.

Right now, you’re in the midst of production for The Hunt. You must be working around the clock...
Any tips or advice for artists who need to crunch and sprint? 

Well, just do it and figure it out as you go. It's okay if you don't have all the answers right away or if you don't know everything.
You will figure it out. Accept that you will fail a bunch of times, keep it moving and just do it.

The most important thing is consistency, really - just keep it moving.

Prime, a collection of character designs by Diogo Costa.

What inspires you the most to write stories? 

This one is easy. Other stories. Mostly other films.
I was 2 or 3(?) the first time I went to the theatre to watch Jurassic Park (A little young, I know!).
I have faint memories, but I know that from that moment on I wanted to do what Spielberg was doing.

What type of stories do you see yourself telling in the future? 

Horror, science-fiction/horror, horror, horror, science fiction, horror and horror - ah and a love story (which will also be horror).

This could be a long conversation, but my fascination with horror is not necessarily because I like scary things - it's because of the way I look at cinema:
as, first and foremost, the art of the moving image and the medium for the BIG ideas and stories - as I'm a sort of purist of this view, I believe that horror is the best genre to play with the cinematic format.

It's not a coincidence that many great filmmakers make their debuts with horror films and that the horror genre is almost as old as film itself.

Concept art by Diogo costa. inspired by the video game Bloodborne. Magical and horror temed.

You’re also a character artist! Could you talk a bit about that? How did you get into character art? 

Technically, I'm a concept artist that specialises in character design - my focus is on characters because I think that humans are interesting - and I like to draw them. I don't necessarily portrait characters in a positive light though. Interesting, doesn't mean good.

What is your creative process like when you’re designing characters?

I think of how the character makes me feel - what would I think if I walked by this character on a street?

Where does it live?
Why does it behave like that?
What is its story?

Then these images pop in my head and I keep polishing them until the images match the feeling and story that I picture in the character.

Concept art by Diogo costa. character design of knight, elden ring inspired character.

What type of characters or genre do you like creating the most?

I like drawing female characters - the traditional female form is super interesting - a lot of curves - and I have a preference for the science fiction genre because it gives a lot of freedom to play abstractly and with the format without the need to make many concessions.

I think of myself as very superficial in this regard, always going for the most appealing aesthetics.

As a closing question, any life-changing advice for the reader? Good books to read, movies to watch, artists to follow?

You won't get any life-changing advice from me, as I've barely figured out my own life.

I can recommend things though: I think my favourite book is Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut - it had a huge influence on how I portray the characters on the Hunt.
I've just finished reading The Stranger by Camus and really liked it.

Can never shy away from recommending films though, here are a few of my favourites from the last few years
(you know, besides the usual suspects):

  • Tár by Todd Field
  • Raw by Julia Ducournau
  • Burning by Lee Chang-dong
  • The Wailing by Na Hong-jin
  • The Lighthouse by Rober Eggers

Concept art by Diogo costa. Inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion, and de EVE robot. cinematic shot with diagonal composition, with blue sky and red flashes.

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Diogo's Work