Interview with Artist: Douglas Murakami

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Welcome to an exclusive conversation with Douglas Murakami, a visionary digital 2D artist, illustrator, and concept artist hailing from the vibrant artistic landscape of Brazil. With a passion for crafting fantasy landscapes, Douglas has captured the hearts of art enthusiasts worldwide and built an enormous social following. His artistic journey is marked by a dedication to daily art studies and a unique ability to infuse nostalgic sentiments into his paintings.

"I used to play games but never thought about the "art" part of it, you know. So in 2018, I jumped into the concept art, as a 30-year-old because it was this or nothing."


Douglas Murakami is a digital 2D artist, illustrator, and concept artist from Brazil who loves to create fantasy landscapes, do daily art studies, and bring nostalgic feelings to his paintings. After majoring in Web Design, his career path was put on hold for almost a decade, while taking care of his father. Upon return, he started painting and found his new passion and profession.


Hello Douglas. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. To start, could you tell us a bit about yourself and how your art career started?

Hello, sure I can, I'm Douglas Murakami, 36 years old, born and raised here in a little city in Brazil. I majored in Web Design graduating in 2008, I bet nobody knows that about me! After I got my degree, a big part of my life was taking care of my father, it's something that I don't wish on anyone, it is very hard and tiresome to do alone. I did this for 8 years and then grieved for two more years, during which I could not work outside of my home. During that time when I had to stay at home 24/7, I learned how to use Photoshop well, so once I was ready to get out there again, I started to search for jobs where I could apply my knowledge of Photoshop.

And now we come to part of concept art, illustration, and digital art in my life, haha. I think I started noticing the existence of these fields in 2016 -17. Before that, I used to play games but never thought about the "art" part of it, you know. So in 2018, I jumped into this area, as a 30-year-old because it was this or nothing, I knew well just one thing - how to use Photoshop - the rest I had to learn. One year later I started to work as an environment concept artist for an indie game.
What drew you to the world of concept art, and how did you develop your skills in the field?

I always had dreams of some beautiful places, that I couldn't find anywhere, so after joining this world of concept art, and seeing so many incredible worlds created by so many artists, I wanted to try to replicate these's funny because I never can replicate them 100%, but maybe one day! And is amazing to know that we share some of our dreams, as many people came to say that dreamed of that place as well, crazy right?!

As I started without knowing anything, I started to watch a lot of tutorials on the internet, I basically learned everything by watching videos, some free on YouTube and some paid on Gumroad.

"One of the main aspects that I have improved is time management. Now, I can produce something for social media in 30 minutes to 1 hour. When I started, I would spend the whole day making something like that."


Are there specific artists, movies, books, or other forms of art that have significantly influenced your work?

There are some artists that I learned a lot from, for example: Feng Zhu, Bobbi Chiu, and Anthony Jones (robotpencil), these three are the main core of my art journey in the beginning, I would say. But I watched videos of so many artists, that I don't remember the names of all of them. Sorry.

As for movies, The Lord of the Rings is a classic, Jurassic Park, Alien, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Matrix...ahh Ghibli movies, Akira, and anime from the 90s-00s.

Books that I found inspirational are I Robot, Blade Runner, 1984, Wheel of Time,  Way of Kings, Dune, Foundation...and more.
Are there particular themes or subject matters you enjoy exploring in your work?

I like to put Fantasy or “Sci-Fi” elements to everything, as I like these two genres a lot. Sometimes I mix them, but for the last two years, I’ve been enjoying painting real places. It’s a great way to focus on improving only your skills, and later you can make your creations feel more real. Sometimes you imagine something so crazy and discover later that it exists in the real world. I like to paint realistic flowers too. At a glance, it looks so easy and basic, but once you start, you realize how complex it is and how much you learn from these studies. Nature in general, forests, rivers, and plants with some fantasy elements or “Lo-Fi” paintings with a nostalgic feeling.

How has your artistic style evolved over the years, and are there specific elements that define your signature style?

One of the main aspects that I have improved is time management. Now, I can produce something in much less time than before and the quality is almost the same. Of course, if I spend more time, I can do better, but for social media posts, 30 minutes to 1 hour or a maximum of 2 hours are enough. When I started, I would spend the whole day making something like that.

But regarding painting, maybe I have more control over my brush strokes. And I do not depend on the brushes of others as well. I learned how to make my brushes and this contributed to evolving my style. When you learn how to create, the possibilities are infinite. Some people use 1 or 2 only, but I have more than 50 just on Rebelle, on Photoshop I have 500+, every day I create new brushes, so every day I can make a painting differently, this keeps me motivated to try new things. 

Earlier, I focused on using very vibrant colors, lots of effects, and details, but now I can add other layers on top of it, adding a traditional painting style or media and a photo-realistic style.

The photo editing "style" is something that everyone who follows me knows about, the truth is that I always liked to edit since I started to use Photoshop, back in 2005 and the fact that now I can edit my paintings is wonderful, sometimes I paint something so simple in 15min just to spend hours to edit later, haha. 

I can say that my style changed, but it's not 100% the way that I want it to be, so I still see room for improvement and new goals to reach.
Do you intentionally experiment with different styles, or do you prefer to refine and perfect a particular aesthetic?

I change for the sake of it because I get bored making the same thing over and over, you can see, sometimes I do fantasy stuff, other sci-fi, sometimes I do creatures, flowers, lo-fi, nostalgic, real-life studies, and create different kinds of challenges...just to paint something different.

So now I'm in this vibe to learn as much as I can, all the other traditional painting styles, in the past it was oil, now it is pastel, and later I want to learn watercolor...I think that this one will be the most challenging because it is very different from the other two. And because Rebelle provides this option to try different media, I'm enjoying it now because I know that I will get bored soon. Then I go back to the usual stuff, and the cycle restarts.
How do you handle situations where your artistic vision may differ from the client's expectations, and what strategies do you employ to find common ground?

I encountered some problems before, because I wanted to make something different, to do more or deliver the best result, and the client had another idea. Even if the result won't be ideal, you try your best to adjust it.... so now I just deliver exactly what they want because "the customer is always right" right?!
How do you stay informed about current trends and technological advancements in the concept art industry? Are there any emerging trends or technologies that you find particularly exciting or challenging?

Nowadays, it is very easy to get informed about everything anytime, the information is thrown in your face every minute, you don't even have to search... it's crazy.

In my opinion, the main trend now, which is also killing so many creative jobs and will harm many more (including concept artists and illustrators) around the world, everyone knows, is AI.

I keep seeing the news about it because it is important to keep informed, but unfortunately, it also affects jobs outside the art field, eventually, every job will be impacted and now the hardware, TVs, phones, and cars will come with it too.... we're doomed.
Are there specific projects or types of work you would like to explore in the future?

I would like to learn animation, it's on my list of things that I want to learn together with 3D but who knows if the industry will change or not in the next years.


Thank you, Douglas, for being so open to discuss the early stages of your art journey as well as struggles and fears of the future. May the inspiration always find you and the world of concept art will be a better place thanks to your artwork as well. 

Stay Creative,
Escape Motions Team

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