Introduce yourself to our readers
Hello! My name is Georgi Slavov, I am 26 years old, originally from Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and I have been living in Glasgow, Scotland for more than five years now. I graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University, majoring in Computer Games – Art & Animation. A year and a half ago I started working as a Facial Motion Editor (Facial Animator for video games and movies) for a local company – Dimensional Imaging Limited (DI4D) and half a year ago I started a temporary second job as a Teaching Assistant at the university I graduated, helping out in the 3D Modeling and Animation department. Apart from that, I do occasional freelance work, varying from illustrations, character designs, animations, and hopefully soon 3D prints, as I recently purchased a 3D printer and want to open up an online store with my work.
You have loved drawing since you were in primary school. How did that passion start and developed over the years?
I was praised for drawing well when I was in first grade and since then throughout my school years, everyone knew me as the “artist of the class” (even though I had other classmates with good drawing skills). But I always tried to practice, even secretly during classes, because I knew it was my love and passion and I knew from a young age that I wanted to go abroad to study something related to art and animation.
I have always taken inspiration from the animations, movies and video games I watched and played as a child, as well as from the many toys my brothers and I had. We often imagined the toys in different scenes inspired by the games and movies we watched. We imitated the voices and phrases we remembered from the shows and slowly learned English that way.
It was from there that my imagination was enriched and I looked for ways to depict these scenes and characters in different formats such as drawings, sculptures, 3D models, and animations. There is no better feeling for me than to give life to the characters and scenes that are in my head.
You went from being the creator of a sketch club in Stara Zagora to a 3D designer in Glasgow. Tell us about that transition.
In 2015, when I graduated high school, I had plans to go abroad and study with my brothers in Denmark. I did not assume, however, that there was a possibility that I would not be accepted at the universities I applied to (as many as 4 times). Naturally, this put me in a situation where I did not know when and where I would go to study or work in the field I had chosen. Not wanting to give up, I decided to fill the time by continuing to practice while I waited for application deadlines.
During this free time, I decided to organize a drawing club (Sketch Club Stara Zagora) in my hometown, because I met many people of different ages who also have this passion and love for art. Once a week we would have a meeting where we would get together with the group members and ‘sketch’ (as I called it) together. It wasn’t anything formal, just an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and be inspired by each other.
Towards the end of 2016, I realized that I had to apply to more universities in Europe that offered what I wanted to study because I was unsuccessful in applying to Denmark. I decided to try Scotland because the university I found offered a very interesting major in my field and I have always liked Scotland as a destination.
I put in an application without getting my expectations high because I was starting to lose hope. However, after doing the task they assigned to me as a test, they accepted me and I decided that this was my destination. I was alone, far from my home, friends, and family, but this was my path and I had to make sacrifices to achieve my dreams.
During my academic years from 2017 to 2021, I attended many different classes related to digital art, but the course was mainly focused on 3D modeling and animation. I had little experience with 3D art before, but during my studies, I finally had the opportunity to practice with software and applications I didn’t have access to before and to work in a team with my colleagues, as I would in the future working in a studio.
With a lot of hard work (since I started practicing when I was little) and effort, working during my studies and facing the COVID – pandemic, I managed to finish this chapter of my life, which I dreamed of coming true since I was 12 years old. So, as I mentioned before, I’ve been in the industry for almost two years and now I’m starting to make up for the missed moments and personal accomplishments over the years.
You’ve had some tough times along the way so far. What motivated you to overcome them?
It is difficult to answer this question because there were many moments when my motivation was not there. I felt like there was no point in my efforts, but those thoughts didn’t last long and I knew I could achieve my goals as long as I didn’t give up. This was my fate.
Even though I was away from friends and family, we still kept in touch with my loved ones, and my partner was also a great help in these difficult situations. She and her family make me feel at home here in Glasgow because they are locals and showed me another side of the culture in Glasgow and Scotland. A country that I learned to love and call my new home.
What inspires you to give your best every day?
In relation to art – since my school years when I realized that I have a lot to practice, I started watching many different tutorials online for traditional and digital art. The artists I watched sometimes talked about their journey, their difficulties, and their motivations. I realized that I need to put in a lot more effort to achieve my goals and make my future path easier by disciplining myself to exercise every day or at least weekly, but I also took a break from time to time to get more inspiration from games.
Something that may sound strange, but in my opinion is logical, is that in the last 4 years, I started following the UFC (the most famous organization for mixed martial arts), mainly because of the clash of characters (physical and mental) of the different athletes. Because the athletes come from different countries and cultures, I find this clash of characters inside and outside the ring very interesting and insightful, because first and foremost I am a character designer. But what also inspires me from them is the discipline the athletes have; this discipline can be applied in many different fields, namely the fine arts because it requires persistence and stepping out of the comfort zone to learn new techniques.
On a personal level, there are times when I don’t give 100% of myself, it’s even rare. It wasn’t until a year ago that I started to rebuild that motivation in myself to be healthier and better as a person because mentally the previous few years had been draining. But step by step, I try to be a better friend, brother, son, partner, and just a better version of myself.
Is there a secret ingredient to successfully following your goals and dreams?
It’s a cliché, but I think that simply not giving up is the most important thing. No matter the age or the situation, there is always a way. But, I think it is very important for people to work on their mental and physical health because it plays a big role in our daily life. I want to end this question with a small expression that my grandfather Ivan always told us when we faced some difficulty: “’Do not be afraid!’
Finish with an inspirational message to all the people who hesitate to pursue their dreams
I think the end of the previous question answers this one as well. I wish you success, love, understanding, health, and happiness!
And most importantly – Do not be afraid to go after your dreams!