Fortnite prides itself on its new and unique skins in the item shop, and a few lucky concept artists such as D3NNI are pushing the mold when it comes to creativity within this space.
Those of you who play Fortnite are well aware of the daily Fortnite item shop. More often than not, Epic Games is adding unique new skins in the game for players to purchase and show off in matches.
Most of the time, they are designing these skins in-house with their own concept art team. However, we will frequently see some Fortnite concept artists post their skins on Reddit or Twitter, and eventually get contacted by Epic Games to bring their skin to the actual game.
This is the experience that D3NNI has undergone twice in recent months, as the young concept artist has been fortunate enough to receive two skins in the title thus far. It hasn’t always been smooth sailings for D3NNI, though, as he talks us through one of the hardest points he has faced this year, and what dealing with Epic is really like.
Designing skins and YouTube thumbnails
Meet D3NNI, a young Canadian from the Province of Quebec who has become one of the rising stars within the Fortnite concept art community. In fact, you may have seen one of D3NNI’s skins in the item shop lately, as Isabelle and Snowbell are the two skins of his that have been recently added.
D3NNI is also the Head Graphic Artist at Top5Gaming, and all of his work can be viewed at his personal artstation account.
In the past, I have personally spoken with D3NNI before his skins were released into the game, and he offered me a chance to catch up with him about an ample amount of topics. From getting his skins into the game, dealing with Epic, and even his prolonged Twitter suspension – as well as the personal effects it had on him.
So, it’s been a few months since we last talked, and a lot has happened in between then. First, I wanna touch on your second design that was added into Fortnite, Isabelle. This was one of the more popular concepts you have designed, and the skin was met with welcome arms. How did this process go compared to your other skin that has been added into Fortnite (Snowbell)?
“I’m so grateful for the crazy amount of love/support Isabelle has received! She was even trending on Twitter at some point, which was absolutely wild. I’ve been so hyped for her release ever since I was contacted back in October of 2020, so I’m stoked that she’s finally here! The process for Isabelle was pretty much the same. Since we already had that line of communication open after Snowbell, I was familiar with how it all worked and it was definitely easier the second time around. Still just as exciting and mind-blowing, though!”
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Besides the addition of Isabelle in the item shop, you also experienced some difficulties on Twitter. For those who do not know, your account was suspended for quite some time. How stressful was this time for you, as your main Twitter account bolsters over 65.000 followers now, compared to 35,000 when we last talked?
“It was honestly a very dark time for me, and it didn’t help that I was already dealing with a lot of personal things at the time. It felt like my world disappeared overnight and everything I had achieved was erased. This happened before Isabelle was finally leaked, so I was super stressed that they would have canceled her due to my suspension. Thankfully Epic was VERY understanding of the situation and everything worked out in the end!”
— D3NNI (@D3NNI_yt) April 9, 2021
You mentioned previously that your dream role in the industry right now is being a concept artist directly at Epic Games and working on Fortnite. How has this job hunt been recently, and has there been any revelations in this regard?
“It is my ultimate goal to be on the Fortnite Design Team at Epic Games, but unfortunately, I’ve had no luck ,since there haven’t been any open positions as far as I know. I personally think I still have a long way to go before I’m even worthy of that kind of job. Regardless, I am actively waiting for a chance to apply whenever that may be! If an epic employee is reading this right now, I’d love to work for you! Internship, part-time, full-time, I’m down for anything honestly!”
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Criticism and controversy is something we all have to do deal with, and being such a figure within the Fortnite community now, it seems like you have dealt with your fair share of this. How has the community been as of late, and does the ‘trolls’ or ‘haters’ ever get to you?
“Toxicity in the Fortnite community has always been a problem that I doubt will ever really go away, sadly. I do still deal with many haters. Definitely a lot of weirdos that cross MANY lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I don’t really let it get to me anymore, as it’s come to the point where I’m so used to it that I just tune it out completely.”
Moving ahead into the second half of 2021, what are some aspirations you hope to achieve -whether it is related to your work or your personal life?
“Getting hired by Epic is 100% my #1 goal, but other than that… I’d love to hit 100k followers on Twitter and hopefully get verified! Another goal of mine is to fully get into 2D art and really focus on honing in that skill. I think being skilled at 2D art would benefit me a lot as a concept artist, while also fulfilling a passion I used to have when I was a kid!”
Your skins are among some of the best we have seen from a concept artist, and it’s no wonder you have received multiple skins in the game now. Has your design process changed at all in the last couple of months, and if so, what made you change the way you design?
“Yes, things have changed a lot! I’ve completely moved over from blender to UE4 (the engine that Fortnite runs on), which has been SO incredible. I personally feel like my art has improved so much since that change! I definitely put a lot more time and effort into each concept now that I’ve got two officially in the game, but there’s definitely a lot of pressure to be perfect. I’ve only been releasing concepts that I’m truly in love with. I also really try to connect my designs to the game and make them feel like they fit nicely into the Fortnite universe!”
Hi #PortfolioDay , i’m Denni! 😀
I’m a concept / character artist and it’s my dream to be a part of the incredible Fortnite Art Team @ Epic Games!
— D3NNI (@D3NNI_yt) April 13, 2021
Last time we talked, you noted that Epic has never reached out to you regarding getting one of your designs in-game. Now, with two skins in the game, how has this process been dealing directly with Epic?
“Epic is honestly the sweetest. Every time I’ve interacted with them has been such a great experience and they truly do care so much about the artists in our community! I’m so happy to see so many more community concepts from so many different artists getting into the game! As for me personally, I don’t have anything else coming to the game as of right now. I’m going to continue to release more of my ideas into the world and hopefully another one of my concepts will get into the game at some point!”
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Thanks again for taking part in this interview! Do you have any shoutouts you want to give or say anything to your passionate fan base?
“Thank you so much for having me back here Nick! I do wanna shout out @3NUBIS because I think their concept art is absolutely fantastic and really underrated! Also, HUGE shoutout to all the awesome artists from our community, my friends, my supporters, you guys are all so amazing! Before I go, here’s a lil teaser for 2 of my upcoming projects:
Oakwitch Academy has a fiery new student! But it doesn’t feel like it’s his first time on the island..
Keep an eye out ;)”
D3NNI was a pleasure to speak to, and it amazes us how he is constantly able to create new and unique designs that wow the Fortnite community. If you are interested in supporting D3NNI or want to see more of his art, below are all of D3NNI’s social links!