EP 24 – Eytan Zana and Shaddy Safadi – Naughty Dog and One Pixel Brush – Last of Us, Uncharted, Magic the Gathering, Bioshock Infinite…

WARNING: This podcast contains raunchy, insensitive humour and some views on art you may find controversial. If you are easily offended, get ready to be outraged and otherwise, get ready to laugh and to learn! In this special Syn Studio podcast, Anthony and his co-host Stephen chat with Eytan Zana, Concept Artist at Naughty Dog, and Shaddy Safadi, Art Director at One Pixel Brush. The podcast was sponsored by ArtStation and Wacom and the podcast video footage can be watched on ArtStation’s YouTube channel. Check the link below in the show’s footnotes.

Eytan Zana is a senior concept artist at Naughty Dog. His work includes The Last of Us, all of the Uncharted series and illustrations for Magic the Gathering. He has been widely recognized as a master of digital painting and his work has been featured at E3, Imagine FX and other major industry publications.

Shaddy Safadi is an art director and concept artist with 14 years of experience working in the games’ industry. His designs can be seen in Naughty Dog’s award winning Last of Us and Uncharted series. He recently started his own concept art studio, One Pixel Brush, which has created key designs for titles such as Bioshock Infinite, Ryse: Son of Rome and Tom Clancy’s The Division.

“Be the kind of open collaborative person who can take criticism. Listen to it, marinate on it, let it sit. Copy your heroes.”

In This Episode…

Shaddy and Eytan discuss the evolution of concept art and the tools and tricks that let you cheat your ass off! We hear about school experiences past and present and what it’s like getting a lot of recognition in the industry. Shaddy and Eytan talk about the bumps you’ll encounter on the artist’s journey, from the mental processes required to create an awesome art piece to the ways you can manage time efficiently, and even how to overcome creative blocks. We also discuss the importance of 3D in the modern concept art pipeline and geek out on Game of Thrones.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

[01:10] Shaddy and Eytan working together on Uncharted and their school experiences together
[04:50] How concept art was changing during the time they were in school
[06:40] The technical aspects of 3D and Photoshop: techniques and illusions
[08:25] Shaddy’s mental process while working on a concept piece
[12:00] The importance of attitude to become an artist
[13:30] Tablet talk! Which ones do they prefer?
[15:00] What to do with creative blocks and the difference between personal and work projects
[16:20] Shaddy’s transition from being a student to an art director and what it takes to be the latter
[22:00] Where Shaddy finds concept artists for hire: ArtStation, Facebook…
[27:00] Shaddy and Eytan discuss the latest programs for 3D and photoshop
[30:15] Eytan’s origin story and how he got to where he is now
[42:10] Advantages of using 3D in your workflow compared to Photoshop
[44:15] Eytan’s typical day as a concept artist at Naughty Dog
[49:00] Shaddy and Eytan discuss their ways of managing time and doing things efficiently
[54:50] Game of Thrones talk! Shows and characters they like
[1:00:15] Closing notes and important advice for aspiring artists

Links you’ll like…

One Pixel Brush ArtStation 

Eytan’s ArtStation


One Pixel Brush

Naughty Dog 

Websites and Blogs


Eytan’s Gumroad

One Pixel Brush Gumroad 

Programs and Tools

Wacom Cintiq 22HD







Manage your Day to Day (Book)

Shaddy’s Spreadsheet Schedule 

Podcast Video Footage

Even More…

This interview is part of a series of exclusive Concept Art, Illustration, VFX, 3D and Comics Podcasts created by Syn Studio. If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. And please sign up below for our newsletter to keep informed about all of our great podcasts, interviews, tutorials, articles, videos and other material created for you: the artist.


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