Drone racing competition

April 25 - 28, 2024 | Milwaukee, WI

PETTIT NATIONAL ICE CENTER | $25,000 in prizes!


Our Track Builder

Stefan Luteijn

How long have you been building tracks?

I started making simple tracks in 2018 and over the years I have continued to expand them.


What got you into drone racing and track building?

I have been involved in model making and designing things since I was little. Drone racing simply gives you a big rush when you fly so fast and low over a track. I love inventing things and with track design you can make the craziest things. Here in the Netherlands we sometimes fly the craziest creations. And I like to come up with crazy things.


Where do you get inspiration for your tracks?

I come up with most tracks while I’m building. I never have an idea in advance [of] what I’m going to make. Often it’s just that I start building and the rest follows naturally. I always try to come up with elements that have never been used before. I often come up with the theme I build around on the spot.


What are some of your favorite tracks you’ve built and why?

My favorite tracks are the Boner Arena and the Aqua FPV maps. These are both crazy and large creations and are very popular among the pilots. Both maps are full of crazy creations and I love being crazy.


Do you have any advice for people who want to build tracks?

Build what you want and be creative, no track is too crazy. Ensure a good flow and alternation between left and right. Don’t make tracks too long and try to create laps of 20 to 25 seconds per lap.


Ian Anastas
What is your process for making 2D art?
Every new project starts with an intention-driven plan. What am I doing and what is its intention or purpose? Now, if I’m just freeform doodling, improvising for personal pleasure and exploration, making ‘art’ in the truest sense, I still need to start with at least a scale and medium so I can get started, maybe a time frame, and its purpose/intention will reveal itself as I go along, but if it’s an ask from someone I like to have a plan and details because I hate making corrections once I’ve got something going. I’m at a point where I don’t need to formally lay out my plan, depending on its complexity I can usually just organize it in my head, but in most cases, it starts with a piece’s intention (is it a logo? tattoo? comic book? How will it be printed or published? What is the scale? Who is the audience? Is there a look or theme?) I then spend time compiling references or just start drawing/thumbnailing. From thumbnails I go to a rough pass, then a refined pass, then a clean final pass. If it’s a commission I ask for feedback at the thumbnail stage. Most work I do now is done digitally, a Wacom Cintiq and usually Photoshop for 2D work and Blender for 3D, Maya for 3D animation and Harmony for 2D animation, but I quietly long to do large-scale paintings, drawings, and sculptures, or just dedicate myself to doing a short animated film for weeks/months on end. 
How/Why did you come up with penguins for the Ice Storm images?
I’m not interested if a project isn’t narrative, performance, or character-driven. I’m capable of doing other kinds of work, 15 years of making ends meet as a freelance artist will help you get over the need to feel inspired and just roll up your sleeves and apply your skills, but if it doesn’t involve a character or a story its just work for me. So, when I was asked to design something cool to be printed on sweatshirts for the race without any constraints or suggestions, I mean, come on, it’s a drone race in an ice rink. It’s ripe for drama. If I’m allowed to do whatever I want, I almost instinctively turn it into a story, an animated film in my mind. The first thing that popped into my head was a pack of jet-propelled robotic wolves racing across a frozen wasteland through a literal ice storm. I sketched this and it was immediately shot down, deemed as too weird and terrifying for children. Fine, so you ask yourself, what’s a child-friendly icy critter to use in its place? I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, so of course I thought of the Pittsburgh Penguins logo. While I was sketching I was suddenly reminded of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns and remembered it had penguins with rockets strapped to their backs. So, how about a penguin with a jet engine strapped to his back? Add a pair of aviator goggles, and there you have it. 
What inspires you when you create art and how do you find it?
Inspiration is when you have a couple of dozen completely disparate data points in your mind that have no seeming relationship to one another, and then you suddenly see the missing piece and it all clicks together into a cohesive system that would never have worked otherwise. For myself, these most instinctively manifest as visual stories and characters. I’m drawn to things with sharp teeth and broken hearts; laughing monsters. I’m drawn most to that space that sits somewhere between something being horrifically tragic and gut-busting funny. I get inspired most by films, books, art, and on the rare occasion, other people. It gets tricky with people. Most creative people lack skills, so their ideas are just more work for you. Most people with skills aren’t very creative, and all they say is the idea can’t be done. We need more creative people with skills. 
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