How did you become an artist?
I was born in Soviet Russia at the end of the communist regime. And thankfully, the wall fell when I was still a child, so I grew in a world that changed so quick from one extreme to the other. I grew up loving art, my dad a typical intellectual Russian person and he had a whole library of books about paintings and painters. But during that times I was more mesmerized by Disney cartoons, I could watch them a hundred times and whenever I had a minute I would pause my VCR and try to copy the lines from the screen. I used to draw with a pencil in cheap notebooks, but I finished lots and lots of them with what I would call visual fanfic novels about Aladdin or Pocahontas. I never imagined by any means to make a living as an artist, so... I ended up as a musical theater performer and singing teacher. Which doesn’t really sound like a “real job” as they say, but that was the irony of my life :-). However, I was still fascinated by drawing, but I saw it as a hobby, until things became rough again in Russia, especially for the LGBTQ community, which me and my partner are part of, and we decided to immigrate to the EU.
Leaving your homeland behind is always a huge change. So I started drawing once more to cope with the stress, with constant uncertainty and the need to adjust into a new life. Drawing was something familiar, something very personal and comforting, something from those times of innocent childhood and a way to escape from all the worries for a while. Drawing was something to hold on to and it helped me to channel my emotions into creativity. I was 33 by then, not the earliest age to start an art career, as I thought. But I just found so much consolation in mastering watercolors or other mediums that it didn’t really bother me. I was drawing every day, spending at least 2-3 hours practicing, watching tutorials, reading books on digital and traditional painting.
Eventually, my works started to gain attention by Instagram and Tumblr communities. To my surprise, people started to ask me if I would sell prints or originals, and of course I said yes! That’s when I realized it could become a career. I could make a living off my art. Now, 3 years later, it is my reality. I live of my art, being a “late starter” and a completely self-taught artist.
Where do you get inspiration?
Books, movies (I do lots on fan art), traveling, nature, other people. I mostly like to draw people. The best way to get some rest for me is to take my iPad or a sketchbook to a park or a Coffee shop and just sketch strangers. I collect tons of pictures from Pinterest, screenshots from movies for composition, light or color references, of course I go to museums and study traditional art quite a lot. Especially from the end of 1880’s and to the 1970’s since most of my favorite artists and illustrators fall into this time period.
What’s your hardware setup?
I use Wacom Intuos 5 with my Asus Rog Strix G laptop and Ipad Pro 12.9 2018.
What do you like best about Clip Studio Paint?
Switching to Clip Studio Paint was the best decision I made when I got tired with PS eating up all of my memory and constantly being laggy because of the Windows pen thing. I desperately tried to find something that would give me more options for less money and what’s more important a brush engine that would do a great job with mixing colors and creating transparent color transitions without mud. To my luck CSP was just that! Easy to learn, loaded with useful tools, amazing brush engine, incredibly helpful and easy to use 3D modeling tool. To me CSP is everything one needs to create art, in my opinion. And the Clip Studio Paint community with all custom assets in one place made my artist’s life ten times easier at a glance. I use CSP both on my laptop and on Ipad and it is also a great feature.
How long does it take you to make a single illustration?
Depends on the complexity, of course. For a digital portrait is between 3 to 6 hours. For more complex and detailed illustrations it can take from 2-3 days up to a week.
Would you consider Clip Studio Paint an industry tool?
Absolutely yes. It feels like it was made for any artist’s needs in mind and it really makes work easier and faster which is very important when you do art for a living.
Where can we follow your work?