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Sir Cat and couple of words about testing pro account

General / 12 March 2020

Soon my time of free pro account will expire, and I really want to thank ArtStation team and Wacom for opportunity to test it. Just simple example why it is helpful - it was first time when I started to recieve job requesting here, and some variants seems enough interesting to me. I will not extend the subscription now, because I already have enough good customers, but I'm very glad that in case of something I get nice plan how to find new ones :) 

And here's some characters from personal project Dreamer. It is enough quick drawings, I tried to spend not so much time on them and time limits sometimes helps to find cool ways of making nice look with simple instruments and concentrate on design but not on just render. One of my favorite now is editing hues and contrast with curves. 

About studies

General / 05 March 2020

When I graduated from art academy couple years ago, I noticed that without regular studies my drawing skill stopped in some point and progress get slowed, in my opinion I were just repeating some previously learned tricks and it was not enough for my new goals. I started to make drawings for our book, and it was necessary to make lots of quick and living sketches to catch new characters expressions. Then I had no opportunity to visit classes anymore, and that was first time when I seriously dived into studies from photos. In the college teachers didn't allowed us that kind of copying, only etudes from real models, they said it don't develop sense of volume. But I have no other ways to improve my skills, and I tried to do that, and surprised how it really helped me. 

The key to making good studies is attention, photo must be interpreted not as mess of colorful spots, but as projections of real objects with all features of surface and lighting.  May be it is simple and obvious thing, but only actual doing studies opens how important it is. Sometimes I just can't realize lots of small subtleties by just looking at an image, but copying opens them all. Other great thing is that brain begin to predict some features of realistic style after 2-3 days of studies and then even sketching from imagination becomes to look way better and detailed. And, of course, combitation of cool edges and soft areas matters a lot.

Fantasy characters and dynamics

General / 24 February 2020

For last three years I work on illustrations for "Heavens" game, that is popular in social network VK. That game is enough old project and in the beginning it's art had been made by Graphite studio, so it have quite high plank of quality. When I received offering to work for that game, I were very happy because rules of it's style require high-detailed hand painting, and that is what I like the most. Also there's not very strict guidelines in design of characters, and I have enough freedom to invent something that is interesting for me to draw. But also there's goal to make characters look very epic and I were surprised what ways art director told me to use. I knew that silhouette and pose is important, but I didn't realize how really much it is. That was time to beat down some rules of realism that left in my mind after art college, when everything needs to be static as a model, who sits still for 3 hours while students paint. Action poses is total opposite to that, and I figured out one rule - if you think you put enough dynamics into drawing, push a little more =) And throw up into air everything that is not nailed to the ground.

Here's some girls I draw for that project.

Book covers

General / 18 February 2020

Since my husband started writing fantasy fiction, I just cannot stand aside and began to draw his characters. My own fantasy folks went to backside for a while, and that was strange for me because before I draw someone's else fantasies very rarely. I even afraid that my own things became forgotten, but as I see after three years of this collaboration everything is still okay when I come back to them.

The very fun side of books as personal project is cover art. I studied a bit about them, watched cool examples as Star Wars covers or comic books, and learned some basic rules.

1. The cover must look nicely even it is thumbnail size - most book stores shows very small sized covers. In it's composition there must be reading simplest figure as triangles, stripes,  and easy-to-read significant shapes and silhouettes, and some striking color accents. Also it's cool to choose one or two colors of the spot. 

2. Typography means a half of success. If it's bad, it ruins best art, if it's cool, may be there's no art necessary at all. I use simple scheme by dividing text into blocks and letters always take not less than one third of a cover. 

3. Book cover is not illustration, moreover, I think today book covers are similar to musical album covers - main thing is mood, atmosphere and extent of  dynamics. I like to draw characters, and put them into just nice poses, but unlike illustrations there's no necessary to depict concrete scene. However, It's cool if a scene may be portrayed in cover rules, but scene itself is not main goal.

Dreams and witches from personal project.

General / 16 February 2020

My comfort zone is "classical" of "high" fantasy with elves and dragons, but not everything that excites me fits into that setting. That's one of reasons why I'm interested to take part in my husband's project - book series called "D.R.E.A.M.E.R." (as analogy to one famous post-apocalyptic games) Main theme of it are lucid dreams and everything around them, it's modern mystical fantasy in contemporary setting, and all magic things happen when heroes sleep :) But that phenomenon strongly affects their lifes, they pulled into confrontation between different organizations of dreamers. First book "The Cheathunter" started from story about MMO game in lucid dreams, where main hero works as moderator, then he discovers what lies behind it and meets powerful Coven of Moscow witches. May be it sounds weird, but it is so :) 

I liked to illustrate this stories because there's no boundaries like in real dreams, and also nice atmosphere. It's okay to draw heroes just flying over real cities mixed with weird architecture or fighting impossible beings. I lived in beautiful Saint-Petersburg for 7 years and it was cool to remember some features of it like famous rooftops or strange old courtyards.

That skull-headed creature was found by main hero during his explorations of dreamworlds, and they become symbionts. It's so called Phasing Wolf, and it is fast as hell. Cover for second book "Familiar"

 One thing is great when you paint characters from a story - they have personalities and it helps a lot with design of their appearance. Witch coven at the beginning of 6th book.

  And I'm interested, what do you think about weird settings and which of them do you like the most?

More Gravity Sketch :)

General / 13 February 2020

I just can't stop thinking about how to make new scenes =) It's quite simple, but so easy to get something with volume and motion. Also I've new computer, and it's like paradise, marmoset works amazingly fast. I'm so excited to learn 3D now, even it is just for fun yet.

Castle sculpt

General / 10 February 2020

Another evening sketch with animated camera :) I've been wanting to try to build a castle for a long time, it took almost 3 hours to build it (in the end I started to do it much quicker) and hour to set Marmoset, and it seems I need to upgrade my hardware.

Is it necessary to choose main theme?

General / 08 February 2020

Sometimes I hear advice that every artist needs to figure out his most striking feature and use it in every artwork. It's a recognizible thing that makes his art unique and brand-like and it's not good to disperse in many different directions. It's great, but I wonder what to do if I feel strong interest to things, that is not straightly linked to one theme that shows best success? I like to use some methods in digital painting that are similar to traditional and classical fantasy genre, but also it's so cool to me to take inspiration in contiguous areas like 3D,cinema, NewWeird style and even typography and design and make experiments just for fun. May be I waste my time, but someone said that "if time was wasted with pleasure, it was not wasted" and that calms me. 

I think I already find that theme. But there's so many great stuff around and focusing on just one thing bores me, even that thing is dragons. Two years ago I opened another theme, may be it's not so cool, but it allows to "touch" a lot of thrilling stuff that stayed left out for very long time. But I post about that next time :) Overall I think it's time for me to find way for more enveloping represetntations of my ideas, give them less scattered appearance, and in first that require better planing. So I think - what if the deal is about comprehensiveness of a concept, but not "beating the same point"?

And here's more dragons as example of that kind of theme =)


Gravity sketch practice

General / 05 February 2020

This time the goal was to make something with maximum accuracy and detail. It's hard for me to work in VR more that 2 hours, but that's nice limit that allows to concentrate on main things :)  Usage of prepared concept speeds up the process. And then I dived into marmoset settings of lighting and camera and I can't stop until I get this glamorous illumination. But it so hard to force the camera to move smoothly =( Now I have to find some info about how to work with it correctly.


Gravity Sketch VR

General / 03 February 2020

Some months ago I get Oculus Quest helmet and that' something truly awesome =) 

I interested in 3D, but it always seems too complex and hard to study, also modelling is very slow process, sometimes after trying I  decided that it's easier to pant in 2D what I want, however, it's very enthralling process. But Gravity Sketch is very nice to me, it's almost intuitive, and Marmoset is cool for show this quick thing in motion! So excited to try this combo =) I needed some practice to reduce camera jumping, but I hope you like it.

Also what is the greatest stuff about VR sketching - it evolves feeling of volume and space. I hope one day I'll get a chance to take participation in making a VR project.