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Interview with awesome Illustrator, Dmitry T. D Black Sun

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Articles / Interview/ Comments: 1

Hello Dima! Tell your readers a little about yourself.

Hello Iaroslav, I’m very pleased to meet you. I visit vectorboom website very often and read many interesting things there!

I was born in a Polish town Borne Sulinowo. My family moved a lot, that’s why it is very hard for me to tell where my homecountry is. I incline to think it is Ulyanovsk, because my best childhood’s years were spent there, and also my first art school is located there. I received my education in roundabout ways - the thing is, I kept drawing from early childhood, but I wanted to challenge myself in “real” professions. I tried many professions - I used to make doors in a joiner’s shop, worked in a factory, in a museum, on a construction - in such a way I earned enough to buy my first computer; on my first computer I started to draw again after a long brake. I poorly drew a couple of pictures with a computer mouse and by a miracle got a job in a printing industry. At the same time I started attending evening classes given by a wonderful pedagogue in one art school - exactly he returned me to my natural course. After that I studied in Samara’s art school, but I haven’t taken much out of it - the teaching methods lacked 20-25 years behind. At the same time every day I continued attending classes of my teacher in the art school. For everything I know I am obliged to him. After my studies I tried myself in computer games industry, I worked in Samara and now it’s been a year since I moved to Saint-Petersburg and started working as a 2D artist in a Game Studio.

What applications do you use in your work to create game graphics and what place does Illustrator take here?

My main responsibilities are development and animation of interfaces; I draw and animate mostly in Adobe Illustrator and Flash. I also use Photoshop, but Photoshop is just an additional tool for me. I draw illustrations in Illustrator, rarely in Photoshop or SAI.

Why do you particularly like a vector? Do you have experience working in other vector editors? If yes, why Illustrator and not CorelDraw, for example?

I like Illustrator probably because of clear outlines. Unlike raster, vector has a lot of restrictions, but nevertheless I feel free in vector and not in Photoshop. It’s very easy to correct mistakes in vector, and working with color is a completely different story. For example, I personally find it hard to draw in color right away in Photoshop, but there’s no problem for me to do so in vector.

Beside Illustrator and Flesh I know CorelDraw very well - I contributed three years in polygraphy to it. And nevertheless, comparing Illustrator with Corel, I can say that Illustrator is an easel to me and Corel is a dull drawing table for creation of business cards and leaflets. Corel has always been too unstable, probably only the 12th version of it was the most stable. After it I tried to look through a little catalogue in X5 version- I swear I cursed everything then. Illustrator is also not without its shortcomings, but they are at least somehow systematized and predictable, unlike Corel.

What do your vector illustrations contain except plain objects? Do you use raster effects, blend, Gradient Mesh?

There is nothing terribly complicated in my drawing method - I mostly use regular paths which I draw with the Pencil Tool. I use the Pen Tool where I need to be precise. The Knife Tool and the Eraser Tool are for correcting of mistakes. I think that for creation of complex illustrations the method itself should be simple. I use the Gaussian Blur, Outer Glow from raster effects. Gradient meshes are mostly used as backgrounds or as a color correcting tool by applying gradient mesh above an image with Color or Overlay blending mode.

What blending modes do you usually use when overlaying the objects?

I probably use all possible blending modes - Screen, Multiply, Overlay. With the help of the Color Dodge and Color Burn interesting effects can be created. Additional color effects can be reached with the help of the Soft Light, Hue and Color. Also a couple of fills and strokes can be applied to each path, you can give them their own blending modes. Miracles can be created with the help of blending modes in Illustrator. Well, and of course transparency takes its seat of honor!

You definitely create complex multi-object illustrations. Does Illustrator hang during work with such amount of objects? What release of the application do you use now?

I’ve been using CS5 for a while, but later I skipped CS6 and jumped over to CC. I had some problems in CS5. My Preview mode would constantly shut down! But in new Illustrator CC I didn’t have such problems, thank God. This version is adapted for 64-bit system and use as much of RAM as you can stuff into your computer. I’ve never had any problems zooming. CS5 required, as far as I remember, a 32-bit system. If it hanged I simply export into the PNG big size elements of an image and paste them into temporal layers. Or simply turn them off for the moment. But it happened rarely because I rarely use any big-size elements, like meshes or super-duper 3D effects.

What does Illustrator lack that you definitely want to have? Do you use any additional soft, like plug-ins and scripts?

I really miss a good stabilized pen in Illustrator in order to draw more accurately by hand. I often need to edit my drawings. Earlier, with my old graphic tablet many extra points appeared on the path. I bought a new graphic tablet- the problem had disappeared. Sometimes it’s good to use grungy textures as a background. In this regard, I’d like to get even more powerful Tracing Machine. I’d like to be able to use gradients to create brushes. I don’t use any other additional plug-ins and other software while drawing, all in all Illustrator’s functions are more than enough.

I thought the first on your wish list will be the Auto Save function. Besides, I hope such plug-in will be soon available on Vectorboom.

Auto Save? Yes! It would be not bad, but I’ve noticed that Illustrator rarely crashes - it crushed only three-four times during the last nine months at work. And also my Cmd + S reflex is well developed.

Your illustrations have very unusual stories and characters. What and who do you draw?

Most of my characters are fictional from non-existent stories. Some characters live in my head for quite some time and I draw them regularly. They change over the years and overgrow with new details. New characters also appear. They all live in one universe and it’s hard for me to say how they relate to each other. They all have names and some particular meaning. I love twilight scenes and suspense. I find it hard to draw bright and cheerful pictures, they look fake and luscious.

Do you have a favorite illustration? Which is it? Could you please name your favorite illustrators and artists?

My favorite illustration? I even don’t know, my attitude to them is constantly changing - sometimes I finish an illustration and think how cool it is, and after a couple of days I look at it and think that this is just some garbage. Well, after some time on the background of new completed works my old works don’t look as awesome as before. I like completely different artists - I don’t have a particular preference in style, the main thing the illustration should be honestly created. I’m fond of Wrubel, Deineka, Modigliani, Kuindschi. From modern artists I really like works of Maria LimKis. Owing to her I realized that a vector can be a scenic picture and not just a dull creation of points. Earlier I worried a lot that my illustrations are way to precise, dry and not artistic enough. I don’t have such problem now - nothing paralyses me in my vector drawing. I’m very fond of illustrators who used to draw for Dofus and Wakfu.

You draw in a traditional manner. What technique do you like the most?

Most of all I like big formats and gouache, all my works mostly in gouache. Gouache as well as vector is a very limited material, it doesn’t like water, it’s better to draw with gouache when it is still thick - too much water will make it too thin. Then it will save the color and you’ll be able to draw amazingly beautiful velvety texture. But if you add a bit too much water the gouache becomes whitish. I also like to draw with isograph and tempera. Tempera is even more limited that gouache, but it is persistent.

Many illustrators work with stocks like Shutterstock. Do you make such illustrations? What do you think about such type of earnings?

Unfortunately, I don’t have time for stock illustration. In my spare time I create plain 3D models from paper which I also draw in Illustrator, I’m also busy with animation in flesh. There is no time for stocks. In general, I think that stock images are very useful and I’m sincerely grateful to those who create them. When I worked in poligrahy I very often used various clip arts from stocks. Lately I sometimes take textures or patterns from stocks, but I often just create them myself - it is faster than looking for something you need on stocks.

Many of our readers don’t have basic art education. Advise them how to improve their skills.

Lately our art education lags behind life. For example, I find it very bad that in the most art schools there is almost no classes on computer graphics. This is directly related to errors like “computer graphics has no soul”. Unfortunately, there are no more social orders as in Soviet times and an artist is thrown into a free market - it’s up to the artist how to survive. Without knowledge of modern technologies (I include CG here) it is very hard for an artist. I know only very few people who earn their living by traditional painting, and even then, very few of them draw what they want. Also many graduates drop their artist’s career and try other professions. So art education is not a panacea from all problems. Nevertheless, school of traditional painting is still good, so it’s definitely worth studying there. If you don’t have an opportunity to study - then you need to find a good instructor who can significantly reduce the search, because often happens that you are struggling with some problem and suddenly comes someone and says only one phrase - and everything becomes clear. In case you don’t have anyone who can share their experience with you, there is always a path of a lonely samurai - tutorials, books of Gottfried Bammes and Burne Hogarth on SketchUp Anatomy for prospects.

Thank you Dima for interesting answers. Say some farewell to our readers.

Dear friends! Look for persons holding the same views and who are going your way! Avoid empty people and arm-chair theorists - they only spend your time and don’t give anything in return. Be hard on yourself for your laziness and reward yourself for every completed task. Don’t get high from your work, because where the narcissism begins, your art ends - you must always have thirst for improvement.

Dmitry T.D Black Sun on the Web

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