With a broad set of creative skills, and a constantly growing style, Dmitry Grebenkov is making strides in the digital art world. From his fan art pieces, to his original works, Dmitry strives to imbue each piece with a unique angle.
Hey there Dmitry, what has been happening in your art world lately?
Hey! Lately I have become more relaxed with my art, and am experimenting with a lot of styles and techniques. I’m trying to have as much fun as I can. For the last couple of months I’ve been trying more stylised and cartoonish approaches in my art, which has helped me feel a lot more relaxed and confident about anatomy and human figures, and not to struggle in how correct my drawing looks, but instead go more with the flow of lines. I also finally started streaming on my Livestream channel, but it is still new for me and I feel a bit of pressure about it, but I hope to stream every week.
You’ve got a broad range of styles and use of techniques, what are your primary artistic influences? What drives your choices in character designs?
I get easily influenced by all art I see, including music, books and movies. If I see something interesting I want to draw it, or at least remember it and use it when it will be needed. As for character designs, I like to keep everything simple and functional. This goes for characters themselves and for clothes design. It’s very interesting for me to imagine how everything works, and what materials were used and why. Also, when I’m starting to create characters, I imagine not so much exactly how characters look, but what the world where character lives in, and their personality. I see it as a complex picture, or if you wish, movie scenes and stills. It’s very interesting, after I finish my artwork, I look at it and compare it to what I had imagined in my head. Most of the time – the one that was in my head was cooler, haha!
Some of your art has a traditional feel to it. What are your main tools for creating art? Are you primarily digital, or do you work traditionally first?
I have a Degree in Painting (oils and fine art) but after I discovered the world of digital art I started to work 100% digitally. I sometimes do sketches if I’m in the mood to draw on paper. Traditional drawing helps me to go through an art block, because it feels different from digital. That said digital feels more comfortable to me and it saves the trees :)
How long have you been creating art, and which artists would you name as major inspirations to you?
I started a long time ago. There was an art school that I quit in the third year, when watercolour classes started, and then there was a local art college where I was studying for 5 years. Just about when I graduated I finally got my first PC and my first Wacom Graphire 3, so it would be 10 years of digital art and 16 from the moment that I became an art college student. There are a lot of artists that inspire me, but major inspiration comes from Artgerm. His art is amazing, his skills are godlike. Also, I like world of Pascal Campion’s art – that kindness in his works and the story that they tell is really amazing. I like the freedom and strangeness of Peleng’s artworks. As for old traditional artists, I like Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel. I’ve seen his originals in museums and his works have a great feeling of magic that can be found in Russian fairy tales.
What is your average day like when working on a piece? Could you describe your workflow, and your general thought process?
My workflow is not original – if I have a clear idea I start doing quick sketches, then I pick one that works for me the most. If I think that idea or character will look better with very clean rendering I do line art in Painter, flats in Photoshop and go to Painter and render it, after that some Photoshop touches and it is done. If it’s not a perfect drawing, I’ll do flats then rendering, or sometimes I’ll do grayscale rendering then colouring then final touches. Sometimes I may start with a rough sketch, then rendering with colour until it is done. My average day? I come home from work, open the file and look at it, think about it and paint it when I catch the mood. And a lot of tea!
In terms of artistic fundamentals, particularly perspective, and colour, how important are they in your work, and what advice regarding fundamentals do you have for other artists?
Fundamentals are the most important thing it art! If you know how to draw an anatomically correct figure, you can easily convert it into any style, and you can show some believability of a character in a very simple style with a very few details; but the character drawing will have to have a confident feel. If you know the fundamental theory of light and materials, you can easily render anything in your work, even things that don’t exist in this world. You can concentrate more on idea and mood in your artwork, instead of struggling about how light will look on a particular part, and what a shadow colour will be. Everything we see in this world we see in perspective, so basically we all know perspective. Artists must learn to apply this knowledge. The best thing about art fundamentals is that they are always the same. You learn it once – you will know and use it forever. If you know fundamentals, they become your tools, and you will use them to create and express yourself. So if a young artist is thinking “it is boring to draw cubes! I want to draw a naked lady but I don’t want to learn all the muscles and bones!” just learn it. Practice practice practice. Think about fundamentals as an alphabet for artists. You must know how to write all the letters and words to write a story. Every time you draw all those “boring” simple shapes, don’t to it blindly. Think about the purpose of doing it, and what the goal is. For example: on simple shapes you learn how to show volume on a shape. If you can draw a cylinder, you can draw hands, legs, fingers, guns, dragons etc because all objects can be seen as a bunch of simple shapes.
When it comes to your practice regime, what activities do you engage in to become better?
I do sketches from references, and any time I lack confidence about an object, pose or material I’ll use references. References are the closest thing to life drawing. Sometimes I’ll just do sketches from my imagination to practice what I know.
You are involved in Stanley Lau’s Artgermination room on DeviantArt. How important is community support for artists, and what can other artists gain from being part of a community?
Art is created to be seen by other people, so community and it’s support is very important to an artist. First of all, you’re showing your art and seeing a reaction to it. Secondly, you are helping people, other artists, and it is a great thing because by helping and explaining to other people you understand the subject more clearly. A very good thing is when young artists or just people who are not involved in art professionally, comment and give critique on your work. All people see different things in your work, and you don’t notice some parts that can be improved upon. [With external input] you will improve those areas after people point them out.
What are you future plans in art, and overall goals in terms of illustration? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to push myself into more complex illustrations, more storytelling, and not only characters – as a goal I want to create my own art world like Pascal Campion has, to tell people stories and to make them smile by looking at my art. Also, maybe something more like kids illustrations. In 10 years I see myself and my wife in a house that we will build with a garden full of trees. Freelancing art, with a calm and happy life. 10 years is long period of time, so anything can happen. One thing is for sure – I will draw and paint better!
What is the best drawing or painting advice you can give to newer and upcoming artists? What advice can you give regarding progression in skill?
Be persistent, love what you are doing, enjoy it and have fun! Practice makes perfection!
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Dmitry, it’s been fantastic speaking with you!
Thank you very much for this great opportunity!
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