3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Alexey Kashpersky: Hello 3dtotal! I’m a Ukrainian artist, mostly working in the fantasy and microworld illustration field. In 2012, I started researching and working in the scientific visualization direction. The same year, I won an international competition with my Human Immunodeficiency Virus artwork, and in 2013 became a member of the Association of Medical Illustrators (USA). In 2013 I was offered a job in the USA, where I am now living and working.
3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What’s the story behind its creation?
AK: The Reptile Queen artwork has a pretty long story, I started it in 2011, dedicated to my lovely iguana-pet Tamerlan. But I was so busy throughout the year with medical illustration that did not find enough time to finish it, and was moving forward with really tiny steps. Then, a couple of months ago I saw the contest announced, ‘Boris Valljo and Julie Bell Tribute’ and decided that it would be the perfect time to push and finish it because I always was Vallejo’s fan and much inspired by him and his wife’s art. Now, when the contest is finished I have the great news that four of my artworks came through to the final selection of the ‘Boris Valljo and Julie Bell Tribute’ contest and will take part in the Chicago exhibition!
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
AK: I use ZBrush, V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop, and After Effects. The first tricky part was the iguana’s tail. In nature it has the shape of a distorted number 8 in a cross-section, but it also has dense small scale details all the way along. It took me some time to dig into the ZBrush features to understand how the shape like that can be created. So in the end I built a small cross section element and let him go on the guide spline. The second was a big fight to combine together and get the correct balance between all the numerous elements of the scene. You know, when you start to change one thing, at the same time, other things start look differently too.
3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
AK: That’s mostly it. I am not much of a big digger into the new plugins and software available, so just do everything by hand when possible.
3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
AK: Usually the workflow is pretty much the same. Everything starts from object research and sketching on paper, then sketching and finding the shape in ZBrush, then detailing it. Then creating the topology and unwraps, texturing. The next step is transferring to 3ds Max and render setup. The final steep is post-production in After Effects.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
AK: Hmm, good question. Probably it will be something connected with the film industry, who knows. I visited Hollywood this year, all big studios are really impressed by the inspirational atmosphere there.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
AK: I know some After Effects and that is enough for my level of work, but I definitely would like to dig into it more to learn animation.
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
AK: Just listen to your heart and follow your goal. You have the goal, you know what you want and you know what you need to do to make it happen. So just go and do something to move your goal closer.
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
AK: My favorite artists are Boris Vallejo, because I grew up on his artworks and he is the reason why I’ve started to learn art. From traditional direction artists it’s Ivan Shishkin. He was an amazing oil painter and the deliverer of the nature’s soul.
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
AK: More of fantasy field artworks I guess. I almost forgot how awesome it is to create the fantasy illustrations! It’s much different from medicine and the feeling that I have now, after publishing Reptile Queen is so inspiriting and energizing! I already started the new artwork in the same style, and I hope to finish it around the middle of the year. Also I am going to dive deeper into printing on canvas and framing my artworks so you can also expect these things being available on canvas in my website store soon.