Alexey Zaryuta is a Ukraine-based professional artist who works primarily in the gaming industry on a variety of fantasy and science fiction properties. His paintings often capture characters at moments of high tension, with subdued backgrounds and splashes of bright color drawing your eye to the central figure. He enjoys working with challenging compositions and has learned from both Giger and Sargent, and he brings a deep appreciation for traditional methods to illustrating strange worlds . . .
How did you choose the scene you illustrated in “Pandemia?”
The idea for this work came to me quite a long time ago, because I am a fan of dark SF and zombie apocalypse settings. Merging these two universes came easily to me.
Can you describe your approach to it?
The process was very fluid all the way through, because I was confident and knew what I wanted. The approach I chose left some room for experimentation. Usually I begin with outlines and perfect them, and then do the painting. This time I decided to begin with a tonal sketch without the outlining. Then I continued to add details up to the point that it looked finished.
What are your favorite types of genre scenes to paint?
I enjoy scenes that give me a challenge. For example, I enjoy working with characters in poses that are difficult to draw, or representing complex objects in perspective.
What elements do you think are necessary to illustrate a genre scene successfully?
Skill, will, and a bit of imagination.
Which artists have inspired you and contributed to the development of your style?
Giger and Vallejo have inspired me, and Sargent and J. C. Leyendecker both contributed to my style.
Where do you see CG art going in the next five years?
I don’t like this “CG” prefix we are using. It’s just a tool, nothing more. We don’t say oil art or pastel art. Maybe in next five years we’ll get rid of this nonsense.
What do you think were the most important parts of your education as an artist?
I had to educate myself, so I think the most important aspect was comprehending the indispensability of learning the classical academic approach and grasping the basics.
Do you have time for personal work, and if so, is it similar to or different from your work for Frogwares?
I don’t have very much spare time, but if I do, I prefer to spend it learning things that might be helpful in my work. When I do something for myself, it’s similar to what I do at Frogwares. Maybe a bit more guts and less boobs. (Marketing guys tend to think that a certain boobs/image ratio is good for sales.)
How did you get into the games industry? How has gaming, fantasy or otherwise, influenced your art?
I am a gamer and have some artistic talent, so it was inevitable, but it took me a long time to accept it and start to do what I want rather than what’s considered prestigious. When I was twenty-five I made a kamikaze run into gamedev and started learning to draw at that age too. For the second part of your question, I don’t even know what to say . . . Maybe “totally” would be the right answer!
What are some of your current projects?
Right now I’m working on World of Battles and NYC (working name), two projects by Frogwares. The first is fantasy online tactical strategy and the second is cyberpunk adventure. In my spare time I do some freelance work.
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