Andrew Vasilchenko is a concept artist from Veliky Novgorod, Russia. He began drawing from an early age and after showing talent in his works he later, due to the unavailability of specialised art courses in his hometown, enrolled to study graphic design. He soon realised that GD was not for him, and began searching for a medium that he could relate to. In 2008 he found the Gnomon Workshop and became immediately inspired by the freedom that digital art and concept illustration provides. He hasn’t looked back since.
Andrew has put his hand to numerous themes, from sci-fi to pure concept art, but his favourite remains fantasy illustrations. For him, the fantasy genre truly allows him to put form to his imagination. It allows him, in his own words, to, “fully reveal the ideas and images that I incubate in my head. Here I have complete freedom of action and nothing is restricted.”
“Since childhood I’ve read a lot of books that have carried me into magical worlds, told great stories and allowed me to experience the feelings of the characters. With age I began to prefer dark fantasy where good and evil wasn’t obvious, and it was more naturalistic. I also like to watch movies, THOUSANDS of them. I love listening to music especially when drawing. All this has created for me who I am and often sets the mood for my work.”
He works almost entirely in Photoshop, beginning with a collage of inspirational images, textures, old sketches and previous works which he uses to plan out a narrative for his piece. Andrew makes the creation of every new artwork into a learning experience.
“I looked through tons of tutorials and create from them my own method, but perhaps we can say that my style is based on the lessons from Scott Robertson, where he draws the environment based on watercolour blots and splashes. I liked it so much because it seemed pretty simple with amazing results… But I’m still seeking ways and solutions for work. Experiments are still ongoing.”
After a bland freelance career in which he experienced the same unreliable issues many artists face, Andrew decided that a more stable working environment suited him. He now specialises in artistic development for casual games designing characters, interfaces and cut-scenes.
I find his work super representative of his chosen genre – we got orcs, knights, horses, all that delicious jambalaya. What gave me pause was the perfectly balanced style in which he paints these things. He’s like a bird in a leather jacket, building his nest on the literal side of a tree trunk. He’s exactly halfway between gloss and grunge. Where in one side of his piece, his work may embody ultra-intricate perfection, in the same canvas Andrew will throw caution down a well and hurl paint in huge swathes over his piece. He told me much of his experimentation process, and I can definitely say that his constant study in different techniques and styles has given his artwork a unique kind of form. Seeing those same techniques and styles clashing together on a single canvas like waves against rock is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and one I’m sure you’ll appreciate.