A Russian-born, fantasy artist, Alena Lazareva's artwork has graced the pages of numerous printed, and online, magazines. Recently, Alena took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her artistic journey. I invite you to join in my discovery of the creative force behind Alena's world of fantasy creations…
Dee Marie: Your images display the perfect balance of light and color…have you had any formal art training?
Alena Lazareva: Yes, I attended art school for four years: I studied art history, painting and sculpting.
Dee Marie: When did you first become interested in computer graphics?
Alena Lazareva: When I started taking digital art courses, to my surprise, it came easy to me, and I had many interesting ideas. When I decided to show my digital artwork to people, through online galleries, the pieces immediately received positive responses.
Mermaid © Alena Lazareva
Dee Marie: As a traditionally trained artist, what is it about computer graphics that appeals to your artistic side?
Alena Lazareva: Computer graphics provides many possibilities for the artist that differs from traditional painting. Each time I use Photoshop, the capabilities of the program encourages me to grow as an artist. It always opens up new inspiration for me.
The more I work with computer graphics, the more I become involved in the process, which fascinates me. Although computer graphics has opened up new artistic possibilities, working with computer graphics is an on-going challenge. To improve my skills, I am constantly training.
Dee Marie: Do you feel that computer graphic artwork pushes your artistic boundaries more so than traditional art?
Alena Lazareva: I think there is something about an oil piece on canvas that the digital medium will never be able to duplicate.
Dee Marie: Do you attribute your artistic talent to your formal art training, or do you rely on your natural talent, or perhaps a blend of both?
Alena Lazareva: I think that formal art training plays a large role in the development of an artist. But, to be truly successful, an artist should also have natural talent and aspirations.
Old Witch © Alena Lazareva
Dee Marie: Have you continued working in traditional art media as well as computer generated imagery?
Alena Lazareva: In the beginning, I used to paint in pastel, oil and gouache. After that, I didn't paint at all for several years.
Dee Marie: What do you attribute your loss of interest in traditional art during those years?
Alena Lazareva: During those years, I was receiving an economic education at the university, and I was completely occupied by economy. Finally, in 2006, I picked up the brush again. Ironically, it was around that time that I discovered Adobe Photoshop. I took some graphic design courses, and ever since then, I started painting digital. However, when I have free time, I draw, or paint in oil or watercolor…for the pure pleasure of it.
Dee Marie: How has growing up in Russia influenced your artwork?
Alena Lazareva: I think at the very beginning of the training process, Russian schools gave me specific lessons in artistic development in drawing. In each school, in each country, there are different artistic techniques that are taught. In each country, there are traditions which certainly influence all.
Dee Marie: Which artists, or artistic movement, has influenced your art?
Alena Lazareva: I always liked works of traditional classical world artists. Among modern artists of digital painting, I am drawn to the artwork of Kagaya.
Red Dragon © Alena Lazareva
Dee Marie: Outside of the art world, what, or who, has been your artistic muse?
Alena Lazareva: I like to travel. From my travels, I take new impressions and inspiration, which I express in my artwork. I am inspired by the nature and architecture of other countries and the cultures of other people. When traveling, I come back with new ideas.
Dee Marie: What has been your favorite art-related achievement?
Alena Lazareva: The victory in a competition of posters, with the theme "Protection of Rare Animals." The competition was organized by the National Parks, and was the first big achievement for me. It was at that time, that I went to art school. Now, I rejoice when my clients are pleased with my work and thank me, "Alena! Amazing!" [laughter]
Dee Marie: What drew you from drawing animals to the Fantasy Art genre?
Alena Lazareva: I like the Fantasy genre: the magic and the mystic. Pictures in the fantasy style help me escape reality and to see the world from a new perspective. Fairies, angels, mermaids, magic and mystical images … that's my world. I love to play with light effects … it's magic!
Forest Fayri © Alena Lazareva
Dee Marie: Your love for the Fantasy genre shows through your artwork. How long have you been using Adobe Photoshop, and what version are you currently working with?
Alena Lazareva: I have been drawing with Adobe Photoshop for five years. I currently create my images with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a Wacom Intuos 3 graphic tablet.
Dee Marie: Besides Adobe Photoshop, what software programs do you use to create your computer imagery?
Alena Lazareva: Besides Adobe Photoshop, I also use CorelDRAW. Basically, I use CorelDRAW when I work on design orders: creation of business cards, booklets, product packaging.
Dee Marie: As you work primarily in a digital 2D format, what is your drawing process?
Alena Lazareva: I work in two different styles. The first is Digital Painting: I draw a sketch using my graphic tablet, and then I proceed to color the image.
Magic Butterflies © Alena Lazareva
View the Tutorial of Alena's Digital Painting technique of Magical Butterflies
The second style is Photo-Art: I use a photograph as the base for my drawing, then, using a tablet, I draw a magical illustration over a photo. For example, I can draw the little girl in the form of the fairy. For this purpose, I will draw a bright unusual background and wings of the butterfly.
Autumn © Alena Lazareva
View the Tutorial of Alena's Photo-Art technique of Autumn
Dee Marie: Are you also a photographer?
Alena Lazareva: I love photography; it's one of my hobbies. I always have my camera with me. I have a huge photographic image library now, and I can use them in my paintings whenever I want.
Dee Marie: Your images have been featured in many CGI printed, and online, publications. What are the details of having your first image featured in an international magazine?
Alena Lazareva: Yes, my works are published in many magazines and books. It all began when one well-known magazine decided to publish the works of three readers, from online galleries. I was among the three they picked.
Did you then contact other magazines with samples of your work, or did other magazine contact you?
When I next won a monthly competition in a magazine, I realized that people actually liked my artwork. It was then that I decided to offer my illustrations to several other magazines, and the response was always positive. Now, magazines ask me for my images. I am always pleased to work with the various publications, not only to showcase my artwork, but to also create tutorials for their readers.
Dee Marie: Outside of the world of art, what are your main interests or hobbies?
Alena Lazareva: I love travel, I love animals, and I love swimming.
Dee Marie: Do you have a Facebook account that you would like to share with our community?
Alena Lazareva: Yes, I have a Facebook account. Almost everyday I visit my Facebook page. I often publish my travel photographs, my new works of art, or just news that I find interesting. I communicate with my friends from different countries.
Dee Marie: Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.
Alena Lazareva: I love my family and I'm a very stay-at-home kind of person. I spend every weekend with the family. My family, my mum; they support me; they rejoice in my successes and they inspire me.
Bird of Paradise © Alena Lazareva
Dee Marie: One last question before you go. What words of wisdom would you give to up-and-coming artists?
Alena Lazareva: You have to be positive and always try to achieve the best results. Constantly improve your skills; participate in competitions; communicate with other artists; impart experience with them; learn something new in the techniques of drawing. I think that if you truly believe in yourself, and your abilities, that you will always achieve a desirable result.
Dee Marie: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule; it has been a pleasure to get to know you, and we all look forward to viewing your future creations.
To learn more about Alena Lazareva, please visit the following:
All supporting images are copyrighted, and have been used with permission of the artist
May 9, 2011
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