Name: Shekhovtsov Oleg
Member: .leshiy
Location: Tver
Email: art.leshiy - gmail.com
Website: artleshiy.com
2014 Entry: Mr. Freeze

Favourite Software?
Photoshop, Maya... Notepad++

Inspirations?
Implications, the meaning behind things.

Favourite Games?
Dota/2, UT2k4, Portal/2, NOX, Battletoads...

Favourite Movies?
hmm ... too many to list.

Favourite Music?
Rock, Punk, Ska-Punk...

Dog or Cat Person?
Cat owns you!

Future Goals?
Learn English better and to make something honest.

Bad Habits?
Overthinking =(

Good Habits?
Overthinking =(

Recover from a bad day?
Friendship

What is a good day?
When it's night!

Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you begin creating art? Any Schooling? How are you spending your time these days?

I returned to drawing in my third year of university, where I Majored as a system engineer (design, programming and administration of automated systems). I graduated with honors and was able to create a primitive graphics engine based on DirectX9. I was fond of three-dimentional graphics in school, and I bought my first tablet for creating textures - but I started to draw because girls are cruel >.< . As a result, I'm self-taught - thanks to a girl!

How did you come up with the idea for your entry? Was there a specific reason for the design? Any doubts along the way?

There were two themes, “Stand” and “Final.” Stand primarily meant that a new design and a unique conceptual approach was needed. I chose to focus on "Final" because I wanted to try and create an illustration that depicted an expression and at the same time, I wanted to challenge myself on a technical level... which in the end, led to the development of a new personal style.

I chose Mr. Freeze because I love DC heroes, additionally, I needed a character that had a lot of potential for drama, and Mr. Freeze was it! When I began to work on him, I tried to re-imagine him with a little more humanity and simplicity than previous versions. I still wanted the viewer to focus on the main character and his story, so when I chose to place an additional character in the scene, I placed her more indirectly, contained, or in other words - "behind the scenes". The additional character was of his wife, Nora, and her rebirth. For people who know the comics, this further strengthened the idea behind the general design. Finally, fire/smoke was added to give the image additional conflict, because what is most dangerous to Mr. Freeze? High temperatures!

The final concept depicted Mr. Freeze abandoning his environmental suit in order to protect the rebirth of the one thing that was most important to him in the world... his loving wife.

Why did you enter Comicon Challenge?

2013 was a very strange year for me as I lost a little of my faith in the industry. Having changed from working in a company, to freelance, I decided to look into myself with the extra time that I had. Comicon Challenge 2014 became a way for me to recover, and I thank the organizer for it.

Making exceptional art is not easy. How did you keep focused and motivated during the challenge? Hid the bed? Disabled facebook? Said goodbye to friends? What was your secret?

I hide from everyone and everything - family, friends and sometimes even games. That, and I do not start to draw immediately. I use most of the given time to research, understand and to shape the general ideas. To get ideas, this involves studying, collecting reference, reading the character's story, sketching, talking about your thoughts, etc. The actual work only begins when I finally know the 'what' and 'how' of what I want to do. Unfortunately, in Comicon 2014, my approach got a little messed up. A few weeks before the un-extended deadline, I had a crunch with a commercial project. I lost an entire week. Thanks goes out to Fred for the deadline extension - it saved me from certain death.

What would be your advice for aspiring artists out there? What type of training do you think
would be helpful in becoming a successful artist?

Analyze and remember more, including yourself... aaaand "practice makes perfect"!

With Comicon Challenge now behind you, what are your future plans?

I will continue to improve my drawing skills. I enjoyed the process of developing a new personal style during Comicon Challenge 2014. In this light, I think I will take a temporary step back from crazy details and head more towards dynamics and expression. Also, I plan to practice some animation (classic frame-by-frame and 3d too), as well as do some more work for the Dota2 workshop. Long-term plans? I think I might do more personal projects or join an interesting team, but I'm very hypercritical and need to look into myself to be sure which direction I should follow.

Any final thoughts? Thank yous? Motivational speeches? Evil monologues? etc.

Never stop!

Thank you .leshiy. You created a truly fantastic piece. I wish you the best with all your future endeavors.