Interview with Alina Ivanchenko

Alina Ivanchenko is a 3D Artist / Illustrator from Montreal, Canada with 11 years of industry experience. She likes to work with Zbrush, Topogun, Vray and Keyshot.

What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.

I got classical art training in University but they offer no CG training at that time whatsoever. So I taught myself Photoshop, Illustrator and basics of HTML and started to work as graphic designer while taking courses on 3Ds Max and Maya
It was the time when CG industry just started to bloom in Russia so i at my first job in Games pretty quickly with no portfolio =) I did an art test and was hired.

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Mostly dead people. Great artists of past, academic painting and sculpture, Whenever i have an opportunity – I go to museums for that. I also love costume history and High Fashion ( Alexander Mc Queen, Comme des garcons to name few) . I’m in use to do fantasy and historical dresses myself. For contemporary traditional artists I would probably name Forest Rogers, Beth Cavener , Nick Alm. I do follow my CG peers on Artstation but i don’t want to call any names due list will be very long.

How does a typical working day look like?

I do my office hours for Ubisoft then i go back home and do things for myself. I also work over weekends this is probably my favorite time to work because I have all that time for myself and its quiet and chill =)

What does your workplace look like?

I have PC tower and Cintiq27 inch HD. So far it works good for me
At work i have rather modest set up with 2 monitors and Intios5 Medium
I would say dual monitor set up is still my favorite and I think i gonna be back to that one day.

How do you stay motivated in this industry?

Well lets be honest here – is nothing „Tough“ in the industry its not a coal mines =)
The thing that generally misperceived – people tend to think art work means fun and enjoyment all the time
Contrary to that – being an artist mean you have a lot of boring moments you have to sit trough – like for example UW, Topology or sculpting mass of the hair. Probably this is a hardest part for me.
Also working for a company (or a client) quite often means you have to obey decisions made by other people and (surprise – surprise) not always the best ones
Apart of it I personally never have problem with motivation – and never experienced a burn out may be because I still see tonnes of things to learn both 3D and 2D and that keeps me really exited about my profession.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

I don’t have much at the moment. Im in use to do cosplay and historical re- enactment but its expensive and time consuming hobby so its on pause now.
I can say my interest at the moment is human psychology and Social science, politics, history so i consume a lot of Lecture and books on that topic. Im really fascinated about how and why people take decisions and act, how do we learn and how this world working in general.

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

Trying not to become complacent with what i’ve done =)
I believe my best works are still in the future
The other advice (I should give it to myself ) finish your works don’t stop halfway just because you have new idea =))

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

Right now for myself – mostly Zbrush, Photoshop, Keyshot, 3Ds Max
Less frequently for 3D: Topogun, Substance Painter and Designer, Vray, Marvelous Designer
2D – Corel Painter, Sai
There is bunch of software i know but i don’t use way to often like Marmoset, World Machine.

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

This is never ending process – first i try to be up to date with the software i already now.
Looking now on 3D coat for Hand Painted textures
Blender for grease pensil
and VR sculpting with Oculus that, i start to tackling but stopped because of my current schedule the reason im interested in VR – its probably a future of CG. Not where yet obviously but very promising.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

On art – Loomis still good and Steve Huston Figure drawing for artists
On story telling Robert Mckee
The latest book that impressed me is non fiction – Yuval Noah Harari 21 Lessons for the 21st Century so i can highly recommend this one
For myself I like medieval literature (Irish and Icelandic sagas) and Russian classical literature so i can recommend these. Spoiler Russian literature can be depressing (consult your therapist first =D )

What music do you listen to while working?

I’m in use to listen to a music while working. These days i’m mostly working in quiet if I’m problem solving because I wan to be 100% present.
If i have to sit trough boring tasks I will listening podcasts online on a broad range of subjects psychology/history/ social science etc
I still do listen to the music from time to time – my choice is folk, Prog rock,
Indi pop, Indi rock, classical music sometimes.

Any advice for new Artists?

Work to improve your discipline don’t wait for inspiration – inspiration will come in a process =)
Look for constructive feedback from community, but be ready to take critic.
Don’t become complacent with what you achieved this is only way to keep growing as a professional.