Interview with Rustam Ha

It is hard to say. It seems my first job in CG industry I found in 2010. But there was large
break with CG works after it.

I am freelancer illustrator, currently based in Moscow, Russia with 10 years of industry experience. My main working tool is Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Flash and Alchemy.

What led you into the CGI/2D? Tell us your story.

It was about 13 years ago. I studied the design profession at the Moscow institute. I drew a lot
and a friend advised me to try a graphic tablet. He said if I will can make such images on a
computer with a tablet, I will find a lot of work. I bought a tablet and draw a little with it
without much success. Then after graduation, I got a job at a company developing browser MMO. My
tablet and photoshop skills were quite enough but it was not last long, because of unfair bos.
Then I worked a lot as designer in different companys. When I worked in the last one of them I
learned adobe flash to draw and animate banners and then I thought it would be cool to draw some
cartoons in Flash with my sketch style. And some time later drawing illustrations and concepts-
like stuff became more interesting for me, in same time office work became much less interesting
than freelance. So we are here…

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

I always look for new inspiration sources and ways to make the process more interesting whitch
even more important I believe. It is kind of a hunt, when you track down the things, your own
thoughts, places… with kind of marks of inspiration on them, and they lead you to the right
way. It is never ending process. I can’t find anything what would inspirate me for long. My main
source of inspiration things are dreams. It could be even more atmosphere of dreams than
concrete details. Moving memory of the past often gives interesting ideas, any situations from
usual life, news from neural bots or texts. A lot of good ideas comes and distract interfere me
when I trying to meditate. Some times I hear voices in my head and images I imagine from
noncence they talk could be quite funny… Large source of inspiration was founded when i
started to build my own setting and characters trying to survive there and save their minds. It
is one of the best ways for finding inspiration I believe because at someday your inner world
starts to live with out your intervention and all you will need to doing – watch and «collect
I told I can’t find what would inspirate me for long but actually there are some things whitch
inspirated me as hell once and they are still works sometimes. It is all David Lynch
filmography(!!!) first of all, anime Tekkon Kinkreet and other Studio 4°C works but mainly
Tekkon Kinkreet. It blows my mind and heart each time I watch it. Also I have to mention
Vladimir Sorokin books. It is famous russian writer whitch is famous not only in russia as I
know. Blame! manga by Tsutomu Nihei. I met it about 18 years ago and had read more than hundreed
times may be…
Artists are inspirate me a lot ofcource but they changing one to another so fast. It could be
realy large list if I just remember them all… Giger, Moebius, Basquiat, Banksy, Kim Jung Gi…
A lot of my friend artists are inspire me almost every day. Even my gf is artist…
About professional activity there are no need of inspiration for me, exept money, but some times
I can find interesting clients… a little crazy may be… And their ideas are quite interesting
to realise, more than usual stuff. Some times it looks for me they write job descriptions with
dope or some thing. I think I love them

How does a typical working day look like?

I waking up and go to sleep in different time each day like if my day is not 24 hours but 25 or 26. It have no strict structure, exept I prefer to meditate after waking up and somewhen during
a day… I usualy do some thing for 1-1.5 hour and then do something different. It helps to
concentrate better. So I wake up, meditate, eat, play games, work (or search for work), you-tube,
walk, watch shows or films, go to sleep, repeat. About work – I prefer to work less hours a day
(clear 4-5 hours maybe) but I work at weekends too.

What does your workplace look like?

Well it is quite dark, two monitors, tablet and a lot of fairy lights. Looks like dump
actually… Maybe I should do some thing about that… But not today.

How do you stay motivated in this industry?

I am not sure about that. I just need to eat something and pay bills – it is quite enough… And drawing is the only thing I do my whole life and it is still interesting for me. It is all about just what you want. If i tired from work and there are no deadlines I just go and chill. When there are deadlines I became kind of robot or it turns on kind of Avatar state and I just work till the end or die. It seems deadline is my god.

What is your passion beside CGI/2D?

Games mostly. I love Dark Souls a lot, still deliver boxes in Death Stranding even after
platinum trophey (Kojima is genius btw), Red Dead Redemption, Doom, My friend Pedro, Hotline
Miamy… I also love to meditate a lot, watch hard porn and walk.

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

I use my artstation page as portfolio. I buy pro account for month and upload my images there. Pro
account helps to find more subscribers there and your name will be higher in search results,
when some client will search worker with your tags. Usualy I don’t add profecional artworks to
my portfolio if I am not interested in such work in future, so there are still not much of them.
What else… I put pictures I love more than others more high on my page.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?


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

Spine 2d may be. It is awesome animations you can do with it. Usualy I am not doing animations
as professional so it is just for personal. Also I love to do 3d sculpts in Zbrush once a year
or two so each time I need to learn Zbrush again.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

„Finding Flow: The Psychology Of Engagement With Everyday Life“ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, „The
Perfect Bait“ by Bobby Chiu, „Blame!“ by Tsutomu Nihei, any book by Vladimir Sorokin,

What music do you listen to while working?

ambient, trance, dub step, witch house, hip hop, alternative, industrial, nu metall, death
metall, black metall, grindcore, harsh noize, hardcore, speedcore, gabber, Low Roar, Billie
Eilish, Baby Metall, Ghostmane, Greenleaf, Die Antwoord… I need to stop I guess

Any advice for new Artists?

Draw a lot. And a lot means really A LOT. Always look for ways to make the process more
interesting and bring more love to it. Otherwise, it will take a lot more energy than it could. Look
for new techniks, themes, break comfort zone. If all the lines you draw will be wrong equally
the picture will looks nice in a whole, looks like you have done that purposely. Maybe you will
be asked for interview. Have fun. Good luck!!!