10 questions to Vlad from Vlad Studio
If you are not acquainted with Vladislav Gerasimov and his work, I suggest you take a look at his personal website, where you’ll find many examples of his creative genius. Surfing on the Web you’ll notice how much Vladislav’s work is appreciated and loved by everyone. His illustrations and wallpapers -filled with colors, emotions and juxtapositions – have graced our desktops for many years now.
Now, I must tell you that Vlad is not just a famous designer; he’s a simple, cordial and practical guy who started drawing early on in his childhood and was able to successfully develop this passion and talent, eventually turning it into a business.
Now it’s time to meet Vlad, he was kind enough to allow us an interview so let’s take a look at what he has to say!
Face to face with Vlad
Welcome Vlad and thank you for accepting our invitation…it’s a great pleasure to have you here with us today. We are falling in love with your style and your illustrations have been with us for many years now.
Your work is truly unique; it is creative, eccentric, and full of paradoxes. We would like to know how you unleash your creativity and come up with such creations as your world-famous wallpaper characters? Specifically, do you draw them directly on the computer using Photoshop or do you start by making some sketches on paper?
Thanks for your warm words : ) I really don’t know where I take the inspiration, ideas just come to my head from somewhere. But of course, I browse Internet a lot, looking for new great artworks from new great digital artists.
I was drawing simple strange things in my school notebooks when I was a kid. Then, I started working as graphics (Photoshop) designer for software developers. Only after several years, these 2 activities connected, when I tried Photoshop as artwork tool, as a hobby.
For most of my works, I start with rough pencil sketch, then scan it and continue in Photoshop.
Trick question: How much did “Alice in wonderland” influence your work, both past and present?
If you mean original story, not recent film – as many other people, I consider it the best children’s story ever! (Little prince comes second). By the way I am not very happy with pictures I did for Alice, and I am going to re-create them if I have some free time in the future.
And I am biggest Tim Burton’s fan too!
From wallpapers to icons, moving onto children’s books and illustrations: is webdesign –including designing themes on wordpress – less stimulating compared to other endeavors? If you had to choose between working as an illustrator or webdesigner, which one would you choose and why? Which one would do you think would give you more satisfaction, both emotionally and professionally?
That’s a good question, thanks : )
I actually already (kind of) made my choice, and do not take new design jobs at this time. By trying doing various things (software design, web design, icons, wordpress themes, artwork in various forms, illustrations for books) I found that I personally am more fascinated and happy to do stuff for children. This might change in the future. Doing web design has its own beauty and magic, but when you work as “outsourcing” designer, it does not mean you don’t have a boss – it means you have a lot of bosses! So I was happy to find that doing truly independent things (wallpapers, illustrations) can make my living as well.
When did you first know you could turn your passion into an online business? Did you plan it all out or did it all happen inadvertently?
I never planned anything in my whole life : )
And it was all result of slow evolution process. I was educating as economist and was going to become a musician (yeah) when my brother (software developer) needed some help with software interface designs. So I learned Photoshop basics quickly and started working on buttons, checkboxes, windows, and so on. During the process, I learned how to do websites, icons, and other similar things.
Only after several years of such work I started publishing my digital artworks (I decided to publish them as “wallpapers”, because this way everyone could “use” them, not just look at. This was right decision!) And it took me another several years before I tried to actually make my living on my art by selling registration. This was risky but suddenly worked.
Currently, your website is translated into 25 different languages: how much time have you dedicated to this website? If you still do, how much time do you devote to this project? Are you able to manage just by yourself or have you hired someone to assist you?
No, I created my website myself entirely and maintain it myself too. No one else would understand my code : )
I had some basic knowledge of PHP and MySQL, so I was able to design & develop my website the way I want to. Originally, I only had several “static” pages with artworks at www.softshape.com subdomain. Then I moved to my own domain (www.vladstudio.com) and for couple of years, was frequently adding new features, redesigning, and so on. Right now, my website does not require much time to maintain, except when I add more new features.
The most time-consuming part (except actual drawing) is saving artwork in all required formats and sizes! (Because I need to create around 80 wallpapers, including separately designed versions for 2 and 3 monitors, 5 puzzles, 5 roalty-free images, 20 wallpaper clocks, all from one artwork!)
Many of your drawings are meticulously arranged to have great looking backgrounds, textures, shadings and Photoshop filters. Could you tell us which filter or effect you use the most in your projects? Also, how do you get such fabulous results? Do you keep experimenting or do you already know the type of effect you’re looking for?
Yes and yes For the most part, I know how to achieve the effect I imagine in my head. However, I am always looking for new tutorials in Internet that might help me discover new techniques. My most recent discovery is Corel Painter (trial version). It did not fit my needs perfectly (I still like Photoshop way of doing things better) but for textures and backgrounds, it is very interesting.
Designing desktop wallpaper has one limitation – you need to make sure there is enough space for desktop icons, and that white labels of icons are readable (so the background should be dark).
For specific tricks, you can take a look at my Photoshop tutorials – which I did not update for a while, but hopefully will write more soon!
Your wallpapers usually have one or two landscape photos that are simply breathtaking: are you a passionate amateur photographer or do you share a particular affinity with nature?
Thanks : ) Yes to both answers again! I love landscape photography. I would not make it my profession though. I am not patient enough for that : )
Many webdesigners are quite possessive when it comes to their own graphic projects. Did you ever have second-thoughts about something personal you’ve added to a project and that you wanted to take back?
Hmm, maybe I misunderstood the question, but I never had this problem (never even heard of it : ). I am also not too crazy about people “stealing” my art (using it without permission). After all, art only makes sense if it is looked at.
What advice can you give to a webdesigner who wants to improve his or her own graphic skills? Also, is there a specific book you can recommend that has helped you develop professionally?
I did not read a look of books, but the best I can recommend is “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug. And the most important advise for web designers – stop improving your graphic skills! Instead, dedicate all your time understanding usability, CSS, why content (HTML) should be separate from design (CSS), how good HTML code is different from bad code, how your grandmother uses websites, how to use fonts properly, and so on.
Web design has so little to go with graphics, really.
Last question: Every one of us has had a Vlad Studio desktop wallpaper at one time or another. What about you Vlad? What wallpaper do you have on your desktop? We would love to see it!
Ahhh, I will not amuse you here Most of time, I have my own latest wallpaper on my desktop. I usually live with it couple of days before publishing (kind of testing). I might have some other artwork I enjoyed on my desktop. You can get the idea of my favorite artists here or here.
At this very moment, I have this crazy thing on my desktop:
Do you know Vlad and his famous wallpapers? What do you think about Vlad? V
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