Elizaveta Loseva: 3D character artist interview
Elizaveta Loseva talks about the freedom and inspiration of practicing by creating fanart, and how the stigma surrounding fanart has died away. She also shares workflow tips and other inspiration. Find out more…
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi, my name is Elizaveta, I'm a 3D character artist from Russia currently living and working in Ukraine. I've been a professional for 4 years, I'm a freelance artist right now and before that, I was a part of the character team at Plarium Ukraine and was working on projects like Sparta: War of the Empires and RAID: Shadow Legends.
Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?
My "go-to" software set rarely changes; it consists of Maya, ZBrush, UVLayout, and Substance Painter. Also, for my personal projects, I almost exclusively use Marmoset Toolbag as a renderer of choice. Everything else changes depending on the project.
In my spare time, I like to try different software just to see if it can be incorporated into my current pipeline. For example, lately, I often find myself using Marvelous Designer for both personal and professional work. I don't think it will become part of my permanent pipeline, but it's an amazing program for a variety of very specific tasks and a very useful skill to add to your toolbox.
I use Substance Designer from time to time; although it's believed not to be as useful for character art as for environments, in the cases of unusual chainmail patterns, or creating a fast but beautiful base for your model, it's unbelievably helpful. I've also used 3D Coat quite heavily for my hand-painted textures and early work. On an organizational side of things, I'm using PureRef for managing my references and Notion to manage schedules, ideas, projects, lists of tasks, and so on.
How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Every artist working professionally knows how hard it is to keep a portfolio up-to-date especially when professional projects are taking at least 2 to 4 years. My solution to this is to spend my free time creating art related to the themes and IPs I'm excited about. To put it simply, I like to make fanart in my free time.
I know that just a couple of years ago people would be quite skeptical if they read that and it's often considered unprofessional to show fanart in a portfolio, but nowadays attitude toward the term is changing. And in my opinion, it's for the better. If you are on any social media these days you can see artists who have 10-12 years of professional experience are posting fanart of their favorite characters just as often as artists who are just starting out with 3D.
Moreover, there is no better motivation to spend hours and hours in ZBrush for a personal project after a full day of work than a passion for your favorite character or the story. I have a couple of rules for myself considering fanart projects that end up in my portfolio.
- Be genuine and authentic. It's so easy to mix up a passion for a theme with general hype for the popular franchises. Especially nowadays, when thousands of voices on social media surround us constantly.
- Always choose the project that contains a challenge or a study opportunity. Have you ever wanted to learn how to do wings? You can do a model of your favorite flying character.
- Fanart is a love letter to someone else's work, don't forget to mention them.
Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Being a gamer all my life I've always been inspired by video games and artists behind them. But I have a lot of artists I admire outside of the video games industry too. Recently I've been fascinated by works of Japanese sculptors, especially in the collectible industry. Especially Masato Ohata and Yuuki Orita. I love their sculptures and always eagerly wait for every new piece.
From the western scene, the first two names that come to mind are James W Cain and Simon Lee. I also adore the works of Maria Panfilova, her sculpting is very fluid and organic and it feels like it draws inspiration both from eastern and western sculpture styles.
As for 2D artists, concept artists, and illustrators, there are a couple of names that I should mention. Carlyn Lim is one of my absolute favorites. Her creature and character art have a very unique feel about it. It's very detailed but not overly so, there are always places for your eyes to rest. I'd love to create a model based on one of her concepts one day.
You should also take a look at the works of Qistina Khalidah, Irina Nordsol, and Xi Zhang. All three artists have very different art styles but all of them are equally inspiring.
What can we expect to see from you next?
At the moment I'm working on a couple of personal projects: a more realistic game-ready character bust and stylized statue for 3D printing. Both are mostly educational just like the majority of my free time projects.
I always aim for learning something new and deepen my skills with my personal work. I've learned that it's important to focus on one aspect of your craft when you are learning, or two unpleasant things can happen: your attention will diffuse on multiple topics and you'll have no time to research deeply into every aspect you are learning; or the project will stretch into a mammoth that will consume years of your life and you may even lose the interest and abandon it. I've been in both situations and I'm trying not to make these mistakes again.
If you are interested in what I'm doing, I'm often posting work in progress shots in my Instagram stories.