Alexander Utkin

Alexander Utkin is an illustrator, comic artist, designer and musician from Russia. He studied at Moscow State University of Printing Arts, graduating in 2006 with a Master of Arts. Clients include Samsung, Universal Music and WWF, among many others.

To find out a little more about his work, we asked Alexander the following questions…

What inspires your work?

My friends and colleagues. Animation and movies (Disney, Miyazaki, Nolan etc.), TV series (The Simpsons, Futurama, Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, Breaking Bad, Firefly, Fargo, Penny Dreadful and so many more!) and anime (Miyazaki again, Studio 4°C, Gainax etc.).

When I was a little boy I didn’t want to become an astronaut or — I don’t know — a millionaire, no! I wanted to become Walt Disney! Little has changed since then. Music. I listen to music when I walk, when I work, when I rest, when I work out, when I eat (but I prefer to sleep without music). And comics… Oh, those magical pages of pictures and words! I loved them when I was a child, but I love (and hopefully understand) them even more now. So many great artists and authors — Mignola, Pope, O’Neill, Herge, Mattotti, Moon & Ba, Pearson, Maclean, Siegel, Corben, Millar, Miller, Moore — a never ending ocean of inspiration and joy!

Tell us a bit about your process…

I work in different techniques. Sometimes it is all digital. Sometimes 100% hand-drawn and colored. But Gamayun Tales are made with following steps: It all starts with a pencil (or pen) and a sketchbook. And with an idea in my head. First, I draw small thumbnails. Really tiny ones. No one but me could understand most of them, but for me it is all there already.

After that it is Pencil Time! I take printer paper, pencil and eraser and try to make all the important composition decisions regardless the quality of the lines. When pencils are done I take a sheet of good paper, a pencil and a lightpad and draw a clean version with best lines and shading I could! And also, I try not to lose the energy and life-breath of previous step.

Then I scan it, increase contrast of the pencil drawing, so it basically becomes inks.

Colors are all digital. And often it is the hardest step for me. Good colouring is so important and I really try to do my best here! Small but logically-chosen colour palette helps a lot.

Lettering, bubbles and fonts are also very important. Both for me and for Nobrow (and for you, dear reader, even if you’ve never thought of it). So together we managed to create something special for Gamayun Tales. Thank you, Camille and Sam!