From his haunting, emotional faces to colorful cartoony characters, Nazar’s work is as varied as it is memorable. He switches between Photoshop and Blender with ease and delivers piece after piece of stunning artwork.
We questioned him about his beginnings, where he goes to learn and his creative dreams.
Who is Nazar, what do you do and what are your passions?
My name is Nazar Noschenko and I’m obsessed with computer graphics. I’m 16 years old and I’m in school. I live in Ukraine, in the village of Kovalivka. I am the eldest child in the family of 6 children, which means that our house is always noisy and fun! It is almost impossible to concentrate, but the huge support and love of my family compensate for the absence of silence.
I started to paint from my birth. My mom would put huge sheets of paper on the floor. Crawling on them, I began to create my first “masterpieces”. When I was 2 years old, I saw Shrek for the first time and had watched it over and over again. The scene where Shrek rescues Fiona was (and still is) my favorite – I have watched it so many times that it would start to hang in that spot! I think that Shrek instilled the passion for computer graphics in me. I also used to love clay sculpting. At 9 years of age, I began making my first stop-motion cartoons.
How did you get started with Blender?
One day, a friend of my parents’ visited us. He was a big fan of open-source software and told me about Blender. But I didn’t have the Internet, so I couldn’t install it. I did, however, have a Blender manual. It was the most magical book. I didn’t understand almost anything written in it, but I loved looking at the illustrations. I understood that with Blender you can create characters, environments, and even animate. That was awesome!
After that, I dreamed about Blender. On my 13th birthday, my parents gave me a map of our house with my gift marked with a cross. The map led me to our kitchen blender. I looked inside and saw a flash drive – and guess what was saved on it! It was the best gift of my life. The Blender journey had begun.
From then on, whenever I could connect to the Internet, I searched for Blender training. Having acquired some basic skills, I hurried to make my first digital cartoon. Today, it’s very fun for me to watch it. Nowadays, I have free access to the Internet so whenever I encounter any issues, I can immediately find answers, lessons, and gain further experience.
I am really grateful to David Ward, Kent Trammell, and others for their free tutorials, they’ve taught me a lot.
“I like to alternate between 3D and Concept Art, because one complements the other.”
It seems that one of your favorite subjects is female beauty: why?
I love to study the laws of harmony and beauty of female characters, they are aesthetically pleasing. I’m also interested in making handsome male characters, but they’re much more difficult to create. The main task for me, though, is to catch the beauty of the spiritual man.
You create both hyper-realistic pieces as well as surreal creatures. Do you prefer realism or fantasy – and why?
I love studying people. When I started modeling, I realized that I didn’t have enough knowledge of the human face. So I tried drawing hyper-realistic portraits.
I opened Photoshop, created a new layer, chose a picture of my sister, and put the photo on an upper layer. I studied the original photo and proceeded to hide it, then painted some strokes on an empty layer. Afterward, I opened the original photo again, compared the two, and then repeated the process.
These were my first steps, but I have simplified the process since. Now, I look at the original photo, which is on the left side of my screen computer, and redraw it.
“For fantasy to be convincing, it must first be realistic.”
I’m happy to create something new and give it to the world. When I draw hyper-realistic portraits, I understand the facial layout, its lighting, and colors. It’s quite an experience and it gives me a the skills needed to create my own original work. I believe that in order to make fantasy look convincing, it must first be realistic.
What pushes you to improve as an artist?
The first time I shared my work online was on CG Cookie. It was Jeep, the Skomorokh, and he was really well-received. The warm comments made me confident in my skill. I always feel the great support of the Blender community and it really helps me get better. I always take part in different competitions so the aspiration to win also supports my incentive to acquire new skills.
A lot of your work has a note of sadness – what interests you in human emotions?
Human emotions are so changeable; joy gives way to sadness, anxiety to hope, indifference to delight…these variations are infinite. The human face is the most complex art object. The visualization of different moods is very time-consuming.
Most of all, I prefer to work with dramatic characters, I think they are a representation of a great, strong mind. Tetra the Skomorokh is actually my mom’s favorite character and they have a lot in common.
“Patience is key: before you start, prepare yourself that it’s going to take a long time.”
Do you have any tricks to help you achieve the hyper-realistic look of your portraits?
Before you start to draw, you have to prepare that it will take quite a lot of time. Patience is key.
I like to use a default soft brush in Photoshop because it doesn’t leave brush marks, so you can achieve a really realistic effect. I draw by parts – when I get bored of drawing an eye, for example, I turn to the mouth.
I try to save as many steps of the process as possible to see how fast I’m progressing and what details I need to improve in turn. For me, the drawing process is really relaxing and pleasing.
My lovely Wacom tablet helps me a lot in sculpting and drawing textures as well.
Are there any limitations in Blender that you struggle with?
Blender keeps growing and developing so fast that I simply don’t have the time to learn everything. My main limitation is my slow computer. Also, I have to go to school and do homework which takes away a lot of my precious time!
“My main aspiration as an artist is to make people happy with my work.”
What resources do you use to get better?
I like to explore the works of the best artists, photographers, writers, directors, and animators. The Internet gives me access to some invaluable resources for inspiration and education. My favorites are: ArtStation, BlenderNation, CG Cookie, Blender Artist, Blend Swap, Pinterest, Animator mentor, and, of course, YouTube and Facebook.
What is your biggest dream as an artist?
My main aspiration is to create works that make people happy. My big dream is becoming a director of a full-length movie, which would help change the world for the better.