An artist with a traditional background, Anastasia Suvorova had little experience in using Photoshop brushes; but that didn’t stop her creating a children’s book with the software
Anastasia Suvorova learned to use Photoshop in record time and used it to create her own children’s book
“With imagination, everything comes to life and the world becomes an adventure full of miracles, magic and monsters,” says Anastasia Suvorova, about how she fuels her creativity. “In my work,
I’m inspired by travelling, reading and exploring the world around me.”
Anastasia’s Good Night’s Book project is one that combines this magical influence with the idea of creating something that children can settle down and enjoy. The warm, child-like illustrations for the project all came together to form a book that’s had thousands of views online and been featured in Behance’s Illustration gallery. We asked her more about the magic behind her illustrations, and how she came about creating this project as a whole.
Where did the idea for this project come from?
This was one of my projects that became a part of my study in the Book and Printmaking course at the Saint Petersburg Art and Industrial Academy. I decided to make a ‘goodnight’ book for children. It was my first time experimenting with computer graphics and moving away from the traditional printmaking and illustrating techniques that I’d learned.
So was this your first experience of using Photoshop?
I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time, but I started using it for illustration about a year ago. For some time I enjoyed trying different techniques that would help me to express my ideas in the best way. It turned out that digital illustration is the closest to me. Now I mainly work in Photoshop. I create educational, commercial and my own art projects. In general, I use it for everything and every day. Photoshop is one of the few programs I have open all the time now!
As a digital artist who is relatively new to the program, can you tell us which tools you have found the most useful?
Most often I use the standard brushes and brushes that I made myself. I also wanted to buy a Kyle T Webster brush set for a very long time, and now I’ve downloaded his set from the Photoshop website including brushes like Megapack, Guash, Dry Media and I am very satisfied with them.
Brushes must have played a big part in this project, then
Yes. In my illustrations, I usually make the colour composition and silhouettes of the figures and objects with simple brushes,
then I decide where to add texture, details and greyscale by using the textural brushes. Specifically in the children’s book, I used the standard brushes from the basic set in Photoshop, such as Chalk brush, Pencil and the usual round brushes. It was in this work that I first encountered the problem of finding a general style for the whole book, as I was not yet very familiar with digital illustration. Now I use different sets of brushes, some I made myself, some are made by other artists, but I still use standard brushes often.
How important are textures in your work?
Everything depends on the project [I’m working on]. I like to use different textures in my work, though. I photograph and scan textures, which are part of nature or of different materials, and various types of paper. I also draw and paint textures made with traditional materials such as watercolour, pencil, gouache or charcoal.
I’m really interested in combining traditional materials with digital tools. In my illustrations I apply textures with different types of layering. This makes them look similar to a traditional art technique such as watercolour, and sometimes people do not realise that my work is created in Photoshop.
Why do you think this project has been so popular online?
Honestly, I do not know the way that people perceive my work because as the creator, I see it in another way. I just know that I wanted to do something in order to make the lives of children warm and cosy. My wish was to create everyday magic; to guide a child’s way through the fantastic passage between the real world and the world of dreams, fantasy and storytelling. I am really happy that people feel the tenderness that I try to convey through my illustrations and I’m immensely grateful to everyone who’s reacted to my work.
What other projects do you have lined up?
As an illustrator and graphic designer I am busy and working hard and I have many plans and projects, but I am still looking forward to new job opportunities. I hope to have the chance and support to make more book illustrations and continue to develop in this field. Next year I am finishing my MA degree, and I’d like to make a picture book without words. I like these kind of illustrated books because it fascinates me how the readers can have their own associations and come up with the story themselves. This also makes the whole process of connecting with the book very personal. What makes the book even more unique is the individual that reads it. Maybe one day I will also want to write the story and do the illustrations myself.