• Unleash the AWESOME - Artist Interview and Spotlight With Yakovlev Vadim

    If you have followed EQD for any period of time at all, you know I love me some awesome. Awesome technology, awesome weaponry, awesome armor, you name it and if ponies are using or wearing it, I'm in.

    One person in this fandom has completely dominated my desktop wallpaper selection more than anyone out there. It seems like every time I see my Deviant Art subscriptions list his name in there, my computer and phone suddenly get facelifts. He does awesome better than Discord does chaos.

    Straight from Russia, Yakovlev-vad has been busting out exceptional pony art for all of us on his Deviant Art since early 2013. Everything from incredible futurescapes to epic pony battles and silly donut ponies are a thing. The style is almost 3d-eqsue with amazingly colorful painted backgrounds and tiny details that make everything stand out.

    Now go! Below the break, celebrate some of his best pieces, and get a short interview to find out how exactly he got to this point to go with it!

    Q:) What originally got you started on your path to art? Did you ever get any kind of official schooling, or does this come naturally to you?

    Unfortunately I don’t have any art education, my specialty is technician-architect. I missed an opportunity to get art education in the past.

    I started to go in for drawing properly after getting acquainted with the show, and I try to continue it for about two years.

    Everything I've done I have [achieved] due to much practice, using tutorials, and getting advice from my artist friends.

    Q:) We always hear the "it takes 10,000 bad drawings to draw well" lesson around these parts. How much time do you think you have put in to getting as good as you are?

    I partly agree with this saying about 10000 drawings, but I think it is too much X)

    I talk always that the practice is very important here, and better is the permanent practice.

    I personally think that if you have a real strong desire to learn to draw, you can reach it in one year. Further goes constant self-improvement and seeking for mistakes.

    Q:) How did you stumble upon My Little Pony? What was your "origin" story if you will?

    Well, here I can really tell a story :)

    It was in July 2012. First of all I saw more and more pony pictures in social networks. There were users’ avatars with ponies as well as full valued drawings. Actually I didn’t understand properly what it was, and I might even be relevant in some degree to haters of this subculture ^^.

    After some time I was curious to see what it really is, and I started to seek for origins. I want to say right away that I had no idea what it was and what name does it have :) The first thing I faced were the series of Pony.MOV — not the best beginning of course XD

    And already after watching that series I came to the MLP show itself.

    I still remember the feeling when I was watching MLP series for first, listening to the open theme and understanding – if someone enters my room now, I’ll burn of shame X) Well, looking forward I can tell that the whole first season I [skipped] the opening because it made me feeling wild ashamed X)
    So, when I started to watch the first series of the show, I was quite sure that I'll stop after the first episode, but no :)) After first episode I thought: "Well, the first episode didn't end here, so I'll see the second part =3"

    And after the second part: "Weeeeeeeell ok, I watch now the third, and surely stop here ^^"
    So you now understand that I watched further the 4th, 5th episodes, then the whole first season, and know what? — I liked it!

    Damn, I still remember that feeling... The world turned upside down! No, I can even tell more: I started watching like a hater, but I became a brony! XD

    During next two weeks I walked like a zombie, there were only ponies in my head and nothing else but ponies.

    I... I... I went mad with them, I rummaged the Internet searching for new series/pictures/videos and so on. You can't even imagine how much happiness I felt when I realized that the second season exists XD

    And even without Russian translation I watched it, though I understood nothing, but I liked it so crazy XD

    One more interesting moment — that time I was pretty sure that I am alone of such kind (who liked this show so much). And only a month later I found out that there is a Brony community))

    Q:) What is the process you usually go through when drawing something new? What tools and programs do you use?

    Now I use about 80% Paint Tool Sai and 20% Photoshop CS6. In fact I draw everything in SAI with a common round brush, because there are no other brushes. But for making any texture (especially leaves) I use PS tools.

    I always begin with a quick sketch in order to catch the idea. I draw it very quick and rough X)
    Further, when sketch is ready, I begin to fix and elaborate it. So when it is finally ready I start painting.

    I paint first quick and dirty because I must clarify the colors and light direction. So after all objects are on their places and I know exactly where it is, I begin to specify and work out the details.

    Q:) Do you draw professionally? Or is this a side thing to another career or job?

    No, of course no XD Drawing is my hobby first of all :) Unfortunately (or fortunately) I’m not occupied yet, and my only work now is freelance (sales consultant, loader, flyer distributor)

    Lets get the usual required question out of the way: Who is your favorite pony? And if it's different, who is your favorite pony to draw?

    Heh, my darling pony is Twilight Sparkle, but it seems strange because I haven’t much drawings with her…

    So but if I refer to my drawings, I think, my favorite pony to draw is Celestia :)

    Q:) What kind of challenges do you usually run into when drawing a character for the first time? Has there ever been an image concept that completely stumped you?

    Generally speaking everything what I draw is problematic for me, I don’t succeed with everything from the first try, and I have to redo/fix it very often /)_(\

    And I think the most problematic part for me among all of them are wings) I honestly like wings, but I have to struggle very much with them :(

    Q:) Where do you get the inspiration for your art? The Rainbow Dash on a hover bike is especially awesome. Was that based on something? Or did you think it up on the fly?

    The works of other artists is a real treasury for me :)

    Heh, the idea to draw Rainbow Dash on aerocycle came to my mind absolutely randomly) But maybe the music to which I listened that time helped me also (namely this one) Many things depend on it too)

    But actually there had to be Spitfire instead of Dashie in the first idea, but I have problems with yellow, so I changed her to Dash ^^

    Maybe I will draw something complicated on this subject in future)

    Q:) What do you like most about Friendship is Magic? What keeps you drawing so many awesome ponies?

    Heh, thank you very much :)

    Most of all I like the very pleasant setting of the show, its kindness is missing in real world quite often :(

    Q:) How long does it typically take for you to complete a piece of art?

    Like I’ve said already before — I don’t count hours. My work expenses I count in days.
    Of course I don’t draw 24 hours a day, but I spend so much time for it, how I need.

    Usually, on an average, I spend time between a week or two for one drawing, but of course very much depends of self-feeling and of what namely I draw :)

    Anyway I am sure that hours counting is not what you have to think about while drawing.

    And that about covers it! Onward to some of his awesome art! Be sure to check out his full gallery over here as well!

    He mentioned wings and yellow both being difficult to draw, but I'm pretty sure he has pulled that off completely at this point. I had this for a cell wallpaper for the longest time.

    Canon ponies aren't the only character he draws. His OC's look just as amazing. This was actually one of his Patreon rewards if you want in on that.

    He mentioned in the interview that while Twilight is his favorite pony, Celestia is his favorite to draw. I was never a huge Celestia fanboy before this art, the "Empress of all of Equestria" up above in particular. Yakovlev literally converted me. Solar Empire all years.

    Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't do equally awesome Luna.

    One thing that really impresses me is how varied everything is. I know a lot of artists that struggle endlessly and give up on different settings, but he seems to do them all. A testament to trying until you get it right?

    And how could I forget TRIXIE? I still cycle this one in as a cell phone wallpaper regularly 

    Lets finish with some silly and call it good! Roseluck is now a cat in my headcanon.

    Once again, go check out his full gallery on Deviant Art. You won't be disappointed!