First things first, how would you describe the process of creating your artworks?
I have different characters I keep using. I do a rough outline of a story, write a few notes or keep them in my head. Then I do some really bad panel sketches where I decide placement, angles and also the conversations the characters have. The lines need to always happen while I’m doing the sketching, I can’t think them up before or after. The next step is a clean pencil drawing and then inking with fineliners. After inking, I use watercolours and gouache or I don’t use outlines at all and colour the piece with pencils.
Your style is quite unique and gives me some quirky, edgy, and funny vibes. How can we approach the imaginative world of your comics?
This one is hard to explain. I think I just want to draw and create something I like and want to have fun doing it. For example, I like gross things, maybe I am gross. It brings me so much joy to talk about all the different kinds of farts or textures of poop, boogers, and whatnot. I know it’s not for everyone but for me, it’s fun. That’s why I often include such things in my stories. I also like friendships and relationships or things that happen with my friends or their stories.
I work on two different comic stories. One is “My Friend Snooh“, which is more about friends and daily life. Snooh is a booger puppet created by Clumsy with her own boogers and one night, Snooh just came to life. Since then, Snooh lives with Clumsy and her roommate Coney, who is so disgusted by Snooh’s presence that she gets lip herpes non-stop. The other one is “Ingenious Rascals”, which is more like a Slavic fantasy or a western (or Eastern). Nona and Masha the Bear are two mercenaries passing through a mysterious birch forest where they meet the old white animal ghost “Dad Moroz” who is the ruler of this forest. They want to defeat him and free all the living creatures in there. I got my inspiration from Slavic myths and mythical characters like Djed Moros, Baba Jaga, and Masha and the Bear.
You use animals quite often as your main characters. Are they based on real people like friends or family?
Yes, they are based on me, my friends, family or TV shows. I’m half Russian and born in Kazakhstan, we came to Germany when I was two years old. That’s why some of them are based on Russian cartoon characters such as Nu Pagadi or Cheburashka. All in all, I just prefer to draw animals because they are more interesting than humans and more fun to draw.
How would you describe your drawing style and biggest inspirations? How does your style develop over time?
I would say there’s a bit of the animated cartoon style from the 90s, classic cartoons from the 40s, and something contemporary, maybe. Also, there are influences from Eastern Bloc cartoons. Regarding comics, my biggest inspirations are Simon Hanselmann, Lisa Hanawalt and Matt Furie. What I love about Simon Hanselmann’s work so much is, for example, that he works in an analogue fashion – with watercolours, food colours, pencils, etc. That is why I started working on paper again. I also really love the detail in his characters and drawings and that you can see the honesty in his work and stories.
Lisa Hanawalt works a lot with animal characters, watercolours and gouache, and Matt Furie influenced me with his pencil drawings. What also inspires me a lot are cartoons and anime. That’s why I started drawing in the first place. Ren and Stimpy is one of my favorites cartoons, I love the humor, the drawing style, the voices, the gross and nasty parts. I was doing a lot of digital and photoshop drawing, especially for commissions, which I still do on the computer today. But a few years back, I started working analogue again and I prefer it so much. Staring at the computer all day makes me sick and paper looks so much better than digital.
Are you currently preparing any exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?
I will do some comics readings this year which I am looking forward to. Two of them with my friend Sheree Domingo, we run the Dog Creeps Zine together. And I want to print my zine “My Friend Snooh” soon.
Within the framework of our current theme WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, what animal would you like to have as a lifetime companion?
Definitely a dragon. A dragon like a charizard, maybe. Dragons are the coolest, everybody has respect for them. I never heard somebody say something bad about a dragon. And I can fly on the dragon everywhere! But in real life, I would be happy with a dog.