From Childhood Hobby to Lifelong Passion: Mr. Ivailo Ivanov and His Dedication to the Digital Arts

by Joshua Diokno   

A self-taught artist, 23-year old Mr. Ivailo Ivanov believes that he has been born for the digital arts. And when you look at his works online, you won’t be able to help but agree. Early on, he was already immersed into drawing, taking cues from his grandfather and her mother drawing pictures for him to learn the alphabet from. And boy isn’t the industry glad for how he has turned out since.

While many parents would not encourage children inclined in the arts to pursue their passions as a profession, Mr. Ivanov made it through and had made it a lifelong-passion. It is artists like him that keep us in the faith that the digital industry will only progress further.

So let’s get to know Mr. Ivailo Ivanov in this short feature and be inspired by his dedication to and journey in the craft.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling” as a lot of your contemporaries do?

Ivailo Ivanov (II): Yes, you’re right. I feel like I was pretty much born with it or maybe into it. My mom would draw different Pokemons for me to help me learn the alphabet (for example she would write the letter P and draw a Pikachu). I was a big fan of Pokemon, this actually helped me a lot with reading. I started drawing at the age of 4 or maybe earlier. I was very inspired to draw like my grandfather, who was a hobbyist artist and would often draw amazing portraits of people I knew. In school, I never really paid attention to anything, I would only draw in my notebooks with a pen and they’d be filled with various drawings, mostly characters. My teachers remember me as the kid that had notebooks full of drawings.

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who served as a catalyst for your involvement in the craft? When did you get involved fully in the 3D industry?

II: Yes there was. I watched animations like “Final Fantasy: Advent Children” and “Beowulf”. I didn’t know what 3D graphics were at the time and I wanted to learn more about it. That’s how I got started; I was very young –about 12-13 years old or so. Prior to that I would do short animations of my own with Paint and Gifmaker since that was the only software I had access to. I would draw different characters frame by frame, mostly “Naruto” characters, and then match them together in a Gif with Gifmaker to create animations. Of course, they were awful.

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have pegged a solid place in it?

II: Depends on what a solid place means. Do I have projects to work on all the time? Yes, I feel like there’s plenty of work and interest towards me. Do I think skill-wise I’m up there with the best? No, not yet. Very soon though; I’m catching up pretty quickly.

XC: How does your day look like in production?

II: I’d wake up sometime between 7:30 AM (If I’m late on schedule usually) and 12:00 NN. I’d have a breakfast, go for a workout, come home, take a shower and when I feel like it I will start working, sometimes until I go to bed. Other times, I’d take rests and do something else, like go for a walk, meet some friends, play some games etc. I also work Saturdays and Sundays and to me character work is still something I do with great interest and love, so whenever I’m home, 90% of the time I’m working on something.

XC: What are the common challenges that a 3D artist like you encounters day-in, day-out in a project?

II: To me it’s overworking my eyes. Sometimes, especially when I’m trying to nail down a likeness and I’ve worked on it for 10 hours or more straight, I get very tired. At this point my eyes are telling me the likeness is great, the sculpt is amazing, and I should definitely post it, only to find a very ugly head in the morning.

XC: It’s such a delight to see your works online. Your concepts are endearing. But among your works, do you have favorite pieces? If so, what would these be and why? Also, what would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

II: Thank you. I’d say it’s my latest work “The White Wolf” which is a likeness portrait of Henry Cavill and his role as Geralt from the Netflix adaptation of “The Witcher”. It’s still not fully finished, but I’m very proud of it, since I had to go through a lot to get the likeness done. I was starting over again and again and something about Henry’s likeness was very hard to nail it as definitely my hardest likeness, even though he is a male with very pronounced features, which usually is easier than a beautiful female for example.

XC: If you were to market yourself what would you highlight as your edge?

II: I’m more ambitious than most people

XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?
II: It’s hard to say, but most likely I would’ve been a boxer. There was a point of time, few years back where I was really into the sport and I was training for a tournament 2-3 times a During those times, I wasn’t working hard on art projects. I was always tired and didn’t have the time or the will for it. This is also the reason why I decided I will not compete in further competitions and will only train for the fun of it.

XC: What is your message to other artists especially in these trying times?

II: Work hard, be dedicated and disciplined. No one was born better than you, they just put more time into their craft. Well maybe Rafael Grassetti, but he is not human.

Want to see more of Mr. Ivailo Ivanov’s works? Click here!

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