For those who love science - Academics for the Future of Science campaign

A lot of people know that long time ago I was a scientist. I was doing the researches of the crystal structures of condensed matters, because crystals are beautiful. But the longer I stayed in the academia, the more I was disappointed: around 2/3 of time I was dedicating not to the research by itself but to the writing grants papers in order to get money for this research. The science budgets are shrinking down every year in many countries and it takes more and more efforts to get a financial support. That upsets me a lot and even the beauty of crystals couldn't help. So I had to quit.  

Unfortunately I'm not the only person who had to leave the research career because of science funding crisis. There are so many of us. I sympathize them a lot, and when Christin Gloriso, a postdoc at MIT, was looking for volunteers to help with the Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) campaign, I was happy to offer my help. AFS goal is to bring the awareness among the society and politicians to the issue of decreasing of the funding for the scientific researches. 

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For the campaign I created the number of visuals: illustrations, posters, apparel design, etc. The Science Skull became a symbol of the campaign, that tells people that the lack of science funding is about to kill it. Science is in danger and we need to save it. 

The work in such an enthusiastic groups is always exiting for me and teaches me a lot of new things. And the intermediate result of the campaign which is still going is impressive: more than 1000 emails were sent to Senators this fall about raising science funding. Just a AFS Facebook page we have almost 4000 followers, and the campaign web site becomes more and more popular.  

I truly believe that all these efforts will be fruitful and the situation will change for better.

Dodge The Logs!

Working with an international clients all the time I cannot help myself not to make a generalizations about national peculiarities. Yes, you can tell me that it's bad and close-minded to be so "judgmental" and to choose the national attributes as a parameter. But the situation different: I would never judge people by their origin, but I'm always trying to understand how the living in different countries affects on their aesthetic taste and preferences. It's not only interesting topic but helps me a lot in my work.

Of course there is plenty of information about this on the internet, and it seemed to me that due to my experience I already could feel the major national aesthetic trends but the life gives me a small surprises all the time. For the last half a year a had a few clients from the UK. And I was pretty surprised that all of them, almost in the same time, had emphasized the keyword "cute" for the graphics they wanted to get. Childish, cartoony, cute, adorable, almost classical hard-outlined illustrations - that's what my clients wanted me to create. Is it a coincidence, national feature, games genre's feature or anything else?

One of such a cute projects where I was a part of the development team had just released. It's very intuitive arcade game about little squirrel Dodge The Logs!. Now the game is released for Android but in couple of days it is going to show up on the App Store.

I guess the biggest challenges for this game were on the technical side, which was done by Part12 Studio, than on the graphical. As for me I can tell that the work on  Dodge The Logs!  was pretty enjoyable: I love cartoon style and making a set of little squirrels in costumes reminded me the time when I just started to work in the game industry...and also my childhood and dolls :)

Being a very creative person by himself, Oliver, my client,  also gave me a lot of creative freedom. Although we faced a lot of challenges on the way, for me this project was more fun than hard. Now I see that because of such kind of projects people think that the work in game industry it's never ended holiday :) (of course it's true!)

Flat and smooth.

Hey guys!

I was waiting for this game release more than for anything else, and finally it's here! For those who think that 2048 is not challenging enough for them, 8 Numberflies continues the Siddbetter Ltd tradition of making math games. As you guys know there is nothing better for me than working on smart games, so this project just made me happy. 

So why did this game become so important for me? That's because it was challenging. My style is pretty cartoonish, bright and flashy, with lots of actual drawing and not that much design. 8 Numberflies is different. I used a more calm pink-purple-blue palette. That made the game more girlish and appealing to the main target audience for puzzle games. I faced a lot of UI design problems during work, which I hope I solved successfully.  

Try the game! Your feedback is very important for me. 

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Usually people don't show all the guts of projects and intermediate design files. But I don't understand why not. As an artist I'm interested in learning more about the creation process rather than just seeing the results. So here is one of the internal usage images from the 8 Numberflies project. 

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Match 3 for smart

It's not that easy to find Match 3 game on the market that wouldn't be generic; most of them are either about food, pets, some fantasy things... But our new iPhone game Adventures of Tony Dum Dum, I was working on as an artist and UI designer, is more sophisticated. Despite the cartoony look, game mechanics requires more than mindless swiping; it's actually a calculus game. Playing this game you have to combine numbers making additions and subtraction, and think strategically. 

Because of my background in science I just admire games that players can use to get some knowledge or to improve their skills, besides just entertain themselves. And Adventures of Tony Dum Dum it's a great brain trainer. 

Not all the graphics in the game is mine. When I jumped into the project the characters were already done and the theme and story were already pretty much defined. So my part was to make it look bright and juicy. 

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How to draw 120 cute monsters

This month Halloween fever affects everyone. But for us it have started much earlier, in spring, when my the most awesome client Oleg asked me to make a series of illustrations for the game Gizmos - Spooky Adventure  - a Halloween sequel of the game Gizmos: Riddle the Universe we used to work on before.  

Game screenshot

Game screenshot

The challenge was to create a 120! different cartoon characters with the Halloween theme. In the very beginning of project I thought it will be a piece of cake; there are so many diverse frightening creatures exists in the world that it's not gonna be a problem to find 120 of them. But in reality it wasn't that easy. A huge majority of characters people usually use for their masquerade costumes, appeared to be protected by copyrights. A lot of characters are unique for some particular culture and hardly defined in the rest of the world. And finally, it was just difficult to make some of the characters look cute. 

But  in spite of the obstacles, Oleg and I made the work done. I really enjoyed the process of creation, working in this particular style and I've learned a lot about representation of "evil" in different cultures. I'm proud of our work. 

Pixie

Pixie

Zombie

Zombie

Dragon

Dragon

Santa de la muerte

Santa de la muerte

The whole process was very nice: I started with pencil sketches, then I inked them and scanned. After that I imported the sketch in Illustrator where I draw outlines over the sketch. I colored the pictures in Photoshop because it seemed faster and gave me some half-tones and so on. After all I think it could be better to skip an inking step and to draw in Illustrator right over the pencil sketch. But such kind of mistakes are a part of learning process during work, so for the next projects I already didn't waste time on inking.

Every character has a puzzle representation and making up the puzzle was part of my job as well.  

Character creation steps

Character creation steps

So the game has 120 unique characters. To see them all play the game

Sex and Synestesia

Sex.

Being born in another culture, sometimes I pay attention to things that seems obvious and natural for the people who grew up in western society, but for me they don't seem so simple. One of such example is sex. Or more exact - how do people here perceive sex. 

From first glance it seems like local popular culture is full of sex. You can meet some sexual content everywhere, it is encouraged and promoted very well. When you talk to today's young people, sometimes you can feel some sort of self pride for being so open-minded and sexually mature that the topic of sex is not "taboo" anymore. Sex is becoming too banal.

Throughout human history people speculated on the topic of sex so much, that it seems like nothing new can be discovered or any topics is left unstudied. It sounds true...until sex enters the bedroom, then you will be surprised by how today's people pay little attention and effort to this beautiful activity. How illiterate they are in this field and how irresponsible they are with their own and their partners pleasure.  

Synestesia. 

Synestesia,  the wide spread phenomenon of mixed feelings that a lot of people have. Scientists have named a few dozen types of Synestesia; and I got lucky - I have one of the rarer form- colored and textured orgasms. As soon as I have access to visual media I can "record" the feelings I had and share them, because it is beautiful to feel that.

Scientists' description of the phenomenon of Synestesia has been solely physiological (increased cross-talk between brains regions specialized for different functions [1]). Observing my own Synestesia, I made a conclusion that the strength of such kind of cross-feelings really depends on a lot of factors and internal states. An example is how deep I focus on feelings. 

I think that everybody has some mixed feelings and experiences during orgasms, but people just don't want to focus on their feelings enough during the action or they don't know that it is possible.  An analogy: when you read this text, you are receiving the idea, but you hardly pay any attention to the size and shape of the characters that make up the words you read. Now you are closely examining the words at this moment, when I actually pointed it out. The same with sex. I think most of the people during this process is thinking about whatever else, but not focused enough on their sensation. They don't pay attention on how beautiful and unique their sensations are.

Try to focus on your sensations next time you have sex and maybe your mind will paint you a sparkling picture with rainbows.

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Love Story Popup Book

I rarely take private orders, but when Luke contacted me and told about his idea to propose to his lovely girlfriend Mendy by creating  a popup book about their love story. I decided to make an exception.When I heard this I thought that the idea was just awesome. And it did not disappoint!

Luke had a whole team of creators and technicians working on the book. My part was illustrations. We also had a writer, a designer responsible for constructing the book folds and putting everything together, and professional printers. This was the most touching and lovely project I ever had. During the time I was working on it I learned a lot about Luke and Mendy, even though I he never met them in real life (they are from the west coast). Through this project I became emotionally close to them.

I'm so happy with the work we've done. And of course Mendy said "yes"! I'm really happy for both of them and wish for them to live a great happy life together.

 

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