Nadegda Mihailova is a digital artist and a retoucher from Moscow. She works on photo manipulations of different complexity, illustrations, landscapes creation, matte painting and retouching of photos. She likes to turn fantasy into reality. We’ll see more of her works and get to know more about her in this interview, so read on!
How and why did you become a digital artist and a retoucher? Who influences you?
From childhood I liked drawing and consider beautiful pictures. I’ve always wondered how to do this or that picture. At first I worked in the field of design. Later, I became interested in digital art and photo manipulation. It captured all my attention. I like to create something entirely new from fragments of ordinary photos. At first it was just a hobby, then became my primary activity. Many artists inspire and influence me, but not for someone in particular.
What are your preferences in working with retouching project/s? Why?
Most of all I like to work on complex projects. This allows to improve my skills, to discover something new. Basically, now I am doing photo manipulation and illustrations. My preferences in work – this beautiful landscapes, various locations, fantasy theme. I also like to work on portraits, interesting characters, coming up with variety of costumes and decorations.
Most people think that retouching is about removing skin blemishes and transforming people to look slimmer. Well, that is the most basic task that retouchers do more often. As a retoucher, what is it that you do on a daily basis?
Removing skin defects and other shortcomings – is part of the process. But that’s not all. It all depends on the project and the tasks set in each case. This may be creating scene, environment from many different photos. I always start any work with a search ideas and sketch. First, I need to think about all the details. I begin work when I have a clear idea of what I want to get. Next comes mainly technical work. Here many work with color and light, retouching, some elements are drawn.
I personally believe that photo retouching is really nice when done properly but too much of it is disturbing and fake. For you, how do you make your photo retouching projects look convincing and real?
I think a good retouching not should attract a lot of attention to yourself. I strive natural results in retouching portraits. Very important not to spoil the photo, to preserve the mood of photo, emphasize the necessary details. I try so that the result looked convincing. But there is no limit to perfection.
Mountains, fantasy characters and castles are most seen in your works. Are these your personal interest or they are just client based?
And then, and more. But above all, it is my personal preference. For me this is the most interesting and comfortable theme – fantasy, unusual castles fabulous scenery. And of course a lot of nature and greenery. Nature creates spectacular beauty and I like to collect this in my work. Here there lots of space for creativity and imagination.
One of your projects illustrates a sanctuary. For you, what is a sanctuary and why is it called such?
I wanted to create an ancient, mysterious sanctuary lost in the jungle. Source of inspiration for this work is photo I made at the zoo. It became the foundation of the future temple. It’s just a stone slab with an interesting pattern. Very often idea for this or that work arise after viewing photos, interesting shapes. Sometimes quite any phrases from the book. I immediately received a clear idea of the final result. Then I needed only realize all.
Can you tell us more about your Hall of the White Wizards? How and why is it made?
It was a commercial project for uthrandir.com. Work on this project was very interesting and enjoyable. The initial idea and concept of work came from the customer. The focus was of the scene on the tower with the magic crystal from the game. I immediately liked the interesting shape of the building. Such a subjects very close to me – a combination of beautiful architecture, nature and magic.
What are the common mistakes that new retouchers commit the most? What are your pieces of advice that will correct their mistakes so it will be avoided by the new set of retouchers?
In general can distinguish blurred skin, distortion of the shape and volume, very bright and saturated color eyes, very white teeth and the whites of the eyes. But everything comes with experience.
The main advice is as much as possible practice. And of course, important accuracy. Do not be afraid to experiment, to try new methods. On the Internet, a lot of useful information and video tutorials, which are very useful especially in the beginning. This can help achieve excellent results.