Alex Andreyev's digital art creation process

Alex Andreyev's digital art creation process

Alex Andreev lives in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. He's been drawing, painting and doing graphic design over last 20 years.
He works as art-director in an advertising agency and as senior concept artist for movie and game production.

Alex recently shared his creation process along with some step-by-step examples:

Alex Andreev

For me, only a result of mystical revelation can be considered true art. Other products of intellectual speculations can only interest me from a technological point of view. My favourite paintings are created during insight, sudden connection with a certain information field. The interpretation of my vision, using all of my life experience, is the result of my work. Carlos Castaneda gave a definition of creative process, with which I agree most:

“The Nagual Elias, as a solitary dreamer, visited, let’s say, the junkyard of infinity, when no one was around – and copied whatever he saw, but never knew what those things were used for, or their source.”


About technology – I tried out various techniques, including traditional inks, pens, brushes. I also experimented with digital art, and now I use Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter all the time, just brushes, no fancy stuff or filters. By using limited tool set I am able to achieve stylistic consistency throughout my portfolio. I focus more on the expression of my creative concepts than on technology or tools. While working in a digital medium, I am free of limitations of traditional tools, such as drying of oil paint, changing of gouache color or etching line width. Also, I am able to constantly see and control final result of my work during creation, and that suits my style.

This artwork has been created in Photoshop. Besides the basic Photoshop brushes, I used 3 brushes here – “rust”, “rain” and “trees”. “Rain” – for the creation of falling rain drops. “Trees” – for the creation of a structure of foliage in the background. “Rust” – for other elements.

The main task at drawing is transferring of a picture from my head in picture space at the most precise without heavy losses in perception. Clearness, clarity, and unambiguity of understanding of the image – our enemies in this case. I create a canvas – the size 3000x4000px – and fill in a background with primary colour.

01 – Using the brush “rust” I put the basic contours of the future figures, and build the general composition.

02 – On a new layer using a brush “rain” I add falling rain drops, and plant patches of light on the drowned man, on the umbrella, on the streetlight, and on the girl.

In general, I try to do each new variation on a new layer for a possibility to return to the previous version and compare, whether became worse.

03 – I create a separate layer with “overlay” mode and with using a basic soft brush, I create the shined sites.

Supposed, that light goes from the streetlight outside the staff.

04 – Using a brush “rust” I trace the basic details of objects – the umbrella, the raincoat, bandage and cords, the pipe, asphalt and pools on it.

05 – Then I create an element of a fencing on the basis of a pattern traditionally used in St. Petersburg.

06 – I duplicate an element so that it has filled all the width long images.

I add patches of light and various details that copies do not look at all equally.

07 – Using a brush “trees” I draw foliage on a background.

It should look wet and heavy, leaves should sag under weight of water. Using the basic brush I draw the electric wires going from the streetlight.

08 – Using a brush “rust” I continue to trace details.

09 – Then I add fishes.

It is very important, that there is no contradiction between left (‘ underwater ‘) and the right part of the picture. Accuracy is necessary for this purpose in transferring illumination of all subject matters. The Unreality of a situation should be compensated by a reality of illumination.

10 – Final completion.

Addition of patches of light, correction of a pose of the girl, specification of an arrangement of cords and bandage on the drowned man. The picture is complete.

Here's the whole process condensed into an animation:

Hopefully, this will help you improve your perception of the creation progress.

Please pay a visit to Alex Andreyev's website to see more of his work!

Published on: May 2016