Interview with Russia’s leading illustrator Anton Kokarev

Interview with Russia's leading illustrator Anton Kokarev - Benetton Blog

Today I would like to tell you about one of the most talented and successful young Russian illustrators – Anton Kokarev.

Despite the fact that he was born in Rybinsk, today his services are used by companies such as Warner Brothers, Piastro and many others. He creates the most ambitious projects for both Russian and foreign films, animated films and games.

Anton, now you are a successful and marketable illustrator. I remember when we all studied together at the Yaroslavl Art School. Tell me, how much influence was education in your future career?
Yes, a classical education was very important for. I had wonderful teachers who not only could talk beautifully, but also do very good things. Special thanks goes to Boris Bay, painting on canvas. This greatly inspired me. I saw a man who created something incredible, and this experience still inspires me. And of course I was very influenced by the fact that I was surrounded by very gifted people. Then, it was clear that everything comes gradually. All this of course helped, but I say this because I believe I was fortunate to learn with those people.

How do you define your style of work?
I am a concept artist, and my style is that I can do the job in a different style. When you draw for games or movies it is a style that is already set and you have to do similar things in this style. This may be a design environment, characters or vehicles. Of course, there still lurks your experience, but still there are some frames! In fact, if I draw something new, I turn to the art of comics with a touch of the grotesque and the attempt to make it less realistic.

When and how did you start to co-operate with the film industry?
My work was seen in the network by Arman Jachin and I was invited to a meeting. Subsequently, we began to cooperate. My first project was a comic book to present the film Admiral on Kinotavr. Since then, we began to talk quite often. He introduced me to Janicke Fayzieva Bodrov and others. Gradually I began to communicate with people from the film industry and to create projects for them.

Interview with Russia's leading illustrator Anton Kokarev - Benetton Blog

What is your most interesting project?
I think I’m doing it at the moment – it is a joint project between Warner Brothers and the Legendary pictures The Seventh Son directed by Bodrov Senior. For this project, I am creating characters and environments. I have made more than 200 artifacts at and I wonder what will get into the movie and what will eventually happen.

You have worked with many professionals in the field of animation and special effects, including director Anatoly Petrov, artistic director of the film Avatar and others. With whom are you working and what possible projects do you have for the future?
I studied at the Film Institute of Anatoly Petrov, animator and director who has done a lot for Soviet and Russian animation. Now, I also continue to paint for the Seventh Son, I’m collaborating with the company Piastro and I’m working on various Russian projects, and doing comics in France, L’ambassade. We would like to make a graphic novel – comics Queen of the war – a Bodrov Senior project. We’ve done a few test pages. Hopefully we will finish this project!

In 2011 you were awarded the prize “Triumph”. Please tell our readers for what merits it was given to you.
The award was given just for the sketches to the “seventh son”. As I said Sergey, when he was showing my work to producers, they said nothing of the kind had been seen before. Perhaps that is why I was awarded this prize.

Interview with Russia's leading illustrator Anton Kokarev - Benetton Blog

Tell us about your collaboration with the Fantasy Flight Games. What kind of work you are doing for them?
Occasionally I draw illustrations for their books. Basically this book on the universe of Warhammer. Recently I made two illustrations for The Lord of the Rings. I like the style of the board game, so I’m happy to make these orders.

You create covers for Praera Derek (Derek Prior) books. What is the process of creating a new skin. Do you read the books you create a cover for?
No I do not read them, Derek gives me a description of what he would like to see on the cover. I make the sketches and do the work in color. There, they are somehow more likely to trust the artist and give plenty of room for imagination. In that case, if there are amendments, they are very clear and give a lot of time to do the job. This approach is very important in my opinion.

Anton, thank you for the interview. I am happy for your success. I wish you all the best for your growing recognition in the future.

Images copyright Anton Kokarev

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