We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Mykola Lomakin ("ML").
His motto: “To work quickly means to work slowly, just without breaks”. Mykola chooses the road less traveled in his work. He thoroughly considers the topic he works upon and strives to finish the work. He learns to see complicated in the simple, uncommon in common, fascinating in average. Mykola takes an example from those people who realize their creative vocation as mission, aimed at establishing in the world the ideals of good and beauty, truth and justice, freedom and love.
Mykola Lomakin Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Mykola Lomakin.
Designer Interview of Mykola Lomakin:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
ML : I am a military man by nature. After graduating from children's art school, my desire was to become an officer in the army and not an artist. But when I was in the army, I was convinced that the real army is very different from the military romance that I was in love with in propaganda films. And then I, the sergeant, the part-commander of the chemical defense, picked up a pencil and a notebook again and began to sketch. I tried to use every free minute to paint. And finally, the time came when I had a need to show what I draw to a specialist. This specialist turned out to be a corporal from the propaganda department, who was drafted into the army from Kharkiv after a year of study at the Academy of Design and Fine Arts. He became a key figure in my future destiny. “Throw doubts and stupid thoughts about the army out of your head,” he said, “go to Kharkiv, go to the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Fine Arts! You will succeed!" After completing my military service, I did so. After a year of preparatory courses and work as a janitor, I entered the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Fine Arts at the Graphics department. After studying at the Academy for 6 years, I chose the design branch, which I dedicated my life to - Book Illustration.
DI: What is "design" for you?
ML : Special look at ordinary things.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ML : The first thing that comes to my mind is the Volkswagen Käfer (Beetle). He is the most massive car in history, produced without a revision of the basic design. Its popularity, first of all, is due to a perfect, unique design.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ML : That was a very first illustration of Ivanhoe project. This is an illustration of Brian. It refers to the second chapter of the novel. "A man past forty, thin, strong, tall, and muscular; an athletic figure, which long fatigue and constant exercise seemed to have left none of the softer part of the human form, having reduced the whole to brawn, bones, and sinews , which had sustained a thousand toils, and were ready to dare a thousand more. (...) His keen, piercing, dark eyes, told in every glance a history of difficulties subdued, and dangers dared, and seemed to challenge opposition to his wishes, for the pleasure of sweeping it from his road by a determined exertion of courage and of will; a deep scar on his brow gave additional sternness to his countenance, and a sinister expression to one of his eyes, which had been slightly injured , " - Sir Walter Scott wrote about Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Well, the look was written clearly and convincingly, it remains only to draw! But the search process took quite a while, during which I quietly raised the bar of responsibility and quality of the future illustration. And when I finally got a satisfactory sketch, I decided to show it to my friend. He carefully looked and said: "Walter Scott wrote best chivalrous novel Ivanhoe. Maybe you will try to draw the best illustrations for this novel?" His words were totally unexpected for me. It was a challenge to a duel with yourself! Will I be able to do that? Do I have the strength to take such a height? And I decided that I would go forward and I would not retreat. Now, thanks to the A Design Award and Competition, I looked on Brian in different angle. He is not finished. He is needs to be improved.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ML : Pencil and paper, all kinds of paints, Adobe Photoshop. And also I'm starting to like the graphics tablet more and more.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
ML : At the very beginning of the work on the illustration. At the time of her conception.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ML : When I begin to work, I feel stress and responsibility. This is for me the same as taking the first step on a rope stretched over an abyss. In the process of work, emotions change, all seven human emotions that I have feel for my work. But basically it is passion and tension.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ML : Satisfaction, because people need it, and I put all my strength and experience into the finished work at this stage of my development. Relief, because I took off the heavy burden of responsibility. And disappointment, because I did not achieve perfection in this work. Could be better.
DI: What makes a design successful?
ML : Designer's ability to think creatively. Whatever project the designer is involved in, he must look for non-standard solutions, namely those solutions that will help reveal the nature of the project and satisfy the needs of the client.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ML : Good design evokes positive emotions, attracts and fills. Poor design, on the contrary, causes negative emotions, frightened off and destroys.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ML : The designer must understand that his work affects the consciousness, subconscious of people, their lifestyle. He must be a co-creator, a little magician, to give humanity comfort, love and harmony.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ML : Yes of course. Design develops thanks to the work of many generations of designers and artists, expands and grows like a tree in the Magic Garden. Once this tree was a small sprout. But the first people appeared, among whom the first designers appeared. Who were they? Maybe it was a man who decorated his hunting spear, or maybe a woman who made a necklace? We will never know. But because of their irresistible desire for beauty and harmony, this little sprout in the Magic Garden began to turn into a tree. It’s hard for me to imagine the design of the future. But I know for sure that designers of the next generations will be obsessed with the desire for beauty and harmony, like those unknown ancient designers.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ML : I had a period while studying at the Academy, when I was very interested in the classics of world cinema. For such a serious period that I even wanted to transfer to the camera department of the Institute of Cinematography. Tarkovsky, Parajanov, Felini, Greenaway, Kalatozov, Yusov, Urusevsky, Dovzhenko, Buñuel and other prominent directors and cameramen became a source of knowledge and inspiration. Their work helped me in the future to form a special approach - cinematic, in drawing Book Illustrations.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ML : I work in the manner of the late Renaissance. I try to follow the classic examples of Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, whose artistic value is considered absolute. Work on the current project made me study more deeply the work of these great masters. And I will continue to get acquainted with their pictorial manner. But at the same time I do not reject other styles in art and design with my conservatism.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
ML : I live in Ukraine. I absorbed Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian songs, Ukrainian history. I really love my homeland - Ukraine. This love came when I was 10 years old. During this period, I, my parents and my other relatives arrive to the village to help my grandfather and grandmother collect the potato crop. There was a lot of iron in the earth, which remained after the Second World War. Machine-gun and rifle cartridge cases, fragments of shells and bombs ... And so, I dig up potatoes with a shovel, discard the ground and see another rusty piece of iron. I took it in my hands, cleaned it from the ground, and to my amazement it turned out to be an ancient arrowhead for a bow! How did he get to the surface? Maybe his 20th century bomb pushed from the depths of centuries into the upper layers of the soil? I held this tip in my hand and felt something like lightning hits me. I realized that this arrowhead is part of me, part of my ancient forefathers who were born, in love, fought, died. I felt that I was part of this arrowhead, part of trees, grass, clouds, rivers and oceans. I am part of all people living on Earth.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
ML : I can highlight two of the most important qualities that a good designer should have. This is honesty and creativity. At the same time, honesty should come first. Honesty implies a subjective belief in the rightness of the matter, sincerity in front of oneself, the company and the client. William Shakespeare he wrote that "no legacy is so rich as honesty".
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ML : Before I start drawing the first sketches, I carefully consider all the details. I’m thinking about the connection with neighboring illustrations, image planning, angle, rhythm, tonality, color. I write in a notebook what I need to pay attention to. In general, I mentally create a visual form and fill it with content. When a pencil enters the process, then the paper tells me what to do next.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
ML : My pencil, my work chair, my coffee cup and two pots, which my wife made by her hands for plants.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ML : I want to wish young designers to find their way and go to their goal. Overcome all difficulties along the way. Don't get sloppy. Freed from their sins, the first of which is pride. Increase your virtues, the first of which is love. And the most important thing on this path is not to give up! It’s better to do your best and lose than give up. Per aspera ad astra - through difficulties to the stars!
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ML : To work quickly means to work slowly, just without breaks.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
ML : The most important thing for me is to continue and finish the project. According to my plan, the project should consist of 21 illustrations on a full page, including 3 double page spreads. In addition to the illustrations, the text of the book is going to be complemented with initials and small decorative elements in the same style as the illustrations. At the moment, I have done about 20% of the total project volume. There is still a lot of work ahead! I also want to visit England, to touch its ancient culture. This should affect the quality and speed of work on the project. And I want to learn English, which, to my shame, do not know yet.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ML : I work myself. But showing my work to close friends - artists. Their criticism is very important to me.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
ML : Yes.