It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of hosting a Windows Into Worlds spotlight, and this month is extra special. I was beyond thrilled to have the chance to chat with Stas Borodin, illustrator and author. I’ve been following Stas’ work for quite some time, and seeing his illustrations inside Michael R. Fletcher’s Black Stone Heart sparked my need to expand the feature from solely cover artists and designers to interior illustrators, as well.
Incredible artist and author, awesome guy – a huge thank you to Stas for stopping by to have a chat.
Hello! I am an illustrator and fantasy author from Israel. Nice to meet you!
Welcome to Whispers & Wonder, Stas! Care to tell us who you are in 10 words or less?
Hi, Justine. Thank you for inviting me!
I’m a dreamer, just like you, or anyone who is reading your blog.
Why do you do what you do?
I always make sketches when I read, some images are too precious for me to lose, so I have to turn them into illustrations. Also, this is my way of thanking the author who wrote the book I am reading.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yes, this is the easiest way to express yourself and communicate with others.
What kind of work do you enjoy doing the most and why?
Most of all I like to draw internal book illustrations. Drawing covers is also great fun, but it just like scratching the surface of the book. I like to go deeper, to the bones and entrails. Into the dark places, that the cover artist would not dare to tread.
Have you had any interesting jobs other than being an artist?
I was working in field of photography and video for a long time.
Where or from whom do you pull inspiration from?
I get inspiration from books. From everyday life. From random spots on the floor turning into a picture, from the play of light and shadow on the wall, from random strokes on the canvas. Inspiration can be found everywhere, just look carefully. Classical artists and contemporary masters are also inspiring. Frazetta, Gregory Manchess, Gary Gianni, Robert McGinnis, N.C.Wyeth, Ashley Wood, Katsuya Terada, Adrian Smith and many more.
What made you dive into the world of book-specific art?
I love books. I have seven editions of Ivanhoe with different illustrations and I will buy more if I like the illustrations. When I was a child and could not read, I could spend hours looking at book illustrations. Jules Verne illustrated by Edouard Riou and Zdenek Burian, Fenimore Cooper illustrated by H.M. Brock. For me, Illustrations have always been a window into the world of imagination and I am glad that now I can draw them myself.
Walk us through your process – How does your consultation process go? Do you generally read the book prior to beginning the art? Do you prefer to initially sketch/brainstorm on paper or screen? Any fun quirks?
When Michael Fletcher asked me to illustrate the Black Stone Heart, I asked for a manuscript. I read the book, making sketches along the way. The book was wonderful, and I had too many ideas, but I had to choose just a few key scenes. It was not easy. I sent my sketches to Michael and upon his approval, I started actual drawing. We worked together all the time, I sent him work in progress and he encouraged me, or asked me to change or redraw something. I think we both had a good time.
Do you get to read much? If so, do you have any favorite authors?
I read all the time. Not a day without a book. My favorites are Larry McMurtry, Terry Pratchett, Anna Smith Spark and many more. I also read a lot of manga:. Q Hayashida, Kazuo Koike, Takehiko Inoue, Hiroaki Samura, Tsutomu Nihei are the best.
What’s the biggest challenge you face professionally?
Time management. Sometimes it is very difficult to balance the time allotted for work and family time.
What’s the one thing you’d be lost without?
My wife, my son and coffee.
I know we’re never supposed to ask a parent to choose their favorite child, but do you have a piece you’re particularly proud of?
It’s always the youngest one!
Thank you again for taking the time to have a chat with me, Stas! You have anything going on right now you want the world to know about?
I not only draw illustrations, but also write fantasy. My most ambitious project is to release a fully illustrated edition of my first book in English. There is still a lot of work ahead, but I hope that I will be proud of the final result.
Be sure to check out Stas’ website to peruse his absolutely INCREDIBLE portfolio.