Artist Spotlight: The Incredible Inna Vjuzhanina

Inna

There is no better way to revive our Art Category than with a spotlight focusing on one of the most amazing Tomb Raider fan art artists ever. We are talking about the incredible Inna Vjuzhanina.

Inna is an Ukraine based freelance illustrator and designer, well known especially for her breath-taking digital Tomb Raider and Game of Thrones inspired drawings.

Furthermore, Inna has recently opened her own shop where fans can directly buy their favourite prints.

Official fansite Tomb Raider Web had the exclusive chance to ask Inna a few questions about herself, her work, Tomb Raider, Game of Thrones, and where she takes her inspiration from. Please find the interview below.

1) Let us start with something easy. Would you like to introduce yourself a little bit? 

Easy! I’m Inna, a 28 years old illustrator based in Ukraine. Got a degree in professional coffee drinking, a hunch for summoning and rescuing cats and I can’t breathe without creating art every day.

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2) Your drawings are incredible. When have you started drawing? How much practice has it taken to make your drawings as extraordinary as they are today?

That is so sweet of you to say! Thank you! I’ve been experimenting with different creative spheres for quite some time (fashion design, photography, writing, 3D, cake decorating, you name it!) till I arrived to my true love. I think it was around 2011 when I first picked up stylus and the journey began.

3) Why did you start drawing? What inspired you to become an artist?

Ironically enough, since this is a Tomb Raider interview, it WAS Tomb Raider that inspired me to start the art path. Even more ironically, it was incredible work of Nicobass that led me to deviantArt and inspired me to try and start creating too. Being part of his team now and working on DoX (one of two my all-time favorite TR games!) feels like a dream. Took me a lot of effort to overcome all the fangirl storm raging inside me when we first spoke and try and sound like a normal person. 😀

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4) What is your favourite way to draw your prints?

 I’ve been working purely digitally initially (Photoshop + Wacom Intuos), but I’ve recently started to move to traditional art and loving it a ton. Drawing a lot with ink and Copic markers at the moment and there will certainly be traditional pieces for sale in my print store in the nearest future! Getting all equipped on traditional art supplies also allowed me to offer hand-embellished prints at the store. They really makes a unique crossover btw digital and traditional!

5) How do you find your motifs?

I think every new idea pops up in your head when it’s “ripe”. It feels like you just suddenly get this new cool concept, but in truth it’s just a combination of all the influences and things you love. Places you’ve visited, smells, favorite scenes from the movies, some lines from a song, photos and favorite artworks you’ve seen, games you’ve played and emotions you got from those, etc. You keep adding those images and feelings to your mental library on a subconscious level and then at one moment all the pieces finally meet, like tiny pieces of a magnet. Bam! Clinck! You’ve got your new super awesome idea.

6) You draw a lot of Tomb Raider and Lara Croft inspired art. Can we assume you love playing the Tomb Raider games?

Naaaah, what makes you think that? Laura who? 😀 In truth,TR is a mystery even to me. I’ve been a fan of many franchises, loving them with passion. But they all came and eventually went. Lara came and refused to leave my side, fueling my inspiration and life engines stronger and stronger day after day, year after year. She’s a phenomenon.

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7) What is your favourite Tomb Raider game? Do you, in general, prefer the classic or rebooted games?

Fun story here. I actually got introduced to the TR franchise through the rebooted games. Well, “first generation” of reboot, if you may say so. I’ve played through Anniversary to Underworld and really enjoyed those a ton. But then I got to classics and that’s where true love happened. I’d choose classics over all the reboots anytime. I love the real daring Lara. I love crazy awesome landscapes with low-poly graphics and I love picturing in my mind how they would look in real life. I love using my imagination instead of every location being mapped out to the tiniest life-like details for me. I love the feel and smell of true adventure, exploration and just sheer fun.

8) What is your favourite thing about Lara Croft and Tomb Raider?

I’m a huge admirer of beauty and that’s probably what initially drew me to the TR – gorgeous sceneries, gorgeous woman doing elaborate acrobatics with grace and just having fun. But you truly get hooked when you get to know Lara closer. I think it’s this duality of her character that I really admire – she can swipe men off their feet literally and figuratively. She can be a tomboy in tight shorts and big guns and she can be a gracious lady wearing an evening gown and listening to the classic music. She equally uses both her guns and her brain to get to her goal. She doesn’t let the society norms and protocols dictate who she is and what should she do with her life. She had the guts to rebel against everybody to follow her passion.

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9) Apart from Tomb Raider, people can also buy wonderful Game of Thrones prints. Tricky question: Do you like the GoT TV series & books as much as the Tomb Raider series?

Absolutely adore Game of Thrones. Daenerys is probably my second all-time favorite character and she really shares same principles I admire in Lara. She’s this clash of duality once again – gorgeous feminine character with gentle and kind heart who, at the same time, managed to gather the most powerful and lethal force the world has ever seen and bring back to life extinct beasts. With that said, GoT gets close to TR, but can’t even dream of competing with it in my heart 😀 Will see how long my GoT fires keep burning after the series is over!

10) You have recently opened your own shop where fans of your fantastic work can directly buy prints. Will you eventually move the entire Society6 collection over to your own shop? If so, when can fans buy their most wanted prints directly from your new shop?

The store was a pretty sudden decision heavily inspired by an amazing fellow artist, but nothing felt more right to me in a long time. It feels amazing to prepare every single order myself and give each a personal touch, to talk and connect with people, to see all those incredible emotions fans get when they take that piece of nostalgia in their hands. I severely underestimated the amount of time all the handling and logistics take, but it’s so worth it. We life for emotions and experiences!
And yes! I do plan on moving some of the more popular prints to my store and closing down Society6 eventually altogether. New items coming to the store very-very soon!

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11) Is there anything else you would like your fans to know?

This is clichéd, but it’s clichéd for a reason – it’s 100% truth. Follow your heart, your passion, your Muse. All the most incredible dream-like things happened to me only when I started listening to my inner voice and doing things I feel are right VS. society told me was right. Every single person got an incredible mission in life, you’ve just got to be brave enough to follow your passion and discover it. Adventure awaits and this time for real 😉

Please do not forget to check out Inna’s social channels, make sure to hit the ‘Like’ button and follow her on Twitter:

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