Meet Dmitry Yakhovsky

Hi folks. Today I’d like to introduce Dmitry Yakhovsky, a fantastic artist who made the cover art for The Retreat to Avalon.

My first contact with Dmitry was through my publisher, Tim at MadeGlobal Publishing. Dmitry has been doing their book covers for some time now. Mine is a good example of how a great publisher can make your work even better. Before signing with MadeGlobal, I had a mental image of the cover, and worked with a few people to make a digital version. When Tim asked me what I envisioned for the cover, I sent him my idea. I am very lucky they tossed it. When Tim sent me a picture of Dmitry’s cover design, my jaw hit the floor. It was incredible!  So let’s get to know a bit more about Dmitry.

Sean: Thanks, Dmitry, for being available for this interview. What would you like to tell us about yourself?

Dmitry: I am 28, born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. My ancestors were evacuated there from Russia and Belarus during WW2, and when I was about 15, my parents and I moved to Belarus.

Sean: How did you get started in the art world?

Dmitry: When I was 9, my parents asked an artist to give me private lessons in drawing and painting. I had always loved to draw, and they wanted to help me develop it.  Here is a still life I painted then:I received the lessons at the college of art. I was lucky to study art among teenagers, but it was very difficult because nobody took me seriously. No wonder — I couldn’t even reach the top of the easel with my hand. But I worked very hard and soon I could draw just like them and sometimes a bit better. Some were really annoyed by that. I had an exhibition in that college, and someone even used keys or something to scratch up my exhibit. When I saw the damage, I realized that if my work raised such jealousy, it must be good. Later, I became interested in computer graphics and learned 3DS max to make 3D models and animations.

When I finished school, I needed to choose a career and somehow I decided on something completely different and went to the Belarusian State Economic University. There I studied and started working as an economic software programmer. Several years after graduation I realized I wasn’t happy with my job and returned to art.  Thankfully, I soon started earning as a freelance illustrator while also studying drawing and painting at the Belarusian State Academy of Art.

Sean: What types of art mediums do you work in?

Dmitry: Thanks to freelancing, I’ve worked in a lot of different mediums, including traditionals like pencil, pastels, watercolours and oil painting, as well as digital graphics and design, 3d modelling, sculpting and animation.

Sean: What is your favourite medium to work in?

Dmitry: Watercolours and oils. I like watercolours a lot and I’ve been painting with them since childhood. To me, this medium is very poetic and unpredictable. You never have total control over it and it sometimes feels like you are not painting at all and everything is happening by itself. You need to be fast and gentle and the paint will reward you with something beautiful. Several years ago, I tried oil painting and I find it great. Unlike watercolours, you can take your time and have more options to correct something along the way.

Sean: Are there other mediums you want to work in someday?

Dmitry: I somehow can’t do well in charcoal but I will practice more. Also, though it’s not a visual art, I really want to compose music. I can create a melody in my head and I always want to be able to write it down.

Sean: What are some of your inspirations?

Dmitry: Visual art, nature and poetry. But, it’s better not to search for inspiration. It usually comes by itself when you start doing something.

Sean: Who are some of your favourite artists, and why?

Dmitry: There are so many… In landscape painting, I like Shishkin most. His paintings are like doors to the forests to me. You can easily go inside a forest right from the museum just by looking at his paintings. In figurative art, I admire Bouguereau most.

Sean: What are some of your favourite pieces that you’ve done?

Dmitry:  Here is one of my first oil painting portraits. This girl has traditional uzbek braids and hat. I was experimenting with paint application and did a lot of layers on this one. 

In landscape painting I like to capture the time when the sun begins to set. I have a series of paintings of this lighting: 

Sean: Those are beautiful! How did you start working for MadeGlobal?

Dmitry: While working as a freelance illustrator, I got a lot of experience working on a contract to illustrate a graphic novel by an American author. After that, I decided to illustrate my own graphic novel from a story I had written. At the same time, I was contracted to do covers for MadeGlobal Publishing, and decided to send them my story. They liked it and even invited me to meet with the authors during an event in London. The book was published by that time and I met some amazing historians and saw my first book there. It was a great life-changing event! My wife is among the authors in MadeGlobal as well. She wrote and published a great biography about Jasper Tudor, and runs a website and blog about the Wars of the Roses. (Here is the LINK )

Sean: How did you come up with the idea of the cover of my book, The Retreat to Avalon? You did not use my idea at all, and I am very glad you did not! Your idea is much better.

Dmitry: Thank you Sean! I don’t know how I came up with that, I sort of saw two armies clashing in my mind and I thought it would be nice to have horsemen on the front cover and their opponents on the back.

Sean: Well, that was a perfect inspiration, because it fit the story perfectly.  Have you had recent exhibitions of your works?

Dmitry: Yes I have. I did illustrations for the graphic novel about a battle that happened near the Dutch town Kampen. And I had a solo exhibition of my watercolours in the city hall there. The mayor of the town got a first copy of the book signed by me and it was featured in local newspapers. The mayor also picked one painting for the annual exhibition called “The Mayors Choice”. 

Sean: Thanks, Dmitry, for taking the time to talk about your work here. I can’t wait to see your work on the next two books!  For anyone interested in seeing more of Dmitry’s work, you can go here: LINK

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, comments are encouraged!

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