“I don’t care how long it takes, one day I will be making oil paintings on large canvases of fantasy art like my Old Masters”
Aleksandar Tancovski is a 21 years old art student, born in Skopje, Macedonia. Ever since he was a little boy he enjoys drawing, especially the female body. However, when he was in high school, Aleksandar thought he would become an actor, until one day his father found a pamphlet of an art course that changed his life.
This young artist was so fascinated by the atmosphere of his art course that he decided to enroll in the Faculty of Art & Design of the European University-Republic of Macedonia (EURM). One of his biggest fears is being replaced by machines, that’s why—he explained— he didn’t choose an academy of traditional arts; taking a more modern academic program gives him peace of mind.
One of his beautiful drawings—of our model Adhira, is featured on PoseSpace’s home page. In this Q&A Aleksandar Tancovski explains how he discovered fantasy art, who are his favorite artists and what are his aspirations as an artist:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?
Like every kid, I started drawing early, the difference is, I didn’t stop. In kindergarten there was this kid that was drawing knights and castles. Sounded like a better idea than the monsters I was drawing at that time so I started drawing knights, at first on top of castles or just single units standing in the middle of nowhere. I’ve always been a daydreamer, always imagining myself in some medieval battlefield or a fantasy world with creatures, my parents and peers were worrying why was I lost all the time and walking in circles, running around or swinging with my arms. I guess this would be considered normal as an artist?
As soon as I got into primary school I started drawing legions of knights in which they engaged into battles like in a strategy video-game (basically stick figures with bows and arrows, shields and spears, swords, horses). I guess the inspiration for that came from video game Age of Empires 2 and Stronghold. As soon as that phase passed, I got into drawing weapons, tanks and soldiers because I played First-person shooter video games and finally, I got into Warcraft 3 (fantasy strategy game) and started drawing characters from the game (Elves, orcs, undead, human). It was then, when I looked at some of the concept art and fan art of the characters in the game, that I learned of a theme called ‘Fantasy art’.
Which artist or painter has influenced you?
When I learned about ‘Fantasy art’ I looked it up on Google images and as I was scrolling through the images, a drawing of an elf woman with a spear caught my eye. It was from a fantasy artist named Clyde Caldwell. And I was like: “Wow, the female body sure is a great thing”.
I was fascinated by the female figure and it went off from there, I found out about other artists like Boris Vallejo, Luis Royo and of course, the best of the best: Frank Frazetta. I looked up to them like previous generations looked up to the Old Masters. They were the Da Vincis, the Durers and the Caravaggios for me. All these barbaric women, witches, fairies, demons, they were like visualizations of my dreams. Probably induced by video games or movies. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to visualize my dreams and share them with others, maybe my daydreaming and night dreaming could be put to some good use. So I what did I do? I started copy drawing. But something wasn’t right. Why were my drawings nowhere near as good as my Old masters? (Gee, I wonder why) Because I didn’t know the basics of shading, I didn’t know about form or anatomy. I was just trying to make my drawings look as much as possible as theirs.
It didn’t work that way and when I think about it, why would I want to copy somebody else’s style and story? Why not create my own? So I decided, I will learn anatomy and shading but not by copying someone else’s drawings, but by drawing real models where I choose how to shade, what to shade, what kind of pose it will be, how much contrast to put, the contours and only that way I will be able to slowly develop my style and learn anatomy before I go into fantasy art. Posespace enabled just that.
At one point I had a pretty dark imagination because I got into the thriller genre and I was also influenced by Beksinski and H.R. Giger, I drew macabre art but it had more shock value than actual artistic merit. Until I have perfected anatomy, perspective, coloring and shading, I will not go into that despite the ideas waiting in line to be realized.
How do you start a drawing — do you have any rituals?
I daydream and night dream more than I actually draw. Before I start drawing I usually do a few sketches or just crosshatch on a bill or a piece of paper and draw simple shapes to warm up. I listen to A way of life from Hans Zimmer (from the Last Samurai, great movie) and other music from movies, anime and so forth.
What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?
Well practicing gestures helps a lot, I think that I can draw a decent pose just from my mind and I’ll need that when I won’t have a pose in front of me or won’t be able to find the pose I’m looking for.
Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model?
Hmmm, this one is a bit difficult to answer. I think currently my best drawing is the one of Michaela‘s pose*. To me it’s more about the pose itself and the lightning. I like high contrast and when the tendons, the veins, the muscles, the ribs and the wrinkles are visible and pop out. I like the body in the drawing to look as one of my art course teachers put it ‘Powerful’.
*featured on the cover image
Do you have a favorite source of materials?
I think I shouldn’t move to another medium until I have perfected the pencil but I had to at the University. I use mostly Staedtler pencils and Faber Castell. As for other mediums, I am pretty good with pastels (Koh-I-Noor) and watercolors (Faber Castell and Staedtler). I have not practiced enough with acrylics and oils, but I intend to use oil in the future as my medium of choice, hopefully.
What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?
I am currently working on perfecting the technique so I can have the tools to visualize my ideas. I have tons and tons of ideas, just waiting in line, ringing my brain and I just hope they will sound just as well in the future as they sound now. There are 3 things I want to have: perfect technique, unique style and a story behind my artwork. I don’t care how long it takes, one day I will be making oil paintings on large canvases of fantasy art like my Old Masters.
I also hope that one day I’ll be a teacher as well, I’m the kind of kid that’s gotten into something he likes and just won’t shut up about it, I guess that kind of enthusiasm will be appealing to some of the students mixed with a bit of sense of humor.
Other goals would include my own comic book with characters, designing video game characters and inspiring other artists.
Aleksandar Tancovski’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atancovsky/
Interview by Andrea Miliani