Artist: Alexander Ostrowski
Location: Cologne, Germany
Hi! I’m Alexander Ostrowski, a concept artist and illustrator based in Cologne, Germany. I specialize in creature design for the entertainment industry, which basically means drawing a whole lot of monsters and geeking out about animals of all kind.
❓Who or what influenced your art style the most at the beginning of your journey?
🗣 I have always been drawing, but even at a very young age I was mainly drawing animals and monsters and lots and lots of dinosaurs. Jurassic Park definitely was a big influence and it is still my favorite movie. I also came into contact with the art books of the Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars prequels quite early. There are too many more to mention here, but these three and of course nature herself were probably the biggest inspirations when I was younger.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣 It really happened more than me actively starting it. I’ve been posting more and more of my work on instagram and I must have reached some kind of threshold. About two and a half years ago, some freelance jobs came my way and so I decided to start working as a freelancer.
❓What software and hardware do you use, and why?
🗣 Most of my work is done digitally in Photoshop, using an Intuos Pro, but I also really like drawing and painting in Procreate on the iPad. Traditional sketching however is pretty important to me as well, so I always keep a self bound sketchbook at hand. My favorite pens at the moment are simple BIC ballpoint pens. And on top of that, I also really enjoy plein air painting with gouache.
❓How do you like to work: as a freelancer, or maybe full-time or part-time?
🗣 I personally freelance right now, which can be stressful, because you have to do all the paperwork yourself and it’s definitely not as stable as in-house work. But it offers me a lot of freedom and flexibility and I really appreciate that!
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣 I am working on a book project called „Novitates Bestiae“ in collaboration with Kevin Walters. It follows a zoologist on the quest to discover the beasts of myths and legends and it’s all about designing mythical creatures as real animals. So it’s a fine balance between realistic and mythical that I have to find with each creature. But it’s fun!
❓What was your most significant learning experience, and how does it help you now?
🗣 My biggest learning experience so far was my three month internship at SIXMOREVODKA in 2018. I was constantly out of my comfort zone and it was basically three months of assignments and daily feedback. That and being constantly surrounded by the amazing artists that work there really pushed me.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣 There are a lot of projects that I’d love to work on, from a story about the exploration of an alien ecosystem to a Jurassic Park story that has that gritty 90s vibe to it. I also really want to get more into 3d creature design.
❓Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
🗣 Recently I started a project by accident, the current title for it is „the land behind the mist“. It began with just a random dragon sketch which I really liked and developed into a detailed coastal dragon design. When I was done with this I decided to design the environment it lives in and the creatures of that ecosystem and it grew into a little story about a British ship in the 1880s that got lost for days in a weird mist only to stumble upon a land that is basically the fae world. That’s the rough idea anyway. I’m still figuring things out, let’s see where it goes!
❓Do you have any passion projects you're working on or plan to start?
🗣 Currently, I have more personal projects than my time allows! I’m still working on „The land behind the mist“ and also a mini bestiary for my home-brew D&D monsters and some redesigns of D&D classics. Besides that I am working on „Novitates Bestiae“, which I mentioned earlier.
❓What are you passionate about and do you have any hobbies besides art?
🗣 I do! I’ve been skateboarding for the past 10 years and it still is a great way to get outside and free my head. I also love cooking because it’s very creative. My current obsession is creating Neapolitan pizza at home, which is amazing.
Being out in nature is very important to me as well, it is the best inspiration for what I do after all. I also love stories, be it books, movies or games. About a year ago I got into D&D as well and now I can’t get enough of it!
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣 Is there alien life somewhere? I’m not talking about intelligent life or alien civilizations, just an undisturbed alien ecosystem, teeming with animals and plants and things I can’t even imagine. That would be neat.