We’re frequently inspired and amazed by the content that finds its way to the Community Creations
page. It’s no secret that we love our community artists. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on DrAssenov
, who’s been making Destiny art since we took our first steps in the Vault of Glass.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and when you started drawing up Destiny creations.
DrAssenov: As a child, I spent hours drawing comics and cartoons of my favorite characters because they felt so real to me. I continued this hobby throughout my educational years, always knowing I wanted to create something of my own, driven by the hunger to remember others and be remembered after I'm gone. After a career in medicine as a physician, I decided to continue pursuing this childhood dream and began studying art more seriously.
I started drawing Destiny fan art when my Halo friends on Xbox 360 switched over to Destiny when it launched. The way the Hunters looked and moved just resonated with me, so they instantly became a favorite subject for me to draw. Most of my inspiration comes from my gaming buddies because they are the some of the funniest people I know, and I love them and hope they live forever! My first big Destiny fan art, "Attack on Destiny," was drawn after we ran Vault of Glass, and it was actually published in UK PlayStation's magazine! That gave me the positive feedback I needed to keep having fun attempting to draw the complicated and sophisticated weapon and armor sets in Destiny.
Q: What’s your normal process for art pieces? Paper napkin concept to final.
DrAssenov: First, I spend a few hours mulling over the poses and overall composition in my head while looking for references around me or online. I sometimes pose in the mirror or use my Body-Kun poseable dolls and take photos of them for ideas. I then attempt to sketch it in Photoshop, and realize that it looks absolutely terrible, haha! I then tell myself, "This is fine." I keep pressing on and get past the bad sketches until I find something that works for me. Once I have the anatomy down, I can move full speed ahead from sketch stage to blocking out parts, and then finally coloring and detailing. I still find plenty of mistakes along the way. The more time I spend the more I can fix everything. Colored line art pieces can take anywhere from 10–40 hours each, but full-on painted pieces can take much longer.
People have often asked, "How can you work on something for so long? I can't seem to find the patience!" The thing is, I don't think I'm a very patient person—I just get addicted to the process itself. You just do it, because if you don't, it will never exist. The creation coming to life in front of you ends up completely devouring you. That delicious color palette for your composition harmonizes and you want to taste more of it. You go a little bit crazy but you put on your favorite song and blast it for 10+ hours straight until you feel time stop and then you hit the zone. Everything makes sense and its coming together. Then you keep going after that, and you realize you haven't slept in a while and should probably take a break to eat or something. Repeat this a few times, and that's how I get it done. After it’s finished, it feels so cathartic, and I am energized to do better next time!
Q: Any ideas on what your next project will be?
DrAssenov: I'm currently working on a really silly but smaller piece for my Destiny 2 clanmates on Xbox One. It features clanmates who participated in our "Everyone vs. Tetsu101" PvP tournament. Half of us spectated and were dancing off to the side while the other half scrambled over each other for kills. The top score for "number of Tetsu101 kills" was our friend Commander Nova, who was eating spicy ramen for the first five minutes of the match. This has resulted in the ramen being a very prominent part of the fan art, haha!
As far as personal projects go—offline, I am currently working on doing research, concept art, and writing for a hard science fiction game I want to create with my husband one day! We absolutely love studying space exploration and colonization, which is one of the reasons why I was drawn to the games you all have created. I really hope to capture how beautiful and how terrifying humanity can be in my projects one day. Until then, I'll be pushing myself to get better and do more studies!
Q: Since the release of Forsaken, what’s been your go-to activity?
DrAssenov: My favorite activities in Forsaken are Last Wish and the Shattered Throne dungeon. Popping that tether on a big mob of Taken and creating a ton of Orbs at once is so satisfying. My friends and I actually fight over who gets to make all the Orbs sometimes. You all really did a fantastic job with this expansion—when I first found the Dreaming City, I actually had to fight back tears because I didn't want to cry in front of my friends. Everything about that city just screamed at me—the lush vegetation, the ingeniously crafted color palettes, the fog over the shiny, wet stones on the shores, all the towering sapphire geodes, and the rainbows! It's incredibly romantic and adventurous all at once and it made my brain explode! I love every part of that city and have found myself wandering around for hours looking for references. The way the artists have captured the mood with their lighting and design is astounding.
Q: What subclass are you rocking these days? Any change with the new abilities?
DrAssenov: I mostly run Nightstalker purely for crowd control and Orb-making support in PvE. In PvP, I like to run Spectral Blades because I am not very good at reading enemy movements. The extra time I get sneaking around really helps me decide if I am going to win an encounter or not. Purple Hunter is even more fun this season with the new Reef shaders! I've tried Blade Barrage, but I think I have poor decision making because I tend to be that annoying person who panics and uses an entire Super on just one target in Crucible. Maybe it's because my friends are way too good at Crucible and end up taking out most of the enemy team before I show up, haha. I've seen so many people rockin' it with multikills, so it makes me want to get that good one day.
Q: How about weapons? We see you’re a fan of Quickfang.
DrAssenov: Running Quickfang in Crucible and against the Hive is still pretty fun, but there's a new contender in town. This season, a fully Masterworked IKELOS shotgun dropped for me, and it is my absolute favorite Legendary weapon. I was never much of a shotgun user, and I still don't use them in PvP, but it caters to my love of creating Orbs for friends in PvE. It's effective at melting big mobs and makes me feel like an action hero.
Q: Any shoutouts before we go?
DrAssenov: I'd like to give the biggest shoutout ever for my husband, Randy, my incredible best friend for whom I would give my everything. To my dear brothers from other mothers who have known me since the beginning of my online gaming experience: Tetsu101, Cambo, Mario, Trolling Turnip, Ratmore, and Liam. We all started on Xbox 360 together almost a decade ago and are still together through Destiny 2. To you amazing people in our clan—The Lone Star—I want you to know that I really appreciate you guys, and I'm happy to have so much fun with you! I'd also like to show my love to my closest artist friends, Clinton Felker, Faysal Mekki, Steph Hoang, Matt Oishi, Dulcamarra, Stephen Boe, Spookgeist, and more! It brings me joy seeing their art because they literally make the world a better place with their light. Also to my favorite Destiny streamers—Teawrex and JOverrated—you are such positive and skilled people, and we're blessed to have you in our community. Everyone should look them up and follow them—they will show you a good time!
It’s always a pleasure to know what goes on behind the scenes and what guides artists during their creative process. If you have any suggestions for a future Community Focus, let us know on the #Community forum