Introducing Olga Protasova

Graphic Designer Olga Protasova has a truly talented knack for transforming lifeless blobs of plasticine into amazingly detailed and imaginative creations. Carefully constructing layers of colour and intertwining texture, she produces exciting, multi-dimensional pieces of art, from a basic material.

Bringing her unique ideas to life, Olga is able to communicate her intricate designs directly through the plasticine, the end result being a photograph of the finished 3D model. The final stage allows the viewer to step back and appreciate the time, patience and skill required to make these brilliant depth-filled visuals.
We had a chance to chat with Olga about the process behind her designs and inspirations: 

How did you get start using plasticine, was it a material you were always interested in?
Actually — no! I never thought about it since childhood. I was an ordinary graphic designer — you know, logotypes-books-websites kind of designer. And then my children were born. Working on a computer is pretty hard (if not to say impossible) when you have small kids. When my older daughter was 5 years old, I started to experiment with our playing materials, and immediately had feedback — very good feedback from my colleagues. And after 3 years there is still huge, enormous field for experiments with form, colour and texture. This material makes me truly happy and I really can spend lots of time with my family too!

Can you describe your design process, do you start from sketches etc?
Usually it starts with idea, pretty clear and detailed picture in my head. Sketch follows — to be sure about size and position, and to show the idea to the client. Then I choose the best idea together with the client and after sketch approval I start to make elements for future composition. It can take lots of time, up to a month for very complicated projects.

Then it’s time to put it all together and see what happens next. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes not so — if I’m not 100% satisfied I’ll never show work to a client. Sometimes it’s useful to show work in progress to friends and ask, is it readable? Then I make a final photo with 10 or 20 variants of lighting. After choosing the best shot — I become an ordinary computer designer again! Retouching, moving elements, correcting colours and if there are some client comments, I can make changes.

I do lots of personal works all the time, but I really like to work on demand as a designer/illustrator. I can see how my work helps make people’s life a little bit brighter.

How long does each scene take to make and do you have a lot of attempts to make it perfect?

When an idea is super clear it could be extremely fast — like 2 or 5 hours. But yes, sometimes it could take several months. I take as many attempts as required by my inner critic — he is really tough.

What is the hardest thing to try and make with plasticine?
Hm, interesting question. When I have such question, I go and try something hard! Maybe, really small things? Or really huge things? Smooth things? Elements with pattern on them? My everyday work is full of discoveries and that’s why I Love it.

What projects are you working on next?

I’m seriously thinking about making something really useful — like a 3D picture book for blind kids. It’s an extremely complicated task, but we all have to try to reach the impossible, right?

We were thrilled to be able to work with Olga on a range of 3 greetings cards - Mother’s Day, New Baby and Happy Birthday. You can view the collection here.

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