Bubblegum and Sadness: The Art of Diana Novich
Diana Novich is an American-born Russian artist who describes herself as a part-time freelance digital illustrator and a full-time pop culture enthusiast. Known online as Holepsi, she lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she uses Adobe Photoshop CC to construct haunting worlds full of melancholy figures and unexpected streaks of bright color. She developed a masterful command of digital tools free from conventional training—other than a handful of painting classes at the local community center, Novich is self-taught.
Her favorite part of her creative process is the research stage. Searching the “absolute chaos of images” on the web for visual information, the perfect pose, or an appealing color scheme “is like a fun game,” she says. Her least favorite? The initial sketching process, which she finds boring and routine. Novich soldiers through the basic shapes, and then she blocks them in with flat colors, on a separate layer, to get a foundation for the drawing to come.
Once she has the structure down, the drawing goes its own way from there. She describes each piece as “purely situational,” and she says that she prefers to experiment with different techniques each time, depending on what each drawing needs. This reactive process helps her stay engaged, and exploring each piece as it takes shape is what keeps her motivated.
BE YOUR OWN HERO
In the future, Novich says she wants to improve both as an artist and a person. Her drive to learn and grow comes more from within than from any external force. She cites being raised as a “be your own hero” type of person as the reason she she doesn’t have any one creative icon to emulate. She enjoys the work of Mucha, Klimt, Rockwell, and Leyendecker (as well as a number of modern artists), but she believes that it’s useful to find beauty in a variety of different sources. “It helps developing a wider and richer worldview to base your work upon.”
Her advice for emerging artists is to be unafraid of failure, but afraid of complacency. Going off the road and embracing new challenges made her more flexible as an artist and helped her skills grow. She recommends building a social media presence to connect with community for feedback, support, and encouragement. When engaging with that community, she says to “take every piece of advice you get with a pinch of salt—someone's experiences might not fit your situation and that’s fine. In the end, do what works best for you and try to enjoy the process.”