“Hand Drawing Isn’t Just Relaxing; It’s a Skill Booster” — Maryna Halchevska, an Artist (2D) at Innovecs

February 5, 2024 8 min read

My name is Nataliia Horova, and I continue to share the inspiring stories of our teammates. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Maryna Halchevska, an Artist (2D) at Innovecs.

This fall, Maryna celebrated a milestone — 6 years at Innovecs. I invited Maryna for a talk to discover how her world and work at Innovecs changed during this time.


Drawing sketches

While studying interior design at university, I entered the captivating world of computer graphics. This discovery was a turning point for me. I was fascinated by the high-quality rendering capabilities and soon found myself lost in Photoshop, experimenting with various brushes. Whole days would slip by as I sat glued to my computer (laughing).

In those days, information on computer graphics wasn’t as available as it is now. Alongside my university courses, I delved into self-learning, absorbing everything I could about drawing, painting, graphic design, and computer graphics. I even took 3D Max courses.

I started learning with text tutorials, gradually moving to video tutorials as they became available. After graduating, I entered the professional world of web design right at the peak of the popularity of Skeuomorphism, with its complex detailing and textures.


Celebrating 6 years with Innovecs

This autumn, I celebrated a significant milestone: 6 years at Innovecs. Through this journey, much has evolved, yet some things remain constant: a fantastic team and an unwavering desire to grow, learn, and provide clear, constructive feedback.

I started my art journey with just four of us on the team. It’s been quite a ride since then, with our group growing so much that I’ve lost count! As our team expanded, I stepped up to become a Lead artist of one of the projects.

"Back in those early days, I learned a lot from my original Team Lead. Our company has an established system for sharing experiences, and as a Lead artist, I now have the responsibility of teaching newcomers. It's a vital part of my role, allowing me to see their growth and contributions firsthand as I guide them through each detail. My feedback approach is structured and supportive, involving reviewing work, highlighting mistakes, explaining them, and providing advice. I offer detailed discussions for those needing extra help,"

When Oleksii Isaiev joined Innovecs, things really took off. He’s now a VP of Delivery at Innovecs Games, and under his guidance, we got new projects and clients. One of my favorite times was working on showreels for our stand at the SBC Summit in Barcelona.

However, amid this rapid growth and exciting projects, finding the right time for courses has been challenging. Immersing fully in these courses is essential, and stepping away from work for three months isn’t always practical. Many prefer a sabbatical to pursue six-month courses. Our company offers this opportunity, too, but I still need to delve into it. Instead, my learning has been hands-on through diverse new projects that have introduced me to various styles. Within our team, we continuously expand our knowledge and skills, adapting and growing with each project.


Platforms for inspiration

My fascination with the Disney style is deeply rooted, especially in the works of their renowned animator, Aaron Blaise. His experience, showcased in classics like “The Lion King” and “Mulan,” is vast and generously shared. I was thrilled by the opportunity to access his courses, finding immense value in his Photoshop and photorealistic rendering techniques. His resources on character anatomy have been instrumental in my learning.

In the digital age, websites like ArtStation are key for artists to find inspiration. I use it to see different styles and learn from various artists. 

Behance, too, has been a cornerstone of my artistic journey. I have my portfolio there and follow many talented artists. I also connected with them on Instagram to get inspiration daily and follow their work. I enjoy the diverse art styles, from European to Japanese. Every online platform offers new opportunities for creativity and learning.


My day-to-day work routine

Most days, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s on my plate; if not, our morning team meeting clarifies them. We usually discuss what we did yesterday, plan today, and solve any problems. This keeps my work on track.

After the meeting, I start my main tasks. Upon having lunch, I check on my project progress and make adjustments, if necessary, depending on the project stage. At the end of the day, I review our overall progress.

Currently, we don’t have any newbies on the project, so I have more flexibility. On other projects where I’m more in the artist role, I reach out to our Team Lead for feedback or help whenever I hit a bump. It’s pretty informal – I just get in touch whenever I need guidance.


How to avoid burnout

I’m unsure if “burnout” is the right word, but I felt something like it during the full-scale war and our forced move. It’s got all the signs of burnout but feels more like a mild depression, which, honestly, a lot of us Ukrainians are going through. This whole situation has touched every part of my life, including work.

Luckily, work’s been steady, even picking up, and our team’s grown through the war. We’re pulling off some solid results. Keeping up with our mental and physical health is key – they’re so linked. I’ve gotten into morning exercises, breathing routines, and bodywork courses to prevent burnout. I’ve been following the Smirnov family’s methods, too – he’s a yoga champ, and she’s a psychologist and coach. Last year, I even purchased their courses. Breathing techniques like square breathing help me keep my emotions in check, and I work better when I’m more relaxed.

"We've been exploring Romania, hitting the mountains or the beach to keep our spirits up. Getting new experiences is crucial for anyone, especially for an artist. I always find that after a break, I come back with inspiration. Even short vacations do wonders. It's so important to enrich yourself with these experiences and look after your body, even if it's just 15 minutes in the morning and evening, especially with a desk job,"

Team spirit matters a lot, too. When a teammate gets down on their skills, saying stuff like, “Oh, I can’t draw at all,” I make it a point to cheer them up. Maintaining communication and supporting each other is crucial, and I watch out for how the team is doing.


Hand drawing isn’t just relaxing; it’s a skill booster

There’s always a little time for creativity, even on crazy days. I try to fit in a quick 15-30 minute sketch. But honestly, after a long day at work, sometimes the last thing I want is to draw more. I’d rather step away from the screen, maybe do some sports or go rollerblading to clear my head and recharge.

I used to do live drawing sessions in the evenings, focusing on portraits and sketches. It’s a great way to brush up on art. I did take an artistic anatomy course back in university, but you know how it is; you forget stuff over time.

Switching to hand drawing after a day’s work is like a mini-vacation from the screen and tablet. Sometimes, I dabble in watercolors. Working with physical materials is just so refreshing and energizing. I’ve even tried clay sculpting – it’s pretty therapeutic. The Japanese artists, with their incredible masterpieces, are a huge inspiration. I firmly believe that a solid foundation in drawing, painting, and hands-on experience is crucial to excel as an artist. If you’re good with forms in the real world, they translate beautifully to paper or a tablet. Hand drawing isn’t just relaxing; it’s a skill booster.


Advice for the beginners

For new artists, it’s all about finding your path and the artists that inspire you. It’s crucial to figure out where you want to use your skills, like in gaming with its many genres. A good start is to explore platforms like Behance or ArtStation, pick artists that resonate with you, and try their free lessons. This can be a solid learning base for a few years.

I accessed all of Mitch Leeuwe’s materials, a famous artist with 1.5 million followers. He works in a similar to Disney style, covering artistic anatomy, character drawing, animals, monsters, environmental work, and tips for concept creation. I’m not a beginner, but his lessons were still a great find for me.

Then there’s Aaron Blaise, loaded with resources but a bit tougher to grasp. Mitch’s materials are super user-friendly and organized, perfect for starters. Even if you’re not into Disney-like style, there’s much to learn from him.


It’s about picking a style, finding artists in that style, and diving into their courses. I’m not huge on formal schools; connecting directly with artists is better. Often, you’ll find they’re the brains behind a school anyway. It’s simpler and more direct to just reach out to them.


Creative people have always inspired me. After my conversation with Maryna, I found myself drawn to ArtStation, scrolling through the works of various artists. Their unique styles and perspectives opened up a world of inspiration. I even followed some of them on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more captivating stories.

Nataliia Horova
PR & Communications Manager
Don't See Your Dream Job?