Developer Interview Series: Lesia Khvorostina

In this interview, we speak with Lesia Khvorostina, a 2D Artist based in Ukraine. She started working for Boomzap in July 2012 so she is about to celebrate her 1st year Anniversary as a ‘Zapper!

What did you study in your University and have you always planned to work in the video games industry?

While I was in the university,  I studied Biology and planned to be a Microbiologist. I didn’t plan on doing Design as a career. However, when I got my first computer in 1995, all my plans changed. I completed my degree in Biology but after graduation, I decided to learn about various design programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. I was lucky and landed my first job in a game development company and I have never left the industry since then.
Can you tell us a bit about the video games industry in Ukraine?  Is there a big games development community there?

Yes, there is a very big games development community here in Ukraine. We have plenty of small outsourcing companies and game development departments of bigger companies such Crytek, Ubisoft,, 4A Games  etc.  Also some of big casual games development studios – ERS,  Blam are here in Ukraine. There are quite a lot of jobs for your artists to get experience in games development but the competition is quite fierce too.

Boomzap artists are primarily in Southeast Asia – do you feel that the sense of art in places like Malaysia or the Philippines is different from that of a Russia and the Ukraine?

For me, the level of an artist does not depend on where they are or what place they were born and raised. What is much more important is their talent and experience. While it’s true that we have very strong art schools, maybe even some of the best in the world, in Kyiv and Saint-Petersburg, and the level of artists here is very high, we usually work in ‘classical’ style. This is sometimes a hindrance since the rest of the world is using a more ‘modern’ style. So this is when I appreciate working and learning from my colleagues based in Southeast Asia because I am learning a different style of art.

How is it working with so many people in so many different cultures? What has the experience taught you?

Due to globalization, we actually have many things in common things and the truth is that I don’t feel any major cultural differences between me and my colleagues. It is almost as if we are border-less and we usually share the same sense of humor about national traditional food that we can all laugh about.

Are there any particular games or artists that inspire you?
Yes, they are, Super Mario and Leonardo da Vinci. 🙂
I have also found music as one of the best methods for pulling me straight into a creative mode.

What are your favorite Boomzap games that you’ve worked on and why?
I don’t have any favorite projects but I do have a favorite part of the development process. I really like the stage in the development where I can apply color and finalize the art. I am also involved in some of the new Boomzap games so it’s very interesting to be a part of that process. I hope you’ll all play them soon.

What advice do you have for people who want to work in games as an artist? What have you learned from your experiences when you were applying for game industry jobs?

Try to work in different styles, find out what style fits you and move on!  Don’t forget to ask people around you what they think about your art work and try to learn something new from the opinions you receive.

If you want to get a job as an artist – try to make good portfolio. If you have interesting works of art, you can get job even without experience in game development industry.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not creating art for Boomzap?

I prefer to spend time with my family. We are a bunch of very active people who like to go cycling in the Summer and go snow boarding in winter.  I also can’t imagine my life without travelling.

You recently went on a vacation touring several countries in Asia – can you tell us what was your favorite spot and why?

I ❤ Asia. I have been in many countries in that region and I still plan to visit so many more in the future. I don’t really have any special favorite spots but there are a lot of places where I have fond memories and I felt very comfortable – mainly in Japan and Hong Kong.

During this last trip, we went to Singapore and Malaysia. It was awesome and I was very glad to meet my colleagues who are based there.