Main | Art magazine | Baba Yaga's spooky house and unusual fishing. Fantastic illustrations by Denis Zhbankov, which will especially appeal to today's youth
Baba Yaga's spooky house and unusual fishing. Fantastic illustrations by Denis Zhbankov, which will especially appeal to today's youth

Baba Yaga's spooky house and unusual fishing. Fantastic illustrations by Denis Zhbankov, which will especially appeal to today's youth

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Many young people perceive painting as something completely out of date and hopelessly far from their circle of interests. In this article we will try to convince them that they are mistaken and there are many talented and original artists who paint pictures on the most youthful themes - computer games, horror and sci-fi.

Space flowers

One of them is Denis Zhbankov - an ordinary guy who was born in a small Altai village, but managed to prove himself as a capable 2D-artist, creating fantastic paintings with fairy-tale characters. Except that they differ strikingly from Vasnetsov's wonderful paintings, often much closer to Lovecraft's work, as in the painting ‘Baba Yaga's House’.

Baba Yaga's House

According to Zhbankov's confession, he conceived the idea of combining the image of a hut on chicken legs, familiar to everyone since childhood, with a dark fantasy, and the result is a real demon who wanders through the forest at night and is sure to scare the hell out of hunters who happen to see them. However, he is not unequivocally evil, there is a familiar detail - a dog on the porch, although in this case it does not need to guard anything - few people would dare to approach such a house and get acquainted with its mistress.


Denis himself has loved drawing since childhood and, according to his confession, sincerely admired the paintings of his father's friend, who was a local artist. That's why he decided to enter the art and graphic faculty of the institute in Biysk, but classical painting and drawing did not attract him too much and seemed hopelessly outdated. However, he became seriously interested in bitmap graphics, but he was far from serious mastery in this field, nobody would hire the young artist for a job in his speciality, and he had to work in an ordinary shop - quite a standard path for many aspiring specialists nowadays.


But Denis didn't give up drawing in 2D using Photoshop and other graphic programmes, it was an outlet and an opportunity to express himself in art after a tedious job in a shop, to feel like a creator creating something interesting. After a few years of study, he started working as a freelancer - at first he drew all sorts of adverts for a small amount of money, and then he got a job as an artist in a computer game development company.

An old friend

Perhaps that is why his paintings are so peculiar and resemble illustrations to some fantasy novel.

For example, the painting ‘Old Friend’ shows a touching story of friendship between a fisherman and a water dragon. Perhaps they have been through a lot together and have a lot to tell, but now the fisherman is just catching fish, and the dragon is sitting next to him, waiting for a treat. And these images, unlike many of Zhbankov's characters, are kind and sympathetic, and the picture is created in a lighter colour scheme, without excessive gloom.

Forest Cat

There were other works on the theme of a kind monster-deity, such as ‘Forest Cat’. According to the artist, he is a spirit protecting nature and villagers, but for all his power he resembles a naive, good-natured and curious kitten - not a bad art for a computer game.


In Zhbankov's opinion, the future is in the game industry, now there is money rolling in, which back in 2003 was more than in the whole world cinema and a lot of really talented artists, designers and scriptwriters are working there. Now the artist has worked with respected studios in the game industry, such as Paizo - authors of Pathfinder and Starfinder and Paradox Interactive, creator of the cult global strategy Crusader Kings 3. Zhbankov is very happy with his life, he has managed to go from an ordinary salesman to a famous graphic artist, which only a few people manage to do.

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