Spreading the Love, One Design at a Time
Inside the Exuberant, Joyful World of Fil Dunsky
He starts with a germ of an idea. Does a quick pencil sketch. Transfers his sketch to Photoshop and fleshes out the details there, sometimes building up to 500 to 800 layers. This 1–2–3 process, however, totally belies the fantastical complexity of freelance illustrator Fil Dunsky’s magical characters.
“My wife says I’m always drawing myself,” laughs Dunsky, who hails from Russia and has been designing from the age of 12. Maybe she’s onto something, because he admits that he definitely expresses himself through his characters.
“This is how I feel inside — dancing, laughing, smiling, enjoying life. My life is just like my works — bright, colorful, strange, whimsical, not like a straight line. It is happy, joyful and meaningful.”
It is just this hallmark of playful exuberance for which he’s known and sought after. “This is what my clients want from me usually,” he says. They may request that he include a detail or two that reflects their particular brand or idea, but he says: “People are ordering my illustrations because of my style, and they know what they will get.”
Dunsky credits yoga, which he began about eight years ago, with not only helping him to find the joyfulness he expresses through his work but also aiding him in overcoming drug, alcohol and smoking addictions:
“Yoga brings balance and harmony to our inner and outer lives. In this state everything is blossoming. All your good qualities and abilities. If you are in love then you will work in love and express this in your illustrations, you will relate to other people from your love, you will walk on the streets in love… everything will blossom that way.”
Get to Know Yourself
It is no surprise, then, that Dunsky’s advice for newbie illustrators is to spend some time going on an internal journey before they focus on their practice.
“Learn more about yourself. What you like and what you don’t like. Learn what your strengths are and how you can improve them. Understand what the purpose of your life is.”
This quest, he says, will help you understand what you have to express and how you can share it with others. Once you’re clear about this, then just sit with a relaxed mind and let things flow through you.
Dunsky feels so strongly about the power of yoga to aid inner reflection that, alongside his beloved illustrating, he also practices as an Art of Living Yoga instructor in Russia and across the globe.
“If you do proper yoga for just 30–60 minutes a day, you can feel lots of love and peace from inside and outside of the world, and this state of mind will affect everything in your life. That’s the message I want my work to spread.”