This Artist Creates Fantastic Worlds Out of Photographs with his Creative Power “It’s not that I chose this style, this style chose me after years of practice.” - Benjamin Cehelsky “WELCOME TO MY WORLD” – these are the words with which Czech game artist Benjamin Cehelsky greets visitors on his Instagram page. Indeed, taking a closer look at Benjamin’s work is like entering a new world, which is down to the fact that he uses real images to create something entirely new – full of fantasy, energy and inspiration. Using PaintTool SAI and Adobe Photoshop, Benjamin turns pretty shots of sunsets, city buildings and natural environments into powerful and epic scenery. Inserting fantastic characters such as dragons and fairies and applying his signature glow has become a passion and profession that differentiates him from other artists. We entered Benjamin’s magical world to speak to him about his inspirations and workflow – and we unveiled his favourite fantasy character. THE PLUS: You are a game artist. Can you explain to those who don’t know it what exactly this means? Benjamin Cehelsky: You can compare it to something like a concept artist. I make illustrations for games, but not only pc games. I also do work for board games, card games or similar things. TP: How did you come up with the idea of redesigning images and making something new of them? BC: One day I was sitting on a balcony and I saw cloud in the shape of Godzilla. I started repainting the photo I took of it, and I loved it. Luckily, so did the other people who saw it! I tried it again and again and I found I was really enjoying it. So, I keep doing it because I always imagine those pictures in my head. This way, I finally found something than enables me to show people how I see our world. TP: Tell us about your creative process: How do you put yourself into the right mood to be creative? BC: For the repaints, the first thing is looking for the right and inspiring photos. I either find some or I take them by myself. After that I put on some inspiring music, like movie soundtracks or epic fantasy music. When the music starts I look at the photo, and my head starts filling up with ideas. I always try imagining the photo in an epic scene. Basically, it’s the same thing I do with my normal works, just then it’s without the photo! TP: Do you become emotional while working? How do you feel? BC: Yes I do become emotional sometimes. This happens when I paint stories from our real life. I try to put all of these emotions into the art. Mostly, these pictures turn out to be sad. Still, they are full of colours, because I think there is always hope. TP: Where do you draw your inspiration for the characters and atmospheres you create? BC: I draw them from our world, watching things like a sunrise, the stars and cloud formations, or by listening to the sounds of nature, people and music. Also, art from other talented artists inspires me. TP: What do you like about magical, surreal and fantasy worlds? BC: I like the fact that anything is possible in fantastic worlds – just anything! Like in our dreams. TP: One of your signature styles is this ‘glow’ you create in images. Why do you think your audience loves this? BC: I think it is quite popular because colourful, glowing pictures are amazing and full of joy. Also, I think this differentiates me from other artists. There are many artists all over the place, but only few use really lively and strong colourways. It’s not that I chose this style, this style chose me after years of practice. I prefer it over dark and monochrome scenarios, and people appreciate it. TP: You have a large following and a lot of interaction on social media. Which influence has this had on your work? BC: These people are like friends to me, they are really important for me. It’s a really nice feeling to make art for someone to enjoy it. Their comments always make my day. All those people watching me work give me the passion to paint literally every day! TP: What is your favourite character from the world of fantasy and gaming – and why? BC: I would definitely say Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter. He is just a perfect character in every way – so wise and powerful.