Meet Leonid Kozienko, a largely self-taught Russian artist whose work has been used in several Star Wars-related products (and other things!), including Fantasy Flight Games’ new role-playing game Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.
Tell me a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? Where do you live? How old are you?
Currently I’m 34 living & working in Irkutsk, Russia.
How did you get started in art? Was it a preoccupation from a young age? Did you ever think you’d get to do it for a living?
Like many children I started drawing pretty much early at the age of 2 or 3. I didn’t consider drawing as a career though it was more like a fulltime hobby that leads me into commercial field.
Did you receive any formal training at an art school or anything like that?
Besides the art school I took in my teens I’m mostly self-taught.
What were some of your most favorite things to draw as a kid? What about now?
Sailing ships. I drew a lot of them. Everything from galleons to battle ships. Surprisingly I don’t paint them in these days.
Tell me a little bit about the tools you use. What is your process like, artistically speaking?
I use a standard tool set that every digital artist is familiar with: Adobe Photoshop and Wacom tablet.
Every work starts from an idea or feeling. Sometimes it’s clear and sometimes it’s not. From artistic standpoint you spend your time chasing that vision or idea. On a technical side you’re doing sketches searching for the right composition, lighting, mood and color. When you nail it down you entering the laborous stage of painting and repainting things until you’re done.
I love the stuff you did for Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. How did you get involved with that project? Are you a big Star Wars fan?
Thanks! Well I’ve been doing some stuff for FFG (Fantasy Flight Games) already, so when Edge of the Empire appeared my AD just asked if I’m interested to paint some cards. I saw Star Wars in the early 90’s (it came a decade late into Russia) while I was in middle school and it was an amazing experience and huge creative influence.
Do you think that there are certain things that are important to remember when you’re creating Star Wars-themed artwork?
If you’re doing fan art I guess you can do pretty much everything you’d like creatively speaking. But if you’re working under licensed product (TCG, book, videogame etc.) you’ve to pay attention to details/rules and be familiar with the universe. In the case of Star Wars, express your passion, your love. That’s the most important thing.
Are you more of a Rebellion or Empire kind of guy? Is one more fun to depict than the other?
Well from a movie going experience I remember I was sympathizing with the Rebellion. However years later I was playing a computer game called TIE Fighter shooting rebels across the galaxy… so I guess I like both sides.
What are some of the other projects you’ve been involved with?
Besides FFG products I was involved into Star Wars related project for PS3 and Xbox360 game consoles.
Are you available for private commissions? Where can people find you?
I work for corporate clients mainly, but sometimes I do private commissions.
If you’re interested you can find me at
…or just Google for ‘agnidevi’