Ivan wasn’t a popular kid, and even when he gained some level of acceptance later in life, he still felt different and isolated. Uncomfortable with social interaction, he used his highly active and vivid imagination to create his own worlds and friends.
The fantasies became so real that he would sometimes get lost in them (and still does to this day). In fact, they became so real that they became visible in this world; at first just to Ivan, but eventually to those around him. This frightened them, and they shunned him further. But eventually he learned to master the skill, and now he even uses it to aid his attempts at social interaction and charm… or to protect himself and punish those who would do him harm.
Ivan still feels most comfortable with his own creations, but the appreciation others have recently shown for his skills in this dark new world has inspired him to use his powers to help them and possibly even gain further acceptance, at least until His Holiness can be brought down.