1. What's your story? Where are you from?Hi world! My name is Olga and I’m a full-time freelance illustrator from Russia. I was born in a nice small city in the Moscow region and I’m based here up to now. I think my art story had the beginning of my childhood. I’ve been always passionate about wasting tons of paper with gouache when I was a child. Unfortunately during my school and university life, I’ve almost forgotten about drawing. I realized once that after years of doubts and searching for the new purpose in life I should try to turn on my forgotten passion. From this moment my favourite hobby became my profession. I am sure it was the most valuable and important decision I’ve ever made in my life.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.It’s so hard to say because my style changes and improves constantly. I think it’s some kind of weird mix of different things: intricate and simple, dark and bright, serious and naive, realistic and cartoonish. Maybe with a little drop of surrealism. The inseparable connection between nature and human, fairy themes, strange plants and flowers, vintage food – all these things inspire me so much.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?Watercolour and digital, digital and watercolour. At the beginning of my career, I worked with watercolour mostly. I’m still in love with this traditional medium, but my preferred one is a digital at the moment. I use Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. I come back to watercolour from time to time, but digital tools give me more freedom and so many advantages. You can experiment a lot, modify illustrations easily, play with colours or use scale and work with tiny details.
4. What is your artistic process like?Every illustration starts with a long thought and a tiny blobby thumbnail. At this stage, I try to find the most attractive composition and an idea in the whole. On the next stage, this thumbnail transforms into an ugly rough full-size pencil sketch. Then I scan a pencil sketch (or transfer it on a watercolour paper with a light pad) and finalize it with Photoshop or with paint. I always use a lot of paper textures, watercolour and pencil brushes even if I work digitally. I suppose it sounds a little bit silly, but I don’t want my digital illustrations to look too digital :)
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?Nature, music, fantasy books, dozens of famous or little-known absolutely amazing and extremely talented artists and their success. I am a big fan of the modern illustration industry as a whole. It gives so many opportunities these days!
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?I think being an artist is not about a profession, it is about a lifestyle as a whole. Wherever I am, whatever I do – I can’t stop thinking about illustration. I can’t say art plays a huge role in my life because ART IS LIFE.
7. Where did you study?I have no professional art education. My inner critic is my best teacher, I try to keep my eyes open, be curious, look around and practice a lot. I think as an artist you should never stop learning and improve your skills. That’s very important. Officially I’ve graduated from The State University of Management in 2015. I have an education in the advertising sphere. Well… As I am not the most famous artist in the world at the moment, we can make a conclusion that I am extremely bad at advertising.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?I am a happy human being, I love my job and my daily routine so much. I just want to keep this wonderful feeling and be better from day-to-day, from year to year. The best scenario for me is working on a lot of interesting and huge projects, interacting with wonderful people and having enough spare time for personal projects and self-development.
9. What about in ten?I think I am still there. Sitting in a cozy studio, having a lot of exciting projects and enjoy life.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?To be honest, I have no specific mission, I draw because I can’t live without it. Art is my inner need. I think a lot of artists are selfish but don’t admit this fact. In spite of that maybe art makes this cruel and grey world a little bit better in some way. I am happy to be a part of this wonderful community, inspire and be inspired by other artists.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?Oh, I love food! I am a healthy lifestyle maniac a little bit, that’s why I like simple, natural, tasty and healthy food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, morning porridge with nuts and berries. However, I have a weakness. My husband cooks incredible Italian dishes. So… I will never give up homemade pasta with a glass of red wine.
12. Favourite book?I can’t name only one book. I like different genres of books from the fantasy (which is my favourite) to self-improvement.
13. Favourite genre of music?I can’t draw without music. My choice depends on my current mood so much. I’m a big fan of folk, ambient/dark folk, Nordic folk, medieval and world music. Sometimes I really enjoy classic rock, heavy metal, alternative rock, post-rock. I like to listen to different soundtracks from video games and movies while I’m painting as well. I think I can listen to Witcher 3 soundtracks all day long.
14. What are your hobbies?I’ve realized there are so many of them! My hobbies help me to have a break from drawing and «be recharged» a little bit during a workday. The first one is music. I love to play the Irish bouzouki and the acoustic guitar. The second one is sport. I enjoy going to the gym so much, I don’t really know why it happens but I generate so many ideas during my workouts. Also, I like to travel, cook tasty and healthy food, walk with my dog, listen to music, watch films and serials.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?An extremely unhappy person... Okay, seriously, I think I would work at my previous job as a 2D animator in a mobile development studio. It’s been a very interesting job by the way. But nothing can be better for me than illustration at the moment.