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From Russia with Heart, Soul and Ambition - #MemberSpotlight

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Freelance Illustrator Anna Lyubimova certainly knows what it means to find your own way in a crowded industry. Born and raised in a country where creativity is still somewhat undervalued, Anna found her place as an illustrator with an amazing style, and all thanks to her own determination.

As an artist with disability, technological advancements helped Anna enormously and allowed her to move forward with her projects, even enabling her to win an international prize in the realm of children's books. Anna hasn't abandoned her dream to see the Russian creative industry bloom in the future, and she now still works from there, welcoming clients from all over the world.

For this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Anna and her personal story, as well as being granted a glance into her most beautiful works below.

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How did you get into the industry?

I graduated from the university of arts in Saint-Petersburg, Russia as graphic designer and then looked for my own style and vision for future work. I stopped in the illustration sphere because it is closer to me and began to create my portfolio, filling it with books, kids and commercial illustrations. The first projects were made for myself, only for my portfolio, but then I got my first orders. Now my main goal is to get to an art agency.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

Now I am based in Russia but work as freelancer worldwide.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I’ve never thought about that… Illustration is my whole world, not only work.

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Can you explain your creative process?

I have some kind of a box in my head :) I put there references, inspiration, feelings, what surrounds me and working task. My mind keeps boiling and cooking all this stuff – and after that, you can go sketching!

How would you describe your style?

My style varies a lot now. But the main thing in it is humor, interesting characters and some craziness.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

I am in love with modern illustrators as JooHee Yoon and Lorenzo Mattotti.

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If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?

I love people full of passion as I am! My dream client is a person who knows what he/she wants exactly and also believes in the illustrator without too much pressure.

How has technology affected the way you work?

The big thing for my creative process was the release of iPad and Procreate, this helped me increase my productivity. I am an artist with disability and it solved some of my problems.

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What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I don’t have any secret at all! Sometimes you get burn out and need time to recover, but I am always thinking that above any storm cloud there is the sun. It’s a little bit naive perhaps, but it works.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

I got a prize in the International Illustration and Book Design Competition "Image of the Book" for a non-fiction book about typography for kids​​. I was also the author of the book, so now I am looking for a publisher for this great project!

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How do you recharge away from the office?

I go for walks with my bulldog Bob, it helps to switch off my head and go away from my routine.

What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Keep working and improving your portfolio, don’t give up. We all have our individual vision and will find our own place in industry.

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What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

In Russia we have a lot of problems in the creative industry, but the international market seems to be better. I haven't got all the information about it yet, but I do hope that creativity in Russia will be more valued in the future.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

https://www.bikinilists.com – list with clients and networking.

The Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook – important edition for illustrators, interesting for those in Children's Books.

https://theaoi.com - association of illustrators.

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