Few people in the industry are as positive and forthcoming as Alexander Mikhaylov, a talented illustrator currently based in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Alexander lives life at face value and his unique personality spreads positivity from every word of the interview below. Alexander clearly loves being a designer, he clearly loves the industry and he would not change his job for anything in the world. His creative output, of course, is a clear testimony to that love for anything creative.
For this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Alexander and everything he loves about his beautiful job.
How did you get into the industry?
I started drawing for the city newspaper when I was still in secondary school. Then came the occasional commissions, which led me, on recommendation, eventually to one of the best local advertising agencies. Working there taught me more than the institute where I studied my profession could ever teach me. That moment when you, still a beginner, are thrown headlong into the bustling process is incomparable!
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I currently live in Vilnius, Lithuania. I worked for a long time here for an illustration agency specialising in postage stamps. But now, besides working there, I do custom illustrations and designs for regular and new clients.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
Apart from being an illustrator and designer, I've been immersed in painting for the last couple of years. I haven't painted in years, but now that I'm back at it again, I realise it's a passion I can't turn away from. I am also interested in making something with my hands out of wood or other materials.
Can you explain your creative process?
There are two parts to the process. First, I need to catch the inspiration. But this is not something you can think about. Many imagine the creator staring at the ceiling for days on end, taking a walk or a drink, after all. Ahhahaha! But for me, it's first and foremost about observation. I look a lot on the Internet: Pinterest, Behans, Instagram, other sites. I look at examples of work in the right direction, looking for an idea that I can get behind . Then, unnoticed by me, it all goes into the second stage, when I start sketching and then create a finished product.
How would you describe your style?
Hahaha! That's the hardest question for me to answer. I can't say I have any particular style, but people say I do. It's hard for me to talk about it, but working in advertising has influenced me a lot. I have had to work in a lot of styles. This also puts an imprint on my own projects. There are pluses and minuses to this. But now I have to live with it :)
Do you have any heroes in the industry?
In fact, there are many such people. There are so many talented people around! To put it in a nutshell, they are the exact opposite.
Florian Baudrexel - it is form, it is space and it is volume
Felipe Pantone – Art and Design!
Timo Kuilder – I love his style
Otto Schmidt –really fantastic human bodies
Cleon Peterson – idea and realisation
If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?
Not me hahaha!
How has technology affected the way you work?
Wacom opened the door to the world of digital art for me many years ago. It turned my life upside down! It's not an advertisement, though)
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Remember to study, watch and read. Don't forget that nowadays even a child can be cooler than you in a profession. Be on-trend!
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
I am proud of the projects I have done in conjunction with other professionals. The opportunity to work together and work cohesively is a gift!
How do you recharge away from the office?
Being outdoors and just walking is just what the doctor ordered! :)
What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Take on any job you can. If you don't know how to do something, that's not a problem! Only practice will teach you!
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
That question is not in front of me. Life is beautiful!
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Everything you love. You can get something useful from any book or source. And look around!