Inspiration

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Pastels & Styluses: Making the move from paper to digital art - #MemberSpotlight

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Even the most affectionate and traditionalists will admit that technology has made things a bit easier for all of us. What you could only do in days (if not weeks) has now been reduced to mere hours of work, with just the same amount of precision and efficiency. If not more.

Freelance illustrator Elena Zlokazova was reluctant to move to digital. A fierce and proud lover of paper and oil, Elena would sketch and draw in nature, bringing her box of tools wherever she went. And while that sounds incredibly fascinating and evocative, everything changed when she bought a tablet and a digital pen.

Elena dreamt of being a fashion designer in her early years. With such a talented illustrator having had the chance to work with Vogue and other brands from the fashion industry, we can confidently say that her dream has (at least partially) come true.

In this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about the story, creative process and dreams of a talented and playful illustrator.

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How did you get into the industry?

I still remember how my mom asked me who I wanted to be when I grow up. I was 5 years old but already had a dream to be a fashion designer. Since then I have just been following my dream. I decided to get an art education and become a professional artist, then jump into the field of fashion. So, now I’m doing both. 

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

I moved to San Francisco and work as a freelancer illustrator.

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

I think I would be an actress. I'm a charismatic character and I love to play and make people laugh.

Can you explain your creative process?

It's a pretty interesting question. I guess it depends on the project. Sometimes I am inspired by a photo or an art piece. Sometimes I just walk in nature and search for new inspiration. Then I do a sketch.

I work pretty fast and don’t like to spend so much time on one artwork. I have no patience and want to see the final result as soon as possible. This is why I draw every day and post 1 new work on my instagram page. If I start my artwork I will probably finish it on the same day.

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How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

Recently I bought an iPad Pro and now I can’t imagine my life without it. I was always drawing by hand and I didn’t want to turn to digital art at all. But once you try working on it, you can’t stop. And it’s pretty convenient to have it with you. I used to draw in nature and carry a bunch of art boxes which are heavy. My favorite medium is oil, which is pretty complicated and messy. But now I can have all of my materials in one device.

I recently bought an iPad Pro and now I can't imagine my life without it.

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What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Keep your eyes open for simple things and find something special in each thing. Don’t forget about your friends, they will encourage and support you when you are feeling lost.

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

I was a finalist in Fashion Illustration Drawing Awards 2020.

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How do you recharge away from the office?

Honestly, right now I don’t have time to recharge, because I’m working very hard to reach my goals, and every free minute I usually spend learning something new. But I think nature is the best treatment. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Build a strong portfolio, send at least one resume and keep working to improve your skills every single day. 

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What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

With all of the changes happening in the world today, with all of this year's events being held virtually, my hope is that the fashion industry and other creative industries can adjust and succeed through all of these changes and come out stronger than before.

Find more exciting illustrators here!

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