Katya Vakulenko

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Katya Vakulenko

Illustrator

Moscow, RU

www.katyavakulenko.com
instagram @ovche

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am an illustrator creating images for a wide variety of purposes, most of my latest projects have been editorial.

Recently I’ve been really into figurative patterns and just had a wonderful opportunity to create prints for a local clothing brand’s future collection. In my leisure time, I paint on wood and draw short comics.

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

My path towards becoming an illustrator was quite thorny. For a long time I just couldn’t accept that I wanted to be a professional artist! After finishing high school I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able make a living by drawing and went to get a degree in education, not something I was too passionate about. Where I lived, it was generally expected to get higher education immediately after school, especially if you can do that with a government grant.

Needless to say, I was miserable. For a couple of years at least. At my lowest point I finally turned towards the thing that made most sense in life - my passion for art. I know it sounds cheesy but the realization that everything I wanted to do was this turned my life around. I am a bachelor of Arts now, finished the wonderful Illustration course at British Higher School of art and Design in Moscow. Shoutout to all my incredible tutors and groupmates - they made me totally reinvent myself.

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How do you stand out in your field?

I think that my art is reasonably vibrant and dynamic, as is my creative life - in half a year after graduating I worked on several side projects with my fellow illustrators and gained many clients.
Moreover, being from Russia, I have an opportunity to make art that has a unique cultural imprint.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I work semi-regularly for Elevator, a blog by resume.io. I also have a couple of other freelance projects in the works. When I can though, I spend time designing a series of posters for screen-printing.

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?

My deal is juicy colors and delicious shapes. When drawing, I get infinite joy from bringing vibrant palettes and dynamic motion and into narratives that I need to depict. Emotion in every piece is also key. I love observe people and the way they hold themselves - and transforming that into fun/tense exaggerations. I’m especially fascinated with hand motions.

In general, I try to stick to Edmond Baudoin’s idea of treating each image as a musical piece - by making sure the rhythm is engaging, the tone is fitting and every element sings in just the right way.

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WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

My goal is to learn how to make my projects go "live" more - be it just printed on a piece of paper or turned into a massive installation. I wish to find neat ways to bring illustrations into the real world myself.

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

At the moment I am working from home using a PC which makes me immovable most of the time I have work to do. I would love to invest in a laptop in order to meet with people more often and allow traveling without disconnecting from work. Being stuck in one place does slow one’s creative juices.

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

It would have been cool to hire someone who could deal with my emails, find potential clients and figure out best ways to advertise my art so I can focus on creative decisions more.

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LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

Going back to my high school days, I would have hugged myself tightly and asked not to listen to anyone who is a bit too conservative. To be serious about what you do, even if it feels like a game. To research. To observe. And to seek out anyone who is like-minded. You can do it.

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I would like to consult with a professional on self-promotion and media presence. I'd like to learn most efficient steps towards growing my audience that would not clash with my interests.

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

It would be incredible to provide visuals for packaging, textile, any kind of other printed matter. Working as an artist for animations is also very tempting to me. And I'm open for editorial illustrations - that is an area I feel most comfortable with I suppose!

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DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

An ideal client would not be pushing for changes that conflict with my approach to illustration. They would respect my vision and not make me try to fit someone else’s style. It is a true joy when I’m contacted by someone who wants my own individual take on their project!

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

I usually have an hourly rate, however, that might depend on the scope, timing and publicity of the project. Please feel free to drop me an email and we will figure something out!

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

An email is the best way to start! Please include a brief summary of the project and a deadline.

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Get outside. Walk.


This member profile was originally published in December 2018.