Impossible not to recognize IRA KRUGLOVA‘s illustration at first glance: they’re a mix of Russian constructivism, the spirit of Chicago and nature’s lines and colors – not to mention a sensitive and determined work ethic. Enjoy ON! Storie‘s Q&A #9 (and all the good advice for young illustrators!)
Ira, where are you writing from?
I’m currently based out of Moscow, Russia. Right before going back to my hometown I spent two years in Chicago. Now that I am back I’m considering living in different countries and working remotely.
How does the contraposition between the States and Russia inspire you? How does each one of them influence you differently?
I think nowadays things have become more universal and global, and the more you travel the less you’re tied to a specific location. I try to absorb good things from whatever culture I’m placed in and share my experience with others.
In Russia particularly, constructivism was a strong philosophy and affected my artistic style very much.
Three illustrators that today you think are doing a great job.
Your style is very strong and bold, and easily recognizable. How would you describe the process you went through to find your own style, and what are the main sources of inspiration that are behind it still today?
I find inspiration in nature with its power to play with shapes, textures and colors. Besides that, it’s influenced by movies, places, close friends and new connections; and most of all by travels. Wherever life brings me I makes sure to have my artist tools by my side to picture new faces, architecture, plants and objects.
I love to peer at things around me. Some may think I’m a weirdo or a creeper when I can’t take my eyes off a person or an object. But in fact I’m not, it’s just the way I observe the world around me.
Can you think of an accomplishment in your career that made you really proud of your work, and that you remember with particular fondness?
Portraits are probably my thing. I found the way to develop a particular style and make them look similar in terms of technique. It wasn’t that easy and took me quite a while. Now I’m on a way to simplify the graphics and make it look even more minimal.
What are the main factors that make you accept a commission offer?
It’s important for me to be passionate about the project. The subject has to inspire me. That way I do my best, so I can be proud and willing to publish the results of my work. With this approach in mind, I’d be struggling to do something related with politics or religion for instance.
When and how did you decide to become a professional illustrator/graphic designer?
I don’t think I can do anything better than illustration and design. And I’ve never considered other occupations seriously. I’ve been drawing, sketching and painting for my whole life and used to take classes to perfect my skills.
What do you think is the best way for emerging artists to promote their work?
It’s the daily hard work that adds up to your professionalism. Just keep working and don’t ever stop. Also, it’s important to collaborate to bring someone else’s point of view into the project – two are better than one. In terms of promoting yourself, it helps a lot to do work for famous people and submit your work to relevant websites, and to get exposure in design communities. I also find helpful to come up with personal projects once in a while to shift my direction.
Do you have a motto that always cheers you up and keeps you going?
I have few mottos.
First one is “Keep working until you’re satisfied with result”.
Second, ” It only gets better, whatever happens”.
One career advice for wannabe freelance illustrators.
Keep working and practicing daily as opposed to waiting for inspiration.