Inna Bodrova AKA innabodrova has been submitting illustrations to iStock since March 2009. Her work is bright, saturated and punchy, and has a charming retro feel. Her characters are adorable and she's covered a wide range of subjects from popular holidays to fairy tales. Let's take a minute to get to know her better!
How did you get started as an illustrator? Are you formally trained?
I have loved drawing since my childhood and I haven't stopped since. This is why I chose a profession that is closely bound to drawing: Architecture. I would still be an architect if my son didn't experience health problems as he grew older. Because of this, I left my work as an architect and started illustrating children's books while staying at home. After I started working as a freelance illustrator, I found that I didn't want to return to my job as an architect! It is just wonderful to schedule your time all to yourself! At that time I only did real hand-made drawings, but when I found myself in Berlin and working as a freelancer, I had to broaden my illustration skills and started taking lessons for Adobe programs.
How would you describe your personal style as an artist?
My style is an ongoing changing thing because our tastes change over the time. Lately, I have been working a lot in the Kawaii style.
What are your artistic influences or inspirations?
The entire environment inspires me in different ways! And there are many artists who's work I admire. First of all, Paul Klee and my love of Lisbeth Zwerger. I really love Czech artists such as Jiří Trnka, Vojtěch Kubašta and Květa Pacovská. I also adore German artists Wolf Erlbruch, Verena Ballhaus and Binette Schroeder. From Russia, some of my favorites include Nica Goltz and Frantšeska Jarbussova. And also Camilla Engman, May Ann Licudine (MALL), Vladimir Radunsky – My list will never end! All of them are so different and magnificient!
"I have loved drawing since my childhood and I haven't stopped since."
What are your favorite subjects to draw?
I mostly like drawing childish and fairy-tale subjects.
What equipment / tools do you use for your work?
I use Adobe Illustrator CS5, Wacom Intuos3 and an iMac.
What is the most important thing you have learned as an illustrator?
The most important thing is to never wait for an idea, but just start drawing. Don't be afraid of a blank sheet of paper, the ideas come during the drawing process. Always observe what's around you and develop the ability to notice funny details.
What are your 3 favorite websites and why?
I will mention three sites which are not related to illustrations. I've been following them with pleasure for a very long time! Convoy.tumblr.com – I love the designs and the photos. Latartinegourmande.com - I really like the photos and Beatrice Peltre herself. And of course, there are always easy and delicious recipes too. Eatpes.com – Very clever and funny short videos.
"Don't be afraid of a blank sheet of paper, the ideas come during the drawing process."
About how long does it take you to create an illustration for iStock?
It takes me as much time to create a vector illustration for iStock as it would for a freelance client, actually. But my work for iStock is stretched over days since I work in my free time. Of course, how long an illustration takes also depends on the count of characters and how much detail I add. I can't brag about with my speed though – it normally takes me about half a work day for even a simple picture.
What are your favorite subjects to upload to iStock?
For iStock I only draw subjects which pleasure me, like cute little children and elves. In my "pre-vector era" I loved to knit in my free time! Knitting was like meditation – All of my troubles went away! Now I pull tangents as meditatively as I knit stitches.
Can you walk us through your typical workflow when creating a new illustration?
On the technical side, I like to start with a sketch on paper. Then I scan it and transform it into a vector. It's best if I have time to further enhance the sketch, both for color and composition. If I don't do this, it takes even longer to complete the idea flow on the computer because I get distracted by moving shapes and changing colors ad infinitum! If an idea doesn't come together early on it's best to set the work aside as otherwise you're wasting time changing small pointless details.
Are there any tools that you use for your stock illustrations (plugins, shortcuts, etc)?
My favourite plugin is "Vector Inspector"! :) I create very simple pictures.
"The most important thing is to never wait for an idea but just start drawing! "
What is your favorite part about having an iStock portfolio?
The best thing for me about work for iStock is that I get to draw things whenever I'm in the mood, and then experiencing gratitude when it's purchased by clients. I love that you can work however you choose: You can illustrate full time, part time, draw incredibly detailed work, or stick to simpler subjects. It's entirely up to the artist.
Who are some of your favorite iStock illustrators?
The work of many iStock illustrators is amazing, but one of my all-time favorites is "elizong". I think that "beastfromeast" is also an incredible artist!
Describe a typical day in your life.
If I don't have any meetings then my typical looks like this: I wake up early in the morning (between 5.30 am and 6.30 am) without an alarm clock. I do a little bit of exercise, then work from 9am to 6pm while taking breaks to eat, have tea, and catch up on housework! Three times a week I take my son to the gym, or go for walks in a wonderful park near our house. At midnight I'm ready for bed, always at the exact same time (people call me "Deutsche Bahn" – German railway – because my sleep schedule is so regular!). I like to go to bed feeling like I've achieved a lot during the day.
"In my "pre-vector era" I loved to knit in my free time."
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you take with you?
I would take a comfortable tent with me, because I suffer a little from agoraphobia (anxiety about wide open spaces)! The first thing I'd do is zip the tent entrance closed right behind myself! :)
If you could jet off anywhere, where would it be?
I'd desperately love to return to Lisbon, but my passion for travelling always leads me to new places.