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Back on track!

Yeap, I haven’t posted here for a while – actually there were 2 months of silence, wow! I haven’t even looked through the feed – and same with Twitter, Behance… All my creative social networks were put on hold. Why? The reason is quite simple… I WAS LAZY.) πŸ˜› Ok, not just lazy but also busy, tired, exhausted – but mostly lazy. And I don’t really like the effect my laziness is doing on me so I guess I’ll try to organize myself more – that was #3 in my New Year Resolutions and it’s been 6 month of 2016 already so I’d better start DOING things πŸ˜‰

In my last post I was talking about participating in Arsenal Book Festival 2016 – and I did it! It was kinda fun but I have to admit that this year’s festival was too stressful and exhausting for me so I’m not actually sure I will try to get in next year. There were some issues with organization and preparation – in the end I was so tired of lack of sleep and lots of people that I started to simply giveaway my stuff – and that’s never a good sign πŸ˜‰ I’ve managed to beat off the costs and earn a bit but still it was too big of a stress.

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There’s me – all happy and inspired)) My friend took this photo secretly, I wasn’t prepared!

Another public event I took part in was the 2016 Kyiv Comic Con – and THAT was fun! I didn’t have a table there – still I participated in the comics contest. And you know what? I WON! πŸ˜€ ))) That was a huge surprise: I didn’t expect it and literally stood speechless for a minute or two when the judges announced my name. My comics was printed in almanac and I won a cool graphic tablet! I was in shock for a few days after that and – believe it or not – haven’t even tried the tablet yet! Guess I still think it was just a dream)

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The comics tells the story of a poor tired freelance illustrator – ME.)) πŸ˜›

As for another success – I’ve managed to finish a rather big work project I’ve taken in May – so yay! (I’m not sure I can show you anything.) However I’ve already plunged into another long-going one so..) No vacation for me! Well, no, I’m happy I’m working, but I feel such an urge to do some personal art right now that I really can’t wait for this project to be over, haha. πŸ˜› There are 34 large illustrations, about 60 of small ones… I’ve created 3 large ones so far so the end is near! *cries* Meanwhile I try to find at least a bit of time to draw something out of my head – and that’s how I rediscovered colored pencils. I enjoy drawing with them so much! I have 12 of Raffine (<3) and 36 of Faber-Castell (school edition – baaaaad) and I really want to buy more! More and more and more…) But I have to control myself. The plan is to sell at least one drawing and spend earned money on new stuff. So I’d better start drawing πŸ˜‰

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I just draw houses all the time πŸ˜‰

That’s all for today – but I really hope I’ll write here more often. Meanwhile I’d be happy to know how you’ve been doing – so, is there anyone here? πŸ™‚

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Postcards and panic

Okay, it seems that I’ve finally buried my hopes of posting interesting DIY-projects weekly, so let’s just forget about it..)) However the idea of Insane-freelance-illustrator-what’s-up-list has a chance to stick because today I’m doing the second post of my what’s-up-stuff! I’ve been very busy lately procrastinating doing all the commissions and panicking preparing for the Arsenal Book Festival *I got in, yay!* but now I have a couple of minutes to breathe out and tell you what’s up with Zhe? πŸ™‚

1. Three days ago *ok, I’ve started writing this post a few days back so that’s not true – it’s nine days now))* I celebrated my birthday! I’m not a fan of huge parties and all of the attention to my humble person, so I’ve just had some champagne with my best friend at 10 AM *check!*, then walked around the city without any apparent reason and came home for a nice and warm b-day dinner with my sister and parents. My sister baked a cake for me shaped as Captain America’s shield!))) Well, it was a very nice day)

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My not-so-usual Saturday breakfast πŸ˜‰

2. What’s next… I’ve printed the first 2 packs of my postcards! I’ve managed to squeeze two of my designs into the huge batch made for offset printing so now I have 500 cards of cats and dogs!

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How am I going to sell them all??!))

That sounds – and looks! – insane for me) But that brings me to the next point…

4. I finally got accepted to take part in the Arsenal Book Festival 2016! I’m happy and worried at the same time. Happy because I get a free entrance *haha* and worried because I don’t know what to sell!))) *laughs and cries and laughs and cries* Seriously.) Well, except for the cards from the previous paragraph – just because I already have them) However, few days ago I suddenly realized I don’t want to print all that stuff I printed last year – even including the “sequels”. I can’t treat Arsenal only as a marketplace – I need to surprise people! Make new cool stuff and show my creative progress year by year. That decision immediately created a huge problem in my mind but still I’m gonna stick with it. I have a few new ideas already but almost no time to implement them – but I’ll definitely try. Tiny sneak peek: there will be monsters!)) πŸ™‚

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It’s not the monster I’m gonna create, but I just thought a small monster visualization is needed πŸ˜‰

5. Ok, now I need the 5th point again… Oh, I know! I painted a wall yesterday!)) I mean, not like with solid color but with a cute pattern – and it’s a wall in the new bookshop! So that’s a double delight. πŸ˜‰ It was my first experience in painting walls with patterns and I frankly admit: I suck at it.)) I wasn’t able to set up the projector properly so had to design pattern part by part – and ended up with an uneven ornament.(( But I hope the visitors will see the whole picture and not some specific imperfections) The bookshop will open in a week so I’m not gonna show you pictures now – but I’ll definitely show the whole design of the place later! Can’t wait to see everything together. πŸ™‚

Luckily, I’ve managed to fill all 5 points so no pangs of conscience for me today!) just another night full of work-work-work – and hopes that great things are coming! And I know they are. πŸ˜‰

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Arsenal Book Festival 2015. Nostalgia.)

Ok, today’s a sh*tty day so I desperately need to think about something nice. x_x

And as everybody in the international illustrative community keeps talking about Bologna Book Fair, I thought it would be nice to recall that one and only book festival I actually took part in – Ukrainian Arsenal Book Festival – since Bologna is still a big pink dream for me πŸ˜‰ Besides, I keep calling to mind my festival experience these days as I’ve already sent an application to participate this year also, yay! This Book Festival is a really big thing in Ukraine so – fingers crossed! Obviously, every free minute I have is spent thinking of all the fun stuff I can make&sell this year – perfect time to recall all the fun stuff I made&sold last year, right? πŸ™‚

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So, everything started with preparing my products) As always, I’ve managed to print everything just the day before the start of the Festival – I really have to be more organized this time) *if I get in, of course!)) I’m just too optimistic)))* I thought the pile was huge – however I had to print more during the Festival, it was a big surprise!

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And here’s my table! I’ve made a cute bee to stand out among all the artists and I really want to use it this year also) *still optimistic))* Because it’s cuuuute! And there’s my name on it πŸ˜‰ As you can see I’ve printed a bunch of greeting card designs and bookmarks + brought some handmade stuff I got left. But the real surprise and success were….

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…the PU-U-UPS! ^_^ I had to print more and more of them several times – guess, this year *oh, come on!))* I’ll have to print cats also, but shhh, it’s a secret! πŸ˜‰ Basically it’s a paper figure scheme of a funny dog, 6 different designs – nothing too complicated) But kids – and not only kids! – loved them!)) It was so amazing to see random people smiling as they looked at my table – guess, it is the greatest reward for my work πŸ™‚

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Moreover, I had to hold a master-class during the Festival – it was a nightmare, but, I guess, a useful one) Actually, I don’t remember much about it, I was too nervous)) And yeap, that’s me trying to animateΒ Malevich’s black square – don’t ask))

So, in brief, that 5 days of the Festival were VERY exhausting …and VERY cool!)) This year the participation fee actually doubled *oh cruel world…*, but still I have that strange irresistible urge to take part. So I hope I’ll eventually get in – wish me luck πŸ™‚

But as I wait for the answer, I guess I’ll return to my ordinary commissions, because as the say “business before pleasure“! Or maybe cup of tea before sleep? πŸ˜‰ That definitely sounds better! πŸ˜›

What’s up? :P

I missed last week’s Fri-DIY – sorry! – so I feel like I have to write something today. My Commision Hell Days transformed into weeks, I’m tired and exhausted and I have lots of work to do this evening – but no, no excuses! So, say hello to the one and only Insane-freelance-illustrator-what’s-up-list! And yes, sometimes it’s shorter than the title)) But at least not this time, phew! So, what’s up with Zhe? πŸ˜‰

1 . My second interview was published online! It’s in Ukrainian, but you can still check out the pictures πŸ˜‰ And here’s the first one – just in case) Oh my, I am a braggart!) ^_^

2 . I finally finished my children’s magazine monthly commission: somehow I wasn’t able to force myself to work for 4 or 5 days – even with the whole illustration envisioned in my head. It happens sometimes and I hate it! But luckily I was able to get it done on time – can’t show you anything, sorry) But I’m so relieved!

3 . However I can show you this instead – my first solo linocut print! The first attempt to do it alone at home and I can clearly see lots of flaws – but now I know for sure that it’s something I definitely want to improve myself in. It’s not an easy process but sooo relaxing…)

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4 . Back to work commission again) But a fun one! So, recently I’ve been asked to draw the logo for the most wonderful client I could imagine – the owner of the BOOK STORE! *yaaaaaaay!* I don’t think I have to explain why I was so excited to do it πŸ˜‰ You can check out the result on the book store’s FB page or it’s site) Understandably I got a little drifted away and created not only the logo but all the patterns, cards and bookmarks – and it actually looks so cool)) Can’t wait to see all the printed stuff with my own eyes!

5 . And I really need the 5th point just to make a perfectionist in me happy – even if I have no more news to share))

So that’s it for today) And what’s up with you? πŸ˜‰

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The Tale of Six Fails and One Win

It’s finally friday – I mean Fri-DIY! πŸ™‚ Guess you see now what I’ve decided to make my weekly feature – Do-It-Yourself project! Cute and useful out of old and needless – what can be better? Hey, people on Pinterest do that all the time!

Yeah, right.

When I was making handmade greeting cards I’d always worshiped the principle: Handmade Doesn’t Have to Be Neat! It’s not really important for lines to be straight – the soul and charm of the thing made with your hands is what important. That seemed just a principle then – but now I can see clearly: I’m just not capable of neatness. So welcome to the world of MESSY HANDMADE!))) You can Do It Yourself – but Do You Dare?! πŸ˜‰

However everything looked very promising from the start.

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Snowy Monday Announcement

One of the last challenges of my #blogging101 course was creating repeatable feature for my blog. Challenge accepted!

In fact it was accepted a long time ago: in every blog I’ve had I tried to do such a feature but – what a shame! – every time I failed. x_X I guess that my whole being just hates everything that is regular and obligatory)

However I decided to give it another try. And I already have 3 or 4 ideas for a couple of weeks to come – so fingers’ crossed πŸ™‚ But I won’t tell you what this feature will be – just wait till Friday and you’ll see!) Because that’s the day all the cool stuff happens, right? πŸ˜‰

PS: I don’t really like my posts without pictures – so lucky you!) I’ve recently had my monthly Commission Hell Days so you’re welcome to take a peak at the comics strip I’ve created)

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It was drawn for the Ukrainian children’s magazine “Posnayko” which I dearly love. β™₯ I’ve tried to capture all the stages of my work and however I eventually lost a couple but still you can see how “the magic is done” πŸ˜‰ hope you like it!

My Top-5 of inspiring children’s book illustrators

Responding to Daily Post’s Prompt “The Satisfaction of a List


What’s hiding under your bed? Slippers? Phone chargers? Monsters? Whatever that is, I can tell you for sure there’s no place for this stuff under my sofa… No, I’m not that neat and tidy. It’s just that all the space is filled with BOOKS.

Yeah, I know, some of you may faint after hearing of the way I store my treasures, but I have a reason for that.

I’ve been living in 2 cities at once for quite a while now – traveling constantly between my boyfriend and my parents’ places. My parents have a huge library and there’s simply no space for me to put my books on shelves. And there’s no point in buying a separate bookcase for me in my rental apartment in another city. So all my books are just hiding there in packages and waiting for Their Own Bookcase. *Guys, don’t loose hope, it’ll happen – someday!)*

The Daily Post prompted the idea of making a list – and I couldn’t ignore it. As long as I’m in my rental apartment now and don’t have access to my treasure chest, I’ve decided not to show the books themselves but to write about people behind them – artists in particular. Because wonderful illustrators are the main cause of my obsession with children’s books and they are definitely the reason I’m gonna sleep on a huge pile of paper instead of a comfy sofa any time soon.

So how about Top-5 of children’s book illustrators who inspire me the most?

1. Sven Nordqvist – my absolute hero and #1. I have all the “Pettson and Findus” books I could find in my native language and I can examine them for hours. When I think about the illustrator I want to be his name immediately pops in my head. That small hidden stories, dynamics, humor, that coziness and attention to detailsΒ  – well, he’s just the best for me.

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2. Inna Chernyak – my mentor, my colleague, my friend πŸ™‚ Awesome illustrator from my country – Ukraine – however she has illustrated lots of books in different languages printed in different countries so you could have seen them in bookstores nearby πŸ˜‰ I’m simply in love with her style and her funny characters!

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3. Emilia Dziubak – I don’t own her book yet but it’s just a matter of time πŸ˜‰ And I don’t even care which one! I want them all ^_^ The richness of colors, lots of cute characters, creative composition, humor and imagination – I can go on and on and on)

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4. Oliver Jeffers – a constant reminder that you don’t really have to paint like Michelangelo to create an awesome book.) Simple colors, simple style – everything seems simple, but… you just can’t resist the charm, can you? πŸ˜‰

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5. Β Chris Haughton – another great artist with “simple” style. However I guess that his love for bright and sometimes insane color combinations makes him stand out πŸ˜‰ Breathtaking plot, tension, suspense – I’m not joking, that books actually feel like drama movies!)) By the way, is it all right to dream of having a pink dog? πŸ˜‰

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So these are some of the people that actually make me wanna draw and create books. And some other people make me cook dinners so I guess I’ll sally forth the supermarket to get some food! And let’s just hope there will be no bookstores on my way πŸ™‚