Inteview with successful Ukrainian microstocker - Lily Kavluk

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This is a first interview in Xpiks blog. Today I ask random questions to Lily Kavluk - a vector artist and microstock contributor from Ukraine. Lily is not only making her living off microstocks, she also blogs about it and she even wrote a book about microstocks. In this interview she shares interesting insights about illustration, microstocks and her way through.

Tell a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Are you a tea or coffee person?

I’m from Chernivtsi, it’s a place near the Romanian border. Now I leave in Sumy, it’s a city near the border with Russia. It’s a modest place not spoiled by the pop culture. I love coffee, I mean it goes good with the sweets and I have a sweet tooth. However, I try not to drink coffee because it makes me overexcited, so the answer is tea. I love animals, I’m a happy owner of a cat. I bet she thinks that she owns me. To be honest I’m being hunted by my cat while I’m writing this.

When did you discover the opportunity to sell illustrations and why did you decide to get into it?

I always was interested in drawing but what I did not realize that you can actually earn on it. I did not want to sell paintings on the street, I knew what was poverty. So, I received an education in the other field that I believed could sustain me better. And then when already being a grown-up I started learning how to illustrate.

I graduated from an art school for kids, it was a cool experience. Unfortunately, it was a long time ago so I had to learn everything once again.

When you’re not drawing how do you enjoy your free time?

I watch Star Treck a lot, hang out with my friends.



Can you describe your workflow when creating an artwork?

Let’s imagine that I want to do it in a smart way. So, I have an idea, I check it with the statistics, what are the good solutions. Then I check it with the real-life references. Knowing all that I try to create something in my style and in my way on a paper. Then just a bit of work with the computer and it’s done.

How you decide what to draw next?

I try to look at what is popular on microstocks, some seasonal motives of course. Sometimes I just draw something I like, which gives me not the worst results.

What are your sources of inspiration? Any particular people you follow?

I follow people that I met through my website, they are very talented. Also, I follow Yuko Shimizu, I’m really inspired by the fact that she changed her occupation and became a successful illustrator despite that fact.

How did you end up drawing in the style that you use right now?

I’ve been experimenting with the styles, one of the benefits of the microstocks, that there is a place for trying something new.

Where did you find your works in the real life?

Unfortunately no, but I found the artwork of my friend on an advertisement for the local computer store. They stole it though. Not the best situation with authors’ rights in Ukraine.



Are microstocks your primary job or is it a side-project?

The microstocks let me take care of anything else I want to do. I’m not sure that I want to be doing this all my life but at this very moment, it’s sufficient enough to plan some development.

What are the best-selling artworks you ever made?

My best selling picture is the one in the head of this post. You can check out more in my Shutterstock profile.

How much time does it take to create one artworks from your portfolio?

Generally, it takes a few days, some take more, depends on how detailed I want to have my work.

What is the most difficult for you in stock illustration?

Difficult not to get feedback, sometimes I check with the statistics, plan and draw and I really like the result and it has few sales and I have no one to ask what is wrong with that picture.

How working as microstock illustrations changed your life?

It became calmer, less stress, more time for contemplating.

Have you considered working in a team/studio? Why?

I’m open to suggestions, I would love to improve my skills. I do feel a lack of professional communication.



Why did you decide to write a book about microstocks? Do you have any profit from it?

It was lots of information in any language but Ukrainian, so I decided to arrange it in a nice way for Ukrainian speakers. I do get a profit if people decide to register on Shutterstock using my referral link, it costs nothing for them. But anyone can use my book without doing that, it’s not mandatory, I really appreciate if they do, but if not, it’s fine and I would still answer any questions in my blog.

What is your book exactly about?

The most important there is information on how to prepare a vector illustration according to the requirements of the microstocks. There are all other kinds of information, like some workflow tips or some specifics working with the particular microstocks.

How did writing a book changed your life?

I met so many cool Ukrainian illustrators. I don’t think that would be possible without the book.

Do you have any advice for novice vector illustrators to be successful?

I would modestly suggest checking on my book if that is possible. Working at least a bit but every day, checking what is popular on the microstocks.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. Make sure to checkout out Lily’s portfolio on Shutterstock and her book about microstocks (if you speak Ukrainian). Lily also has a fan page on Facebook so make sure to visit it too.