Interview with Illustrator Olga Skomorokhova

Dear Readers, as you know, I’ve been promoting my new book, If There Never Was a You, this spring. I’ve had the chance to read the book to many children, and the children have lots of questions about the illustrations. I thought it would be fun to get the answers to those questions, so I asked the lovely and talented illustrator, Olga Skomorokhova if she’d be willing to let me interview her. She said yes, so here is a copy of that interview.

Olga, first let me say what a pleasure it was to meet you virtually! I’ve been admiring your incredible artwork for so long; it was nice to be able to tell you how happy I am that you and I collaborated on this book. Your whimsical pictures made my words come alive, and the pictures have so many interesting details and vibrant colors that I never get tired of looking at them, so thank you! I could not be more pleased with what you’ve done with this book. I’m so grateful to you and to our wonderful publisher, Familius, for pairing us on this project to produce a family heirloom quality book.

Our readers would love to know more about you, and so would I, so here goes…

Where do you live? Do you have any children?

I live in Tallinn, Estonia with my husband. Can’t believe that but we are celebrating our 10th anniversary this May! We do not have children yet but hopefully it will change soon :) 

Congratulations and happy anniversary to you and your husband!

When did you first start drawing, and what made you decide to pursue illustration as a career?

I was always into drawing I think. My sister is a painter, she was studying in the art academy, and I was always very interested in what she was doing, she practiced her skills of an art teacher on me :) This interest made me go the same path.

Sisters are the best! I have one, too.

Do you typically work on one project at a time, or do you work on multiple projects at once?

Currently, I do have quite a lot of work, all projects are so different. And I usually work simultaneously on all of them. It helps to have rest from something you got tired of. Moreover, I do have the contract with the Russian TV channel; I am a full-time illustrator there :)

Wow, I didn’t know about your contract with the Russian TV channel. That’s amazing. You are juggling so many things!

How do you decide which projects to take on?

When I just started to work as a freelance illustrator, I literally agreed on everything I was inquired. This was a huge mistake! Projects that are not challenging or interesting are always a waste of time, you neither get satisfaction nor good money (because you get too much stress and want to spend money on shopping or unplanned vacation to recreate :)
Now I try to take on only those projects that «fit» me: they could be really difficult but very interesting. Sometimes I am afraid that there is not enough work and agree on something totally inappropriate; my husband is the one to always remind me that there is the word «NO» though!

It sounds like you have a terrific husband!

Do you work exclusively on children’s books, or do you do other types of projects as well?

Not only. I have really different kinds of projects. But children’s books are my favorite ones for sure.

What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?

I am totally honest now — If There Never Was a You!
I love how the book turned out. I’ve never been that inspired! I liked the whole process — the words are truly precious, the agency didn’t have any strict requirements or major revisions, I received the copies (a lot of printing houses don’t do this). It’s always nice to see that your project is ‘alive’. These conditions were really perfect, and I am so happy kids could read this wonderful book and imagine the ending or the beginning of the story of this bunny family, and then understand that it’s about their parents too.

I’m so happy to hear that! I love our book, too. No wonder your pictures are so fantastic! I think when you enjoy the work you’re doing, you’re more likely to do excellent work.

How long did it take you to come up with the pictures for If There Never Was a You?

The most complicated part of any project for me are sketches because you have to think of ideas that would work, technical part comes later.
I guess that all sketches were done in about two weeks.

What is your favorite picture in If There Never Was a You?

My favorite one is the last page summarizing the story. I tried my best to show all the love and care that parents carry for their kids. 

You nailed it on that page as well as the others!

What are you working on now?

I have four children’s books to work on; all of them are in the stage of sketching now; the TV channel project I was talking before, and some small commissions on surface design.
I am also studying in the Academy of Arts at the moment, so I do have lots of homework too! :)

Wow, you are a very busy woman! That’s another thing that we have in common.

You are such a gifted artist, Olga, that I’d buy anything you illustrated. I’d buy a napkin of you doodled on it!

How can we find out more about your work and upcoming projects? Do you have any social media accounts or a website that we can check out?

All my favorite projects could be found on Behance:
https://www.behance.net/Oi_Oilikki

I also have Facebook and Instagram:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004660629813
https://www.instagram.com/oilikki/

Olga, thank you for sharing your valuable time and incredible talent with us! I am so glad to know you and so delighted that you illustrated If There Never Was a You!

I hope to collaborate with you on more projects in the future, and I hope to have the opportunity to thank you in person one day!

All my best,

Amanda

Olga shared some of her sketches with me. This is one of my favorite pages of  If There Never Was a You  as a work in progress! So cool!

Olga shared some of her sketches with me. This is one of my favorite pages of If There Never Was a You as a work in progress! So cool!

Amanda RoweComment