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Zina Iugai

Zina Iugai

Meet illustrator from Saint Petersburg, Zina Iugai

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Zina! I am 27 y.o.. I’m a freelance illustrator who currently enjoys drawing childhood, summer, and magic. I’m a Korean woman who was born in Kazakhstan and since I was 9 y.o. I have been living in Russia. I really love good stories and look for them in movies, TV shows, cartoons, anime, books, manga. In the illustrations, the atmosphere is important for me, this is what I try to convey to the fullest.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. Here it is called the “cultural capital” and “Venice of the North”. There are very beautiful European architecture, many embankments, bridges, museums, theaters, cafes, and restaurants. Also in the summer, you can observe a natural phenomenon called white nights. It’s great to live within walking distance from historical and cultural monuments.

 

This city is very beautiful and romantic. It can be incredibly inspiring and at the same time, it feels heavy sometimes.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

This city is very beautiful and romantic. It can be incredibly inspiring and at the same time, it feels heavy sometimes. This is attributed to the fact that it often rains here and the gray weather presses.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

friendly, unhurried, challenging

 

How did you start your career in art?

Like many children, I was always doodling something. Once I saw an anime about Sailor Moon and became a huge fan of her. During this period, I wanted to draw well.

So I guess it all started with fanart. In junior and high school, I was into anime and manga and dreamed of becoming a manga artist. But it seemed to me like a pipe dream, and with age, the desire faded away. I entered the art college in the graphic design department. It was a very interesting and rich education. In addition to design, we studied the academic disciplines of painting and drawing, and much more. And it was so great when, in art history lessons, we were taken to museums that were within walking distance. We could see masterpieces of world painting with our own eyes.

After that, I worked as a graphic designer in an office, but I didn’t feel happy. I realized that design and working in an office are not for me. I wanted to draw and be free. So 3 years ago I became a freelance illustrator. It was scary. I always knew that my job is to draw but I didn’t know what I wanted to draw, how to draw, how to to be a freelancer. But when you start to listen to yourself and try to do what you like, the path begins to appear. Opportunities begin to appear and doors open.

 

I always knew that my job is to draw but I didn’t know what I wanted to draw, how to draw, how to to be a freelancer. But when you start to listen to yourself and try to do what you like, the path begins to appear. Opportunities begin to appear and doors open.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes, I’m lucky in this regard. Support is incredibly important.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

My main goal and ambition is to draw only what I really love and how I love. I don’t want to settle for less. I would also like to create my own stories and be a storyteller, I’m on my way to that.

 

My main goal and ambition is to draw only what I really love and how I love. I don’t want to settle for less.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Hayao Miyazaki. He is the greatest storyteller for me.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

The women around me are different. They are strong, dreamy, hardworking, independent, loving, motivated.

 

The women around me are different. They are strong, dreamy, hardworking, independent, loving, motivated.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

No, when I was growing up, I didn’t have access to the Internet and social networks (they just started to appear). The women around me didn’t engage in creativity. In my family, I’m the only one who is engaged in a creative profession.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

I think being a freelance illustrator especially in children’s illustration – it’s freedom. It doesn’t matter your gender, appearance, religion, marital status, orientation, education, location. The main thing is what you do.

I know many women who combine work with maternity, taking care of newborn children. And this is a challenge for them, to combine projects with deadlines and caring for little children, plan their time, find an internal energy resource.

 

Look for answers not outside but within yourself.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

You may seem that the main thing is how talented you are, how much you earn, how productive you are, how popular you are, how many subscribers you have, how many likes, how many orders, how many completed projects. It seems that the combination of these factors makes you a successful illustrator. But this is a trap, I myself have fallen into it more than once. The most important thing is to do what you love, how you love, for whom you love. To do this, you need to listen and hear yourself. Be honest with yourself. Don’t chase trends – they always pass. Look for answers not outside but within yourself. For me, success is about being happy, enjoying what you do.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Zina Iugai

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