“The market is oversaturated with talented illustrators, the only way to stand out is to come up with an interesting narrative, graphical rhymes and uncommon forms,” says Katerina Murysina.
Katerina points out that painting and illustration is very different from the other. She defines painting as art that leads viewers to a certain thought or an emotional impulse, whereas illustration is an art form which accompanies text with context and communicates at an intellectual level.
“A nicely drawn flower will never catch a sight but will get lost in the sea of similar pretty flower illustrations,” she says. “Today we consume so much information so fast that looking at meaningless but beautiful pictures for more than a few seconds is a luxury,” explained Katerina. “An illustration has a worthy storyline.”
Katerina studied design at St. Petersburg then went to France for a semester to study animation. “In Russia the main emphasis is placed on teaching the techniques and software. All assignments are aimed towards the development of skills rather than thinking; while in France every task is designed to help you grow your imagination and creativity. French schools do not involve any general subjects in its education programme, hence I could full concentrate on developing myself there.”
She returned to St. Petersburg filled with newly acquired information and experience. She was soon hired by the biggest department store in the city as a senior designer. Since then, she received unlimited chances to work on window displays, showcase concepts, marketing materials and outdoor campaigns.
“I have come a long way to find my style. I started with photorealistic illustrations but I found it was pointless because they were full of elements but no real significance. I then searched the balance between simplicity and information value. In the fashion field, I learnt to open myself up and to not be afraid of crossing borders of my conventional views and try something new.”
Speaking of trying something fresh, Katerina gave herself a challenge by moving to Chengdu for a month not speaking a word of Chinese. She came to love the food, the language, customs and habits. To better understand the culture even upon returning home, she started to learn the language. The experience deeply influenced her even in terms of her works.
“I am fond of face proportions of Eastern women. I think they have very harmonic faces and graceful features. In commercial illustration, the vast majority of images portray an average European woman but I want them to be more diverse. I even want to draw an ethnographic map of all female types in order to show how many of us there are and how different and beautiful we all are.”
Further studying Chinese culture, Katerina found further inspiration in calligraphy and hieroglyphs, discovering layers of meaning behind each character. “We live so close to each other, but we are not alike at all and we are so different. I am fascinated.”
But let’s not limit Katerina’s inspiration to a single country – she is a creator who can find inspiration even in surrounding simplicity. A construction crane, for example, can resemble a dog or an old crooked house can remind her of Michael Jackson. She prefers writing down all her thoughts and ideas while keeping herself busy creating.
“Never stop learning and always keep interest in the outside world. If I am interested in something, I will do my best to learn everything I can find about the subject. I always work on several projects at the same time as I realized the most convenient and fascinating regimen for me is to work, draw and create as much as possible and rest as little as possible. In this mode, the brain goes into a state where it automatically comes up with extraordinary ideas and storylines.”
Working as a senior designer has also been a great learning experience for Katerina as collaborating within the company is never about designers only, but other departments too. “This job helped me to develop a responsible attitude to deadlines. You cannot delay opening of new window displays. Projects always involve decorators, assemblers, other designers and constructors; I learned to manage everything and now deadlines mean a lot to me.”
“Juggling” would be the right word for Katerina as she loves working on various projects simultaneously. Other than the ethnographic map mentioned above, she is going to illustrate a book about fashion illustration. She also wants to work for some filmmaking projects as she was deeply motivated by Disney movies when she was young. She wants to tell the story through character settings and design.
“I want to create something that will influence people, inspire and encourage them to make our world a better place.”
「我花了好長的時間尋找自己的風格 – 我發現像真度高的插畫非常沒有意思，雖然充滿細節卻不具備任何重點。於是我開始琢磨簡約風格與細節之間的平衡。在時尚界裡面，我學習到要開放想法並不要害怕過界，破舊立新才是創新的不二法門。」
「我非常欣賞東方女性的臉部逼力。我認為她們的臉部構成非常和諧，每個部分非常優雅。在商業插畫當中，極大部分的創作都是描繪一般歐洲女性的形象 – 但我希望看見更多變化。我甚至想畫一張民族地圖，表示不同地方的女性的分別，藉此表示女性的多樣化並各種美麗風貌。」
但切勿規限Katerina的創意在一個國家 – 她能夠在任何事物中找到靈感，例如是建築棚架看起來像狗或者是一間老舊房子讓她想起米高積遜。她喜歡將所有點子或者想法寫下來並讓自己不停創作。
Katerina喜歡同時應付不同項目。除了以上所說的民族地圖，她更在計劃出版關於時尚插畫的書；由於深受迪士尼的影響，她也想參與動畫制作方面的項目 – 她想嘗試透過角色的設定和設計來說故事。