Crossing the borders of ‘conventional’ | 橫跨傳統界限

“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.”

Katerina Murysina – Oriental Beauty

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.

Katerina Murysina – Oriental Beauty

“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.”

 

「整個市場充斥著很多有才華的插畫師,基本上已經在飽和狀態了。唯一可以突圍而出的就是要有有趣的故事,自我風格和不平凡的表達方法。」優秀的故事述說者Katerina Murysina說。

對Katerina來說,將繪畫和插畫兩者區分的是「功能」。當繪畫賦予觀眾某種想法、情緒甚至衝動的時候;插畫則是伴隨著故事和意境,與觀眾在思想上在理智的層面交流。

「一朵畫得漂亮的話基本不會讓人矚目,因為漂亮的花到處都可以見到。今天我們以高速處理很多圖像信息,總是看到很多漂亮但毫無意義的圖像。如果能夠為一幅圖像注目多於數秒已經是非常奢侈的事情了。」Katerina解釋道。「一幅插畫應該具有一個它所值得的故事。」

 

Katerina在聖彼得堡就讀設計課程,及後前往法國一個學期學習動畫制作。「在俄羅斯的學習集中練習技巧和軟件運用,所有作業都是為了建立技巧多於思考;在法國所有功課都是為了培養想象力和創造力。法國的學校更沒有其他必修卻跟專業無關的科目,讓我可以專心創作。」

Katerina Murysina – Oriental Beauty

回到聖彼得堡的Katerina磨拳擦掌預備一展身手,幸運的是,她當時受到當地最大的百貨公司聘請為高級設計師。自此她有無數的機會設計櫥窗,展示概念,市場推廣物料設計和室外宣傳活動,所有的項目她都從概念到實踐的每步一一見證。

「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。」

說到破舊立新,一個中文字都不會的Katerina在七年前曾經挑戰自己在成都居住一個月。她愛上了當地的美食、語言、風俗和生活習慣。為了更加深入了解當地文化,她回到俄羅斯之後開始學習中文。這個居外經驗深深的影響了她的創作。

「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。」

Katerina Murysina – Oriental Beauty

進一步的研究中國文化讓Katerina更了解中國書法和字型的深層次和意義。「我們比鄰而居,看起來卻完全不一樣。我覺得這實在是太有趣了。」

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。

「永遠不要停止學習並對外在世界抱著興趣。如果我對某些事物感興趣,我會盡我所能去調查所有資料。我習慣同時做不同的項目,因為我發現自己利用工作來讓我不停運轉之餘獲得較少的休息。在這個狀況下我的腦袋會自動浮現很多新創意和新故事。」

高級設計師的工作讓Katerina學習到在一家公司工作並不只有設計師,更有和其他部門的合作。「這份工作讓我了解到對於『死線』的負責任的態度。沒有人在『死線』之後需要你的創作;你不能夠延遲新櫥窗的開放。每個項目都有不同的部分來組成,我學會了如何管理所有事情,『死線』對我來說非常重要。」

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。

「我想創造一些可以影響、啟發並鼓勵別人讓世界變得更美好的東西。」

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