Ksenia Kotova‘s characters are very recognizable because of their eyes. I find her characters to be very bubbly and they always put a smile on my face. Today I am so happy to have the opportunity to feature Ksenia on Draw A Dot!
Hi Ksenia, I am so happy to have you on Draw A Dot as one of the featured artists! From what I read on your website, I know both of your parents are artists. How do they influence you as an illustrator?
I grew up in a house full of paintings and a lot of creativity. I started drawing, sewing and painting from an early age. My father was also a graphic designer, and everything he created always interested and amazed me. I remember when he bought his first Macintosh in the 90s, it changed my life completely! I started learning Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator immediately, and that’s when I started to have digital illustration knowledge. Throughout my whole childhood, I knew that I would somehow become an artist because it’s just the way I know how to express myself.
I wish my father or my mother were a graphic designer too so I could learn digital art at an early age! You are lucky! When it comes to your works, how will you describe your illustration style?
I do sketch and abstract style, and my works always have lots of colors. I do quick and simple lines, and I love to experiment with character stylization. Living in Italy for more than 10 years, this country and the Italian “Bella Vita” is one of my best inspirations. I love to illustrate beautiful things and places, imagine myself there, and I would love to transport the viewers to that feeling.
You are right! Whenever I saw your works, I will think of Italy! Now I see the connection! From what I know, you used to be an interior designer. How does this job influence your illustration career?
I still work on some private projects as an interior designer and I love to mix both of my jobs because they are so different and contrasting. After years of working in the architecture field, I just realized that something was missing. I needed more space for my creativity, more real art, and more colors. I guess I just exploded when I learned the power of my imagination. And from there I never stopped dreaming.
I am glad you decided to create illustrations after you had that realization! Let’s go back to your illustration career. I know that you have been using a tablet to create your illustrations since 2018. Do you have any tips for the artists who are planning to switch to digital illustration? Also, if you have both the traditional medium and the tablet with you at the same time, which will you prefer? Why?
I have always used traditional materials to draw. Digital came to me unexpectedly. In fact, there was a time I was traveling a lot and spent a lot of time between Rome and Milan. I couldn’t physically take all my materials with me back and forth so I decided that a tablet could be the perfect solution. To all the beginners in the arts field, I would recommend not to start drawing on the tablet, but to try all the traditional materials first. Once you have experimented with different types and feel confident with them, then you can switch to digital (if you really need to). In my spare time, I prefer paper, I just love simple black pencils, watercolors or acrylic paint. Painting is a magical process because you never know where it can bring you. There is no “UNDO” key and it’s very exciting.
A lot of times I also prefer to look at hand drawn works because they show the artist’s personality which you can’t do that with digital illustrations! Out of all the illustrations you have created to date, which piece is your favorite? Why?
Last year, during the first Lockdown in Italy, I felt inspired by an empty Rome, and then “Empty city” was born. The girl in this illustration is in front of the empty square of The Trevi Fountain, wearing a Valentino dress, as a symbol of Roman fashion.
I wanted to send positive messages, optimism and even a little bit of fashion in this sad moment, because all of us just wanted to get out of this depression. This artwork received so much attention and I think it made people happy.
It is a beautiful piece! I really love the gown and the vibe of this artwork is very peaceful. Now let’s focus on artists supporting artists. There are so many new illustrators we see on social media platforms right now, which one do you recommend us to keep an eye on? What is so attractive about their works?
Nikki. I discovered Nikki recently. Her colorful profile attracted me. I love the bright girls she is creating and the vintage vibes of her art. Nikki’s work reminds me of fashion illustrations from the 70’s. They are so joyful and romantic.
Jessica Bird. Absolutely in love with her portraits, intense colors and her bold black lines are pure art.
Blair Breitenstein. Her art is one of the reasons I started to draw again after years of my art crises. Her works are just so deep and full of feelings. Look into the eyes of her girls!! They are bottomless. Absolutely love her.
Jason Brooks. His fashion illustration and graphic design are perfect together. When I’m studying his works, I love to analyze the details, composition, and colors of his every illustration. He also uses both art mediums to work with -paper and digital. I think it’s a perfect concept.
Those are all great artists! Readers, perhaps you can follow some of these artists and let their works inspire you! So I have asked you to create a special piece for Draw A Dot. Can you let us know the inspiration behind this piece?
This is a little story about me and the “Draw a Dot” community.
It was a moment I discovered Draw a Dot, with amazing energy, talented artists and endless activities that bring everyone to the same idea of art power.
At that time, it was a very intense moment in my life. I worked on my own illustrations and open calls for Draw a Dot. The only free time I could get is the early mornings. I was waking up at 4-5am and the first thing I saw when opening the windows was the early rising sun – the Orange Dot. It was the most productive moment of my day. It’s kind of a symbol for my creativity and the successful works I created.
I love it! It really cheers me up when I look at this piece because of the colour palette! Thank you for doing this! Last but not least, do you have any goals you would want to achieve in the next 3 years? If so, what are they?
Definitely! I would love to enlarge the size of my works and use more traditional materials. I would love to try canvas and then experiment with new styles, materials, and objects. Dreaming of illustrating a magazine cover, and working with world-famous fashion brands.
Now it’s time to know Ksenia on a more personal level! Here comes the short questions!
- Favourite snack – Cappuccino and Croissant
- Fashion makeup brand – Dior
- Favourite vacation destination – Amalfi Coast
- Favourite fragrance – Rose Kabuki by Dior
- Dog or Cat? Cat
- Red or Blue? Red
- Rome or Milan? Rome for love, and Milano for business
- Rose or Sunflower? Absolutely Rose!
You can visit Ksenia’s website to see more of her works! All illustrations in this feature are created by Ksenia Kotova unless stated otherwise. Thank you Ksenia for letting me feature her and I am so excited to see her future works!