Ola Snimshchikova is an illustrator and concept artist from Kyiv, Ukraine. She graduated with a masters degree in Animation from Polish-Japanese Academy. She works with both individual and corporate clients around the world. Her works are mostly focused on children’s books and comics. Books with her illustrations have been published in the UK, the US and other countries around the globe.
Some of her favorite projects were the “Magic Land” and “Magic Cube” series because she loves to create a mystical and magic atmosphere. It is her biggest passion to create a project that has a deeper meaning and helps with children’s education.
Currently, Ola is also working on a passion project called “How to be a good monster”, a picture book about a very lonely monster who lives in the woods and tries to make friends.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. Your favorite superpower you fantasized about.
Q2. When do you usually draw? Morning or Night?
Night or evening. The only two things I can do in the morning is sleeping or complaining that someone woke me up.
Q3. What do you love to do in your free time?
Traveling, trying something new like pottery classes or pole sport, but my MOST favorite thing is to stay home with my boyfriend and watch Netflix or play videogames. Yap, I’m pretty lazy.
Q4. Who is your favourite Anime character?
I’d say Ruyk from “Death note”.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
Past, I don’t like spoilers 🙂
Q6. What is your last Google search?
“is children’s book illustration an art style?”
Q7. Which art style appeals the most to you?
Children’s book illustration.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
I’m from Ukraine and it’s a very tough time for my country. When the full scale invasion just began my boyfriend’s parents were very supportive. They let my parents stay with them in the Netherlands for a couple of months until they were ready to go back to Ukraine.
Q9. Fellow Creators or Artists you admire.
Beatrice Blue, Lorena Alvarez Gomez, Izzy Burton and many many others.
Q10. Describe your style in one word.
I’d say whimsical.
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
Oh, I wish I participated in Erasmus program when I was a student and went to study abroad (while already studying abroad 🙂 )
Q12. An art or piece of work you wished you had created.
I can’t think of anything particular, but I often have this thought while scrolling Instagram!
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Ola.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Ola. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the art.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
Well, I like living in different countries. I moved from Ukraine to Poland when I was 16 all by myself to study. I moved back to Ukraine when I finished my master’s degree. Then I moved to Georgia with my partner where we live now. I like planting avocado in every place where I stay and give it to my friends when I move somewhere else.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what kind of art inspires you?
It’s mostly works of other children’s book illustrators or concept artists. Whenever I struggle with an idea for an illustration I go on Instagram or Pinterest to get some inspiration.
I also love going to art galleries or museums. My absolutely favorite one is Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. It’s not as big as Rijksmuseum or Louvre, but I spent a good part of the day there and I would love to repeat it any time!
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of a good art?
Personal touch. It’s very important that the idea of the illustration resonates with an artist, even if it’s a commission work. I think art is a form of communication, through an artwork you can say a lot without actually talking. This is why creating art is more difficult when you have nothing to say because the idea doesn’t really resonate with you.
Q. What’s the toughest work you’ve created so far? What made it so challenging?
It was difficult to draw when the full scale invasion started in my country. I was scared and lost, I was very worried about my family and friends in Ukraine. I was far away and couldn’t really do anything to help them and I had to stay strong to support them.
I tried to express my feelings through art, but it felt way too overwhelming. Some artworks I never finished and never showed them to anyone.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your art that only a few people will find?
Yes, sometimes I add little details that only very close people can notice. For example, on one illustration I gave my character the same socks that I knitted for my boyfriend. Sometimes I also get inspired by my friends looks and I “steal” some features from them.
Q. What’s unique about your style that’s been appreciated by your fans over the years?
I’ve been told that all my characters (even grumpy and moody ones) always look very sweet 🙂 Also, people often mention that the love the colors that I use. They also say I tend to use a lot of blue and purple and that is so true! It’s such a challenge for me to use warmer colors and it’s almost impossible for me to finish an artwork without using purple color.
Q. How do you progress from an idea to the final piece? Describe your process.
I doubt it’s unique. When I get an idea I start gathering references. I also take notes, what exactly I liked about certain reference, like color palette or composition or maybe I just needed it because I’m drawing a goat and I don’t remember how exactly they look like 🙂 .
Next step is sketching. This part is probably the most important because it defines how the finished illustration will look like, therefore it’s better to make several sketches and not to stop on the first and probably the most basic and obvious idea.
After that I come up with a color palette I’m going to be using. And the rest is just painting, rendering, adding shadows and lights, etc. I usually experiment a lot during this last step, trying new brushes or new approaches and just simply having fun!
Q. What does success look like to you?
For me it would be seeing books with my illustrations on shelves in the book shops all over the world. Illustrating books that I’ve written myself. Or hearing from children that the character I illustrated had become their favorite character ever.
Q. What inspires you, and where do you seek inspiration for something you’ve never created before?
Nature! I live in Georgia now, it’s a gorgeous country with lots of beautiful landscapes. Whenever I go on trips to the mountains, the beach or just visit the botanical garden I get really inspired. I don’t always end up actually drawing the landscapes, but just being surrounded by beautiful nature really helps to take my mind of things and come up with new ideas.
Q. How do you deal with pressure and deadlines?
I sit in the corner and cry. Just kidding. Although letting your feelings out is a big part of dealing with pressure and stress. If I do feel overwhelmed, I just take a deep breath, try to understand what caused the problem, make a list of things that need to be finished as soon as possible. I think writing it all down really helps to understand which tasks should be prioritized. Also, it’s just sooo satisfying to cross them out of the list 🙂 .
Q. They say time and tide waits for no one, and one needs to keep evolving to survive. How do you adopt and develop new skills?
I like taking art courses when I have time and energy for that. It’s very inspiring to learn new approaches and to try new techniques especially when I get to meet other artists along the way. But I also think it’s important to be kind to yourself. Sometimes it might seem that there’s still so much to learn and that everyone is way ahead, but I always remind myself that everyone has their own speed and their own path.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions for newcomers in this field? If so, what are they?
Don’t give up, no matter how hard it gets. If this is what makes you happy, just keep going and try to have fun during the process. Don’t be too hard on yourself, try not to pressure yourself and don’t be afraid to “mess up” new page in your sketchbook.