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Painting with Vibrant Colours in the Dark Times of Pandemic

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
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Vibrant illustrator Tania Yakunova talks about her life as an artist in quarantine and shares her hopes and fears as we all wrestle through this pandemic.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
Deadline. Corporate Illustration for Wirex, used in inner communication.

How are you faring in this quarantine? Is it difficult to find inspiration when we are forced to stay at home?

Tania. I’m used to working from home since I have been doing that even before this lockdown. I reinforce the energy and time spent on going out to develop home-based hobbies. Initially, the pandemic did not affect me as much. But now I can feel the stress building up, and it is taking a toll on my mental health; therefore, affecting my productivity. Since I find comfort and inspiration in travel, it is especially difficult.

Be Green project. Illustration for Christmas promoting sustainability, environmental awareness and peace.

How has this quarantine altered your perspective of life and art? Does it reflect in your current artworks?

Tania. There is a lot of uncertainty right now. But on the bright side, I feel well connected. It is evident how art helps people deal with stress, and this offers me motivation and reassurance. While a few of my projects got cancelled, I have been invited to work on several new ones dedicated to life during this pandemic. These projects are important to me, and I hope that my illustrations can ease people during these turbulent times

The Home is where the heart is. Part of the project about the organ donation awareness in times of COVID-19.

The pandemic has provided humanity with a challenge like never before. What are the setbacks you’ve faced because of the quarantine?

Tania. The biggest problem I faced is constant stress. High anxiety affects my ability to work, but art helps me stay mentally active. There are times when exhaustion hits me hard, and it gets difficult to stay productive. But I consider myself blessed to have a few great projects that survived the quarantine. I am worried about the future, as the pandemic is getting worse.

Anxiety. Personal illustration.

Artists often require their own space to create. It can be challenging to differentiate workspace from your home. Has your productivity been affected due to this?

Tania. Before the pandemic, I had planned to rent a studio. But now, the quarantine has motivated me to arrange my workspace at home better. My partner and I have divided our apartment into the work and the relaxation zone. An entire room is allocated as my studio, and I ensure that my work does not leave this space; this helps me relax better.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
Orchard. Illustration for Orchard home school planer depicting relaxation and nature.

Art provides comfort during these distressing times, and through this pandemic, we have witnessed just that. Do you believe that this cause irreversible change in the art field?

Tania. Personally, it rings true for me. We can observe the importance of art and the support it provides to humanity as more people lean towards it during this pandemic. People believe that this pandemic is causing irreversible changes to society; if so, then art will also change since art is merely a reflection of society.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
Novarize. Illustration for Novarize.

How has the art community planned to organise any fundraising for it?

Tania. Our art community in Ukraine is small but active. We organise online conferences, online talks and outdoor exhibits dedicated to the pandemic heroes. We are doing our best although a lot of artists are struggling due to sudden project cancellations and budget cuts. We don’t receive any noticeable financial support from the government as well.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
Late work. Style-frame concept.

How did your artistic journey begin?

Tania. I loved drawing since I was a child, but seven years of academic drawings tired me, and I gained a degree in social science, instead. At the age of 25, I began my studies on design and illustration. Following which, I quit my job and started my career as an illustrator.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic

Your style of art is contemporary. Where do you draw your inspirations from?

Tania. I’m an ardent fan of Avant-grade art of the 20th Century, I enjoy the bold compositions and forms. Whenever I travel to a new city, I always make sure to visit the modern art museums. I think you can notice this in my works.

Be Green project. Illustration dedicated to sustainable living.

How do you manage to create complex and detailed artworks with the use of simple and most basic shapes? What is the role played by geometry in your artworks?

Tania. The contrast in geometry can add rhythm to the artworks. I create particular forms and compositions that are emotional yet straightforward; this is my process.

Be Green Project. An illustration depicting sustainability and unity.

The colour palette for most of your artworks is simple and limited. Does that have any particular significance?

Tania. I love vibrant colours and precise combination of Avant-grade art of the 20th Century. Colours were something I struggled with when I was in art school. When I studied design as an adult, I understood it better and started falling in love with it. I spend a lot of time working on colours and sometimes I even create 20 different colour versions of my artworks.

Tania Yakunova - Pandemic
The Lives of Christopher Chant. Book cover for the novel t by Diana Wynn Jones.

How do you develop illustrations for a particular concept? Could you kindly share your work process?

Tania. The project starts with a brief on my task and role as an illustrator. I then begin exploring different possibilities through rough sketches. After that, I develop a detailed design and work on the composition; this is the first draft. Following which, I digitise my artworks and work on colours. When I’m satisfied with the colours, I work on the details.

The Passenger

What are some of the crucial factors to remember whilst illustrating?

Tania. The most important element in the process of illustration is to understand why we are working on a particular piece. The next factor is the concept. An illustration is a communication; we must understand what we are trying to tell our audience. Then comes composition, which is the base to execute your ideas. If the base is weak, the art will fall apart.

Creativity

Published in Issue 50

We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time. So order your copy if you are looking for inspirational COVID lockdown artworks and some advice on how to handle the current slowdown more creatively!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 


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