“We don’t have so much time as humans on earth, so let’s do the things that we desire more and to risk.”
Battling back from crippling panic attacks, Katerina has become a noted and devoted illustrator. She remains grounded in the moment and loves to learn new things and cultures that helps her in her work. One of her key moments was revealing her illustration to the world, and hasn’t looked back since.
What is your background, and how did you get into drawing?
Drawing came suddenly in my life while I was studying at the Department of Management Science & Technology. Very quickly, I grew bored, so I began to study fashion design in an atelier Haute Couture although it was difficult for me to afford two schools.
After this, I realized my love for illustration, especially in fashion. Returning home, I suffered panic attacks and lost all my self-confidence. There were days I couldn’t go outside, yet I wanted so badly to find a job in my field, but my anxiety was out of control.
So I stopped hunting my dream job and worked in our family company for a long time. But this led to more stress, and I couldn’t continue to live like this. The whole time I was working there, I attended workshops about fashion management, fashion illustration and I developed software skills that are so important today.
I made a hidden Instagram account and a website with my artworks. I was designing every day. It was my liberation. Then one morning I decided to publish everything to my people, my friends and to everyone. At that moment I found my dream job and felt vindicated that everything came together at the right moment when I was ready.
Do you have art studies, or were you self taught?
I studied fashion design in Greece and then I got involved in the fashion industry more seriously. Now I study graphic design to expand my software skills as well as fashion styling and visual merchandising because I love to learn new things that will help in my work.
Describe your illustrations in three words?
Balanced, intense, invigorated.
What projects have you worked on? What was the most challenging/most rewarding?
Despite my new entry in the illustration community, I had the opportunity to meet some big challenges. One was a job with a fashion company in Qatar. It was my first in this area, and I had to learn quickly about the different culture to create illustrations for them.
Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?
One influence over the years is my mother’s portraits of different women. She had a gift in sketching faces. It was so inspirational to me. I admire how she designed perfectly.
What would you say is your strongest skill, and how have you honed that skill?
My devotion to this and my fantasy. The latter helps me a lot in my work. I was born with the fantasy, but the devotion came over the years. When you love something so much, you dedicate completely.
What materials do you enjoy working with the most?
I’ve worked with most, but my favourite is a woodless graphite pencil or my black permanent marker.
What is an average work-day like for you?
My daily routine is unsettled, and every day is different. There are days that I have a lot of projects to work on combining the outside responsibilities and my schools. It is challenging for me to work at home, but I try to concentrate on the things I have to do. Usually, I am locked for hours in my office, trying not to be distracted.
What are you currently fascinated by, and how is it feeding into your work?
I am intrigued by different religions and diversity through concerns personalities, uniforms, beliefs. I think diversity inspires me a lot.
When someone commissions a project, what’s the first thing you do, where do you start?
When someone commissions a project, the first thing I do is research the company, the style, the history and everything required for my inspiration.
What are you passionate about besides illustrating?
I love to read books especially psychology books, which inspire me to learn how a human brain thinks, how we can control our thoughts and our self. I am excited about eating chocolate and watching Netflix series. I am passionate about my people and love spending time with them.
Do you have any superstitions or rules that you live by?
Seriously, no. I don’t follow any particular rule in life.
What’s your motto?
Nothing unique, but I use it very often: “We don’t have so much time as humans on earth so let’s do the things that WE desire more and to risk.”
What do you consider your proudest moment so far?
Maybe the first time I advertised my professional account to people. I felt more active and somehow proud of my designs.
What are your plans?
I usually don’t say aloud my plans because it is better not to discuss things that you won’t do by tomorrow. Everything else is far away. But for sure, I have many plans in mind.
What is your dream project?
Every project that I didn’t do so far. As a new illustrator, I have many dream projects that I wish someday to work on.
Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Persist and focus on anything you do in your career. Without focus, you’ll never develop.
A few words for CiiN
Thank you. I am so grateful to be able to share my thoughts.