Katya Tikhova is a Russian-born illustrator living in the Netherlands who just joined our fakulty as part of the upcoming kourse, Colored Pencils: Sharpen Your Skills
Q: Katya, How did your creative journey start?
A: Two years ago, I worked as a journalist and an editor for a TV station in Novosibirsk, Siberia. In the last year of my job there, I was thinking about changing careers. I lost my interest in journalism and I noticed that drawing was becoming more than “just a hobby.” But I wasn’t brave enough to change my situation. One lucky break helped me to make the decision though when my future husband got a new job in another city and we decided to move. I knew I didn’t want to be a journalist anymore so I told him I wanted to try and teach myself to be an illustrator. So he promised to support me and we set a timeline for one year. If nothing happened after a year of trying, I would start looking for a different job. Looking back, it was a perfect scenario that allowed me to change my path.
Right before I made that choice, I had some basic knowledge about sketching and color theory but tried to learn more even while working as a journalist. I went to watercolor workshops and I was experimenting a lot with materials and techniques to find out what would be a good fit for me. I started watching videos, learning more techniques, and kind of covered the gaps in my education that would help me move on.
Q: Have colored pencils always been your medium of choice or are there other tools you love?
A: I started with simple graphite pencil sketches and occasional watercolor and then I switched to watercolor only for awhile. I took online courses and some more workshops and I began to mix watercolor with colored pencils to add texture and details. And finally I came to colored pencil sketching because it allowed me to work fast and at any moment since I didn’t have to wait for anything to dry. So that’s why it’s my favorite medium.
Q: Where do you create your art?
A: Mostly I work at home. I don’t have a separate room for my studio but I have a desk covered by tools and paper, my laptop and tablet, a scanner and a printer, and two bookcases with a lot of inspiring art books. So that is what I call my “art shelter” where I like to spend a lot of time. I also really like to explore Amsterdam and the Netherlands so sometimes I draw at cafes and in the streets.
Q: What is @sketchbreakfast? Can you tell us a bit more about that?
A: Sketch Breakfast is a group of people who either like sketching for a hobby or draw professionally as designers, artists, and illustrators. Last summer when I moved to Amsterdam, I wanted to meet some creative people and find some artistic soulmates because I didn’t know anybody in Amsterdam and was craving an art community of my own.
So first, I met Ema, an illustrator from Alkmaar. Together we decided to organize meetings in cafes throughout Amsterdam. Our first meeting was in October of last year and now we meet every Friday to chat and draw together. Now, there are a couple other organizers too and we’ve found that so many creative people live here in Netherlands or pass through as tourists. Some need advice, some need encouragement to start drawing with others in public, and some just need to not feel alone as a creative in the world.
Katya does a lot of incredible things with colored pencils and is a great example of creating your own community through art! We’re so excited to learn from her in Colored Pencils: Sharpen Your Skills.