Hi, I’m Deja. I live in southern California with my 6 year old son. I grew up in New York and I’m from Russia.
A.C-How did you become an illustrator/Artist?
I’ve drawn since I was a kid, art was my major in high school and college. While in college, my mom worked for a fashion company and they needed some sketches done so she recommended me. They ended up hiring me to do textile patterns and draw garments for their fashion line. That was my first art job. I freelanced for them until I graduated college and then decided to pursue that full-time.
A.C–How long have you been an illustrator/Artist?
Unprofessionally, my whole life. Professionally since 2003.
A.C-Do you think an illustrator/Artist needs a style? Why? Do you have tips on developing a style?
I actually struggled with the answer to this question. I think the ideal answer is yes but I personally get bored easily and always like to change things up and experiment with new styles. My only tip would be as long as you really enjoy what you are doing, you are doing it right. It shouldn’t feel difficult or stressful.
A.C-Could you describe your creative process?
Involves first having a vision in my mind. I love to go on Pinterest and get inspired by a variety of things like photography, illustrations, paintings etc.
Maybe, i can find some color combinations i like, or a layout i want to try out. It’s about getting collective inspiration and taking what i like and combining it into an idea. Then I like to sketch those ideas in my sketchbook. As an oracle deck creator, I do have to come up with a theme for all my art. So I like to create about 3-4 images and mock them up in Photoshop to see how they would look next to each other. Then, i walk away from it and come back to it with fresh eyes.
A.C-What part of your life is reflected in your illustrations?
My art used to reflect my life much more in the past. Now, I try to include everyone else into my art. I want other people to see themselves in my art, especially since I draw women. I love to draw different types of women, from different race, size, age. My art is a reflection of the average woman who isn’t being seen, accepted or acknowledged.
A.C-What would you say is your strongest skill?
Drawing by pencil. But I also think I have a great skill in developing an overall idea or theme for art which has become a new favorite part of the process for me. I’m also a skilled talker, but I’m not sure that applies here.
A.C-Who are the people who have influenced your aesthetics and your approach to design?
It wasn’t until I began to work on girl illustrations for my previous full-time job that I had discovered a new style which I fell in love with where you overlay watercolor on top of pencil illustration which initially was given to me as an assignment by my art director. I then began to play around with it all the time and it’s still one of my favorite looks.
A.C- Which is your favorite piece of art from your own designs? Why?
That is really tough. Maybe, card number 12 in my Personal Power Oracle Deck, called “I am divinely guided” I also used it as the cover for my journals and the box of the deck as well. Simply, i love the different layers and colors. I also think I did a pretty good job illustrating it.
A.C-What are you passionate about besides your work?
Besides my work I’m passionate about personal development. I have an obsession with books. I have over 400 e books, I don’t know how I’ll ever even read them all but I just love reading and learning primarily about the law of attraction, spirituality, and business.
A.C-What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Wow another tough question! I think it has to be overcoming having low self-worth growing up and having no confidence. Also, I had social anxiety and used to be terrified of people. I dealt with that for over 10 years and looking back, and now i am a completely different person. It feels like I’ve been released from some sort of prison.
A.C-What advice would you give to up-and-coming illustrators?
Try as hard as you can to be authentic and original. You don’t want to end up being accused of stealing other people’s work. That could ruin you. The other thing is to make time for your art and have fun with it. Don’t let other artists’ success discourage you. Don’t compare yourself to others and just do what you love, make art from your heart. You never know where that will take you.
A.C-Could you describe a typical day?
A typical day will be like this: I wake up when I feel fully rested. The upside to being my own business owner is I no longer have to use alarm clocks which I’ve always hated my entire life. I try to meditate every morning, stretch and exercise. Drink some coffee or something healthy. I take my morning vitamins and do some work, ship new orders. Then I have lunch with my 6 year old son, and spend some quality time with him. I listen to audio books and podcasts throughout my day as much as I can especially when I do house chores. In the evening, I will either draw if I’m working on a new project or work on the computer. I may have time to watch some TV before bed, but that doesn’t always happen. And then I go to bed. I’m a night owl so I go to bed at between 1:30 – am. I sometimes get inspired to draw late at night so I stay up late doing that. If I have a new idea, I can’t wait to start sketching or brainstorming.
A.C-Would you give us a tour from your art studio?
Right now I don’t have an art studio yet. All I need is sketch books, pencils and some watercolor to get my job done and of course my computer after I scan my art, it all gets produced digitally for my products.