Updated: Apr 28
When I was working as an economist, I had more joy going to art classes than the full-time work I did during the day.
SoulDoodles team, Lili and Kala, sat down with Tanya Fisher on a crisp Sunday morning in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts. Facemasks on (of course), we dove into a conversation.
“Privet Kak Dela?” (Hi, How are you, in Russian). Illustrator, originally from Russia, said “Harasho” (meaning, good). While we interviewed Tanya, her daughter and husband explored the Marina neighborhood as they were visiting from Sunnyvale, CA.
Tanya moved from Krasnodar, Russia, three years ago, after her husband got a job in Silicon Valley. In Russia, Tanya studied Economics and followed suit with a role as an Economist, for three years. Now she is a graphic design student in SJSU and is taking a UX Bootcamp while also doing freelance illustration. It wasn’t until Tanya started studying art full time in a community college in the U.S. that she began to develop her confidence and aesthetic: people with large hands and feet. Now, she’s been doodling for five years!
Tell us about yourself & when you first started to Illustrate
When I worked as an Economist, I started taking online art classes, like watercolor, and I started drawing simple things like vegetables and fruits. In Krasnodar, I was also part of an art club that would meet every week on Sunday. We just did sketching and drawing. A lot of people discuss how we moved from our jobs to an art profession. For example, a lot of people would work on Stock illustration. So, I started to do that too. It’s beneficial to have a community and the stories from other people and how they are doing art for part of their lives.
What inspires you, and what art do you feel most connected to?
I like Mark Conlan’s illustrations. People mostly inspire me. I want to sketch my family, friends, or even myself. I love fine art, and my favorite class in school was figure drawing. I like art history and understanding the history behind a painting. I like Manet.
Describe your creative process and the tools you use:
I use my free time and simple moments in life to begin to capture something. I try to express something joyful and enjoyable. When I draw, I enjoy expressing something. I always imagine the story behind an object. Here are the steps Tanya takes when she begins to illustrate.
Step 1. Inspiration. I was just about to start to eat an apple, and then begin dreaming about how this apple was picked up.
Step 2. Reference. Photo of yourself for reference
Step 3. Sketch and Color. Sketch from a reference in sketchbook or digital. I made in procreate. Also, on this step, I start thinking about the colors that I will use.
Step 4. Digital drawing. I usually draw in Adobe Illustrator; I like the precise control over shapes and flexibility of changing anything.
Step 5. Result :)
Pencil and sketchbooks are my favorite. If digital, I use Adobe Illustrator most of the time. I tried to use Procreate, but I’m never satisfied with the result and end up redrawing everything in Illustrator, mainly because I like to control the vector.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. Five years ago I was an economist in Russia, and I did not foresee I would go on to be a graphic design student and freelance illustrator in the U.S.
I want to do what I like, not be afraid to change my life and explore new countries.
What would you tell others to be inspired to make art during Covid-19?
It helps bring some art and creativity in your life, especially when you’ve been stuck in one place for a while. Try to draw what you like or express what is important for you. For me, it’s my family: my cat, my daughter, my husband. I draw them all the time.
What are you hoping to get out of SoulDoodles?
I hope for a community of people who care about what they create. Whether it’s for a hobby for fun, bringing essential topics to the forefront is important. SoulDoodles is going to create support and inspiration.
Tanya surprised Lili with gifting a favorite book of hers, of which she solicited some advice, “I love this book, and I want you to have it, Find your artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon. The most important advice I got out of it was, “Do it consistently.”
You can see more of Tanya’s art and get to know her more by following her on Instagram @tanyabunny