Interview with Boris Zaytsev

Today I am very happy to interview Boris Zaytsev – a vector artist who developed a few fantastic styles that I all absolutely adore!

Boris is an exclusive iStockphoto contributor and an inspector. In this interview he will tell us about his drawing experience, and will share some tips on how to improve yourself selling your images on microstocks.

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Hello Boris! Could you tell a little bit about yourself? Where are you from and what do you do?

I’m from planet earth! I love it here with all the water and oxigine. Its the best place to live, don`t you think? I write masterpiece scores and fight dragons in my spare time. When I get bored doing that I make illustrations. My Hobbies include standing, sitting and laying down.

When did you start contributing to iStockphoto? How did you find out about it and how did it go in the beginning?

A colleague from art school joined istock after college. I was also finishing up and needed some work. So I thought I would give it a try.
I was taught in school that doing stock is like pissing in the pool and it ruins the illustration business for others. I was pretty reluctant at first, thinking that I’d cheapen my art by selling it as stock. It turned out to be the smartest thing I could have done. The amount of promotion I received through having my work shown on istock was huge. I got tons of freelance work and kick started my career in ways I could have never achieved in a conventional manner. I would have had to spend thousands of dollars promoting my illustrations the traditional way. It took about a year for my work to really start selling but I never gave up seeing on how my freind made good money on istock and I should be able to as well. There wasn’t as many illustrators and illustrations in 2006 when I joined. I got a bunch of my friends from college to join and had a little istock crew of amazingly talented illustrators. We were all very popular and all got jobs as inspectors at istockphoto.

Have you got any formal education in arts or designing, or are you self-taught? Do you think it is important to get a proper education to be able to earn living on stocks?

I’ve been in art school since childhood. I went to a high school with an art program as well. Used to only do fine art until I discovered illustration at Sheridan College. When you look at my work now, its hard to think I did fine art all my life.
Is art education important? Hard to say. Its different for everyone. I know it helped me immensely. I was more taught to be good at art then have natural talent like some do. Some people’s art is absolutely amazing and have never had a single art lesson. On the other hand, could you imagine the same naturally talented artist combined with art education. I’m sure it wouldn’t make them worse, if you catch my drift.

Which tools/equipment do you use?

I used to work in photoshop a lot and hated illustrator when I first used it. Well, I got used to it and love it now. I made my first 200 illustrations with a mouse. I got a wacom tablet and was pretty disappointed at first because I didn’t realize there was going to be a bit of a learning curve with the wacom pen and tablet. I thought it would be like drawing directly on paper, but that wasnt the case at first. After a while I got used to it and cant imagine using anything else.

Can you tell us the process of how you create an illustration? (Are you sketching first and scanning or do everything straign away on your computer?)

My process is always changing for creating my illustrations. I usually draw the illustrations directly in illustrator with my wacom pen. I’ve also done pen drawing on paper and scanned them, then fix em up in illustrator. All depends of what style I’m trying to go for.

When creating a stock illustration what are you aiming for to make it popular?

Making popular images isn’t a strong suit of mine. If I wanted to make images just to make money on istock I would be doing icon sets and floral background. Those seem to sell well.
I enjoy doing my silly characters. I have a lot of fun with that, but the sales lack cause of my niche market. I also do lots of freelance work in my style and nothing makes me happier then getting paid for making my illustrations. Making money for doing what I would probably be doing for free as a hobby, is just a dream come true.

What is better: quality or quantity?

In the stock game quality and quantity are both important. You need tons of art to make sales, so I end up doing a lot of simple fast illustrations. You also need those elaborate pieces to impress your potential clients. I love simplicity and love it when something looks great with minimal detail. Its what I mostly strive for when doing stock. This way I can make hundreds of illustrations in a reasonable time frame.

As an iStock inspector can you tell which are the most common mistakes among new vector contributors?

There really isn’t a common mistake everyone makes. Everyone make there own mistakes at first like open shapes and keywords, things like that. After a few rejections for the same thing we all learn.

Thank you Boris! What would you suggets for those who start contributing to iStockphotos? What are the ways to promote yourself better there?

The only advise I can give for those starting out in the stock game is, if your not going to pump out hundreds of illustrations you wont make money. You`ve got to do lots of illustrations if you want to stand out amongst the crowd and get those sales. The more you upload the more noticeable you are and the more money you make. Simple really.

You can take a closer look at Boris’s iStockphoto portfolio here, his website here, Facebook page here, and Twitter here.

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