Creative Happy Life (01.01.2020)


Q&A with an artist: Anastasia Koldareva (CreativElly)

Our guest artist this month is Anastasia Koldareva, and an interview that was requested by one of my lovely Creative Happy Life Club members.

I’ll admit that I’ve only recently been exposed to Anastasia’s truly stunning artwork, and I’ve been amazed at the level of detail and love she pours into her exquisite illustrations.

I really hope you enjoy reading more about this lovely artist, and if you haven’t seen her work yet, I already know you’ll fall in love…

Full version of the interview was here

And now here: Core Questions (01.01.2020)

    • Who are you, and what do you do?

      My name is Anastasia Koldareva. I am 38 years old and live in Russia. I have being married since 2003 and have a 14 years old daughter. Sometimes she is a model for some of my drawings. I draw mainly line art because just there is no time for colored pictures, though I got a huge arsenal of mediums for making art from watercolors of various brands to hundreds and hundreds of alcohol markers. More over I write romance novels with tad bit fantasy. Do you remember a movie «Spirited Away» of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, so it is basically this is the genre I write my novels. Well, do not be surprised I got professional training in management in rail road transportation and psychology. But for some various reasons I had no chance to work in those professions. For now I am a housewife and an artist.

    • How did you start making art? Did you ever study a creative discipline(s) or are you self-taught?

      I have been drawing since a kindergarten. The art school in the city I used to live in and left 20 years ago was too far away and there was no possibility for me to get there considering where my parents worked. I could just dream about it and was envious of kids attending that school. My cousin graduated a similar art school and every summer visiting her on summer break I was admiring her works so beautiful and awesome. I accompanied her when she went to the river or fields to paint etudes. I drew a lot for myself without art school basics. One year as a New Year present I got magazine ELLE from my mom that time it was so rare and expensive. I was 15 years old. And there was the Laetitia Casta on the cover wearing silver fur mantle. I copied her and was astonished realizing she looked so alike the original. So since then drawing become my meaningful hobby. I do not remember for sure but probably my classmates mentioned me having talent seeing my pictures and I really got into drawing seriously.

    • What does it mean to you to be an artist?

      It means everything. I do not like so much to draw colored pictures they take too much effort. I prefer to draw using regular graphite pencils I am just too lazy to color them ha ha. Knowing this about myself for a while I was even regretting that I do not even need to buy colored pencils. Not till Johanna Basford and her first great adult coloring books appeared in my life. And here I got hooked. To color somebody’s drawings was such a pleasure. So now I got tens of beautiful coloring books, almost every art medium you can get in online stores all over the world and no time to color whatsoever. To create coloring books turned out to be more interesting than to color somebody’s else.

    • How long did it take for you to develop your signature style as an artist?

      I see unique styles many artists have but not sure if I got one myself, it is very hard to judge myself. I just draw but it seems my style always changes because it is boring to repeat same stuff over and over. It’s not interesting. Plus most times I am not pleased with the results and always think it could be done better.

    • Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a published artist? Have you ever done any other jobs before becoming an artist?

      Being housewife most part of my life I had various hobbies but they all been creating something. Making stuffed toys and dolls, felting, embroidering pictures and making Russian orthodox icons using glass beads, pearls and gems. Making panel pictures out of plasticine and sea shells, creating things out of polymer clay. Writing fan fiction novels to Harry Potter and Supernatural and then writing my own novels. It was a long list of my previous hobbies. Now I am growing succulents. I have a pet parrot, 41 snails, a leopard gecko and 1.5 thousands alive crickets to feed him:)) so you see I am pretty busy.

    • Have you learned any lessons along the road to becoming a full-time artist? Is there anything you regret, or things you wished you'd done sooner?

      I regret of lacking proper art school training. That knowledge would be pretty useful now, so I have had to learn and figure things out on my own. And most times it is time consuming process. Another thing I wish I had was more time. Becoming a full-time artist means working from home and getting away from work sometimes is hard. When people work in an office 8-10 hours a day they have chance to take a break from work coming home and do not think about it on vacation or weekends. But when drawing is your work it is always with you and impossible forget about it. Always something left unfinished and even if you are not drawing you still responding to emails, looking through somebody’s work, packing books for delivery and so on. So hobbies go on the last place because I have a family and a child and I want spend my time with them too. I do not have regrets about things I could have done in the past. As an old saying goes that sometimes blessing is not answered prayers. As an example I did not sign a contract with Russian publishers, they did not want to publish my coloring books but it came to the better outcome and gave me chance to meet so many awesome people all over the world. I definitely do not have things to regret about.

    • What does your creative process look like? Where do you draw your inspiration from and what excites you most about the creative process?

      Physically my creating process looks like total chaos in a room. It is a desk, shelves and even floor buried under pile of sketches, pencils and liners. Same chaos is in my head, tens of ideas and attempts to realize them simultaneously. It is not working out of course. It is very hard to discipline myself to start and finish one illustration at a time. And when I manage to do so, here comes another extreme- to make it perfect.
      Where the inspiration comes from? I do not really know. Sometimes seeing many beautiful things, flowers, faces online and works of other artists, thinking oh it would be nice to do something like this. Taking a picture, saving it in folders in a computer and it laying there forgotten for months and years till you finally delete it. But sometimes you just wake up with complete ideas in your head. This is the most favorite part of creating process for me, the feel that you have grown wings.

    • Have you every suffered from creative block or burnout? If yes, how did you recover?

      Well burnout happens when you work too much. Any creative process cannot stand the force but if it becomes your job and many people expect from you the specific result, you just have to do it even without desire. Any project especially the long one always starts from an inspiration but finishes only with determination and a will power. But after finishing it, happens that feel of burnout and exhaustion when you feel you are not capable of doing anything at all and usually good rest and changing of activity helps.
      When creative block hits it means you clearly going the wrong way. If you stall working on your drawing, you just got to put it away for a while and start another one.

    • Have you ever suffered with any struggles as an artist? How did you overcome them? e.g. loneliness, lack of inspiration or motivation, mental health etc.

      I have never put an art over my other hobbies, writing as an example. So if my need for drawing fading away I just switch the point of interest and start another hobby. The best motivation is the desire to create something. But it has to be a very strong one, to be able to finish project. If I am not sure that my new project will be as interesting to me tomorrow as much as today I will not even bother to start it. The fan expectations also are very powerful motivation but it usually works toward the end as an example when the book is half finished and deadline is close but you are out of strength, then somebody’s expectations help.

    • Are there any tools in your studio that you simply can't live without?

      Yep of course it is impossible to draw without pencils and sketchbook. We do not talk about digital drawing right now.

    • What does your work space look like? (Share pics if you have any, don't worry about mess... that's actually even better!)

      It`s horrible just horrible.

    • Describe your typical day as an artist

      Usually I see my husband off to work and daughter to school, have a cup of tea. Play with my pet parrot, he likes to be held and demands for my attention. And then start drawing. Well I do not know how to describe it you just sit and draw, sometimes taking breaks for cup of tea or ice cream and recall that still have to cook lunch and dinner.

    • What things do you do in your day-to-day life to encourage personal growth as either an artist or an individual?

      I love to read a lot. I like to see work of favorite artists and work of colorists, not necessary who coloring my illustrations. Their works give me inspiration and stimulus to self-development. I also collect adult coloring books and various art mediums. I realize that most likely I will not use the most of it but I just enjoy having them. It is a pleasure to hold them and look at them. Beside that I am into psychology. And here is another thing- house cleaning! The cleaning is the best motivator of self- development! The goal to finish it soon to do something useful and enjoyable.

    • Are there any themes you try to capture in your art? If so, what / why?

      I love to draw people. I like it because of diversity of skin colors, eyes shapes… each portrait- is a whole history being told by look, pose and surrounding details. I like a lot nautical theme and would love to draw whole series portraits with fish but I am not sure if my fans would like it. They probably would want more variety in my books.

    • What is your dream project? Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline you can tell us about?

      I have several projects at the moment. The first one and main one is the book with male portraits I am currently working on. You asked about self- development this is a good example of it. I did not draw many pictures of men and now it is about time to change this unfortunate omission. I will not talk about other projects right yet, as saying goes you should not run in front of the train. I am not going to give any promises which I might not be able to keep.

    • Have there been any milestone moments in your life that you've channeled / used as inspiration in your art? If yes, can you describe them...

      Of course. This was the moment when I got fans of my art work all over the world. It is still a mystery for me how that happened. And I am so grateful to each person who started coloring my work.

    • What do you love most about your job?

      I love the feel of interest and appreciation of my work by many people. Most creative people know that it is really hard to write the novel which no one will read, or paint a picture which won’t be noticed by many, or compose the music which no one will hear and appreciate. So I love and appreciate that feel of being needed.

    • What do you dislike most about your job?

      I do not like the most is the last part in the process of making a book. When all creative process is finished and you still need to scan illustrations, digitalize them and make a layout of future book, it is very exhausting. I am not just scan pictures and print them. It is not how it works. For the book to be beautiful and have proper lay out of illustrations which will be comfortable to color, I have to spend weeks working on a computer.

    • What tips would you give to other artists that are looking to start making an income from their passion?

      I think there are no general tips in it. Every artist is unique and has own style and own claims and hopes, so tips got to be personal too.


Quick fire round (just quick responses on this!)

    • My most embarrassing EVER moment is...

      It happened when I was in a high school. It was during Latvian class and I called Russia- Rossiya, how it sounds in Russian language but with heavy Latvian accent, but this country in Latvian is called Krievija. It was embarrassing. All my classmates were laughing till tears start coming out of their eyes and they still remember it! The worst part was, there was a guy amongst them I really liked.

    • One thing that scares me is...

      I am terrified of snakes.

    • If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be...

      Ice cream

    • The artist that most inspires me is...

      Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

    • If I had to describe myself in 3 words, I would say I am...

      Closed, melancholic and absent minded.

    • My biggest accomplishment is...


    • If I could travel to anywhere in the world, it would be...

      Philippines. There are many amazing sea shells out there.

    • My favourite book is...

      “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones

    • My favourite writer is...

      Diana Wynne Jones and Stephen King.

    • My favourite band / solo artist / music genre is...

      Mylene Farmer and Plazma

    • One thing people assume about me is...

      I am talented.

    • My guilty pleasure in life is...

      Collecting art supplies, cross stitch embroidery kits and DIY doll house sets. I got a ton of them.

Very truly yours, Anastasia Koldareva.