Sometimes a walk down memory line takes one back in time: recently we started to think back the games we used to play as children. Some of them were related to fashion: cutting out pictures of elegant and nicely dressed women from newspapers and magazines; or drawing models with dresses and outfits we thought were cool and fashionable, and pretending we could have them.
Perhaps this accounts for our fondness of the illustrations of Ekaterina Petropavlovskaia (kateillustrate). A fashion illustrator herself, Ekaterina is, in a sense, living many girls’ dream. Who wouldn’t want to play in the world of fashion? But what is more important, she is living her own dream. Just a month ago she quit her job at – the way she puts it – “a dream company”, Google, to focus entirely on drawing and her blog, which has the witty name of kateillustrate. This is also the name of Kate’s label of illustrations. It is a way for her to express herself, to share her development and improvement. She also hopes that through this platform she could inspire other people to follow their dreams. Her journey as an illustrator started only about a year ago and quite impulsively. “In December last year I just came home and I had this strong desire inside me: I wanted to draw something.”
However, this eagerness to draw doesn’t come out of the blue – the love for art runs in the family. “Sometimes it seems to me that all the drawing thing was quite random, while of course it wasn’t. I truly believe that if we have some hidden talent it will surface sooner or later. And this has obviously happened to me. My father was a painter, and he used to create those marvellous drawings, which I really admired.” Add to this Kate’s fascination for fashion and you get a young, gifted and daring fashion illustrator. It is incredible how much her illustrations have changed since the launch of her online blog, in just a few months. Starting with what looks more like sketches, the illustrations have now matured to be more complex, have more detail, colour and a finished look and feel. She usually draws women, wearing flamboyant clothes or want-to-have accessories by some of her favourite designers. For her fashion is more than just a garment. It has to have a story, it is a way of telling a story and a creative process by itself. To her it is art. Browsing through her blog you will see many familiar faces. Ekaterina draws her inspiration mostly from people she admires, and it is admiration of the character and charisma of the person and their achievements, rather than simply the way they look. These faces often end up on the blog.
Kate speaks humbly about her creative process. To start, she often seeks inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, looking for images that are similar to what she wants to draw. She says she doesn’t like to think too much when she is drawing. It’s her intuition that she relies on – “just follow the flow of the pen.” “The pen” for her is a stylus pen as she does all her artwork digitally, for now. “It happened that in the 6 previous months I was working a lot with Photoshop and Illustrator to create some designs for Google’s internal use. That’s why my first drawing was digital and they are still such today.” What we like most about Kate is that she really stays close to the people who have interest in her work. She’s not shy to express gratitude and say “thank you” to the compliments she receives or answer questions on her Instagram page. Kate has already created illustrations featured by Valentino and Berta Bridal, has made some dreamy designs for iPhone cases for Casetify and beautiful illustrations for How To Be a Redhead. But there are many new adventures and challenges upcoming for her. She is still developing her style, as she says. She is on the verge of starting a YouTube video blog, where she is going to include, among other topics, speed drawing videos, beauty illustrations, and helping people who want to start their own blogwith tips and ideas. She wants to publish her illustrations in magazines too.