Today on the blog, we meet with an incredible artist who creates illustration influenced by the games from her childhood: Toma Vagner.

Developing her skills between the small Russian island of Sakhalin and New York, Toma soon became a renowned illustrator.

From rubik’s cubes to Jenga to paper cut-out dolls, let's discover her amazing illustrations all powered by Prodibi!

A few words about you. How did you start creating illustration?

I'm from a small island in Russia called Sakhalin. I came to New York in 2013 to study art and have been living here ever since.

Now I work as a full-time illustrator, but I also make a lot of personal drawings and series of images on the side. I've always been drawing, so illustrating for a living came about rather naturally.

Did you try other art forms? Or drawing has always been your favorite one?

I'm all over the place and have quite a few hobbies (not all of them related to art - chess, juggling, playing the guitar). In terms of art forms, drawing is what I do and enjoy the most, and practiced for the longest time.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Are you inspired by the work of other artists?

I have an eye for good design and well-made things; they encourage me to create my own work. There are many inspiration sources for me, most of them are outside of the illustration field.

On the other hand, the way I approach making images doesn't come from a mere inspiration, but from a drive on the inside, willingness to sit down and make something good just because I want to, and have a list of ideas and things I'm obsessed with. I used to say that I'm inspired by Japanese bubble gum wraps and IKEA manuals - that's true, but these are just a few of a myriad of visuals that I'm fascinated by.

It all comes down to what you have to say. Inspiration can be a nice push to bring yourself to start working, but you never know if you'll be inspired today or not. So I prefer to rely on my work ethic instead.

Can you briefly explain your creative process for a great image?

The image starts with an idea. Sometimes it's almost a ready composition in my mind, and other times all I have at first is a vague subject or an object.

Some of my subjects in the past included a rock-paper-scissors game, Jenga, make-up, guitar pedals, lost guitar pick, and so on. I make an image out of the theme I keep thinking about at the time. I use many photographs as a reference if I can't get my hands on the real model or object.

I draw with a ballpoint pen and color digitally or using acrylics. I play around with the image and keep working on it until I'm fully satisfied with the result.

Is there a particular client you dream to work for or a specific goal you wish to reach?

It would be great to create something for Nine Inch Nails, maybe a tour poster. I'm a big fan.

Other than that, I'm just curious to see where my path will take me. I'm often surprised when I open my email box - names and clients that I'd never expect to see there are interested in what I do, and I couldn't ask for more.

Read on: Hidden paintings behind the glass, a modern photographic reinterpretation of botanical illustrations by Samuel Zeller

Do you have projects for the future like workshops, travel, etc.?

My future is a bit uncertain now - I'm applying for artist visa so I can stay and keep working in the US, so my plans will depend on that.

If approved, I'll participate in a couple more Comic Cons around the US next year.

I'll keep doing what I do nevertheless.

To see more from Toma:

Her Website

All photographs copyright Toma Vagner and used with her permission.

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