Artists Judge Themselves

Russian illustrator Katerina on creative processes and blockages. Interview series by Stages of limbo

Recently I had the chance to talk with, Katerina Voronina. Katerina is a Russian illustrator, fine artist and motion designer currently based in Berlin. We talked about creative processes, her experiences on the creative blockage and the creative breakthrough.

Tell me about creative exploration. What is your process? From idea to action.

Depending on the task I have a different approach. Usually I start with research. When I’m working on an illustration for a text I try to dig what lies under the surface information and then look for reference images. I try to catch the mood through the technique.

Your thoughts on creative blockage. Did you experience creative blockage in the past? How does it feel?

Artists judge themselves. We feel we are not professional, not talented enough. Self sabotage is common among artists, but I believe by training our brain, step by step, we can practice the art of being kind to ourselves.

You know, the reason I draw is that I feel a strange physical sensation while I do it. Almost like a brain orgasm. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s truly an exeptational and addictive feeling. When I don’t have it, I feel like I have lost it forever, and that something is wrong with me. It’ss a challenge to let go of this expectation, but I’m getting used to the fact that it just cannot happen every day.

The creative breakthrough. Do you remember a moment in time where you left a state of stagnation behind? What helped you? What changed?

You know, if you ask me the same question next month, I will answer you something absolutely different. It changes all the time, depending on what I leave behind.

The most important is to be honest with ourselves. When you want to share a story or piece of art with the world it should first of all touch you. If it doesn’t mean anything for you, who else will love it? Love what you do, and things should work fine.

Recently I went back to Moscow, my home city. I realised that something in the past was not closed, some doors were still open. When something is still bothering you, it keeps on pushing the past into your present, and prevents you from going forward. When I went back to Moscow, I realised how much I love my city, my friends, and family, and that I have a strong connection with my past. I also understood that it is part of my personality to move to another country. It was a relief. I closed a hole in my soul with all the doubts, which made me stronger.

Now, I feel more confident. Creative breakthrough is not only about action for me, it has a straight connection with your feelings.

Can you share a recent work and tell me about your inspiration?

I drew this on a jazz concert in Moscow. The moment of creation was a true synesthesia of feelings. While I was drawing, I was listening to the music and felt part of the vibrant vibe of the hall.

When I shared this work with my students and explained the process, I felt moved by it again. Teaching is my great source of inspiration.

You can find Katerina’s works on and Instagram

Stages of limbo connect creatives to exchange ideas and explore the border areas of their creative practice.
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