Illustration duo Tom and Kwikki — aka Artem Iurchenko and Viktoriia Sviatiuk — live in and help populate a world of colorful characters and objects, where there's no such thing as too much of a good thing. Both artists were born in Kiev, Ukraine, where they honed their crafts in the local art schools and ateliers. These days, they've both relocated to France, where they continue to take in all the stimuli around them and reproduce it in endlessly inventive doodles, drawings, and other illustrative experiments. After presenting them with our latest Shutterstars crown (note: not an actual crown), we caught up with the spritely pair to discuss their work, inspirations, and tips for other contributors.
How long have you been working together as a duo?
We started collaborating in 2008, and a year later we became Shutterstock contributors. We love working together, because we add to each other's design techniques and aesthetics. For example, one of us is highly skilled in computer design, and the other is better at more classical approaches of hand illustration.
What are some of pros or cons of working as team?
Working as a team has several pluses, like better time management and utilizing different design approaches to establish a wider variety of themes, which leads to a greater number of illustrations. At the same time, the differences in point of view can also generate a greater divide, and sometimes that can be tricky to resolve.
How do you define yourselves creatively?
We define ourselves as collectors of objects. Meaning that our eyes search out a variety of objects, subjects, and characters, which we then sketch. From these sketches, we collaborate to create our ideas or themes that become our illustrations. It's such a thrill to see a final image, full of these sketches we've collected from many different pieces of paper.
What influences your styles and subject matter?
We both have art-school educations, so we can employ different styles in creating our images. We also stay busy with personal projects and take part in exhibitions, to stay in front of trends. Currently, we're both part of an exhibition on contemporary art — Artem is exhibiting a series of old-style etchings and Viktoriia has sculpture in the show. Our Shutterstock portfolio is a way to bring our independent styles together and share the results with a larger audience. And since we travel quite a bit and are always sketching objects, animals, people, and anything else interesting, we find combining these things in our illustrations both fun and rewarding.
Can you briefly describe your process when creating stock imagery?
The process is different every time. Sometimes the images are completely improvised, based on what is currently happening around us — like a sunny day or being in a good mood. Other times, we create special images or sets based on top keywords from Shutterstock, or from looking at our download stats. And even other times, personal works creep into our Shutterstock collection. In the end, we scan our images, work to perfect the colors and details, and upload to our gallery for review!
Are there tips you can share with other contributors on selling designs?
We believe that the creative process can be very different for everyone, but our best advice is to work and work and work some more, and never be scared of experimentation that can lead you to creating images that make you happy.
Are there other contributors you admire in the Shutterstock collection?
Do you have any personal feedback about Shutterstock you'd like to share? Shutterstock has helped us to realize some of our dreams. For Viktoriia in particular — as a child, she always wished she could draw everything she saw in the world. With Shutterstock, she has begun to materialize that dream.