Artist Interview: Dianka Pyzhova

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Dianka Pyzhova of the Ukraine. She has a unique illustration style, producing work that is at times whimsical, sophisticated or just plain cute, yet always charming. Her portfolio of vector illustrations contains great holiday concepts, including themed sets of icons perfect for every season.

2410515 © dianka at Crestock.com

2410515 © dianka

Dianka Pyzhova

Dianka Pyzhova

How did you get started in illustration or design?

DP: I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember: with my mom’s lipstick, with crayons on the ground and on the walls. I remember once there was no empty space on the ground and to draw more I had to wash it with water from the garden hose. Later followed formal Art School training – with paint and brushes, which led me finally to learn to complete my illustrations using computer software.

Who or what inspires your work?

DP:  I get my inspiration from everyday things and objects – the amazing curl of a shell, the pattern on a shirt of a stranger, the movement of lights in a lava lamp. But usually I don’t need to do anything to get inspired. Drawing is my life.

3146034 © dianka at Crestock.com

3146034 © dianka

What are your favourite images from your collection?

DP: I love all of my work, even those that stay on the paper and never get vectorized. Unfortunately  I have a lot of those because of the lack of time.

What’s your favourite subject matter?

DP: My favorite things to draw are animals and funny cartoon characters. Especially I like the moment when, after choosing color and adding the finer details, my character looks like it comes to life.

2215428 © dianka at Crestock.com

2215428 © dianka

If you had to pick just one medium, program or tool to work with from now on, what would it be?

DP: If I needed to choose one tool it would be my favorite simple gel pen; if software –  it’s CorelDraw.

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

DP: I cannot define my technique. Technically, I never use gradients or transparency; I like to play with colors and leave the outline.

What do you do when you’re not working?

DP: I like to read books, travel and learn about different cultures. I enjoy playing board games with my friends. And I love my dachshund, Elza.

2215437 & 3579575 © dianka

2215437 © dianka 3579575 © dianka

Any tips for someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

DP: For the beginners in the industry, I would advise not to start with copying top, successful artists, but to find your own style through analyzing their work and working hard. And the most important – Love what you do :)

See portfolio

2350883 © dianka at Crestock.com

2350883 © dianka


Artist Inteview: Sean Prior

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Sean Prior of Ireland. He took some time from his hectic schedule to chat with us about photography, the microstock industry and creative inspiration.

2753318 © 4774344sean at Crestock.com

2753318 © 4774344sean

How did you get started in photography?

1901112 © 4774344sean at Crestock.com

1901112 © 4774344sean

SP: I was initially a documentary filmmaker and had produced 7 films which were entirely self-funded and produced on my own time. (My day job at the time was in business development). This meant I owned all the copyright to the footage I had shot. I then took the clips to a few well-known agencies; they liked them and it went from there. I loved the creative aspect of stock footage, so I set about turning a hobby into a business. Now 4 years on we have 40,000 images and 20,000 HD videos! The still images side came as an afterthought: “Hey, I’m here shooting a stock video shot, why not take a photo as well?”

My background is very far removed from this business. I have a BA and MSC in Economics! Bizarre, right? Maybe I made the wrong subject choices in school but you know in a roundabout way it has got me to work in an area that I absolutely love. The most important point though is that I have a team of people working with me who are far more talented than I can ever hope to be.

2910405 © 4774344sean at Crestock.com

2910405 © 4774344sean

Who or what inspires your work?

SP: I get inspiration from the team I work with and also from people who don’t produce volumes but really focus on their own style—artists who aren’t as mainstream and keep a low profile.  There are some great photographers out there, but it’s very important to be aware that, in many cases, while the photos might have one name on the copyright notice there’s a very expensive production team working with them (art director, make-up artist, stylist, location scouts, etc.).  I think it’s important for individuals to realise this and not feel that they’re not hitting the standards due to lack of talent. Someone may have the talent but not have the team around them or the money to spend.

What are your favourite images from your collection?

SP: That’s a hard one. The favourite ones generally aren’t the good sellers. We were working on a shoot last year and we had a joke about who could produce the best image and win the “player of the tournament” award. Our senior photographer (Paul) produced a technically brilliant image of a boy kicking a ball in the park with his Dad. The emotions and the technical aspects were simply perfect… It has yet to sell!!

The same was true for my image on the shoot. I spent about 40 minutes on my knees in a very painful pose trying to get a shot of a mother and daughter blowing bubbles. Personally I loved the photo but unfortunately no buyer does! Not one sale to date. It’s criminal that an image of someone “snapped” against a white isolated background with a cheesy smile and a ‘thumbs-up’ to the camera is outselling these images!  I suppose that’s the difference between stock photos as a hobby and a business—you have to accept the good with the bad. I have sold plenty of classic stock images.They’re the bread and butter of the business. You have to accept that what you think is great and what sells can be two totally different things.

4174821 © 4774344sean at Crestock.com

4174821 © 4774344sean

What’s your favourite subject matter?

SP: Underwater sharks and fish – I only ever get the chance to do a few days here and there. I did my advanced PADI a while back and I would like to spend a lot of time underwater with a camera. Some day, when I retire! Right now I have to make sure I can pay my staff, so the dream will wait.

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

SP: Easy – Phantom Video camera. I could spend all day capturing water drops splashing into water at 1,000 FPS or travelling around trying to find a hummingbird to shoot. Again, it’s a dream for another day!

2110371 © 4774344sean at Crestock.com

2110371 © 4774344sean

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

SP: I would spend a lot of time in Thailand. I really love the country and the people. It’s such a great place. Maybe also camp up in the Scottish highlands with no mobile or laptop looking for a fox or badger to photograph.

Any tips for someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

SP: Find a niche that you love and doesn’t cost much and spend your time photographing and enjoying it. Or have lots of someone else’s money to spend on big productions. Warning: the second option is not good for your health, is very stressful and you really need to make sure you don’t mess it up.


Artist Inteview: Natalia Klenova – “Klenova”

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Natalia Klenova, aka Klenova, of Belgium. Her work, which was recently featured in the Hobbs Report, centres around stylized still-life images, rustic food photography, pretty spa vignettes and stunning travel shots.

3926988 © klenova / Crestock.com

3926988 © klenova

How did you get started in photography?

NK: All my life I’ve traveled a lot. I like to take photos of different places. Somebody once told me that my photos were good and I could try to sell them. I still remember the first download! I was absolutely happy! :)

Natalia Klenova at Crestock.com

Natalia Klenova

Who or what inspires your work?

NK: People who like my work inspire me a lot! When friends tell me that they like my photos on my blog or when I see how many downloads I have, I just can’t wait to do another photo session and do everything even better.

What are your favourite images from your collection?

NK: My specialization is still-life. I like to shoot spa accesories, flowers, etc. While my favourite subject is food, I never cook! :) I just like to show fresh and beautiful food and make people think how nice it would be to cook or just to eat it.

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

NK: France and Italy are inspiring countries for me. I would love to be able to stay there for longer than just a vacation.

What do you do when you’re not shooting?

NK: I like to spend time with my family. And I like to work in my garden (but even in a garden I can’t stop thinking how the vegetables or flowers are going to look in my pictures!)

Some favourite images © klenova at Crestock.com

Milk and Cookies © klenova at Crestock.com Wine and Cheese © klenova at Crestock.com Old Scissors, Herbs and Garlic © klenova at Crestock.com

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

NK: Shoot only what you really like to shoot. Even if it’s not the most popular subject. Listen to your heart. And find somebody who will tell you that you’re the best! It helps more than expensive equipment.

3818805 © klenova at Crestock.com

3818805 © klenova


Artist Inteview: Sandra Cunningham – “Sandralise”

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Sandra Cunningham, aka Sandralise, of Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Canada. She creates unique vignettes in her signature style on themes such as summergardening, or food. Over the next few months, be sure to check out her seasonal images—perfect for all your holiday projects.

Watering can and straw hat laying in grass © Sandralise on Crestock.com

2756829 @ Sandralise

How did you get started in photography?

SC: Actually by accident! In 2005 I started uploading my images to some free image sites just to share my passion for photography and saw an ad one day to make extra money by selling them. I continued to do photography part time for four more years and because of the success I was having, decided to go full time in 2009. I have never looked back and it was the best decision I ever made!

Who or what inspires your work?

SC: I try to create images that I personally love. I also love the small details of everyday life.

What are your favourite images from your collection?

SC: It’s hard to choose because my favourites are often my most recent images. Some of my current favourites are:

Favourite images by Sandralise at Crestock.com

2275614 © Sandralise 1676381 © Sandralise 2756808 © Sandralise 2473208 © Sandralise 1645701 © Sandralise

What’s your favourite subject matter?

SC: I have to say just about everything inspires me! I love vibrant colours and textures!

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

SC: I think my style is colourful, artistic, fun and down to earth with a fresh, clean look. My work is a reflection of who I am.

Cotton towels drying on the clothesline by Sandralise at Crestock.com

3856494 © Sandralise

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

SC: I’ve recently purchased the Canon 5D Mark ll and can’t wait to experiment with it!

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

SC: I would love to one day take a trip to Scotland. Beautiful country!!

What do you do when you’re not shooting?

SC: I’m always shooting, LOL! I hate to admit it but I eat, drink and breathe photography.

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

SC: Take the time to learn Photoshop and all it has to offer. It’s a great tool and will open a whole new world to complement your photography.

Do you have a website/blog or any other personal links (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) that you’d like to share?

SC: My website is: http://www.sandralisephotography.com and my blog is: http://sandralisephotography.blogspot.com

Cattle gazing on remaining green grass © Sandralise on Crestock.com

3025185 © Sandralise

Would you like to share anything else?

SC: I’m self-taught and an artist at heart. I have always had a passion for painting and photography. If you’re just getting started, research the areas you would like to shoot! Know the colour trends and what’s popular. Spend some time each day shooting, processing and submitting. Ask questions and read every forum out there for answers. And above all make Photoshop your friend!


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