NewsThe Blitz Interview

Microstocks Favour the Brave: Studiostocks Illustrators

Almost all stock contributors strive to follow the trends. As only trendy pictures have a chance to come into tops and editor’s picks. Therefore, people purchase them more often than other images. That’s why newcomers try to get into mainstream while veterans prefer to interpret trends in their own way. And only the boldest and the bravest don’t care about current novelties and create their own. Studiostocks, a trio of illustrators, is one of them.

Their portfolios stand out of the crowd. Their amazing detailed and humorous retro artwork is perfect for magazine articles and advertisement mockups. Although Studiostocks haven’t been on photo stocks for a long time, their illustrations have already appeared in numerous projects all over the world.


Tell us about yourselves. How has everything started?

There are two types of authors on stocks: stock loners and stock plants. The first are individual illustrators and photographers. The second are big or small studios working together for one portfolio. We belong to none of them. Studiostocks is a creative trio that consists of two illustrators/art directors and one copywriter/creative director. Each of us has a personal portfolio on photo stocks.

We were born in the USSR and used to live in different areas from the Kamchatka Peninsula to Tver region. We met in Moscow — a place where all eager future animators and screenwriters wanted to go in the early 90s. We used to work for different TV channels, advertising agencies and animation studios until the economic tide washed us to our own artworks studio.

Why have you decided to become illustrators?

We can ask the same question to photographers and operators. How do they manage to carry all this stuff like a tripod, lighting, models and actors, dishes for fruit and vegetables, batteries? Ugh! Of course, we preferred to be illustrators! All we need is a pen, a sheet of paper and a computer. Close your eyes, imagine whatever you want and draw it. Besides, we worked as animators for a long period. Just imagine: we had to draw 24 illustrations per second! No wonder every animator’s dream job is an illustrator. 24 illustrations during two or three days. What a nightmare! Our life is much easier now.

tears laughter psychologist family relationships emotions mental problems pop art retro styleA woman’s problems make the psychiatrist laugh. PressFoto

What qualities should a successful illustrator have?

Don’t be afraid to develop new niches. Some illustrators visit popular photo stocks and think they should draw the same way. But the lack of other styles doesn’t mean they are unasked. It might mean no one has tried them before. In the beginning we used to hear that our works would never be popular. At the time flat design, icons, and patterns were trendy. But we saw thousands of photos and videos featuring people and thought it would be a good idea to create a big, well-drawn gallery featuring people. We hoped it would be popular. We risked and didn’t fail. So don’t be afraid to go for a challenge and create your new illustrations. To our mind, stock illustrators with an exceptional style can become successful in this business.

Why do you basically work in retro style?

Retro never becomes old-fashionable. Trends in commercial illustration change all the time. Yesterday 3D was popular; today flat design is common. Retro artwork lives forever. We set our retro heroes in the modern world or use them to disclose present problems. They have some kind of warmth. It is easier to love them. The past is the time of naivety, love and romance. It is interesting to describe the present world with the help of characters from those times. Moreover, it is almost unstudied segment of the stock market.

We are glad that our clients can find stories of business success and failure, a love story, images of a housewife, a robot, and a nurse in our portfolio.







See the portfolio


It is true we can find a lot of different interesting stories: episodes from successful people’s lives, love in the office and men and women swapping their gender roles. Besides, your image of a businessman is one of the most unusual. Your businessman is almost a superhero. Why?

A businessman is a discoverer. Like Christopher Columbus they sail along waves of economy, try to discover new lands. For some reason businessman doesn’t belong to a category of creative professions. But don’t you think a person needs a creative mind to open a new restaurant, to market an interesting gadget or to set up an amazing service? Perhaps, the best businessmen are romantic weirdos. That’s why we make our heroes freaky. We love them! They are funny while frowning, they believe in their business, their hearts burst into fire. Good guys, aren’t they?

Studiostoks-illustrators-image-8662341-businessmanA superhero businessman. PressFoto

How have you started working for stocks? Can you name pros and cons of this business as illustrators?

It happened by chance. Sure, we had heard about macro stocks, but we had no idea there was a new niche for making money. Recently we’ve realized it. The best thing about microstocks is that you can customize your work as you like.

If you work hard, all difficulties turn into joy. The most difficult is to format your works for stocks. Also, there were doubts during first one or two months: can it really bring money? Luckily, soon our efforts started to bear fruit. It is cool when people all over the world appreciate your artworks.

Although we are professional illustrators and we can teach beginners, we are still newcomers on photo stocks, and need advice from more experienced colleagues who we usually meet on internet forums. Tips on formats, taxes and some important details about work with different photo agencies.

What do you feel when you see your illustrations «at work»?

We are happy like kids. Definitely! We have been working for more than 10 years in the media industry, but every time we know someone, except our family, likes our work, we are happy. Self-realization and being in demand is an important feeling for any artist.

Quite often we see this illustration on the streets:

Studiostoks-illustrators-image-7644640-atwork One of the most popular illustrations by Studiostocks. PressFoto

What is the most important thing in your life?

Love. We wouldn’t enjoy humor without love.

If the internet and all microstock agencies disappear one day, what would you do?

Start our own tent circus.

Where we find inspiration:

Books is our inspiration. Old books with great artwork, advertisements and comics. Thick and thin, colorful and black-and-white, shabby and new... They inspire us. No offense, but the internet can’t offer the same range of useful artworks so far.

Our portfolio on PressFoto

We are sure that the example of Studiostocks will be helpful for other illustrators, and inspire them to create their own trends instead of following common paths!

We thank Anna Plis for help.