Katya Dorokhina spent her childhood in a small city situated in the far east of Russia. “There weren’t that many interesting things around,” she tells us of her provincial setting, and she often spent her time watching Disney films, drawing and, of course, becoming obsessed with Pokémon. But it was drawing that left a lasting impression on Katya. Over time, she further pursued the medium at design school in Moscow, going onto establish herself in the capital city’s illustration scene with her vibrant work that bursts with colour.
When we last wrote about her back in 2017, Katya talked us through her recent commercial work, but this time around, she lets us in on how she first became interested in the medium. “In the beginning, I had a really poor idea about the creative industries and what I could do as a future profession,” she tells It’s Nice That of her career’s beginnings. “All I knew is that I love to draw and that it’s fun.” But with time, she came to understand that illustration is an exceedingly broad term, one with no limits in terms of mediums. “I can draw, tell stories, animate or make objects,” she adds on the variety of output that she continues to deliver today. Fundamentally interested in “the process of transformation,” Katya’s work is all about interpreting information, whether it’s a static drawing, a gif or a ceramic object.
In her recent publication Chill Pill, Katya took a step away from her commercial work and created a Risograph-printed zine where she could show a bit more of her personality through the work. Though she likes to explore certain visual metaphors in her commercial work, playing with hand-rendered text to make the overall work more interesting, it is Katya’s personal projects that really allow her to flex her creative muscles.
She came up with a concept around awkward family photos and weird quotes from old school albums. Devising an innovative visual language mixing bold outlined illustrations with soft dusty hues, Katya invites the viewer to interact with her and her schoolmates on each and every page of the colourful zine.
“I like to think that Chill Pill is a collection of memories, some sort of diary,” she adds. Elevating energetic sketches through carefully composed layouts, Katya creates a “universe of constant chill where there are no rules and [the viewer] can follow the stories of charming and weird characters.” Through the zine, the reader meets Katya and her friends in a happy illustrative form, following different storylines which they can then guess if they are true or false. Published by Sputnikat, the spirited publication is just a small insight into the diversity of Katya’s work, sitting satisfyingly alongside the multitude of editorial commissions in the Russian illustrator’s portfolio.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.