Curious about hand-drawn illustration and vector art? Welcome to our Discover Interview Series here at Envato Tuts+, where we sit down and talk with inspiring professionals and ask them about their work, their field, their inspirations, and the wisdom they've acquired through their experience and practice.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Eugenia Hauss—an illustrator and educator from Belarus who makes the most amazing, ornate illustrations. Her hand-drawn illustration work is absolutely stunning, and she has a lovely collection of vector art as well! It's so easy to lose yourself in the beautifully rendered details in her work. They are absolutely captivating pieces! It's also awesome to see how she works both traditionally and digitally.
I asked Eugenia about her work—her beginnings, her creative process, and what advice she'd offer to other creatives looking to get their work out there and pursue a passion for the arts. Listen in and take look at her fantastic work and inspiring insights.
Please, tell us about yourself and your work.
My name is Eugenia, I’m an artist and drawing teacher from Belarus.
The primary direction of my work is creating large-scale ink and mixed media artworks. I like the idea of combining various objects in a whimsical way. I pay much attention to textures and details.
The main theme of my art is nature. It is a never-ending source of inspiration and important lessons to learn from. In my drawings, animals often become symbols that represent people in different real-life situations.
Sometimes I need a rest from complex projects, so I switch to smaller and more laconic drawings. They become apparel prints or products for graphic design marketplaces.
My second passion is teaching. I believe that being a constant learner is a great joy and also a significant advantage in the modern world. Drawing is not just a set of techniques to master; it opens up a world of self-expression and self-discovery. We hone our technical skills and become better— more disciplined, creative, and patient—as human beings.
How did you get started in art and design—working with hand-drawn illustration and vector art?
The first steps were made when I was a child. The serious art training began when I was just five or six years old. However, ten years later I decided that this career is not for me and quit practicing for a considerable period of time.
I became interested in art again and got back to it only in my early twenties. It took me a while to recover the skills after such a long gap. Also, I learned vector and raster graphics computer software. Those attainments helped me a lot throughout the years!
There were several starting points, including times when I began working on microstock portfolios, immersed myself in the world of prints, and took the first steps as a drawing instructor.
I have multiple interests within one creative direction. They often become plans and goals. This state of permanent curiosity allows me to feel like a beginner from time to time. So exciting!
What do you enjoy about the work that you create?
I like to observe the process, being its active participant at the same time. An abstract idea gradually transforms into something tangible. Isn’t it incredible?
Nothing beats this feeling of accomplishment. I believe that everybody has the ability to create. It doesn’t matter what exactly you create—the very fact is important. Eventually, everybody builds their own life, so we all are the makers.
Visual art relies on images and symbols to convey a message. It is a unique language or a universal code by itself. It’s possible to encode your imprints, such as an idea, attitude or impression. You can tell a story either through the words or by using some visual representation. In the latter case, the impact will be as large as with text-based storytelling. (Or even larger.)
Art can educate, evoke memories or emotions, and guide a person to specific conclusions. Usually, this happens naturally—without a disturbing feeling of external pressure.
I believe that artists and designers have a significant power to influence people’s thoughts, emotions, and even actions. How do we use it? It’s a great and valuable responsibility.
What are some tips or tricks you wish you had known, earlier in your life as an artist/designer?
The most important idea I wish I had realized sooner is that everything comes from within. It’s necessary to work hard and, at the same time, stay calm and patient inside.
Sometimes we all strive for some results—it can be better technical skills, financial goals, or social recognition. If we can’t get the desired outcome, it makes us upset. Comparing yourself to others doesn’t help either. Creating something big requires a lot of time, but it’s easy to forget this simple truth in our rapidly changing and demanding world.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but achieving any goals won’t make us happy. At least, for a long time. We can’t be happier than we’re now, in the current circumstances. That’s why it’s important to develop the right attitude and enjoy every step of your creative journey. Any experience is precious.
I see now that such a constructive attitude helps to stay focused on the most significant aspects of the work. As a result, it becomes easier to advance in professional skills and produce high-quality products that people actually find useful.
What are your inspirations?
For me, sources of inspiration are everywhere. The primary one is nature. I like being outdoors, exploring the world of flora and fauna. Looking at objects allows me to analyze their structure and textures.
I always make photos; they can be used as a reference now or in the future. It’s possible to expand your visual library even without actual drawing! Another source of inspiration is learning and reading books. I make sure that my mind is always working, generating ideas and creating new associations between them.
However, it doesn’t mean that the thinking process is always focused or busy. I let my thoughts wander, too. According to my experience, this state of relaxed thinking brings many wonderful ideas.
Inspiration may come from other creative people and their works. It’s great to see examples of true mastery. They show us what is possible if we’re willing to put in the work. However, it may be dangerous to give this source too much power. First of all, inspiration is fuel for creative action and growth, not for comparison.
What is one of your favorite hand-drawn illustrations you’ve created, and why?
At the time, my favorite artwork is “I Don’t Want to See the Truth”. It is a large-scale ink and graphite drawing.
It tells a story of the mind’s evolution—or, rather, about its starting point. The main character of this artwork is a person with negative internal dialog. There are countless fears, obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and perfectionism.
Those destructive elements create an illusion of reality for that person. Obviously, it is quite hostile. One has to be defensive to survive in such a world! Animals, birds, and even plants in this artwork are the symbols of inner tension and imaginary threat.
The truth is that our character can choose kindness, joy, and happiness. Every person has a great potential to create his or her own reality. If the girl takes off the blindfold and armor, she’ll be amazed. There is no need to defend herself! The war is over, and there never was any. This work has some great positive meaning. It is devoted to people who choose to overcome their mental limitations, striving towards love and light in their hearts—even if fear is yet greater than their courage.
Could you tell us about your creative process, working with hand-drawn illustration and vector art?
The speed of ideas coming to my mind is much faster than the process of execution itself. I arrange ideas in lists where they are waiting for their turn. An idea can be presented in the form of a stylized sketch or just as a couple of words.
Usually, the work begins with rough, messy sketches of a small size. I gather a collection of reference photos from the gallery on my phone and Pinterest boards. Sometimes I use tangible objects as a reference—it may be pieces of wood with moss and lichen, leaves, shells or cones.
The sketch features the most significant elements and masses of objects. I don’t outline too many details of the future artwork at this stage, preferring to keep them in my mind. The goal is to create a harmonious composition.
Then I proceed to the clean copy paper. I draw the main elements first, and then fill the artwork with secondary objects and various details. Depending on the size and complexity, this step of the process may take up to a week of everyday work. It requires mental effort.
As soon as the graphite pencil underdrawing is complete, I start adding ink (or applications of other media, depending on the plan). This part of the process is relaxing and meditative. It’s the longest one, too.
The process for smaller drawings that represent fewer elements is quite similar. The only difference is the amount of time needed to finish the project.
What advice would you have for creatives who want to actively pursue creating and sharing their work, professionally or commercially?
If your goal is to monetize your skills and/or creative product, plan your actions with the desired result in mind. Describe it in detail! This will suggest ways to reach your goal and set smaller, manageable steps. It’s difficult to give more specific advice because everybody has a unique situation.
When it comes to sharing your work, I’d recommend focusing on your creative product and corresponding assets. Pay attention to your skills; make sure they are evolving. Take a step towards mastery every day.
In my opinion, marketing is important, but it shouldn’t be the core of your work. If you make something great, people will find you. Of course, on condition that you are posting your work online or make it available in some other way.
Sharing your knowledge and skills is also a great way to become a more noticeable person and show expertise. You don’t have to be a master of your craft to start teaching what you already know or can do. No perfection is required either. Every person has something valuable to share. Be sincere, and you’ll inspire others!
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who may be interested in your products or services. Boldness is rewarded!
In your opinion, what are some of the best ways to get your work out there, and into the public eye, as an artist/designer?
I’d recommend trying different options (start a blog, an Instagram, etc.) and sticking to something you feel most comfortable with. See real people behind the numbers, and you’ll be amazed how many good things may come your way.
Next, define the primary idea or theme of your work. I bet that nobody creates in a vacuum. Artists and designers serve ideas, subjects or topics that resonate with other people, too. (Not necessarily just their fellow artists!) Find a community that is sharing the same interests and values. Ask yourself who may benefit from your work in one form or another.
Again, work on your craft, generate and realize the ideas. I like the idea of documenting everything you do and sharing the fragments with the world. Don’t wait until you make something “perfect”.
Even if you feel like nobody is interested in your creations yet, don’t let it stop you. You never know who may be watching your progress.
Where do you think the future of your craft is heading, in terms of what’s popular or on trend?
Technology is evolving with huge steps—who knows where it can lead us? I think that in the world of the future [there will] still be a place for art and design.
Most likely, the technical requirements for creative professionals will be different. That’s why it’s important to stay open and ready to learn throughout life.
Also, I think that no matter the future tendencies, there will be a need for creativity as a way of generating fresh ideas and making complex or unique things. This kind of activity boils down to mental resources, too.
As for trends or popular tendencies, I believe they are worthy of attention. They are part of our culture and, in the narrower sense, shape our professional reality. However, it may be easy (especially for beginners) to become obsessed with tends. It is a shaky foundation to build your style or brand on.
In my opinion, finding your artistic voice and seasoning it with bits of personality is a more steady way to become successful. It’s people who create trends, isn’t it?
What final words of encouragement or wisdom would you like to share with our audience?
To conclude everything above, I’d say the following.
Be kind and attentive to yourself. Nobody in this world knows your strengths, aspirations, and interests better than you do. All the necessary wisdom and answers are inside.
Trust your inner voice and feelings, and yet leave some space for the purely rational mind. Let all parts of your personality speak and show themselves. Even self-criticism is useful if you can make it your friend.
Take care of your health, especially to its aspects that may suffer from the hard work towards your goals. Try to see things from a long-term perspective.
Also, don’t link your self-worth to your professional success. Your mastery, social recognition, and financial goals matter—but if you consider them as a top priority, everything falls apart.
Create, explore, and have fun!
A very special thank you to Eugenia Hauss for sharing her work and her insights with us! Your work is fabulous, Eugenia—thank you! It is an absolute delight to admire your work and listen to your thoughts on art, design, and content creation.
You can check out more of Eugenia's work here:
- Eugenia's Portfolio
- Envato Elements | EugeniaHauss
- Instagram | @eugeniahauss
- YouTube | Eugenia Hauss
- Eugenia's tutorials on Envato Tuts+
Check out more of Eugenia's lovely work on Envato Elements—beautiful works available for use in your next design project. Please, consider supporting her work!
This lovely collection of florals and cosmetics would be perfect for package design, all-natural products, or for evoking an organic, soothing feel. There's so much texture here; isn't the hatching lovely?
What a tasty set! Eugenia has such a way with texture and depth. Imagine this on a menu or a take-out box! It could be a perfect fit for advertising or even a fun addition to a T-shirt or apparel design!
How romantic! Check out these beautifully ornate, floral frames. A perfect addition to wedding invitations, valentines, or any time your project calls for a little extra botanical-themed love.
I absolutely love this set! There are so many potential applications here, either as an ambient addition or as a focal point in your compositions! Consider adding these lovely illustrations to your collection!
Talk about tasty! I love these pretty vector desserts! The texture adds so much to it, aesthetically—giving it a welcoming, unique look and feel that's sure to leave an impression.
If you enjoyed this interview, here are some tutorials that you might enjoy—both by Eugenia and other lovely creators at Envato Tuts+!