Illustration of diverse women in a row on a peach background

Maryia Nestsiarovich (@nickvector_art) is a Belarus-based illustrator and UX/UI designer who brings ideas to life with her distinct vector characters and 2D worlds.

We recently got in touch with Maryia to talk about her creative journey in finding her own style and becoming a professional illustrator.

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Hi Maryia! How long have you been drawing, designing, and illustrating?

I have been drawing since childhood, but I really began to improve my drawing and painting skills during my 10 years studying architecture.

How has your background in architecture influenced your artwork?

It helped me learn how to compose compositions, work with colors, and make initial sketch plans for my customers. I also developed my own personal illustration style.

What was your journey to becoming an illustrator?

My illustration career really started to take off when I decided to sell pictures on Shutterstock. I currently have over 1,300 images in my portfolio.

Illustration of women linking arms by Maryia Nestsiarovich

Do you have any advice for illustrators looking to sell their artwork on Shutterstock or another stock photo website? What to do, and what to avoid, for instance?

Selling your work on Shutterstock involves more than creating great visuals.

You also need to write descriptions with descriptive keywords so that the customer will find your illustrations and hopefully purchase them. It’s also important to follow trends and hone in on the styles and themes that you want to capture.

Maryia drawing on her iPad.

You use a variety of different styles and techniques in your art. Why did you choose to do so?

At the moment, I have roughly three illustration styles.

Around a year ago, I tried to paint everything in the same minimalist style. I even had a mantra: “I want to draw the whole world in my own style.”

But then I began to realize that the minimalist style wasn’t enough for capturing details. These days, I’m trying to use more textures and some new styles have evolved through working with different clients.

When a new project has a fairly large budget, it allows me to take the time to find the right style. I do this so that people can look at a website and instantly recognize a brand and think, “oh, this is such and such a company.”

Vector illustration of two people by Maryia Nestsiarovich

How do you get inspired?

I spend lots of time searching for images on Pinterest, Dribbble, and Instagram. As soon as I see something that sparks an idea, I save it for later.

What is your process for creating an illustration? Do you start with an idea in mind? Or do you draw something and let it evolve naturally?

My process starts with looking at all of my saved inspiration images.

Then I start to come up with a rough idea for how I want my illustration to look, but I never fully understand it until I start to draw.

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Through the process of drawing, I start by creating the pose of the character, and then I start to form the surrounding composition and details.

Illustration of female character by Maryia Nestsiarovich

Who are your favorite illustrators and what do you love about their style?

Poppy Crew - I love the roundness and softness of her characters.

Andrea Oerter - I like the clean lines and bright colors.

What’s something you wish you knew when you started pursuing this career?

It’s easy to get lost in all of the business aspects of being a professional illustrator. But it’s the process of drawing that I enjoy the most. Everything else follows after.

Could you tell a bit more about the story of how you got involved in the profession?

First, I started selling illustrations on Shutterstock, and then I uploaded my portfolio to Dribbble and Behance.

I also registered on Upwork and Fiverr. I now receive commissions from all of these sites, as well as Instagram. It’s important to put yourself out there on as many platforms as possible, because you never know where your next professional connection might come from!

Illustration of woman holding flowers by Maryia Nestsiarovich

What’s your favorite thing about being an illustrator?

Getting paid for doing work that I really love. It's really the best thing in the world.

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What is compelling to you about art?

Freedom of expression. You can choose any topic and interpret it through drawing.

I always try to illustrate things that are close to my heart and that reflect something about who I am.

Maryia illustrating on her iPad.

What makes your art special?

I am often told that my style is very recognizable and unique, which seems like a good start.

Are there any messages you are trying to convey with your art?

First of all, I want to convey that there is strength in femininity.

I believe a woman is no worse than a man, and she can achieve the same goals that a man can and even be much more successful than society believes.

To communicate this idea, I often include a female executive character in my business concepts.

Illustration of three girls by Maryia Nestsiarovich

What's your favorite Vectornator tool?

I love using the Pen Tool and the Pencil Tool.

I use the Pencil Tool together with the command function to delete anchor points from my shapes.

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What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

At the beginning of my career, I felt like my characters lacked character and my lines and shapes weren’t bold enough.

I just kept working and improving, and I also looked to other illustrators as guidance.

Right now, I like everything in my illustrations, but who knows? Maybe I will have a different opinion in a couple of years. :)

What other tools do you use in your process?

When I'm communicating with my clients, I like to use Slack. It's such a great tool for communicating!

Illustration of three women holding cats by Maryia Nestsiarovich

Thanks Maryia! We're excited to see what the future holds for you!

Maryia Nestsiarovich is a professional illustrator and UX/UI designer with more than 10 years experience. She’s worked with international clients such as the State Bank of Belarus, TUT BY, LIBRESSE, Tinkoff, and Mark Formelle.

She specializes in creating flat, linear vector illustrations for people and businesses who want to enhance their corporate and personal brand with a unique style.

You can find Maryia's work and support her here:

Dribbble | Instagram | Behance

And don't forget to download Vectornator!

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Feminine strength: an interview with Maryia Nestsiarovich | Linearity
Feminine strength: an interview with Maryia Nestsiarovich