We've met with Nina couple months ago in an art bazaar in Skopje. I just fall in love with her illustrations and her unique bold style. Since then, we've attended several events together and in this short amount of time she even organized her own festival (which was awesome). We realized we are neighbors, too!
Hi Nina! Can you tell me a little about yourself and your illustration business?
I am a graduated actress, I finished my education at FDU Skopje and I am currently working in Theater Kumanovo. Acting is my main passion, but since always I needed more, different ways of expressing myself, so I was always experimenting with different and new things. It was hard for me to decide what I am going to do for living, like a profession – but as time goes by I learned to combine and use my skills. Illustration is not just my passion, it is my private time to talk with myself and say how I feel without any words. Whit years I learned that is also a creative therapy and a get-away from all the stess reality brings. We all need parallel worlds. ☺ I also write short stories, poetry and children stories and illustrate them. I work with children like a drama teacher and I often write plays for our projects. I also started making doll hauses and miniatures.
As a graduated actress, it's not surprising to see you other sides of the art, too. Can you give us more details about your illustration business?
I am in this business because it is a challenge for me and my creativity. Also, painting makes me feel good and released, and if I can earn from that enjoyment – I find that satisfying.
I am painting since I know about myself, but I started selling my art a few years ago. I started selling online, on Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think about your competitors?
Well, I wouldn’t use the term competitors, because I appreciate the creativeness and effort we make in this job, so I guess they are people with similar style and technique like mine.
When you are in this business, of course everything is about selling your product. Being an illustrator is like being a little single drop in the ocean – there are plenty of them, a lot of them, even better ones. How to be seen and remembered – that is the thing.
What about your customers? Can you describe them?
My costumers are mostly young people (more woman than man – hah), mostly creative people who appreciate and love art or do some kind of art. I am sellingthings they can find interesting - art prints from original hand painted illustrations mostly with markers and pastel colours, I make prints in different formats and sizes and also postcards. I am thinking about printing clothes, notebooks, bookmarks and even bed sheets. :)
Where can your future customers find you?
I don’t have a website (not yet), so I am selling my products online on facebook and Instagram. I want to be in the international market, but I can’t do that because we don’t have pay pall in our country and that is a very important issue.
The only marketing I can make is to boost a post on facebook and Instagram, invite people and share my posts and that’s what I do. People can be aware of my products if they see on social media, or if they can see me on some Bazaars and I have been at a lot in Skopje.
What are the biggest issues for running this business?
There are a lot of issues for running this business. Selling online can also be a hard work, sometimes 24/7, couse the internet is full of information and if you miss one, you lose it, you wait for another chance. You have to be visible, you have to make an audience, show yourself and your work in a lot of bazaars and events, find a different ways to promote your work. So, it can be a full time job. But is it profitable? Not much in this country because of the economy. That is the main issue.
What are your future plans?
Well, I would like to publish my own book with illustrated shorts stories I write, and some children coloring books. I would like to illustrate children books and work on a projects in the book publishing business. Also, I want to make a few personal themed exibitions.
I would love to compete in the global market place, but I know that is not easy for an illustrator who paints old school – with hands (mostly markers and pastel colours) in a digital world. But I hope my next step is to try myself in digital painting (hope to buy ipad pro one day).
The future… I don’t know the future. But I know I will never stop painting, as long as I have something to say. If I can find a way to have a good salary from it, that would be just great. ☺