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Irina Kay, fashion illustrator, textile print designer & art educator

Irina Kay, fashion illustrator, textile print designer & art educator

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Your current job: 

I’m a freelancer. I collaborate with brands and design studios worldwide and teach fashion illustration.

In which city are you located? 

I’m based in Prague, Czech Republic

A word to define what kind of worker you are: 

Perfectionist. I love details and I believe they make a difference. That’s why I use the smallest sizes of brushes for drawings and create sophisticated designs with a lot of elements and precise color palette.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..) 

My hands and watercolor! All of my designs and illustrations made by hand with extreme attention to detail. As well I love to create things with my hand, cooking or decorating my home.

What does your office space look like? 

Quite often I work from home and teach my fashion illustration course at the studio, which is 5 minutes away. It’s very practical to save time moving there and back. My place is light enough and very quiet. It situated in front of the river where I can go for jogging during the lunch break. I have two working desks, they are both in front of the windows and one with a computer. I can choose which one is suitable for the size of a watercolor paper I work on. When I want to change atmosphere I go to read or sketch in a coffee shop with a high ceiling. I need a new big space around me to free my mind time to time. 

What kind of music do you listen when you are working? 

My playlist is quite extensive with no limits in styles. Some days I don’t listen to any music at all. Or I can be stocked on the same song and I listen to it every day like “Blue Jeans” by Lana del Rey. Sometimes I find randomly great musicians on Tidal, the last one is a Swedish pianist called Jan Lundgren. 

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work? 

I usually have a plan for a whole week and I try to prioritize my tasks. Sometimes I move the same task from week to week. Once I realized that I plan too much for one day and I started to be preciser with time for a particular work and add a little time for unexpected changes. As well some tasks have really low value and I just remove them.  

What tips would you give to improve productivity? 

Being realistic in timing, deadlines and in priorities. Plan in advance and follow your to-do list. Focus on the general task first of all.

You’re better than your colleagues to: 

Eating cheesecakes. I know where is the best one in Prague!

What is the best advice anyone has given you? 

Do not rush to react to other people’s reactions. Somebody can change their mind very fast again.

What is your best tip for saving time? 

NO phone and social media. Self-discipline, and priorities.

What is your routine start and end of the day? 

Morning coffee and porridge with banana and walnuts. Work out in the middle of the day, before lunch. And evening time with my husband.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? 

Headphones. I call on the run to my husband when he is in US or my parents in Russia. As well simply listening to music. Soon I will have Fitbit bracelet, which will count my day activity, movements and sleeping hours.