A Day in the Life of... Our Lead Illustrator
Welcome to today's installment of 10Clouds’ ‘A Day In The Life’ series in which we’ll be talking to our Lead Illustrator, Igor Kozak.
Igor has almost 13 years of experience in illustration and has worked with startups, scale ups and enterprises in a wide range of industries. Welcome Igor.
Could you tell us about what your role involves?
Sure, of course. I am both an illustrator and a team leader. Currently my work is split at around 60% client time and 40% time related to managerial and team leadership tasks. It’s great to retain this balance, as illustration has always been my passion.
At the same time, it’s fantastic to be able to develop a team. In this part of my role, I’m responsible for the professional development of existing team members, and the recruitment of new ones. We’re at a very exciting stage where a new 3D Designer is about to join us, and we’re also on the lookout for a second 3D Designer/Illustrator and a Brand Designer.
In my Team Leader capacity, I also get involved in the presales process, and ensuring that we’ve accurately allocated work to the right members of the team, depending on their experience, expertise and capacity at any given moment. I also oversee our internal design on platforms such as Dribbble and Behance.
As illustration is such a growing part of design at 10Clouds, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ideas for how we should work.
Awesome. And how is your team structured?
We currently have Wiktor, who is a design generalist (with extensive knowledge of branding and UI), but is currently largely focussed on 3D motion design. He also supports our internal marketing team with their projects. Wiktor is a great example of the fact that at 10Clouds you’re able to hone your own path, depending on the areas of work that interest you most. We have Aleksander who is a 3D designer and illustrator. We’re looking for a second person with the same skill set to join us! We have Anton who is a Product Designer, passionate about 3D design and animation. And, as I mentioned previously, we’re also on the lookout for a Brand Designer.
The brilliant thing is that we all work together very closely, sharing ideas and giving each other feedback. It’s the best way to learn!
Some of us have many years of experience, but we still really value the input of other team members when working on a client project. Sometimes we swap people out of projects depending on ability, experience and availability. We always do this for the benefit of the project.
What might a typical day look like for you?
My typical day starts at 6.30am - I wouldn’t survive this early start without lots of coffee! I take turns with my wife to get our older daughter ready for nursery. At the same time, we look after our younger child who is currently only 3.5 months old. On the way to nursery, I check my calendar and plan my meetings for the day.
Then I’m back home, having stopped off at the bakery, getting ready for ‘Mobsters Team Daily’ (haha, that’s what we like to call ourselves) at 9am - it can last anything from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on our needs and what we need to discuss.
The whole team gets together to discuss what’s been completed the day before - whether there are any difficulties and challenges and if there’s any way in which we can support one another. Although we work on different projects, we’re all aware of what other team members are currently doing.
At around midday, I take the time to respond to everyone outside my team on Slack. I have a range of different teams and subjects that I’m part of, including pre-sales, recruitment and project feedback. Then I have a brief break for lunch.
The second half of the day is dedicated to design (if all goes well) although days can be really varied. On some of them 80% of my time is spent on management, whereas on others, it can be as little at 20%. I sometimes also like to work in the evenings when everyone else is asleep. I feel like this is the best time to get my creative juices flowing. But I have to remember to get a decent amount of sleep considering my 6.30am wake up call!
What is your favorite product that you’ve worked on at 10Clouds and why?
There have been loads of great projects. For example, we’re currently working with Dentsply Sirona - an international dental equipment manufacturer and dental consumables producer. We’ve been working with them since November, and the work is likely to continue for another few years. We’ll be focusing on creating an illustration design system for them. We also support them on the creation of marketing materials, and build 3D visualizations for web development.
But I have to say that Pooldog has probably been my favorite project. It’s a crypto mining product with a very unique vision and look. We worked on it as a whole team in a tight, close-knit working environment in which everyone had their own area of expertise. We’ll soon be sharing the effects of our work on our social media channels. Watch this space!
The project involved branding, creating a dashboard and landing page, and perhaps most interestingly, working on their hero character. Thanks to the fact that the client had a well-defined vision, the work was always exciting, despite some challenges that we encountered. It enabled us to bring to life our own ideas and creativity and to channel them into something worthwhile for the client.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out their career as an illustrator?
I would say that you should embrace all kinds of clients. Don’t be scared to work for a corporation. Many illustrators fear the corporate environment and worry that if they join it, they will sell their soul. But the way I see it is that you should learn how to find solutions to problems, and use these as opportunities to express yourself as an artist. If you’re challenged on your illustration, don’t throw your toys out of the pram. It’s such a useful learning experience. Embrace feedback, improve your relationships with clients and try to understand exactly what they are after. Many artists want to express themselves, but a truly good illustrator uses their creativity and puts it to use for the benefit of other people.
I would also say that you should put your work out there and be open to community feedback. But make sure that you research different platforms and find the right one for you - be it Dribbble, Behance, Instagram or anywhere else.
What are other people sharing on there? Is it generally the same kind of vibe as the things you produce? If you’re doing 3D visualization, Dribbble is probably right for you, whereas if you’re a Concept Artist, Artstation would be a good choice. If your creations touch on social issues, try Instagram to get the word out there about your work.
And whatever you do, stay passionate!