Featured Artist: Tonia Tkach

There could be no better way to end the year than by bringing you a Featured Artist overflowing with Christmas spirit thanks to the wonderful illustrations by the Ukrainian artist Tonia Tkach.

Her work has a vintage feel that captivated us from the very moment we saw it. And we can say that she, better than anybody, has been able to create an exclusive collection for a storybook Christmas. You simply have to look at her work to see that her characters and scenes have that friendly and warm touch that is in the air at this time of year. 

Tonia Tkach

Tonia Tkach was born and raised in Ukraine, in the beautiful city of Dnipro, where she trained at art school, specializing in the field of architecture. However, it wasn’t long before she realized that her true passion was illustration

“It makes me so happy to create illustrations for children’s books, magazines, postcards, stickers and posters. I draw for graphic stocks and my artwork can appear anywhere around the globe”.

Now, this illustrator lives and works in the north of Thailand, in the city of Chiang Mai, a place she considers ideal to continue developing her passion and examine her style more profoundly. 

“It’s hard for me to define my style, it’s probably a combination of cartoon and vintage styles. However, sometimes I like to draw both botanical illustrations and more serious graphic works”.

Illustrations that will make you dream

Tonia Tkach draws inspiration for her illustrations from almost everything that surrounds her, from nature to flea markets and vintage stores. Although what she loves most is to connect to children’s stories and fairy tales

Tonia Tkach

So much so, as she herself states: “Perhaps I never became an adult, I love to dream and create stories. Any leaf, bug, bird or cat can become a character in my stories”.

In fact, each of her characters reflects a part of Tonia Tkach herself, in one way or another. Some of them have a special place in her heart such as the Bear, the Bug and the Mouse, who even have their own house and share hobbies and adventures. 

I just draw what makes me happy, small and kind worlds where everyone wants to help one another, appreciate the peculiarities of each other, and live in peace and enjoy cookies. I am glad to share this warmth and kindness with others”.

Tonia Tkach’s work process

Watercolor is Tonia Tkach’s technique par excellence, with paper and a brush she can create illustrations that are full of details. She also sometimes likes to combine this technique with the use of colored pencils. 

Tonia Tkach

A process that she defines as “very simple”, but that requires a lot of work and time. 

“All you need are some basic tricks. First, try to blend your watercolor out in a gradient, water it down from a bright color to an almost transparent hue. To start, use a dense saturated color along with a little bit of water on your brush, then gradually reduce the amount of color and increase the amount of water (thus reducing the opacity of the mixture). Then try to do the same but with the transition from one color to another”.

Another trick that Tonia Tkach tells us all about is to take the finest synthetic brush, using a translucent mixture of watercolor and water, and making strokes like you would with a pencil. 

One final tip: to give a vintage look to your illustrations, use more ocher and sepia tones instead of yellow.

The final step in her work process is to scan and edit the illustration. “I use Adobe products for editing and preparing files. I find this stage of my work simple and even pleasant, as I can watch my favorite movies or listen to books as I work in the editor”.

A storybook Christmas

If you’ve got this far, you’ve probably already imagined the marvelous illustrations created by Tonia Tkach for Freepik’s exclusive Christmas collection. Magic, fairy tales and lots of Christmas spirit to create your own storybook Christmas. 

Because in this exclusive collection you’ll find adorable characters, gifts, traditional sweets, mugs of hot cocoa, snow-covered houses with garlands and Christmas wreaths on the doors, decorations, spruce branches, socks, gingerbread cookies and much more. 

Tonia Tkach

Tonia Tkach

“Christmas for me is a pre-holiday scurry. You have to prepare gifts for your friends and loved ones, make holiday decorations, bake gingerbread cookies, paint snowflakes on the windows… This is the time when miracles happen especially often. What a magical time!”

And now it really is the time! Ignite your Christmas spirit by downloading these Premium resources to create cards, wrapping paper, decorations or to start marvelous projects to transmit peace and kindness. 

Finally! It’s Christmas!