Elements Experts: Mastering Watercolor Illustration with Envato Author Webvilla

We chat with talented artist and Envato Author Webvilla to find out what makes this Elements Expert tick...

ElementsExperts Q&A: Webvilla
Portrait for Kelsie RimmerBy Kelsie Rimmer  |  Posted May 19, 2021

Talented artist, illustrator and Envato Elements author Webvilla is master of her craft. Specializing in romantic watercolor illustrations, which often feature floral flourishes and botanical themes, this artist is an expert at creating high-quality content for Elements users to feature in their projects. 

Webvilla is the creative identity of Polish designer Beata Pijanowska who produces a wide range of work for Elements’ extensive library, with her designs spanning the categories of graphics, graphics templates, and fonts. Starting out designing websites and web pages as a job, Beata later began integrating more hand-painted illustrations and watercolors into her work to complement her technical skills – resulting in her enchanting and distinctive style. Now, she not only makes a living creating artwork for Elements, but also doing freelance design work for clients – which she often shares on Instagram and via her website

To celebrate Webvilla’s incredible body of work, we sat down for a chat with the creative lady behind the scenes to find out what makes this Elements expert – and Envato author – tick…

What’s your artistic background and how did you develop your creative style?

I started out designing web pages – a lot of my experience dates back to then. Later, I complemented these technical skills by exploring hand-painted illustrations, mostly watercolors.

What inspires you to create?

I’m inspired by so many artists from so many areas of art and graphic design that it would be difficult to name them all – and I’m always finding new ones! I could watch other artists draw for hours. Often I will catch glimpses of the tools they’re using, like particular paint and paper types, which inspires me to try them for myself and see how they can work for me.

Tell us about your Envato portfolio – what are you most proud of?

My portfolio includes two equally important parts: graphic design for the needs of webpages, and romantic floral motifs painted with watercolors. These two sides of my portfolio are quite different, but I like this diversity a lot. I try to always add products to both these different sides – I’m proud of the work I create and I hope Envato Elements users are able to find something special to suit their needs.

When someone commissions a project from you, what does the creative process look like?

In the case of watercolors and vector illustrations, the steps are the same: the client describes what type of illustration they need and what the purpose of the design will be. Then we agree on the colors and the main motives. If we’re talking about hand-painted illustrations, I send a sketch first. It would be difficult to add changes at a later stage of the project. 

How and where are your clients typically using illustrations?

It’s typically two kinds of clients: either those who need illustrations for web pages and business presentations, or people interested in watercolor images for invitations, flyers and branding.

How do you create unique work that stands out from the crowd?

It can be very difficult, because there are many similar artists and ideas that are showing up all the time. My way to deal with that is being active in different fields, so that I don’t get bored myself. On the one hand, I work with classic illustration, and on the other hand – I produce vectors. I would suggest trying to be as diverse as possible, and don’t let stagnation take hold.  

Who are some other artists or Envato authors that inspire you?

Emilia Dziubak – who in my opinion is the best illustrator of children’s books and has a stunning technical style. Patrycja Fabicka – who does great, funny illustrations for children’s books and is the best colorist. And from Envato, I admire Maria Starus (aka Masastarus) – she’s an incredibly fresh artist and her illustrations are so innovative, I could look at them all day!

What’s your best advice for fellow illustrators?

It’s nothing very inventive, but it’s very effective: never stop learning – new techniques, new programs, new approaches in graphic design. And when it comes to what you shouldn’t do – don’t compare yourself to others, because you’ll always find someone better than you. 

There are so many possibilities to choose from when it comes to creating illustrations and designs – so many styles, methods, programs and tools. I think the best thing you can do is try out as many of them as you can to find what works for you. Always be open to trying new things, and be curious all the time.

What are your go-to digital tools and programs?

I’m very curious to try all the new graphic design tools and programs as soon as they come out. Sometimes I love them and continue to use them, and sometimes I abandon them – but I always buy them just in case. Most frequently, I use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Clip Paint Studio, Sketchbook, Artstudio Pro, Vectornator and Corel Painter. I buy plugins, brushes and paints more often than I shop for dresses! My favorite software is Affinity Designer 

I avoid software for organizing work, though; I need to write everything down in my paper calendar.

What do you think makes a great portfolio? Any tips or tricks?

The portfolio has become a bit of a forgotten tool ever since social media was invented – it is much quicker and easier to present your work on Instagram than to remember to constantly update your website. When I want to see the new projects of my favorite illustrators, I go to their Instagram. In my portfolio, I include all my latest projects instead of the best ones, and divide them into categories. I think keeping your clients updated on your most recent work is important. 

What trends do you think are having the biggest impact on illustration?

I’ve definitely observed an increased interest in illustration online, particularly on business websites – it’s a branch of illustration that has developed greatly. I’m also so pleased to see the ‘humanity’ trend making an appearance in website designs and business ventures. It’s very vibrant and interesting, I hope that it hangs around as long as possible. 

What do you love about illustration, and why do you think it’s become so dominant online?

Illustration is a way to express emotions, bringing together people from many different environments. They’re able to explain concepts faster than words in a universal manner, and enable designers to use visual shortcuts to evoke moods. It is an art form that is fun and accessible, but also catches attention. Digital illustration is a fantastic way to provide commentary on our world and reality, as well as sell products. 

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Elements expert and author Webvilla! To get up to speed with our other recent Q&As, check out this piece on Creating Procreate Brushes with Envato Author Pixelbuddha, or this rundown on NFTs with Amrit Pal Singh.  

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