We talk to Envato author M-e-f about how he produces experimental design assets for Envato Elements.
Envato author M-e-f – AKA Ukranian artist Igor Vitkovskiy – has a portfolio of innovative, artistic design assets on Envato Elements. From abstract space backgrounds and gradient watercolors to ink and paint splatters and 3D backgrounds, M-e-f’s work includes a variety of graphics, graphics templates, and add ons. M-e-f’s items feature experimental materials, concepts and textures, and are immediately recognizable for their creative, versatile style.
A Photoshop master with a Bachelor of Graphic Design, M-e-f (Igor) is an original artist who takes inspiration directly from nature, space and culture. He creates surreal illustrations and designs with an emphasis on organic form, which he shares on his Instagram and sells through platforms such as Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.
What’s your background and how did you get into design?
My design journey started at the age of 13, when I began to take on small freelance jobs. I used my Photoshop skills to earn some pocket money, but after a few months it turned into a serious career. I tried everything I could – web design, graphic design, animation, 3D, and digital art. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
Your designs are so unique and creative! How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?
I wouldn’t say that my commercial design work has a particular style, but I really enjoy creating organic and natural forms and materials. The main things that inspire my work are nature, technology, human culture, and money. This is an example of how my artistic taste and personal experiences influence my design work – everything is connected.
What kinds of items are your favorite to create and why?
I really enjoy creating Photoshop brushes. It’s a great area for experimentation with endless possibilities. Even with limited brush engine functionality, you can closely simulate most traditional art tools, textures and visual effects. I create pressure-sensitive brushes to paint with, and – when I’m satisfied with the result – I share the brushes with others.
Backgrounds and textures take up the biggest chunk of my design portfolio. They’re a lot of fun to work with, but for now I’m taking a break from this style and concentrating most of my energy on brushes.
We love your backgrounds and textures. How do you create them?
My process is divided into two equally important steps: the creation of the base texture, and its processing. You can create a base in many ways – taking a photo, scanning something, drawing (with either digital and traditional materials), or 3D illustration.
If the texture is good, then the processing time in Photoshop takes much less time. This step turns the otherwise ordinary texture into a refined and vibrant background. The methods used can differ depending on the specific task – whether it be aging, cleaning, color correction or combining different textures into one.
What main programs, tools or techniques do you use to create your work? What are your top design tips?
My best advice is to use familiar things in an unusual way. You can scan liquids with your scanner, photograph using the bokeh effect when shooting macro, etc. Also, look at the objects around you – many of them are great starting materials for new products, art or ideas. Even trash and garbage can be turned into a useful product!
How has Envato Elements helped you grow your career as a designer?
Envato Elements has helped me to achieve creative freedom. As a concept artist and illustrator, I spend most of my time working on various freelance jobs. With the additional source of income from Envato, I was able to concentrate on more personal creative projects. I divided creativity and business into two independent spheres and gave up freelancing. It’s a wonderful feeling to work only when you want to.
What is the mission behind your work? What are you aiming to achieve with design?
As a commercial designer, my mission is to make it easier for people to create beautiful images by providing all the necessary assets. I want to save them time and energy, and to make the process more enjoyable. Plus, our world will become prettier if there is more quality design and graphics around.
As an artist, I need to constantly experiment, to try to create new and interesting designs, to convey a message and give visual pleasure to people.
Outside of Elements, where else do you sell or promote your design work?
I sell my products on design marketplaces like GraphicRiver, Creative Market, Design Bundles, Artstation, Creative Fabrica, and services like Shutterstock and AdobeStock. I also collaborate with various design bundle websites.
What are some of the most exciting opportunities that have come from your career so far?
My work has been featured in various books and magazines, and I’ve had an opportunity to work on a few interesting art projects. At the moment, my team and I are working on our indie game project with a code name “Fog ‘n’ Silence”. It’s in the very early stages of development, so that’s all I can share with you right now…
What are some of your favorite graphic design trends at the moment?
I think natural and pure materials, combined with minimalism and futurism, will increasingly become a part of our daily environment, replacing the visually overloaded trends of the past.
What’s your advice for new designers or Envato authors who are just starting out?
It takes time to build a portfolio and find your own style, so do what brings you the most joy and satisfaction. It’s the only way you can hold out in this industry long enough to achieve some kind of success. Raise the standards with each new work you create, determine where your weaknesses lie, and direct more attention there. Constant analysis and practice, as well as love for your work, will bear fruit over time.
What’s one thing Envato has enabled you to achieve that you might not otherwise have had the chance to do?
When I first signed up for GraphicRiver in 2009 and started creating products, it completely changed the concept of work in my young mind. I was amazed that you could create designs both for yourself, and for other people to buy and use. It showed me that I could do what I love, and set quality standards and schedules myself. This changed my life forever.