Interview with Anna Shlyapnikova

Written by Gert Jan in Interviews

This is my first interview for Iconpaper and I hope not my last, because it is and I have fun to do these interviews. From now on you can find twice a month an interview with a designer on our Iconpaper blog. And of course I hope that many visitors of Iconpaper will look forward to these interviews.

I recently got a chance to interview Anna Shlyapnikova, a really talented designer, who has been featured several times on Iconpaper.

Welcome to Iconpaper Anna! Please, introduce yourself, tell us briefly about yourself and where are you from ?

Hello Gert Jan and all readers of Iconpaper!  I’m an icon designer from  St-Petersburg, Russia and work as a freelancer. I love making icons and adore beautiful interfaces.

To become a good designer and to reach a certain level of designing isn’t an easy way. So how have you reached your current level, did you attend a design school or are you self-taught?

There were five generations of artists in my family. I grew up among the paints, pictures and rolls of paper. Colored pencils were my favorite toys :) . Actually, my first higher education is technical – the astronomer-mathematician, but after the lapse of time I have decided to get the second higher education in a graphic design specialty.

Designers have a drive to create things. What drives you to create icons?

When I was a student at Technical University, I had to make computer programs. And at that time I noticed that I like more to make interfaces and to draw icons for them, than to write code. For me, it was obvious, that an attractive design of user interface makes the program more successful. So I started to pay attention to appearance, and my future husband began to code. :) That was my way to icon design through programming.

Most designers get inspired by whatsoever. Where do you go for inspiration?

Almost everywhere! I love beautiful things, different tricks, business cards, labels,etc. I like photography, and the work of other designers . I have a large collection of icons. Including yours, Gert Jan. :)

What tools do you use for designing your icons ?

Photoshop and mouse, sometimes I use a graphic tablet.

What is the first step you take after you get an idea for an icon and how does your process looks like afterwards?

Everything depends on the icon. At first I draw some sketches, next, if necessary(complex perspective or form ), I make the model in 3D. And then I make an icon using shape layer and blending options in Photoshop.

There are designers, whose works are recognizable by their style. Do you think your icons have their own style?

Well, I hope so. :)

We all drink and eat. What’s your favorite drink and food?

Heh… funny question :) In my childhood I used to live on the Pacific coast, so I love seafood. And I have nothing against good french wine. :D

I’ve looked at your gallery on deviantART and think you’re a very talented designer/artist. What do you think is your best work and why?

Thanks so much for kind words, much appreciated. But you know when I draw the icon, I like it, but after short period of time, I look at my work again and begin to notice some shortcomings and realize that I could do better. So my best work is still ahead! :wink:

Who’s your favorite artist/designer and can you tell us what’s so special about him/her?

In the area of  icon design I would say Eugeny Buzuk. For the first time I saw his works several years ago and I’m still impressed by his icons. They’re awesome!

Your favorite music is?

I love various music, from hard rock to jazz. Lately I’ve been listening more jazz. Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia, Astor Piazzolla, John McLaughlin are my favorite musicians.

Have you done any commercial work already? If so, how was the experience? If not, would you (like to) do commercial work?

I’ve started commercial work recently. My experience is not very big, but I’m always open for such orders. :)

Thanks again for providing Iconpaper with the opportunity to interview you. Any message for newbies in icon design and/or final thoughts or advice for our readers?

Thanks a lot to Iconpaper for attention to me. And for newbies in icon design I can say, see what others do and try to do better.  :wink:

You can find more work of Anna at


  1. ncrow says:

    Nice interview! Thank to Iconpaper for popularization our brave deal :D Goes Iconish! Jaa! :-)

  2. Gert Jan says:

    Thanks for your compliment Nikolay! ;)

  3. Ann says:

    Gert Jan, thank you for this interview. It was so interesting to know more about Ann:)
    p.s. Slyapnikova, i’m your fan!!

  4. Gert Jan says:

    It’s my pleasure Ann. It was great to interview Anna and I’m glad you like the interview! :D

  5. Clubberry says:

    Interesting interview. Thanks!

  6. Gert Jan says:

    You’re welcome Art and stay tuned for the next episode! ;)

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