Interview with Sant Valentin

Written by Gert Jan in Interviews

It’s been a long time since I posted an interview over here and I want to apologize for that my friends. I’ve been very busy lately and had no time left to do the interviews. So again…sorry! Of course  I hereby want to wish you all the best for 2011 (better late than never ;) )

Today it’s time to make a fresh start with the interviews. I’m proud to introduce to you Sant Valentin, the first designer in 2011 I had an interview with. He’s a fantastic designer from the Ukraine and I love his work since I started designing myself. Let his words inspire you!

Welcome to Iconpaper Valentine. Would you please introduce yourself to our Iconpaper followers?

Hi, all! My name is Valentine.  I’m a graphic designer based in Ukraine. Currently I’m working as a freelance designer all over the world .

Where did you learn your skills? Where do your creative instincts come from?

I started to draw by hand as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hands, from the earliest age. I started to go to art school and took private lessons from outstanding artists of painting and drawing. I was trained in the computer graphic independently, having big desire and good practice.

Can you give us an insight into a typical day in the life of Sant-Valentine?

Sure thing! Every day is different from the last but a typical day usually starts with making coffee, checking emails, traffic, stats and comments on my blogs and than I check my to-do list. Then, if I can get all the administrative stuff done, I’ll start working on more creative things, designs for clients, personal projects and blogging.

Of course it happens. I work really long hours or even pull an all-nighter, but I’m trying this work/life balance thing that people keep talking and writing about. :)

Altough Iconpaper is a website dedicated to Mac, iPhone and iPad customization, I really wanna know the answer to my next question from you as a designer. Are you a Mac or a PC and of course why?

Difficult question. I give preferences to Mac as the designer, I estimate design Mac as technics and quality, a kind of applications, but unfortunately Mac …oh about it the system which is not intended for many programs in which and with which I should work, so I choose PC for work , and for the rest Mac :)

What design tools do you use and can you explain your choice? Which tools would you suggest to fellow designers?

The Adobe Suite. It has all you need for designing.

Where do you get your inspiration from or go for inspiration? And how do you deal with creative blocks?

It can be anything really. From walking through town, seeing a cool object, going home and try to draw it. I also get inspired from various trends in the communities, taking elements and colors from various websites and user posted screenshots. Then there’s the drive of keeping to improve my skills. That is a huge motivation factor for me. Improving technically.

What are your favorite online design resources?

Unequivocally to tell that I have favourite resource. I can`t, but I prefer and, as there  are many interesting and professional works

What’s your typical design process when designing an icon or icon set? And what makes a good icon or icon set in your opinion?

I get a brief from the customer outlining what the icon will be called, its tool tip, its function and how big it will be. I then do a few concept sketches and approve it with the client. When it all looks right I start making the image in Photoshop or Illustrator. All depends of customer requirements.

There is no difference between a set of icons and one icon for me. I consider that the icon is the idea, each icon is separate idea. I work equally as well over one large icon as over a set of small icons.

How long do you spend on average creating an icon? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating an icon or icon set?

Icon creation – it’s first of all an creative process, so I can’t precisely tell how much time the creation of one icon will take. I usually don’t specify time for an idea. I only can tell the necessary time for technical realization. Approving all actions with client is the main factor that contribute to how long you will spend creating an icon / a work.

What other things do you do besides designing icons?

I do illustrations, logotypes, design sites and interfaces. I’m engaged on professional level of video design and 3d graphics. I have created a new site,, to place all my works and to show all that I’m engaged.

What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?

I enjoy artwork. Here you can show your abilities and make it deep emotional and with soul.

Quick Fire Five:

Icons or Illustrations? Icons

Comic Sans, Love it or hate it? Comic Sans, Love it

Hand drawn or Digital? Both

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Design for Life or Design for Pleasure? Is life not pleasure?

I follow you for quite a while and your work is always a real inspiration for me. What do you think is your best work (so far) and why?

I cannot answer this question. I would like to ask it to you and followers. My works as founder are all favorite. But I’m never absolutely satisfied 100 % with the work, I consider that there’s always something to aspire.

What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

It’s funny, but I never make plans for the future. You never know what tommorrow will bring. There is a very wise saying: ‘If you want to make your God laughing  – tell him about your plans for the future’. J

Can you tell us who your favorite designer is and please tell us what’s so special about him/her?

Yes, sure. That’s Feng Zhu. His broad design skills allowed him to reach across many fields from hit movies, to triple-A games, memorable TV commercials and toy designs.

Please tell us what’s the last song you’ve listened to, the last movie you’ve watched and last videogame you’ve played or we should listen, watch or play and do you have any good tips for us?

I prefer rock and classics, the Doors, Pink Floyd.

Regarding films – mysticism and fantasy. What kind of film,does not matter. My most favorite film is AVATAR – improbable graphic, good script. As 3D artist it was very interesting for me to observe every possible special effects.

I relax when I play COD4 ..he-hee..seriously! :)

You’re a freelancer with many years of professional experience. Can you tell us something about your experience with commercial projects?

Lots of stuff happened to me. I’m working in the field for a long time already. I had very different clients, worked for different companies, trying different styles, was sad – gave up, and was happy with succesfully finished design. It’s impossible to learn any lesson without trying it yourself. Design needs a lot of time to spend on, a lot of situations..good and bad, when somebody don’t want to pay you, when somebody is saying your work is crap, etc. Doesn’t matter, experience – that’s what is important.
I can tell only one thing – if it’s a commercial project or not  – it should be first of all creative, and it depends only on you. If the project isn`t creative enough or is not interesting to you or maybe you can`t find yourself in the creative beginning, not undertake such works is better. Otherwise it will turn out without soul.

Thanks again for providing Iconpaper with the opportunity to interview you. Can you at last share some pearls of wisdom for up and coming designers in the field.

Only experience and time can make you a professional, too bad we don’t have a time machine for that. But newbies can make time move faster for them if they train a lot. Also watch more on professional’s work, try to see the small details which makes this work look so cool, when you can notice that, you can do it yourself.

Big thank you to Valentine for taking his time out in making this interview possible. On deviantART and Madpencil you can find more work of (Sant) Valentin(e).

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