Afiat Sukmaraga’s positivity; in his personality and his illustrations is infectious. Not only will his interview, as part of our ‘Unstock’ series, make you smile from ear to ear but so will his witty, artistic creations. We spoke to him to find out more about his creative perspective and inspiration as well as get some tips from where he gets his super happy mood from which is engraved into his Fotolia portfolio.
FO: Can you introduce yourself, where you’re based and explain a bit your journey into how you started selling your photos on Fotolia?
AS: My parent gave me the name Afiat Sukmaraga, but my friend usually just call me Sukma. It sounds like indian name doesn’t it, but no, I’m from Indonesia. I’m a freelance illustrator, based in Eastern Java, Indonesia however recently you can call me a programmer too, as I just started to fall in love with the world of coding. You already can try a few of my games on google play if you want dare :D
Regarding my journey into Fotolia, I remember it was in 2008 and I received an invitation to buy an ebook called “Making Easy Money from your Photos”. Part of my brain said it was a scam but I bought it anyway. Luckily it was not a scam, although admittedly it definitely wasn’t as easy as it claimed -especially at start.
FO: How would you describe your illustrative style? What has influenced and shaped it?
AS: I don’t really have a particular style. I’m a flexible guy always willing to do something new, in terms of style, technique, and themes. But I always love a more casual style.
FO: What is it about your illustrations that have made them so popular in your opinion?
AS: Errr… I didn’t know my works were popular but i’ll let my self think so for a while. Maybe the most popular images from my collection are those with an isometric style. I made them when there weren’t a lot in the database at the time. So I believe I’m quite lucky as there is a much larger demand for isometric styles right now than in the days when I was doing it.
FO: Has your illustrative style developed since you started in the stock industry? If so, in what ways?
AS: YES, definitely! Please don’t look at my early uploaded images. They were terrible. But i love drawing, so i have let my self improve.
FO: Have your origins and the culture of your country influenced you in any way? If so, how?
AS: I studied graphic design in college but I also have a lot of influences from my environment such as my friends, and also my father who is an artist . I believe these gave me a lot of advantages working in the art field
FO: Are they any common messages, emotions or ideas you try to convey through your images?
AS: Generally no, but I like to do happy illustrations more. They make me happy and it makes me smile when I’m drawing smiling characters. It’s far more enjoyable. the key ingredients to creating a fantastic illustration are that of a good mood, colour and good gestures.
FO: Your illustrations may not be considered typical ‘stock’ illustrations in that they portray some unique themes/characteristics and an original style. How do you come up with these and who do you think they relate to the most in terms of clients?
When I’m doing an illustration, I’m thinking about my mood; if it can push my mood higher, or if it can maintain my good mood then i’ll do it. I have a lot of bad experiences when doing illustrations in a low moods.
When it comes to working with clients, I have to say, I enjoy much more working for the stock industry than working for clients.
FO: Are there any illustrations in your Fotolia portfolio which surprised you because of their popularity? Or some you thought would sell better than others but didn’t?
AS: It’s more about the latter part assometime I put a lot of time and effort into an illustration, but it doesn’t perform well. However its fine, I’m still happy and its part of this business
FO: What are the global trends you see for 2014 and do you think it is important to follow them in order to succeed in the stock industry?
AS: 2014.. hmm, i don’t know, actually in all honesty I don’t follow trends very much. Instead I stick to my own personal lifestyle theme. Trends really aren’t of importance to me.
FO: What are you favourite illustrations from your Fotolia portfolio and why?
AS: ‘Cheerful Soccer Supporter‘ is my favourite. It has a happy feeling, a nice green environment, friendly people, enthusiasm and Arsenal scoring. It makes me happy just by seeing it.