Interview with Denis Sazhin

The creator of the Teodor The Cat sticker pack
Sticker.Place: Where are you from and where do you live now? Are you inspired by the surroundings?
Denis Sazhin: I was born in Russia and lived there for a great deal. Now I reside in New York, and it's a very different vibe for sure. A combination of these experiences certainly can be inspiring, it puts things in a different perspective and makes you act and think with a new attitude, new expectations and new energy.
SP: Tell about your stickers’ characters?
DS: Well I like to create all sorts of characters, although somehow it looks like I got a PhD in cats. To the point that if you google "cat icons", you'll see my cat characters first in the search results :) I didn't choose to do it deliberately though, guess it's just easy for me to relate to a cat's nature and behavior, and what else does one need to express oneself through stickers? Among a number of different cats I have a returning character, called Teodor The Cat. He started several years ago as an orange (or ginger if you please) tubby who's working hard to lose weight. I must say he's not succeeding.
SP: Which of your illustrations is your favorite?
DS: Now that's a question I've learned how to answer: my favorite illustration is yet to come!
SP: Tell us about your first illustration.
DS: The year was 1983, I just discovered what a pencil was... I don't remember my first illustration :) But you know, I've found the first thing I ever drew the day I got my first wacom tablet, ages ago, does it count?
Drum roll... tadaaaaam!

Yeah, a very weird looking green cat with eyebrows.
Why?
I don't know. It was my birthday, cut me some slack.
SP: Tell about your background and experience.
DS: I got my degree in System Engineering and Programming, which obviously had nothing to do with graphic design and illustration whatsoever.
Later I realized that while I was developing software I was easily spending more time on drawing and perfecting icons and buttons than on actual coding and debugging. Those things ring a bell you know. You owe it not only to yourself, but to all those people who would have to deal with a beautiful and extremely buggy software piece.
And that's how I became a self-taught graphic designer and illustrator, luckily we live in times where you can learn anything without leaving your home if you've got an internet connection. I'm happy to say that for the last 15 years I feel like I'm doing the right thing.
SP: What are your plans for the future?
DS: If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans...
I plan on keeping doing what I'm doing. I'm really interested in animation and probably will pull something together in that field. Teodor The Cat has already made his little debut on TV.
I've been studying calligraphy, so that's a whole another area to explore.
Also, I've heard there's a cat mayor in Alaska, and he's been doing it for like 20 years. Maybe I should help to advance his career in politics.
SP: What is your favourite app or game (better for iOS)?
DS: Now you made me look at my phone to see what I have on the home screen. Well it's a mix of social apps, banking and podcasts, and apart from those my current favorite app seems to be for our local restaurant, they make really good sushi and chinese food.