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Martin Malchev a.k.a malchev from Bulgaria is definitely living the dream. His love and passion for drawing vectors has granted him an awesome job as an illustrator but of course, it was no bed of roses getting to where he is today. Learn more about Martin Malchev as he shares with us his experiences, challenges and some words of wisdom for fellow  budding illustrators.

Photographer: malchev / Martin Malchev
Country of Origin: Bulgaria

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis  (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
Well, I am actually an illustrator, so I am not thinking much about photography. :)

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be with the big guys.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I never started with photography but I started drawing vectors about five or six years ago. I had this great idea about a children's picture book. My only problem was that I was not a writer and I couldn't draw much (especially vectors). So I started learning those things. I admit I did not become much of a writer, but I liked the drawing part a lot. So much that now I am doing it for a living.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
The ability to produce high quality pictures is important but is not enough, that’s for sure. You also need perseverance to produce A LOT of high quality pictures. You need some business sense in order to forecast what will sell and what won't. You need to master the English language (or the one that you use often) because key-wording is very important and should not be underestimated. But above all, you have to enjoy your work because images that are made with love are easy to distinguish from those which are done for the sake money.

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
There were many challenges for me. One of them was the differences in vector software. It was hard for me to make a vector illustration look the same in other vector softwares but after awhile, I got used to it. Another big challenge was respecting the rules of microstock sites and not argue with their admins. I actually learned that the hard way.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
As an illustrator, I don't need to get out of my house to make money. I don't have a boss, I don't have a strict working time and I ONLY do what I love.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
I research a lot. I look for things that are sellable. Sometimes, I come up with ideas for things that were not drawn by anyone else before. I also refer to other competitors’ jobs which have a good potential to sell but are poorly executed. Then, I come up with a better illustration with the same theme and try to do better key-wording as well. Sometimes, other people do the same thing to me and I feel silly. However, I respect the competition. "May the best man/illustrator win!" :) But to put it in a more simple term - research, research, research!

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
I like to experiment with different styles and subjects. So, the description should be "a little bit of everything".

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
My heart constantly give me ideas on what to draw but my mind picks the best among them (understanding the ones that have the best potential to sell), and then my hands execute them. It is really a team work and the team consist of heart, mind and hands. :)

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I like cartoons so I enjoy drawing them the most.



12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Creating characters is always challenging but fun. Creating maps, abstract backgrounds and shiny icons are more rewarding financially, but boooooooriiiing.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
If it is not fun, I won't do it.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
People who are excellent in their work always inspire me. No matter what they do.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
Answering interview questions, while waiting for inspiration. :) But seriously, when you don't feel like working, you better don't! Just go on a vacation if you can but if you can’t, try going somewhere nearby and do something enjoyable. This will help recharge your battery. It is a proven fact.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
For me, it is traveling to places that inspire me the most. When I get back, I will have plenty of ambition and energy to work.

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
When I focus, I can do everything.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
There are a lot of talented artist in the microstock industry but the person I admire most is Mark Stay. When you see his work, you will immediately understand that he does only what he enjoys and nothing else. At the same time, he works a lot and makes a lot of money. I also like ‘Loop All’ - for his photo-realistic style, ‘DDraw’ - for his imagination, ‘Ma_rish’ - for her stylized symbols, and ‘Kariiika’ - for the great cartoons style. There are many more but there is not enough space and time for all of them here.

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting into stock photography?
One of the many things that I found out the hard way is is this, "Don't EVER place all your eggs in one basket!"

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