Let‘s meet Ukrainian digital illustrator, graphic designer and artist Nadya Plyamko

Last week we had a talented visitor from Ukraine at our Estonian Design Centre office - digital illustrator, graphic designer and artist Nadya Plyamko.

Nadya is originally from Ukrainian town Vinnitsa but the past 15 years she has been living in Kyev. We talked with her about digital illustrations, animation, Priit Pärn, Estonian and Ukrainian design fields..and war.

From the left: Nadya Plyamko, Pavel Sidorenko (Upstairs Studio) & Dan Mikkin

Nadya, tell us about yourself. What is your backround?

I have worked in various advertising agencies from the age of 17, becoming eventually a freelancer. I don't have a college degree but I have educated myself taking various courses ranging from design, illustration, contemporary art to gestalt therapy. I have taken courses from: British Higher School Of Art & Design (2020), Creative Practice online Branding course (2020), Litosvita School of book illustration and design (2019), Modern Art Research Institute of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine (2017-2018) and CG Academy - an official Authorized Training Centre AUTODESK (2015). 

Do you consider yourself as a designer/illustrator or artist?

Design skills come in handy when solving problems. But in each project, I have to identify the semantic part and its body - this is quite an artistic work. When I want to add more ‘‘art‘‘ I need to figure out what boundaries are acceptable to cross within the current project: for example, experimenting with technical parts or a new approach to the formation of an idea, determining the proportions of abstract and narrative in expression. So,  here is a direct answer to your question :) In the labour market, I now position myself mainly as an illustrator.

An extract from Naya instagram profile

You have a very unique style. How would you describe it?

My style is a magpie's nest. Basically I collect "everything that glitters" and apply it in pictures. Of course, this is not a literal copying of the environment - this is a search and transposition of the mechanisms of the world into a visual language with its universal symbols, so that my pictures can be "read". If we talk about the technical side, I am obsessed with the plasticity of forms. And I hope to achieve its maximum presence in my animations over time.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am impressed by the vast majority of things around and I really regret that I can’t cram them all into pictures. And for the work itself, I am directly inspired by the opportunity to work, that is the absence of physical defects and life-threatening.

What has been your favourite project so far?

I gave my husband a VR postcard for his birthday. He often uses the Oculus Quest (a virtual reality headset). So I created a space in 3D for him to wander around. I want to do such projects more often - they combine sculpture, environment design, mood design (construction of mood, as a complex of emotions). And all this can convey some particular idea each time, which comes to the heart of the viewer in a more direct way. A picture/video is like a description of a taste, and VR is a taste in itself. Now this is one of the most enjoyable moments in my work - I can teleport into the picture, I have long dreamed of this.

How do you perceive the last 8 years living in Ukraine as a designer/artist?

After the revolution, the cultural environment seemed to wake up from a dream. People began to feel that the future depended on the actions of each. A lot of publishing houses, cultural initiatives, and communities appeared - after accepting this responsibility, the process started very intensively. Finally, creative young people also took a different look at Ukrainian identity. Moreover, this was not a violent stoppage of cultural dogmas that dragged along with us by inertia but a focus on uniqueness in the style of the new time. Now it is quite clear that these developments will survive the war and Ukraine will have something to show and offer to the rest of the world, which has turned its eyes to us.

How long have you been in Tallinn?

This is my first time in Tallinn and I have been here for 3 weeks. And I don’t understand why in such an unusual city you don’t need to push through the crowds of tourists :)

Dan Mikkin, Tiia Vihand and Nadya Plyamko at Estonian Design Centre

What are your future plans?

I want to stay here longer and mix Ukrainian and Estonian features. I want to get a higher education here in order to better understand your environment. In particular, I want to develop animation skills in order to express more complex ideas qualitatively in modern digital media.

Nadya is currently living in Tallinn and available for work!

Contact her directly:




Editor: Katrin Tomiste, Estonian Design Centre


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