Toma Vagner’s style of illustration is a unique mixture of styles and influences. Growing up on the remote island of Sakhalin in Russia, and currently based in New York City, Vagner says her initial inspiration comes from Japanese and Korean cultures because of the island’s proximity to those countries. Add to that, Soviet and American cultures and you get a unique concoction.
“Drawing and expressing myself through images has always been my passion,” Vagner expressed in an interview with Communication Arts. “While growing up, I was interested and influenced by Japanese visual culture as well as Soviet Union visual culture,” she adds.
And while she’s currently based in New York, Vagner still travels back to Russia, drawing from its rich cultural history. “I want to travel more in the future and bring these experiences into my images, and keep developing my work and visual language,” she says. “Other than that, I’m happy with what I’m doing right now.”
Her illustrations usually begin with a hand-drawn sketch that is then scanned, leaving some imperfections so as to maintain its handmade quality. At first, her illustration might seem like manuals, but it’s hard to say what product is being presented in them and to what purpose.