Toma Vagner’s Inspired by Japanese Bubble Gum Wraps and IKEA Manuals

Award-winning artist and illustrator, Toma Vagner, admits that illustrating comes rather naturally to her. Born on a small island in Russia called Sakhalin, she moved to New York in 2013 to study art and has been living there ever since. “In terms of art forms, drawing is what I do and enjoy the most, and practiced for the longest time,” she shared in an interview with Prodibi Pixel Magazine.

And with clients like The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Bandcamp, as well as musicians and bands like Harry Styles, Birds in the Boneyard, and Santino—she’s kind of a big deal. “I’m just curious to see where my path will take me,” shared Vagner. “I’m often surprised when I open my email box – names and clients that I’d never expect to see there are interested in what I do, and I couldn’t ask for more.”

Vagner’s unique style is very much the result of her upbringing. According to Vagner, as the island of Sakhalin was close to Japan and Korea, she was influenced by both countries – an influence easily spotted throughout her illustrations. “I used to say that I’m inspired by Japanese bubble gum wraps and IKEA manuals – that’s true, but these are just a few of a myriad of visuals that I’m fascinated by,” she notes.

According to Vagner, inspiration is important, but putting down the hard work is more crucial. “Inspiration can be a nice push to bring yourself to start working, but you never know if you’ll be inspired today or not,” she reflects. “So I prefer to rely on my work ethic instead.”

Follow her Instagram page for more.