Jenya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived most of her childhood and teen years in Kishinev, Moldavia (former U.S.S.R.).
At age seven Jenya entered the Children’s Art Study Group. Three years later she was admitted to Schusev Children’s Art School where she concentrated on fine arts. After graduating from Schusev Children’s Art School and high school, she continued her art education at Repin College of Arts in Kishinev where she studied fine arts, illustration and graphic design. After coming to the U.S., she received a certificate in Computer Graphics from the School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis, a certificate in Web Design from the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota.
For over 10 years Jenya has worked as an interactive/graphic designer and children’s book illustrator. She is the artistic creator of the Words Are CATegorical series for Lerner Publishing Group of Minneapolis. The series’ name took after the cat characters Jenya had introduced to the books. She is the illustrator of the first three titles in the series that continue to stay on Lerner Publishing Group’s best seller list since 1999 and can be found in book stores around the world.
The titles are: A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective?, and To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb?. Her recent work includes The Wedding That Saved a Town for Kar-Ben Publishing of Minneapolis. Jenya resides in Boston with her husband, Olivier, two daughters, Eugénie and Alexandra, and two cats, Ferruccio and Marcello.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino (a Russian adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio by Alexey Tolstoy)
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Yan Falconer, Russian illustrators Victor Chuguevsky and Igor Oleynikov
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I started drawing at a very early age. And after attending several art schools, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Being a children’s illustrator is the most rewarding job.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
If your work can make one child smile, that’s all you need to move forward. Don’t stop creating!