Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Katie, I'm 28 and I've been living in Colorado for my whole life! I grew up in the rocky mountains somewhat isolated for most of my childhood, mostly spending my time playing in the forest with my dog and siblings. I currently live with my boyfriend of 9 years, Preston, and our rescued cat, Loaf (who enjoys interrupting my art making as often as she can). I'm a full time freelance illustrator, so I live and breathe art!
How long have you been doing art?
I've been drawing my whole life, it was something my mom encouraged in all her kids from the earliest age possible. I always knew I wanted to be involved with art for the rest of my life somehow, so when I learned I could go to art school and make it a career, I went for it! So even though I've doing art my whole life, I've been painting and drawing with more serious purpose for about 10 years.
What brought about your interest into Anthro?
I have always loved and been fascinated by animals of all kinds! As a kid I spent countless hours pretending to be different animal characters I had created, and convincing other kids to join my games. Drawing anthro animals and writing stories about them was just part of growing up. It was a joy to later in life discover that others who created similar characters and worlds, and I've been hooked ever since.
Do you have a fursona or favourite character? If so, what inspired it?
My favorite character I have created is Nym, a female member of a fictional species called Alecani. I write about her world and species in my free time. I liked traits of many different species, but nothing really suited what I wanted out of a main character. I wanted something with mostly canine features and behavior, but with lots of bird aspects as well because I love gryphons so much. Something small, cute, and versatile. Ever since I decided to create a species around her, her whole story and world has taken off, so it's been incredibly fun to work with! I gather a lot of inspiration for Nym and her world (a story which I call TeaFeathers), mostly drawn from the natural world. She's meant to be an explorer, so I like taking inspiration from amazing natural formations like Arches National Park and the redwood forests.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
It's hard for me to pinpoint who might be my biggest inspiration artistically, because there are so many amazing artists I'm constantly inspired by. But I think the most present and deeply influential artist through most of my life has been James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia. As a kid, his illustrated books lit up my imagination and gave me JUST what I had always wanted out of a dinosaur story! As an adult and a working artist, he is a constant source of artistic knowledge and inspiration. I own all his books, and even had the honor of meeting him once a few years ago when he visited my art school. He signed my Dinotopia books with little dino doodles, they are among my most treasured books!
What are you looking to improve in your art?
I've been working on my environments, trying to get the right look I want out of foliage. With that, and with everything I paint, I'm constantly torn between making something look exactly as it is in life, or exaggerating it (bending reality) to get something I want out of it. I'm also working on improving sequential art, and I've had great practice in working on 100 Deeds (irvingsdeeds.deviantart.com/)
Do you have any recurring themes in your artwork?
With most of my work being commissioned art, it's a little hard to make that call. People tend to commission me for art of their personal characters enjoying natural scenery, or otherwise exploring nature. I think that theme runs in my personal work as well.
When do find yourself being the most creative?
My brain tends to click on more at night and when I'm being mildly social. I'm fairly introverted, but inviting a close artist friend over for tea and sketching, or livestreaming with a small audience I click with can get me into that mode where everything flows without thinking. At night is when the inspiration switch flicks on, and I have tons of ideas! I keep a sketchbook by my bed for when I absolutely must write or draw something before the idea slips from me.
How do you battle Art Block?
I try to stay on top of art block before it hits as much as I can. Art block happens for very tangible psychological reasons in each artist, so we have to step back and ask ourselves what the cause might be? For me it's often straight up burn out, because I work lots of hours on art each day. I combat that by making sure I take plenty of breaks. Breaks for my body, by getting up and moving about, and resting my drawing arm. Breaks for my eyes by getting away from the screen and looking at things at different distances. Breaks for my brain, to get my mind off the piece at hand so that I come back to it with a fresh mind set. The best type of break for all those is going outside for a short walk. I keep my body, eyes, and mind well rested, and make sure that when I am painting I'm at my very best. Less wasted time struggling with a piece if you're rested! If frequent breaks does not help and art block hits, I often just have to power through it as best I can, since I can't just quit my job when art block gets in the way. This doesn't happen too often though, thank goodness.
Any words of advice for other artists?
Remember that art is supposed to be FUN! I know it's easy to forget that if you're trying to improve your skills, because that can be frustrating if you're not where you want to be with your work. We're our own worst critics after all. But if you continue to enjoy doing art, all your efforts to improve will come easier. Hard work is not so hard when you're having a blast!
One last thing. Tell us something completely random about yourself!
Black is my very favorite color to wear, because it matches everything and always looks good. I have to be careful to keep my clothes sorted well, it's hard to find the correct back shirt among lots of other black clothes!