Featured Illustrators

Katie Wilson

July 2016

We're drooling over Katie Wilson's gorgeous illustrations. She generously took some time to talk to us about Wind in the Willows, being an early bird and how she might be on the look out for an illustration agent. What this space...

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

I was always drawing horses when I was young, and can remember being really proud of a cover for the Wind in the Willows that I drew. I didn’t see myself as a fine artist so I studied graphic design and illustration. I worked as a graphic designer for a few years after graduating but have since found I am way happier as a freelance illustrator.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

It has taken me ages to feel like I have a recognisable style, and this is still something I struggle with. I often find others can see my style when I can’t. I guess the things I have found that work include trying not to worry about style too much, experimenting with different media, drawing a lot, and trying to draw as many different subjects as possible.


What does a typical working day include for you right now?

I’m a morning person, so I get up about 5.30, make coffee and start working. I love the early starts as it also means I can have some afternoons off to work in my vegetable garden! Every day I try and create new personal work, work on current commissions, and try to find new clients.

What are your three must-read design books, blogs or podcasts and why?

I’ve been listening to a few podcasts whilst I work lately. Andy J Miller’s Creative Pep Talk is one I highly recommend. He is incredibly generous with sharing the lessons he has learnt as a freelance illustrator, as well as featuring interviews with some interesting creative professionals. I love Dear Art Director for amusing but honest answers to all the questions illustrators have for Art Directors. And for inspiration I can’t go past Sara Barnes’ blog Brown Paper Bag. It’s a great place to find amazing illustrators as well as illustrated products to covet!

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

Lately I’ve learnt to take the time to work on personal projects as this is where I am happiest and how I discover new material and techniques. It is also important to get out of my studio and in to the real world to find inspiration and a fresh perspective.
Planning for the quiet periods where there is little client work is really important too. Luckily I’m pretty good at this. I make sure I save money to tide me over between cheques as well as making sure I have multiple streams of income.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Mostly I’m going to focus on creating new work, and getting better at marketing myself. I’m thinking of looking for an illustration agent, and I also want to increase the range of products I sell in my Etsy store.

Website: inmybackyard.co.nz
Instagram: @inmybackyardnz


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