its time to meet the lovely Kathryn Whyte

October 26, 2011

It's Wednesday interviews again, I'd like to introduce you all to Kathryn Whyte. Kathryn meet the readers... there introduction done!

Kathryn makes the most wonderful stationery line and has an incredible and unique illustration style. Her work is a massive inspiration to me and was a big influence on me giving stationery design a go. She has given us all a really interesting interview to read today, I re-read it about a 100 times on the way home to NZ trying to scour it for details on how to become as fabulously famous and talented as her. So enough of my babbling, here's Kathryn's back story!

1. Tell us a little about your background - what led you in to the creative field?
It's weird, but I don't really know! I spent my whole life drawing (and spent my free periods in high school in the art room), and when it came time to go to college I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew it would be art-related. I ended up at Tyler School of Art majoring in Graphic Design with illustration and printmaking classes mixed in. I liked Graphic Design, because it seemed to kind of encompass everything—design is literally everywhere and can be anything!

2. Do you ever get overwhelmed/confused with so much going on? You seem to have a quite a diverse range of products all at once!
I think I'm easily overwhelmed in general! But I just take a deep breath and say "one thing at a time" and that helps. Also: lists. To-do lists are good. Having things to cross off (and actually crossing them off) is very satisfying!

3. Do you think that confidence is strongly linked to being successful in the creative industry?
Confidence is probably an important part of being successful in any industry. I've always struggled with that part—I'm not great at self-promotion, etc (I'm working on it!), and there are SO MANY talented designers and illustrators that it's easy sometimes to feel deflated, but you just have to remember what you do, and what you're good at, and keep doing it. I'm hoping that eventually pays off!

4. How do you manage to stop your style becoming stagnant when you work alone? Is there ever a fear you'll turn into a reclusive hermit?
There is a constant fear that I will become a reclusive hermit! But I think something that keeps my style from becoming stagnant are the happy accidents that come when I'm sketching, or drawing, or designing something else—maybe I'm designing a poster and make a little doodle-sketch in my notebook and think "...oh, this could be this. and then this or this or THIS!..." and it kind of becomes its own thing—surprise!
But yeah, I'm kind of a hermit.

5. What do you think your biggest challenge is to the success of your business?
Indecisiveness. I'm actually having a hard time deciding on an answer to this question. It probably goes along with the confidence thing—it's hard not to second-guess yourself, especially when you're kind of working on your own without someone to bounce ideas off of (I ask for my brother's help sometimes, but in true-brother-style his "help" is usually not so helpful!)

6. Did you always know what your "style" was or did you have an a-ha moment where it seemed to suddenly make sense?
I think I've always had a "style" but it has definitely evolved, and will probably keep evolving—I think that's just how it goes, your work kind of grows up and changes with you.

7. Have you ever had to deal with creative burnout? Any tips?
There are definitely moments of feeling blocked or uninspired, or like I'd rather just watch mindless tv for the rest of my life! It's frustrating, but I usually snap out of it. As far as tips I guess I would say take a break! And don't try to force yourself to pull something out of thin air (unless you absolutely have to), because it will most likely feel forced.

8. Do you have a dream creative project?
I'd love for my little business to grow, and have the ability to put my work on all sorts of products on a larger scale. I made a list last year I think with all of the things I wanted to make. Notebooks, tote bags, stuffed dolls, dishes, shower curtains! etc, etc, etc. Some of the list items are silly, but seem fun. I'd also like to illustrate books (maybe even write one myself!)

9. What are your top 5 places/people you go to for inspiration?
I don't know that there are specific people or places I go to for inspiration. I begrudgingly started "tweeting" when I started my freelance adventure, and realized how easy it is to get lost in the world of tweets and blogs! So many inspiring people and things to discover through these outlets. Most of the time when I see something I like I file it away in my brain for later. I also like to look through my Edward Gorey books, and the little Madeline books that I got at a yard sale (that had obviously been chewed on by a dog in a few spots...)

10. What are your favorite medias to work with?
Pen, ink, watercolor.
It's a little weird, but sometimes I'll take a really inky pen and draw on my fingertips to make little finger-stamps—it makes for interesting shapes/textures. I've made ice cream, flowers, balloons, umbrellas (a bikini!) with fingerprints. I was definitely inspired by Saul Steinberg's illustrations with thumbprints. 

11. What can we expect to see from you and your blog/work in the future?
Well, in the near future I'll put my holiday cards up in the shop, and I have a few projects that I'm looking forward to sharing on my blog/website soon, but as far as the not-so-near-future, I'm not really sure! Freelancing is full of surprises, so I just take things one day at a time.

Thanks for that Kathryn, no if anyone else wants to study Kathryn any more go to her shop or her blog, your missing out if you don't! 


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