Artist and illustrator Kat Archibald tells us about the inspiration behind her sassy greeting card designs for Katsillustration, and why she enjoys nothing more than portraying women having fun and living their best life.

 

On moonlighting as an illustrator before taking the plunge…

From an early age I loved designing, drawing and making things and grew up wanting to be a fashion designer. Throughout college I gradually moved towards illustration, but fashion will always be a big influence on my work. As a child I also developed an entrepreneurial streak and was always selling something, from homemade peppermint creams out of my school locker to making jewellery for my mum’s friends. At university I completed a business start-up course alongside my illustration degree.

I started Katsillustration just over two years ago, after several years of working a day job in IT and moonlighting as an illustrator in the evenings. Eventually I got to a point where I needed to be brave, make the jump and run my business full-time. I haven’t looked back!  

 

On her favourite part of the day…

A typical work day starts with processing orders, drinking coffee and checking emails. I have a lot of US-based customers so I usually have a couple of fun illustration requests come through overnight. I have had everything from portrait commissions to custom bachelorette party t-shirts to pet birthday party invitations! I love that no day is ever the same and I get to work on such a wide variety of projects. My favourite part of the day is when I can get stuck in to creating new art.

 

On her desire to keep things real…

I like to inject a little humour in my illustrations and make people smile. I get a lot of inspiration from reality TV shows like The Real Housewives. While it’s entertaining to watch the wine throwing and hysterics, I also really admire the women who are brave enough to show their vulnerability and all aspects of their lives on TV.

There are common themes that run through a lot of my work and they generally revolve around self acceptance and being happy. Social media encourages a level of perfection that just doesn’t really exist and it puts us under immense pressure. The characters I like to create in my illustrations are human, imperfect, flawed and interesting.

 

On her love of leopard…

My illustrative style is to use black ink sketches and then collage in layers of fabric. I have a huge database of fabric that I’ve sourced online or manually scanned in and one of my absolute favourites to use is leopard print. It’s such an iconic and timeless design and is almost always present in every fashion season.

I first became obsessed with animal print as a teenager in the nineties, reading the Clothes Show Magazine, and have been a lifelong fan ever since. Leopard print is feminine, strong and fierce. I love to use it in my card designs when I am portraying women having fun and living their best life!

 

On what’s next for Katsillustration…

At the moment my studio is full of paintings as I am busy working towards my first solo art exhibition in May. It’s a collection of portraits of women and will be taking place at Aire Place Studios in Leeds.

 

 

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