In this YAMI(Young And Making It) feature, I interviewed 23 years old Krystal Porter from Brooklyn, New York who is an Illustrator and Art Instructor. She shares how she got into illustration, where she draws her inspiration from and awesome tips to help other newbie or wannabe Illustrators.
S: Please introduce yourself to the readers.
K: My name is Krystal Porter and I am 23 years old. I was born in Brooklyn, NY, but I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina for 8 years for high school. I moved back to Brooklyn last summer to get better opportunities in a job within art or fashion and I just started a new job as an art instructor at a community center for young kids and so far I’m loving it!
S: At what age did you start drawing and what inspired you to continue as you got older
K: I believe I started drawing in middle school. Actually, it might’ve been before that, but middle school was really the time I started watching a lot of cartoons and reading little comics I found in stores. So that inspired me to start, and to keep going as I got older. It was fun to me to just draw the characters I saw or even whatever I found interesting. Surprisingly, in high school when I took art, I didn’t like it much. It seemed like such a competition in the classroom and at that time I was focusing more on writing and that’s when I started getting into taking pictures and editing. However, I did keep drawing random things throughout the years.
S: What did you study at university and did that help with your journey to becoming an illustrator?
K: I went to the HBCU, North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. I studied Visual Communications and I have to say it was an amazing 4 years! I loved the people and the environment I was in so much that I kind of even miss it now. I took many art classes, from ceramics to illustration. The first illustration class was the reason I started illustrating. I did well on the first assignment and I’ve been creating ever since.
S: Please share some tips for starting with Illustrator(software) for those wanting to be illustrators.
K: If you’d like to get into illustration, I’d say to just start drawing. Whether it’s from your imagination or if you see something or someone that inspires you, all you have to do is start. My second tip is you DO NOT need the illustrator program. Basically, everyone has a smartphone or an iPad now a days and there are many drawing apps where you can express your creativity freely. One that I use currently is called adobe draw and it’s free! The third tip is you don’t even need to do it digitally. You can just put pencil to paper and just start drawing, throw some colour or even use paint. As long as you try, you’re bound to get it.
S: Given your skill set now, what mistakes did you go through that others can avoid?
K: Well, I wouldn’t say this is much of a mistake it just makes things take a little longer. When I started, I never made my lines connect and if you do make them connect, you can fill in your colour so much faster. Another shortcut is to make sure you utilise layers. It makes things so much easier to have different details on different layers so when you need to make changes, there won’t be any difficulty.
S: What inspires your illustrations?
K: My inspiration for my illustrations are always people. Mainly in pictures I see on Instagram or Tumblr. I have so many screenshots in my phone it might be kind of creepy. But i mean, it’s flattering at the same time right?
S: Who are your favourite illustrators and the ones to watch?
K: Let’s see… I’ve found many artists on Instagram that I really do admire such as @black_fenrir who makes these caricatures that also look realistic at the same time and I also love the work of @nitimueth who has more of a simple approach to her work but makes a statement with every piece she makes. Plus sometimes she makes ones that move and you always have to give credit where it’s due for people who make that extra effort.
S: Do you see illustration as a sustainable career option and if so, what ways can one get into the industry?
K: I do see illustration as a sustainable career option, you just have to make sure to put your time and effort into your work. It’s always wise to make a portfolio online so it can be easy to show your work to someone looking to hire you or anyone interested in seeing your art work. Another good thing to do is to intern. Interning is a great way to get your foot in the door because you get to learn as you go and you also get to network with other people in the industry and hopefully you will be able to form relationships that will help you in the future.
S: What do you think are the top skills needed to be a creative entrepreneur?
K: I would say I’m still learning the answer to that myself but I would say knowing how to network and to promote yourself well are two great skills to have so more people will get to know you and your work.
S: I love your style and IG feed! What influences your style and your take on art?
K: Thank you! I feel like my inspiration and style comes from when I started drawing cartoons. I love the look of it rather than making things too realistic and I think that just works for me. I’m definitely still trying to develop my own style though.
S: Any last words?
K: No matter what, there’ll always be other artists out there that you think are better and you may feel discouraged at times. However, you should try to just concentrate on your own work and style. Create in any way you want, experiment with different mediums and styles, continue to practice and I’m sure you will create great art!
Thanks for sharing your ideas and journey thus far with us Krystal! I hope you lovely people were inspired by her words, and if you’re contemplating getting into illustration, I guess you need no better prompt-
Check out Krystal Porter via: Portfolio Instagram Blog
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