Holly, from the Zazzle store kimchikawaii, talks with us about her illustrations, her inspirations and her time as a Zazzler. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her store kimchikawaii!
Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Holly: I have always loved drawing since I knew that crayons weren’t just colorful chew toys :) I am pretty much self-taught (learned to do portraits by drawing many pictures of New Kids on the Block when I was a teenager, lol). I majored in Studio Art at the University of California, Davis. I started out with traditional media – colored pencils, acrylics, and pen – but have expanded to vector art in Illustrator which makes up the majority of art I turn out now. I like to keep most of my designs humorous and light. Who doesn’t love a bad pun?
Zazzle: A lot of your work seems to be more kawaii vector art, when did you start illustrating? Are there other styles of art you enjoy creating as well?
Holly: My kawaii style art is actually fairly new in regards to how long I have been doing art. I started doing vector kawaii pieces about 3 years ago when I began selling my work. The styles I like to work with are kind of all over the place. I do a lot of fantasy artwork with traditional media (my favorite is colored pencil). I also have pieces that dabble in art nouveau and realism. I’m working on getting more of those types of designs and pieces into my Zazzle shop under the K2 section.
Zazzle: What’s your inspiration for your designs?
Holly: I can get inspired from many things. I really like puns that make people roll their eyes at how bad it is, but still laugh. I do a lot of walking and during that time, I come up with a lot of random ideas that will just pop into my head from experiences, things I like or something I see on my route. I also belong to an online art community and I’ll sometimes get suggestions from there that sound fun to try. A recent example was a conversation I had with a friend on there who said I should do a chupacabra (legendary monster) in my kawaii style. If you have seen pictures of those things, they are UGLY, but I liked the challenge and so came up with a design that has been well received.
Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?
Holly: Hm, that’s a tough one. I would have to say that currently it’s a tie between my Ice Cream Carousel and the Brownie Sundae design. The carousel one was one of the most detailed pieces I’ve done on Illustrator to date and I was really happy with the way everything came together. The sundae didn’t take as long, but lately, I’ve been addicted to trying to portray shiny things with vectors. It was fun to work on the chocolate syrup and cherry. Only bad thing was that both designs made me crave ice cream!
Zazzle: Any artists you look up to when it comes to designing?
Holly: I pretty much admire anyone who can make a complete living off of their artwork. I would love to reach that level someday.
Zazzle: How do you get out of creative ruts?
Holly: I used to be a HUGE perfectionist and I would get into creative ruts by putting all kinds of pressure on myself to create a totally polished piece right off the bat. I’ve overcome that by making full use of a sketchbook and using ball point pen instead of pencil. If I can erase, I start to focus too much on making it perfect and not just letting things flow. Just sitting and randomly doodling really helps. Sometimes, I’ll cover 5 pages in sketches in various stages of completion. If I don’t like how one idea is fleshing out, I just stop that one and start doodling again in a different place on the page. My sketchbook is the artist’s equivalent of when writers do the stream of conscious writing or the brainstorm charts. And if all that doesn’t work, I’ll go walking with my camera or watch something that strikes me as creative – like Cirque du Soleil shows. Those rarely fail to get my own creativity flowing!
Zazzle: Who is your favorite Zazzle seller (besides yourself, of course)?
Holly: I would have to say The Cute Institute. I love their fun, kawaii inspired designs and clean lines.
Zazzle: How do YOU eat a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup?
Holly: As fast as possible? LOL! Mmmm, I LOVE Reeses! I was always willing to trade any candy from trick or treating for Reeses :) That reminds me, I think I have one in my snack stash…
Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?
Holly: I’ve always wanted to make a living off of selling my original artwork and I liked how Zazzle gives me access to a wide range of products that I can place my designs on, increasing the chance that people will find something that they like and can use. I also really like the design tools that I can’t find on other sites – like the ability to add a background color through the website instead of having to save a separate file with a background to fit each specific item.
Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?
Holly: Don’t get frustrated and give up if you don’t see your sales immediately skyrocket when you first start. Studies show that it can take about a year or two for a business to start seeing a profit and I have found this to be true with my shop. In the meantime, make use all the social marketing tools that are available out there through both Zazzle and on the web. Like any brick and mortar store, it’s all about getting your brand out there. I would say it’s even more important when you sell online as there isn’t a physical store front for people to happen to pass by. Also, work at having a wide variety of designs in your shop.