A year ago this month I was preparing to open up my Etsy shop. I had sketched the summer away and figured out enough of what I needed to know to have a shop (I made that sound like it wasn’t a pain in the ass, when in fact it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. That deserves a whole blog series in itself). I would awake in the middle of the night worried about things like the shade of the pink tissue paper I bought to package up orders and everything else that didn’t matter. It’s weird that it has been a whole year and at the same time it feels like I have been doing this my entire life. I guess that should be a comforting feeling though, right? Feeling like I am here for this purpose, to create art and share my journey of not just successes but especially my struggles. Especially since most people spend the good majority of their life trying to figure that out.
If you have read any of my previous posts, you know the uncertainty I felt for quite sometime even after I opened my shop. I was so worried about what everyone else would think and the judgements they would have towards me. There came a point where I wouldn’t even introduce myself as an artist just to skip the whole deal. We’ve been working on that. I practice at my part-time job quite often now with the help of my boss and sometimes in the mirror. I have come to the realization that those were my judgements about myself and they needed to be put aside. When I was able to do that, I was able to move forward and queenikathleeni became about so much more for me than just sketching fashion illustrations. Not only did it become a career path for me, but qk quickly became a personal project. (Dangerous territory. Trust me, I know)
It became about putting what I loved before status and money. It became about learning as you go and teaching yourself skills you need to have to do what you love. It became about finding a way to keep going when nothing was working out and picking myself off the ground with tiny successes. It became about connecting with creative minds and being inspired by other passionate people. It became about using my education in a different way than I expected and realizing it was still the most valuable tool I had. It became about having a place and voice on this tiny blog. It became about chasing goals, no matter what sacrifices it would take to accomplish them. It became about NOT GOING TO ART SCHOOL AND STILL BEING AN ARTIST. It became about true expression and emotion. It became about realizing there is no work/life balance and that it is all life.
What I did not expect was the feedback I received. I wasn’t really shooting for being an inspiration. Really, I thought I was a hot mess, still do. I was working way too many jobs (probably still am) and not showering nearly enough. Most days I would show up to my other jobs with glitter stuck to my cleavage and feeling like I was going nowhere in life. What in the heck could possibly be inspiring about that was beyond me. I still haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Maybe it is that I’m doing something different, following my heart and passion, and living out a dream. Maybe it’s the idea other people have of what I do, which is most times a romanticized idea of an artist. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter to me. I so appreciate anyone who took the time to send me a message and told me to keep doing what I was doing. Every single one of those messages ruined my heart in the best way possible and gave me hope that I was doing something that mattered.
I will never be the same because of this journey. It is truly the biggest honor of my life. There is no failure.
Thanks for reading.
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.