Meeting conceptual demand... meet IA's Katherine Smith.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Katherine Smith


Linkedin @ Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith at work

Do you have an art practice outside of illustration?

I am constantly creating art.

Who and what inspires your art and creativity?

My illustration heroes are Yuko Shimizu, Victo Ngai and Daniel Egneus. I am inspired by illustrators who blur the line between art and illustration and create work that meets commercial demands, but stands on its own.

Katherine Smith, Great Barrier Reef

What excites you about illustration?

As it is so easy to photograph and the cost of commissioning photographs has dropped, illustrators have had to respond through creativity. I am excited by the opportunity to illustrate scenes that can’t be photographed, meet a conceptual demand and are quirky.

What do you love illustrating?

Sea creatures, birds, animals, flowers and plants, people, architecture. 

Katherine Smith, How Australia Bungled the NBN Rollout

What’s a typical day for you as an illustrator?

As well as being an illustrator, I run a family consisting of three children, a husband and two dogs.  Four mornings a week my day starts by training in a swimming squad before rushing home to help get everyone out the door and the dogs walked. After this I ‘commute’ down the hall to my home studio with a cup of tea in hand.  Working from home I make an effort to intersperse the week with social dog walks, catch up coffees and occasional lunches.

I am very much a morning person, so I work on ideas and thumbs first thing and find the later part of the day better for inking and colouring.

Do you regularly exhibit your work? Why or why not?

I don’t regularly exhibit, but plan to in the future. 

What are your thoughts on social networking and marketing yourself online as an artist? How has this helped you gain a following or given you opportunities?

My personal view on social media is that it is there to demonstrate a history and ongoing engagement with the field but is unlikely to be the first place a client will find you. I think prospective clients are much more likely to select an illustrator through an established industry body, word or mouth or on the credibility of published work and then check up on them through social media. It serves more to validate engagement than as a one stop shop marketing tool.

Katherine Smith, Judge Fate

Given what you know now, do you have any advice for yourself in those early stages?

I still consider myself in the early stages. But if I have to give advice, I would say there is a lot more to it than just creating beautiful work.  In many ways, it is a lonely path in that you will generally be working on your own, so you have to be responsible for your own marketing, accounting, studio cleaning etc.

Could you give some experience of roles with clients (how you came about them and your overall experience)?

Most of my work to date has been word of mouth. I think illustrator and client have to meet half way. Ideally the client should come to an illustrator because they like and are familiar with their work. As an illustrator, I aim to understand the clients business and brief and ideally go beyond their initial ideas.

What’s your favourite weird colour (or weird paint shade) name?

Teal.  It is not a conscious thing but this colour ends up in most of my work, around my house and in my wardrobe.

Curious to see more of Katherine Smith's work? Check out her Illustrators Australia profile here.