This is Kait Jones of kaitcreative. She’s a freelance graphic designer in New Westminster and also creates beautiful watercolours that you can buy on her Etsy shop. We sat down last week over hot bevies to discuss art, learning new skills, and following passion. PLUS! She’s giving away a lovely set of holiday cards. Scroll down to enter.
1. Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do?
Oh man, this question! Haha. I always say “graphic design” because it’s something people pretty much don’t question, and it always gets me through a US border check. I have a full time “in-house” design gig, but I get to work from home, yay! My free time is filled with freelance projects, watercolor painting, playing and hiking with my other half and our Vizsla, Jovi. I’m an ex-ski racer so I still make lots of time for the mountains, but I also do a lot of movie watching, and drinking Champagne on tuesday nights in sweats with my bffs. I also just retired from playing and managing my box lacrosse team, and have filled that time with wedding planning… I’m not sure what I’ll do when that’s all over but I don’t think it will be hard to fill the time.
2. I love your watercolours on Etsy. Can you tell me about how you self-taught yourself and what you really love creating?
Getting to where I am not was a slow evolution, I never dreamed of being a painter. I’ve always been a “crafter” and dabbled with paint when making birthday cards for friends and family from time to time. When we bought our home I started crafting up some art with the little Winsor Newton Sketchers Pocket Box my Grandma Jones had given me as a kid. I essentially tried to copy a few ideas I saw online and did a pretty good job! I decided copying didn’t really make me feel that good (shocker) and wanted to create my own work. I took two classes from a local painter who basically helped me figure out I didn’t want to take lessons to learn “proper technique,” and I kept up practicing by imitating the work of people I really admired. This helped me start to understand how to use watercolor to achieve a certain look, and I used what I learned to start creating my own pieces. Friends and family loved them so I put them on Etsy in early 2013 and things have been building from there.
I feel inspired by nature. I am not a painter in the sense of “realism”, I like to see things in my own way, but they aren’t abstract either. Items you’d find at the beach or on a hike lend me a sense of nostalgia that I try to capture. Those are my favourite pieces. I also love the cards I make, I like thinking about where they are going and what might be written in them. I love being a part of that exchange. Shipping orders to customers in Australia, Paris, New York etc. has really been exciting.
3. Do you have a process for getting into the creative mood? Or a time of day that sparks inspiration?
Mornings are usually when I focus creatively, but also late a night sometimes. What I’ve learned over time is creativity is not 100% magic. It’s 99% practice, brainstorming, exploration and 1% magic. There’s something that happens to me in the middle of the night, after I’ve filled my head with ideas, that lends itself to a moment of loose connection, and that’s what I call the magic. I usually wake up and run to write those ideas down and sometimes struggle to fall back asleep while I work the ideas out further for the rest of the night. But if I don’t fill my head with ideas on purpose, those “aha” moments wouldn’t happen as often.
4. What’s the best part about working from home?
No drama and snuggle breaks with my dog Jovi. I’ve worked in a few offices that ended up with a lot of drama, and really don’t see myself going back to that. It sucked the energy out me that I need to do what I love. My current position is awesome because I can work regular hours without commuting, which saves a lot more time for me to work on my personal projects. I also have the freedom to decorate however I want.
5. What’s been your biggest challenge when it comes to working from home?
Making sure my regular job comes first can sometimes be frustrating when I have a great idea for a personal or client project I’d like to get to work on. But really I haven’t found working at home to be much of a challenge. I have a routine. I always get up, get dressed, make the bed and eat breakfast. This leaves me with some time to myself before regular work hours and what I do then changes all the time. It’s the first few things I do in the day that really set the pace to stay productive.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring designers?
Practice and have confidence. Your clients should have some say in what your work looks like, but it should still look like you did it. This is pretty hard to achieve when you start out because you want to take every client that comes along. You will soon learn that the more you say no to the clients who are all wrong for you, the better you will get at finding clients who are a pleasure to work with. Then hold on to those ones for dear life!
7. What’s in the works for you in the near future?
2013 was a year of trying out new things. I had no idea if anyone besides my mom would buy my art, but now that I do I’m committed to really focusing on building the kaitcreative line and getting it out in the world. Getting into more shops and releasing more designs are goals for 2014. This may mean I do less web and client work but that is still something I’m debating. I’m also getting married in May (ekk) so I know for the next 6 months or so I’ll have to be careful I don’t overcommit to clients. Being reliable and consistent is really important to me.
8. How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?
I’m a planner by nature, but I also plan for free time. I believe in taking in special moments and consciously choosing to remember them. Usually that’s when a camera comes out and eyes roll at me… but they also thank me later.
I love a good adventure day whether it be a new hike, new mountain, new city or new food. Time with friends and family is important to me and I’ve learned to make sure I make time for them. They give me confidence, they are my test subjects, and often unknowingly help me with new ideas. I think we get so few connections in our lifetime that it’s important we take full advantage of the ones we have. And when someone brings a slip-in-slide over to your house, forget how old you are, put on a bathing suit and enjoy the ride!
Congratulations on your wedding, Kait. Thanks for taking part in this series and I can’t wait to see what kaitcreative comes up with in the New Year.