I am SO EXCITED to announce that this featured creator is none other than the legendary Katie Abey!
I've been following Katie's work for a few years now - she influenced many of my uni projects and I love collecting her wares, my latest purchase being a Hufflepug coaster! Her huge accomplishments such as not one but TWO brick and mortar stores, and publishing her own books gives me motivation to go out and be the best illustrator and all-round person possible.
Now it's time for Katie to introduce herself! Buckle-up guys:
Hey Katie! Tell us a little about yourself
I am a 25 year old yellow-haired illustrator working from a studio in Derbyshire. I have a pet cat, pet hedgehog, a husband and I'm currently growing a human too!
I illustrate children's books and my company create and sell a range of motivational and colourful bonkers giftware.
Where do you get inspiration for your illustrations?
The weirdest of places. I often have strange dreams that can spark ideas too, most recently one about a goat which was an insanely powerful dream haha!
What’s your creative process?
My creative process has become so much easier since joining the technological world and investing in an iPad. It means I can draw on the go way more easily!
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I don't really know when I decided I wanted to work for myself, it wasn't really ever a question for me it just felt like that was always what I was going to do really. I jumped straight in to it after graduating university. I started off with it just being me, in my onesie on my own. And then my husband Jeff and I grew it in to a limited company and now there are 6 of us working on the company full and part time! This still blows my mind massively!
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
There are so many things I have been proud of in our business. Most recently I would say opening our new shop 'Punnydukes' through the help of crowdfunding. It really was an amazing experience and great to have so many people who believed in our vision!
Which of your products is your favourite/are you most proud of?
I have a soft spot for anything I create which has a self care/mental health awareness message. As I feel like we need to start as many conversations around this as we can to continue breaking down that stigma.
What’s the next big step in your career?
Our company has never been one that plans things too much, and I love that. I really like being open to opportunities that flow to us and I feel like that is a really creative way to work. I've tried the whole '5 year business plan' thing and although plans can be great for pinning down potential goals it is so much better to enjoy the journey. A seedling of an idea for us at the moment for the future is something creative Jeff has come up with to do with pop up shops across the UK, we will see whether we end up going down that road!
What’s your favourite thing about being an independent maker?
There is such an ace community, especially on instagram, of fellow creative beans and it's a great thing to be a part of.
Do you have any role models who helped motivate you to were you are today?
When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Jacqueline Wilson books and I loves Nick Sharratt's characters. I also massively look up to Shirley Hughes and how she is still illustrating and doing what she loves in to her nineties!
Do you have any advice for anyone who’s just starting out or struggling to find their way in the creative world?
My advice would be to not get overwhelmed if possible. Don't compare your journey to anyone else's journey as yours will be different and that is what makes it amazing. Take small steps every day!
Where can we find your work?
We sell online at www.katieabey.co.uk and our full range is available in our two shops in Alfreton and Matlock.
We are stocked in lots of great indie shops across the globe and we also license artwork to Scribbler and Paperchase.
So there you have it - thank you Katie for sharing your creative insights with us!
Be sure to stay tuned for next month's creator as you're in for another very special treat!
Bye for now,