Artist Spotlight: Kim White
Kim is a digital designer and illustrator from Bristol (England) that loves to doodle all things cute and quirky – and she’s on a mission to encourage others to explore mindfulness, relaxation and creative self-expression through her playful adult colouring books.
Coloring and drawing were two of Kim’s favorite childhood pastimes, but her real interest in the adult coloring trend piqued when she realized the amazing mental health benefits it had. Not only does coloring help manage symptoms of anxiety and stress, but it’s also extremely fun and can be enjoyed by all ages!
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
I don’t want to sound cliche, but pretty much from the moment I was able to pick up a pencil. As a kid, I absolutely adored drawing and I’d always ask for art supplies and Crayola goodies for my birthday.
Throughout school, Art was my favourite subject, and I saw it as my time to relax and unwind rather than a lesson. Unfortunately, as I got older I started to hear a lot of people say that you couldn’t get a job as an artist, and naturally I gravitated towards something other people felt was a little more “secure”, even though it wasn’t necessarily the path I’d hoped for.
Where I ended up was in the world of web design, and it was a place that I really did enjoy for quite a few years. It’s only in more recent times, and from struggling with depression and trying to self-medicate, that I stumbled upon my love for drawing again.
The only difference now is that I KNOW I can make an income from my passion if I put the work in, and even though I work full-time in a day job (as a digital designer), I make sure I use most of my spare time to progress myself as an illustrator.
It’s definitely hard work to juggle both jobs, but the dream of becoming a full-time illustrator keeps me motivated. I’m also extremely lucky to have very supportive fans that help push me along when I’m feeling a little flat.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
My colouring book, Doodles from The Den. Prior to this book being launched, my head was filled with so many negative voices about putting myself out there.
I feared that my work wasn’t good enough — especially considering how the colouring world is already full of super talented artists — and I had no idea how to even create a book, how to get them printed and bound, and I also didn’t have the first clue about how to market it. All I knew was that it was a challenge I wanted to conquer.
Everything in the book was designed by me – including the cover (which I digitally coloured in) and I couldn’t have been happier when the samples arrived at my house. Everything came together really well, and I am so excited to be working on my next book, and luckily, the process is a little easier now that the initial learning curve is out the way.
All my designs have digital colorists in mind, which is something I pride myself on, and I’ve made sure my line work is clean and crisp with a good variety of big and small sections to color. I feel like my doodles capture the childish innocence that I’ve lost over the years, and putting pen to paper is a great way to take me back to my roots.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
Everything I’ve ever learned, including web design (my day job), has been entirely self taught. I’d wholeheartedly say that if you want to improve your skills, and have a burning desire that keeps you motivated, you can 100% teach yourself anything — creativity and colouring included!
We live in a world where all this information is at your fingertips, and there are so many talented creatives out there that are sharing their expertise in their field, so it’s simply a case of taking some time out to learn. YouTube and Skillshare are all great places to start for quality tutorials on all creative subject matters.
Don’t feel like you have to stick to one creative outlet either, mixing it up most certainly keeps things fresh and often compliment each other or crossover. For example, I love to draw, color and design websites…but also love to get lost in books (you’d be surprised how many ideas a good book can give you), knit and try my hand at random craft projects I stumble across on Pinterest.
Are there other coloring book artists or illustrators that inspire you?
I have Johanna Basford to thank for making me realize it was possible to use my natural drawing skills to expand my creative career. I honestly thought I’d only ever be doing web and digital design, but now I know I have options! She set the tone for all the illustrators that followed in her footsteps.
Kerby Rosanes is also a huge favorite for me as the level of detail in his work is just astounding! I don’t have the patience for the intricacy and imagination he pours into his illustrations, and each picture inspires me to think outside the box.