Looking back to this time frame for colour inspiration, a specific colour palette is one of the main recognisable factors in Kate’s output. “I like colours that create a mood, so I’m really attracted to peachy oranges, deep yellows and rusty reds – all colours that make me think of being out in the sun too long,” as she puts it. Usually drawing first on procreate and then moving over to Photoshop, it’s here that Kate additionally adds heavy, almost felt tip style fluffy textures to her pieces. Considering her work always features these textures, they’re a factor which inspire or influence other elements, such as colour or line work. “I can’t really see the colours properly until I have the textures in there, because the way the textures interact with the colours adds so much depth and changes the vibrancy,” adds the illustrator. “Once I find colours that look the way I like with texture, I tend to use those again and again.”
Often providing a visual metaphor in her pieces too, Kate’s process for what she’ll actually draw includes a large chunk of thinking, and some word association. Explaining how at first she’ll gather “a bunch of images in a doc” to make notes which she can then have some word play with. “Word association can be a great way to get an unexpected idea, so I often make lists of loose words, then read them back and try to see if there are any surprising or interesting relationships,” she explains. Then refining a selection she likes best, and once the art director she’s working with has signed off on a mutual direction, she’ll ink and colour the drawings before adding the texture at the last minute.
Each of these thoughtful processes all aim towards Kate creating a certain kind of atmosphere in her works, one which certainly speaks with its own tone of voice now. It means Kate can’t land on one possible object when we ask what her favourite thing to draw is, stating how anything new is exciting for her, “like an industrial wood chipper or something,” she says, “I’d be psyched to do it.”
This enthusiasm is something that still gives the viewer the sense Kate is still deeply in love with her craft, and still learning its ins and outs. And, having just made the decision to go full-time as an illustrator too, we look forward to seeing what atmospheres Kate will create next.