Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Birth of EmmaKisstina

Today I'd like to introduce a new weekly (or so) blog feature 'Take my own Advice'. My thought is that by pushing myself to answer questions about being a freelancer I can help myself to understand my business better (and grow) and hopefully inspire others in the freelance industry as well. I've certainly learned a lot from my mistakes, I'm sure others will too. I am so very inspired by Graphic Designer Bri of Design Love Fest's weekly advice columns with illustrator Katie Evans. Their insight has helped me a lot and has inspired me to take bigger steps towards a more professional career in illustration. This freelancing thing is a funny business with many ups and downs.

Today's question: How did EmmaKisstina come about?

EmmaKisstina was born one year after I had graduated from college (with a useless degree in studio art) in 2007. I had opened a store on Etsy while in college and tried to sell random (awful original) artworks with no success. Once I closed my first store I really wanted to give selling on Etsy a second chance (like come on, how cool would it be if I could live off my art!) so I really did my homework. I studied Etsy and tried to find things that were missing and what other successful artists were doing. At that time I thought girly girl art was not being represented (but a real Girly Girl revival was going on, cupcakes, frilly dresses and pastels were popping up just about everywhere.), and I was also really inspired by many other artists on Etsy who combined traditional drawing techniques with digital coloring (I hadn't heard of this before, and taught myself through trial and error in Photoshop.) Offering prints at lower prices seemed smart too. (You can reach a wider audience this way; everyone and anyone can afford a print.) In college my work was strange and arty farty, I realized that if I wanted to make a living off of my art I would have to (sell out) and go the commercial route. I also realized that I could finally be inspired by my passion for fashion and beautiful items. (In art school drawing shoes and handbags would have made me laughable, an air head.)

My first ever EmmaKisstina illustration.

So I combined all my favorite things into simple pop arty illustrations. I started drawing items from my many collected coveted glossy Vogues and Elles and added my favorite colors, pastels, in my favorite medium, pen and paper! They made me really happy, so they would also make other girly girls like me happy too, (right?). I love happiness. I think art should make you happy; not provoke.

The name EmmaKisstina came about as a play on my first and middle name Kristina and Emma. It's girly and fun, and pretty easy to remember. My legal name is Kristina Emma, I go by Kristina, but my mother always thought Emma Kristina had a better ring to it (In Sweden many people go by their middle name, this isn't strange at all). Though to keep the confusion at bay at school and what not in America, Kristina became my first name and Emma my middle. I also remembered that one of my childhood friend's mommy always called me 'Kisstina' which is just super cute. (Unfortunately here in Sweden Kiss means piss, which is a real bummer, and causes some immature giggling.) But oh well I am in love with my brand name anyhow.

Of course I didn't get fans and buyers and followers over night. But that's a whole other story...


Tami Cohen said...

thanks for sharing :)

Aja Lake said...

thanks, kristina! it's always great to hear real-life advice from fellow freelancers.

Aja Lake
the gold hat.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad to share, and so glad I've gotten great response. I've planned lots of other questions too. Hoping they will be to help to someone. xo