Carving Out Time for Art with Katie Vernon

I recently saw this painting with bisons that Katie had created for her partner for their anniversary, and it just made my heart smile on the inside if that makes any sense. What I most like about her work is the perfect blend of precision and looseness. She uses her mediums so well. I like seeing the inks and watercolors bleed and bloom within the shapes and images she creates. She lets the mediums do what they’re supposed to, and the happy accidents (or intentional control) makes her work so organic. I’m a big fan. She is currently in the running for Lilla Rogers’ 2015 Global Talent Search which you can see here. I personally would love to see more of Katie’s work on household items, but would especially love an original piece someday for myself. Best of luck, Katie, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us here.


Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

I’m Katie Vernon, an artist and illustrator living in the Midwest. I have been creating art all my life but have focused on illustration as a career for the past 4 years. My partner and I have a three year old girl who is fiercely independent, creative, and fearless. 


Has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

She constantly pushes me to be more outgoing, goofy, strong, and more of myself. This has definitely transferred to my art. I have found and refined a process that allows me to be very loose and free upfront and then explore and tweak color/composition/details later.

Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

Having a kid has actually made me better at time management and in turn I have become much more productive. It’s that whole thing where when you’re busier you get more done. It has helped having her in part-time preschool and also having a partner whose schedule is more flexible than most. For me it’s imperative to make lists. Both lists of long-term goals and daily tasks are very important.
How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you? 
I think my creativity/resourcefulness really helps in those moments where we just don’t have a plan. We’ve used grass and flowers as paintbrushes, created treasure chests from boxes (basically done things that are kinda Pinterest-y but would never look cute enough to be on Pinterest- haha!). I want her to see me work hard, have fun, use my talents, and work hard (worth mentioning twice!).
Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?
I paint at our dining table (mainly because I can turn on Netflix in the background- I watch reruns of The Office, Parks and Rec, and 30 Rock). I scan/print/pack/etc. in a small bedroom studio. My ideal workspace would be out of the house in a shared studio. Anytime my daughter is painting or drawing I am also painting or drawing with her.
studio1 (1)
Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?
No revolutionary tips. But going to work as a creative can be like working out- there are those times where you don’t want to because you’re tired or the laundry is piling up but when you show up and just start- amazing things happen.
diningliving (1)KatieVernon-Whistling-Goats
Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?
Right now my big goal is to get an illustration agent. I’m participating in Lilla Rogers’s Global Talent Search and have made it to the top 50- the winner gets 2 years of representation with an amazing studio! Dream projects include designing/illustrating rugs, water towers, entire collections, and basically staying wonderfully busy making art!
P.S. I hope Katie doesn’t kill me for putting this out there, but i think you should all go vote for her work for the competition here if you have a chance! xo, Mariss

5 thoughts on “Carving Out Time for Art with Katie Vernon

  1. Thank you so much for sharing, Ashley. I just checked out your work and it’s pretty awesome too. Glad to meet others in the same boat! I’d love to hear more about your journey too!

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