Konstantin Vulkov: Is there a particular time of the day that you like to work?
Katherine Karnadi: I always love to work in tranquility and my definition of tranquil is being alone in my tiny humble home studio, listening to good music, phone's off, lit scented candles. And the only time where I am able to do that is at night - if not midnight. I really think I can work better at certain times or certain moments. For me the art making process feels a bit personal, I am not comfortable at all having someone watch me work so I guess I could just work during the day but I feel best when working at night.
Konstantin:What kind of inspiration or education should a person have in order to become an illustrator? What particularly made you and illustrator?
Katherine:As a self taught artist, I don't think art education is that necessary to become an illustrator. I'm not saying it's no use, I just think training under mentor and curriculum is no better than experiencing your own trial and error - which will help you find your style. For me, to be an artist, what's needed is a passion, a soul, the urge to create something unnecessarily beautiful and a confidence to call yourself one. What made me an illustrator is the confidence I finally have in my works.
Konstantin:What is beautiful and what is not? What is a good style for example, did you develop it while working or you just have it?
Katherine:I happen to find the behavior of watercolor beautiful. Its unpredictability, transparency, I find it very subtle, very soft, soothing. But it can also be totally bold and striking when stroked with different techniques, like dry brush for example. And I love the combination of the sheer, shy-like mood meets the striking, bold strokes. Most of my works use pencil and watercolor, I love the contrast of pencil precision and watercolor possibilities. I definitely develop the style while working and exercising. On early days, I have tried other media like acrylic and oil but I just don't have the patient in painting. So I'm focusing on working with pencil and watercolor, my two most-favorite mediums.
Konstantin: Can you live only with the illustrations you are doing? What are the challenges for illustrator’s career?
Katherine:This is actually a pleasant surprise for me, yes! I can live only by working as a freelance illustrator. I think I jumped into the art scene at the very right time. Currently in Indonesia, young local artists are highly appreciated. Obviously, here, the art & creative industry is growing rapidly. I think for me, the challenge is to find the right market for my works. I am a little bit picky to whom/what I'll be working with/work for. Sure the money sounds good, but do I do this merely for the money? certainly no. Having to work for the right client that I feel suit my style is very important for me. I am having the time of my life being an illustrator, it's such a luxury to get paid and appreciated doing something you love. Unless the other profession is being an astronaut, I couldn't see myself being anything else.
Konstantin:Did you consider any other profession, rather than be an illustrator?
Katherine: I am having the time of my life being an illustrator, it's such a luxury to get paid and appreciated doing something you love. Unless the other profession is being an astronaut, I couldn't see myself being anything else.
Konstantin: What is your best work so far?
Katherine:Uhm.... there are some of my works that I am happy & satisfied with, but to call one of those my best work, not yet.
I am still learning everyday, I explore, I experiment. I believe that soon, there's this work I'll be proud to call it my best work yet.
Konstantin:Is there an advantage in that profession - I mean that you are female, or this is a disadvantage?
Katherine: I honestly don't feel I get advantages nor disadvantages in being a female illustrator. I don't see it any difference.
If it's anything, maybe I get more jobs and projects from fashion or beauty brands and magazines. But I think it's also because my works are feminine.
Konstantin:What are you up to when your not illustrating? Do you find it important to take a break? I mean - do you travel, what do you do?
Katherine: I really think we should all take a break from things we often to daily, even if it is something that we love to do. In order to avoid it becoming a routine, routine sucks the fun out of everything. I do take a break from drawing when I feel an artist block or simply when I don't feel like it. I go out, driving out of town to have a culinary trip, or furniture and plant shopping, can't get enough of those two.
Konstantin: Your summer plans?
Katherine:I live in a tropical country, so basically it's like summer everyday. Instead of summer plans, I'd rather plan travel to cold, snowy countries like Iceland for example.
Konstantin: What do you pack for a summer holiday?
Katherine: When I'm in the mood to have a "summer" holiday, I would pack an easy beach read novel, an ipod and a large floppy hat.
Konstantin: Favourite summer destination?
Katherine: Although one of the best thing of living in Indonesia is that we have a lot of beautiful beaches, I'm not really a beach person. So on one of those sauna-like weather, I'd rather drive up to colder cities. I think I would enjoy spring more than summer, I'm a sucker for fresh flowers. I would die to go to Provence during spring.
Konstantin: Choose your favourite song right now?
Katherine: I'm currently in love with Rouge Wave - Lake Michigan.
--- Katherine Karnadi is an Indonesian illustrator based in Jakarta. Check her Instagram profile here: