Hello! What’s your name & where do you come from?
Hi there! I’m Kimberley, otherwise known on the ol’ social media as ‘kimmykeepreal’ and I live in South Yorkshire, UK. Big up the steel city of Sheffield!
How long have you been drawing/designing for?
A fair few years! I was intensely interested in Art at school, and ended up pursuing it in my spare time. Designing compared to doodling, I must say has been in the last 3 years of doing it more professionally. Overall, it has been a steady flow since an early age.
What inspires you most?
Nature and landscapes from where I live is the main source of my inspiration. I don’t live too far away from the Peak District, which is flippin’ beautiful. I twist that inspiration into symbols and all those good vibes from buddhism. I tend to draw a heck of a lot of mandalas! I also adore old school traditional styles of work and tattooing too- so that flickers through my work a fair bit.
Do you find that illustrating & designing is a helpful way for you to unwind & deal with life?
Oh yeah. Being creative in any way, is for me (and I’m hoping for a lot of folk too!) is a way to calm down and just breathe. It’s a form of mindfulness/meditation that allows you to focus on you, your body and that creative flow. If I’m having a day where my mental health is suffering, where my anxiety picks up and takes off- designing brings my mind back to the motions of my work, instead of worrying about everything and nothing. I can definitely tell when I haven’t done any artwork for a while, my mind feels restless.
Is there anything else that you do to help you stay positive?
I love going for a good walk. Going back into nature is so beneficial to staying grounded and feeling positive. We live in such a fast paced world, so it’s great to bring it back down to you and the natural world. Seeing friends and connecting with other like minded folk definitely helps to keep me positive. When you surround yourself with inspiring and wonderful people- that’s what keeps you going. That energy is just the sweetest thing to be around.
Do you have any advice for anyone out there who’s maybe struggling right now?
Keep going. Allow yourself to feel what you truly feel and be gentle. What you’re going through- you’re going to get through. You are capable of growing more as the beautiful being you are tomorrow, as well as today. Think about that tomorrow, let it guide you, let it be that light. Sometimes we can’t express how we feel in words, we’re human and it is hard. Never feel alone in this.
How about some tips for if you wanted to get into designing as a career?
Practice and persevere. Ask yourself what you’d like to do as a creative person. For me, being an ‘Artist’ fits in very well with my method of work. I’m an old school paper-and-pen- doodler who isn’t that confident turning intricate pieces of work into logos or mathematically correct digital images. Don’t take on a project or commission if it compromises your style of work. Stay true to your methods- and folk will come to you just for that. I started out by obsessively doodling on my own tote bags in college; to being in the local paper when kids started paying me to do it for them! I don’t have an art degree (but a degree in Counselling Therapy!) and finding your style is important to your self- development, and you potential customers/clients. I’ll admit, I still find it hard to use Illustrator and Photoshop. I’m an old school artist who does everything on paper and for the life of me can’t translate it to digital form. But I can try my hardest, and that is all you need. You got this- make your art a part of your ‘self’.
Can you tell us a lil bit about your own brand Keep Real?
Keep Real is a brand of ‘inspiring products promoting emotional wellbeing’. So we aim to bridge that gap between fashion/goods and mental health with products that have that ‘keep it real’ ethos. We aim to produce our goods as sustainable and as ethical as possible too. It’s about feeling good inside and out, so we’re setting up a ‘Real’ blog on how to take care of yourself through the products we make and raise awareness in mental health. So so excited for the launch- which will be around summer time 2017. It’s been a lonnng time coming of around 2-3 years of terrible sketches, idea development to last year’s trademarking sweetness. We’re bringing out a small collection first (tees to stationery) and then bringing out collections throughout the year! Woo!
Where can we find out a bit more about you & your work?
You can take a peep on all platforms for my personal posts, mental health blog posts on @kimmykeepreal and have a gander on all platforms for @KeepRealUK <3