ILW 57 Show Chair Cliff Cramp interviews our newest judge, Kat Haynes

[note all artwork is © Kat Haynes and cannot be used in any way without consent of the artist]

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself or how you got started?

​My name is Kat Haynes and I am a freelance illustrator and designer in Orange County. I majored in animation and studio arts back in 2006 at Loyola Marymount University. Since then I have had the opportunity to work on several shows including Avatar, The Last Airbender, and Back at the Barnyard. Eventually I was hired by a company called TeeFury that focused on parody apparel, which lead me down the path of illustration and design. Since then I have worked for companies such as Mattel and Roseart as well as created products for Marvel, Disney, Pixar, Harry Potter and more. It has been a crazy ride and I’m excited to see where my career will lead me.

  1. What’s your daily routine look like?

As a freelancer it can vary dramatically from day to day. Sometimes I’ll go into studios to work for a regular 9-5 shift on in-house work that usually involves product or packagaing design. Other times I’ll work from home on illustrations or personal projects. Often times I like going out to cafes to draw. It helps get me out around people.


  1. Who inspires you? What inspires you?

So many of my friends, both artist and non-artist, inspire me everyday by their hard work and refusal to give up even when things get tough. I strive to be like my father and mother who worked so hard to support my family. People such as Cliff Cramp have also inspired me, not just with his work but with the story of how he entered the art community. It really helps me feel like it’s never too late to achieve a successful career doing what you love. What inspires me the most is the artwork and skill I see pouring onto social media everyday. The skill and care I see helps keep me inspired to keep at my own craft.


  1. What are some favorite projects that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?

My two favorite projects would definitely be working on Avatar, The Last Airbender, and my webcomic, Perpetual Flux. With Avatar, it was wonderful to work on a show that I was already truly passionate about before I had even been brought on. I met some amazing people and was able to help create something that was special to so many. Working on Perpetual Flux has been wonderful as well. It’s great to be able to tell a story that I’ve always wanted with a good friend of mine, Julie Olson. It’s truly freeing.

  1. What advice do you have for illustrators beginning and pro?

My greatest advice would be to make as many friends as possible. Each connection you build might very well lead to something wonderful down the line. Connections are what help keep the flow of creativity moving, both with inspiration as well as career opportunities. It is definitely important to hone your talents, but these connections will help enrich your career and life. Make sure to set aside the time for it.


6 Describe your workspace for us? 

I am extremely neat to a near obsessive level. I must have everything tidy and in its place to create a constructive work environment. I also love surrounding myself with inspiration so my work space is filled with artwork and models.


  1. What do you find challenging about being an artist/illustrator?

The hardest thing for me is to keep drawing at a fast enough pace. I tend to take my time and lull in certain points of my illustration process, so I try to keep on myself to work through the lulls and complete my work without the drag.


  1. What’s something artistically that you haven’t done that you would enjoy doing.

I have not done much in the way of watercolor, which is a medium I think I would really enjoy learning. I’ve started to try my hand with water based materials such as gouache, but I think I would really enjoy the flow watercolor allows.


  1. What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy playing video games. I find so much inspiration and joy in the visual story telling medium video games offer. When not at home I like to go out and spend time with family and friends. They are certainly what makes life worth living!


  1. Favorite movie and why?

I think my favorite movie would have to be “The Fall.” It’s an absolutely beautiful film filled with all levels of humor, drama and action. What’s more it was filmed on site all over the world. Definitely worth checking out.