Katrina Sophia on art as self-care / by Carley Batley

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Katrina and I am an artist and freelance illustrator living in Nottingham. I run an online shop selling original work and illustrated gifts, and I take private and editorial commissions too. I love creating work from various mediums and materials but I mainly paint with watercolour.

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Your skill as an illustrator is wide-ranging while retaining a distinctive style, your portfolio includes architecture, people and pet portraits, and botanical and food illustrations. What was your training in art?
I studied Art for both GCSEs and A-Levels, then went to university twice studying Fine Art and then Scenic Art; unfortunately my university courses didn’t work out after the first year due to the lack of support I received as a deaf person. The skills I picked up are still valuable today, but after those experiences I decided to take my development as an artist into my own hands, which led to starting my business.

I paint various subjects to explore and work to my full potential but what I love the most is painting anything we find in the natural world.

You've blogged about your creative year in 2016, including your challenge to draw every day. How did this move you forward as an artist? 
I grew a lot more confident in my practice and myself. Before I started that year, I was as passionate about art as I am today but I wasn’t painting daily. I would create a few pieces per month due to my lack of motivation and self-belief. When I learnt about Crystal Moody and her year of creative habits I was immediately inspired and realised that to be a more successful artist, I need to create every day no matter what. And this turned out the best decision I’ve ever made. It might not be my most profitable year but it may be the most successful year I’ve had in five years as a full-time artist - my skills, attitude and mental health improved a great deal. Self-development is really important.

Tell us how art has improved your mental health.
When I did my year of creative habits, I would always start working on my daily art first thing in the morning and I feel it improved my mental health because I would be productive every single day, without spending the morning over-thinking and doubting that I would be able to achieve anything. It gave me positivity, a sense of routine, and also a sense of accomplishment particularly after sticking with it for a while and realising how much I had done and how I had improved as an artist through practice. Being creative every day is a kind of self care for me.

What do you like to do when you've not got a pen in your hand?
Making things out of clay, watering my abundant collection of houseplants, photography, and walking especially in nature reserves. I also enjoy reading arty magazines - Oh Comely and Artists & Illustrators to be specific, but I do have to work quite hard to pull myself away from Netflix! 

Which stall are you most excited about seeing at our summer fair?
I am excited to see geo-fleur because I might get to buy a new (and probably unnecessary) plant to add to my collection, and NATKO Ceramics because I have a thing for pretty ceramics!

Find Katrina Sophia at the Saturday of our summer fair at Northern Monk Brew Co. on the weekend of Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th August 2017.