Meet the Maker: An Interview with Kelly Lou Illustration
I feel like every time I write these introductions I am always saying 'I've only recently discovered this amazing business' but I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it just demonstrates how vast the small business community is and that no matter how clued up you think you are or how long you've been in the game, there's always more out there! I am super excited about this month's interview as it features another business I only discovered a couple of months ago but have become quickly obsessed with. Not only have I purchased a number of pieces from them but I can honestly say I love seeing every single post on social media too! I just know that you will love her...
1. Tell us a little about you and your business.
My name is Kelly Loader, I’m 34 and live with my husband and 8 year old daughter in South Cheshire. I’m an illustrator and magical pin maker who drinks far too much tea, listens to KPOP and loves video games. I run an Etsy store and recently just hit a milestone of 1000 sales in 6 months. As well as running my online store I also do custom illustrations, portraits and children’s book illustrations.
2. What inspired your business name?
I used to be known as Kelldoodles on Instagram but wanted it to sound a little more grown up as I started doing more client work and illustrations. So I went with my first and middle names. Not that exciting I know. Hah!
3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember.
My late Grandad was an artist, he loved to paint, mainly landscapes and such. But I have the fondest memory of him showing me how to doodle a cartoon rabbit, since then I was always found with a sketchbook and pencils near.
Drawing has always been my self care and not a day goes by that I don’t doodle.
4. How long has your business been running?
I’ve had an Etsy store in the past but I wasn’t fully focused on it as I was working full time. It wasn’t until I had a pretty traumatic incident in my old job in retail, that I had the courage to leave full time work and go full time with my OWN business.
Now I’m 6 months into being full time with my business and I’ve never looked back.
5. What inspires your creations?
I’m heavily inspired by pop culture, cartoons and movies. I LOVE doodling in my true cartoon style as it’s bold and bright.
6. What is your proudest achievement to date?
Illustrating a children’s book!
I was approached by a new author on Instagram named Lesley-Anne Thompson. She had followed me for a little while and loved my cartoon style. She said she was working on a little book series inspired by her daughter and their little sausage dog and would I be interested illustrating it. Of course I jumped at the chance and a few months after that, Lesley self published the book. THE ADVENTURES OF VIOLET & BRUCE! When a copy of it came through my letterbox I burst into tears seeing my work inside an actual book! The book was that popular I’m due to start illustrating book 2 soon!
Check out Lesley-Anne on Instagram if you want to pick up a copy of book 1.
7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
It’s ok to say NO and don’t under charge yourself!
8. What is your favourite make?
I LOVE to make enamel pins, the whole process fascinates me. What starts as a sketch becomes a vectored design, which then goes off to a manufacturer and comes back to me as a wearable item!
9. What is the best feedback you have received?
I love getting feedback from customers when they leave reviews on my Etsy store. The fact that customers love my work, but also appreciate the way I pack my items, even just writing a hand written note seems to make a difference for people.
10. Is there anything you regret?
I wish I’d gone full time with my work sooner.
11. What are your goals for the future?
To illustrate more children’s books and hopefully write and illustrate MY OWN series.
12. What is the best part of being a maker?
Knowing that people love what I create really is the best feeling. Positive feedback always gives me a confidence boost.
13. What is your least favourite job to do?
Hand writing my postal boxes. If I’ve got a lot of orders it’s so time consuming. I definitely need to invest in a label maker haha!
14. What advice would you give your old self?
Believe in yourself more and don’t listen to the negative ones who say you can’t make money from drawing. You’re art will become your living!
15. What advice would you give other makers?
Engage with customers more. Take time to package orders to give customers something exciting to open in their mail, even just a little hand written thank you note really means the world.
To find out more about Kelly and to see more of her incredible work follow her here: