Kristy Ford, Artist and Illustrator
For Kristy Ford, it took a little while to figure out what she really wanted. First being enrolled in science, she found out that she could only fully relax when being creative and drawing. Read our interview with the talented Australian artist and some of her favorite inspiration sources.
Dear Kristy, can you tell a bit of your creative journey so far?
My creative journey has been an unconventional one so far, but I guess this is what makes it creative! I’ve loved creating since I was a child from drawing, to sewing and making pretend business cards. I studied digital and visual arts at school but they became less of a priority as I pursued another interest of mine - Science. I graduated university a few years ago with a degree in Biomedical Science and started postgraduate studies. During my postgrad I found myself stressed out and would use drawing as my creative outlet. I wasn’t completely fulfilled and decided to give my studies a break and work for a while. It was scary because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life but I have always naturally gravitated towards creating and this kept coming back to me. I took a leap of faith last year and decided to enrol in Graphic Design and haven’t looked back as I absolutely love it. The course incorporates all the aspects I love about creativity particularly experimenting with digital design and illustration.
You have a beautiful, very distinctive style of portraying women. Did you take drawing classes where you developed this style - or is it something that comes naturally to you?
Thank you so much. Drawing has always come naturally to me. When I was younger I used to copy everything my older brother did and when he started drawing I decided to as well. I was 5! I have always been fascinated with blind contour drawings and wanted to explore and develop this style into something of my own.
Are the portraits you draw inspired by real people or from your imagination?
I actually started drawing faces because I wanted to improve my skills in drawing portraits. They are inspired by real people and also from my imagination as they are an interpretation of what I see.
You lately have been experimenting with embroidery. It looks great! Is this something you want to explore more?
Thank you! Yes it is definitely something I want to explore more! I love experimenting and learning new techniques. My embroidery is still in the early stages of development as I’m still learning, but with practise I hope to perfect my skill.
Which artistic formats do you want to try next?
I would really love to try adding embellishments to my embroidery such as beading and sequins! I love texture and mixed media so when I’ve practised embroidery to a good standard I hope to incorporate some embellishments.
Is there a favorite piece among your recent work which you especially like?
I’d like to say all my pieces as they all reflect something different! But I think my favourite piece so far is my first embroidery lady face. For a first attempt, this piece turned out unexpectedly better than I thought it would and it is a reminder and motivation for me to keep creating and experimenting.
Do you work a lot on commission or is it mainly free projects you do?
I work on commission from custom designs and also prints of my illustrations.
We saw that you have a thing for notebooks, just like us at Mermaid Stories. We have just too many of them in our studio... How is the process when drawing? Do you draw by hand or do you use a computer?
I love all kinds of stationery, there is nothing like the feeling of drawing in a fresh notebook! My process is based on blind contour drawing techniques by hand. All my illustrations are created straight in fineliner pen. The lines that are created are spontaneous and reflect my feelings at that specific time of drawing. Each mark is unique to the face so no two faces are identical. With this technique no imperfections can be erased and I think this is what adds beauty to each piece and makes each one unique. Sometimes I will add colour digitally or I will use inks by hand to add embellishment.
Talking about paper and books: Have you read any books on creativity that you liked?
I have mainly read magazines on creativity such as Frankie and Vogue. I love discovering new artists and reading about creative journeys of artists in Frankie. I am constantly inspired my fashion and style in Vogue, which is a catalyst and inspiration for some of my illustrations.
Where do you get inspired?
I think inspiration is everywhere if you are looking! Some of my inspiration comes from the colours and design styles from different cities I’ve travelled too. I also love fashion and the expressive styles of fashion illustration and design; so much of my inspiration comes from books and magazines. I am also inspired through social media such as Pinterest and Instagram. There are so many talented artists out there and these are great platforms for discovering such different and unique work to draw inspiration from.
Many artists like to showcase their work on Instagram, but also find inspiring work of others. Do you have some great feeds you can recommend?
Where do I start! There are so many different artists that I follow and love!! Some include @esteepreda, @husmanntschaeni, @andreawan, @albablazquezyo, @oneeyegirl to name just a few.
➸ Head over to Kristy's Instagram account for more nice images of her work.