Happy Feature Friday!
We are so excited about today’s feature because we are all about makers that use their artwork to brighten other’s days! That’s exactly what Kristina, the creator behind Cheery Human Studios, does and you’ll know just what we’re talking about once you see the fun and bright illustrated products she creates. She hand draws everything herself which we think is truly amazing and gives so much life and personality to her work! You can find her designs on just about everything, from pins, stickers, and keychains to prints, t-shirts, and accessories! We can’t wait for you to learn all about her background, process, and see work that truly is “cheery!!” — so keep reading to learn more about Kristina and Cheery Human Studios.
: Tell us a few things about yourself!
: Hello! My name is Kristina and I’m a 31 year old artist who was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up alongside my younger brother (the coolest guy I know) in a cute yellow house in East Hollywood where we were raised by my mother and aunt. For years, I thought I would be a studio musician, a piano accompanist, or a songwriter but life had other plans and I eventually found my way to design. After a year in a masters art program for Web Design and New Media, I was hired as a full-time designer at a studio in the San Francisco Bay Area and I never looked back. Now, I’m based out of Los Angeles where by day, I am a freelance UX / UI designer, which is just a mega fancy way of saying I do front-end design for applications on mobile devices and the web. On early mornings, nights & weekends, I work on Cheery Human Studios. When I’m not working, I love visiting the Wizarding World and Disneyland with my boyfriend, chilling with my cat Mochi, and spending time with my best friends and family.
: Your products and shop name are sure to make everyone smile! How did you come up with the name Cheery Human Studios and what made you want to start your own shop?
: When I started Cheery Human Studios, I was in a bit of a creative slump and a little bummed because of it. For years, I had wanted to start a side project of my own, but couldn’t seem to get one off the ground that made me feel excited and inspired. The name Cheery Human Studios came to me because I wanted to design things that made me and other people happy like magical fandoms and random favorites – cats, flowers, candy, tea, you name it! It started as a way for me to “work with my hands”, hence all of my hand lettered and hand drawn pieces. Doing so, reenergized me and pulled me out of my creative slump.
: What do you hope your illustrations and products convey to those who see them? What kind of customer would your items be perfect for?
: I hope that my illustrations and products give people the same sense of encouragement and pure joy that I feel when I illustrate them. My products are for people who love bright colors, cute illustrations, and cheery (sometimes sassy) sayings.
: You hand draw all your products, which is amazing! What is your favorite part of creating your items this way? And the most challenging thing?
: Thank you so much! My favorite part of handdrawing is that I get to work with different mediums! For years, I worked solely on my laptop creating vector graphics for mobile and web apps using a mousepad so my goal with Cheery Human was to make sure I drew everything by hand first using markers, pens, paints, or watercolors on paper then digitize everything for print. Because I’ve been a lot busier these days, I would say the most challenging thing is not getting too caught up in all the deadlines and the craziness of running a small business. Whenever I get a little too stressed about all the emails I need to respond to or the orders I need to fulfill, my creativity hurts a little bit because I start to overthink my creative process. I’ve learned that when that happens it’s best to take a step back, breathe deep, and be thankful for absolutely everything going on in my life right now. When I do that, it helps me recenter and the drawings flow out of me a lot more naturally.
: Say you had a blank piece of paper in front of you – what is your typical creative process for making a new design!? Any specific environment, prep, inspiration or mood you have to have?
: Typically, I like to draw early in the morning when the sun has just about risen and the world doesn’t quite seem like it’s awake yet. It’s peaceful, quiet, and bright in my living room. I feel refreshed. Whenever I have a design concept, I write it down on an ongoing list that I keep on my phone. Before I start anything I look at that list, pick one that speaks to me at the moment and start drawing. Once I’m happy with the drawing I outline it in black ink, clean it up in Illustrator and, depending on the piece of art, digitally paint it.
: How is your own personality reflected in your designs?
: Over the years close friends have told me that I’m a pretty friendly, determined, outgoing, and silly person but I can also be bit introverted and sassy when the time calls for it, so I hope that my designs reflect a sense of cheeriness with a slight touch of quirkiness. I think this is reflected in some of the phrases I hand-letter along with the bright colors that I inject into my happy illustrations.
: You’ve also done custom work! How much fun is it to execute someone else’s idea and then present them with the finished product?
: I have such an amazing time working on customs because it’s a new challenge every single time! It is incredibly fun. Getting the opportunity to work on pieces that mean so much to someone else is such a huge honor because most of the time they’re entrusting you with a concept that means so much to them.
: What motivates you to keep creating day after day?
: I think the adventure of it all keeps me creating day after day. No day is ever really the same and because of that I feel like I’m constantly learning something new.
: What are your future goals for Cheery Human Studios? Any upcoming projects or designs you’re looking forward to doing?
: I would love to eventually start a Cheery Human lifestyle blog and expand the Cheery Human brand to things like weddings and other celebrations. I’d also love to start working on surface design. Additionally, I’m looking forward to starting a monthly newsletter to keep customers updated on new products and cheery drawings on the way! Another thing I really love doing is in-person events. A couple of events that I will be vending at in the near future are the Lemon Grove Market in Irvine, CA on July 29 and August 26. I’ll also be an exhibitor at Pinners Conference in San Diego next year – the first one in California!
: Any advice for other creators?
: My biggest piece of advice would be: make things that make you happy. Being a creator takes a lot of hard work and dedication so, having fun is a must. I know when I first started Cheery Human Studios, I struggled with what kind of content to create because I kept thinking about what other people would want to see. That only ended up stressing me out and I burned out after 4 months. At that point it was the holidays so after fulfilling all my orders, I took a short break from Cheery Human and I brought a notebook along with me on my vacation where I drew whatever came to mind. It was only when I started making things I truly felt were a reflection of me did I feel happy and, in turn, I think my audience felt that happiness too. Just have fun!