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The Art Student & Freelance Illustrator Lifestyle through the Eyes of Kai Javier


Kai Javier is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator as well as a senior in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, where she is the Creative Director for the school publication, The Benildean.

She has been doing freelance work since she was 15 and enjoys creating digital art. During her free time you can find her "doing weird stuff on Tiktok or on Shopee/Lazada impulsively buying things (HAHA)"

WHAT DEGREE ARE YOU PURSUING AND WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO IN THE FUTURE?

I currently study AB-Multimedia Arts! I plan to pursue Communication Design in the future since I’ve always been interested in Branding + Marketing/Advertising but I wanna focus more on the creative side of it :-) I love playing with art/creative direction and collaborating with brands!!



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART STYLE?

My personal palette has always been very bright which is pretty ironic since my personal style outside of my art is pretty monochromatic. I’ve never been the best at drawing faces and the right proportions for people so I love drawing figures that express themselves using movements. I tend to draw inspiration from what’s around me so I like drawing people or things that catch my eye on a daily basis, like the plants in my room or the current trends I’d always see on social media. I love making my imagination come to life using my art which is why I love making art that really stands out <3



WHAT'S A REGULAR DAY LIKE IN THE LIFE OF AN ART STUDENT?

In quarantine, the life of an art-student was pretty easy to adjust to since most digital illustrators + graphic designers are used to working from home already. We also barely have synchronous classes since everything is pretty much output-based, so we usually just produce plates at our own pace until the given deadlines. Learning from home can be a struggle since it’s not as hands-on compared to physical classes in Art School, but seeing the end-results of our outputs make the stress really worth it.

Face-to-face classes back in Benilde were honestly so fun! We would have our art-related classes in either computer labs or studios so we really got the feel of the ~art student life~~~. It can get pretty tiring especially with subjects that deal with shoots or a lot of equipment, but the people around me make the whole experience one for the books! So far my professors have all been really chill and I learned a lot from them. I found that as a creative, being surrounded by other creatives can really bring great energy & motivation that would eventually manifest themselves into the artworks I make.



IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO DIFFERENTIATE AND MAKE TIME TO CREATE BOTH ART FOR SCHOOL/WORK AND ART FOR YOURSELF? HOW DO YOU BALANCE THIS?

Making time for personal art really keeps me sane since it feels liberating creating things without the pressure of having to please others. As someone who usually works with other people, I’m used to a lot of constructive criticism to fit what my clients want. Although I enjoy the process, there’s always an added pressure when working for other people or working for school compared to when you create art purely for yourself.

I love the feelings of making art on my own terms (since I’m very used to following prompts)–so I make sure to make at least one personal project, illustration, or series every month to practice my creativity independently. Differentiating and really making time to make art for you and only you doesn’t only help you be productive, but it helps you grow so much as an artist too!!



WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION TO CREATE WHEN YOU'RE NOT FEELING LIKE IT?

As an art student, I experience art block and visual burnout quite a lot so making art (as much as I love it) can be very nakakatamad. But whenever I’m on art block or I’m feeling demotivated, I draw inspiration from the simple things around me, whether it’s the plants in my room, my current mood, what’s currently trending on social media (I actually made a quarantine illustration series a few months ago!), or what I see my friends are also interested in.

Stay up to date with Kai through her personal Instagram and Tiktok. To view her work, visit her art Instagram and Behance.