The Illustrated.Community is full of amazing members who share their stories and their struggles on a daily basis to grow their business while supporting each other.
This weeks featured member is Raj Kaur. She is all about celebrating people who inspire in their life. “We live in a time where it is critical for us to be reminded of what the world needs - courage and authenticity, and sometimes it's hard to find that in yourself, so sharing examples of others who do it can have a powerful effect. “
Read on to learn how her passion for inspiring people lead her to one of her first inspirational and successful commission jobs as an Illustrator.
Who: Rajvinder Kaur Horak
Your Creative Business: Raj Kaur
Where We Can Learn More About Your Business:
How did you get started onto your creative journey?
I trained as a Graphic Designer, but have always had the core skills of drawing and painting as a personal joy. Now, after 18 years of working in the Design Industry, I find myself seeking more fulfillment than what I am able to get from my design work alone. The commercial work has been stimulating and fascinating, but the themes are not always close to my heart. With my personal work I get to flex creative muscles that I do not usually use. Getting back to expressing myself on themes I care about through my illustration has been a joy and revelation – seeing people connect with my work and for it to bring meaning to them is something new.
What are the themes and subjects that you love to represent? What stories do you tell? My focus at the moment is to focus on celebration. Celebrating people who inspire me, or who have taken steps to exist outside the zone of expectation of society, or their own communities. We live in a time where it is critical for us to be reminded of what the world needs - courage and authenticity, and sometimes its hard to find that in yourself, so sharing examples of others who do it can have a powerful effect. To me, its also important to put out work that talks about what we all have in common, to show the connectivity amongst all of us. I'm still working out where I want to continue exploring, and the themes are not yet solidified for me, but I am on a journey of exploring my visual voice.
How do you define success for your creative business? How do you define success for yourself?
Success for my creative business is when it is generating an income that is comparable to what I am able to generate from my design clients. The ultimate success would be to be able to transition full time into my illustrative work, and perhaps even have my own brand. That's the ultimate vision: to have a strong sense of my own style, output and voice so I am able to partner with brands and create a strong brand of my own.
What’s been your most important skill in building your creative business?
Thanks to my years of designing, I feel like a really strong professional woman. I feel really confident engaging with clients directly, understanding what they need and working with them to give them what they need. Relationships and connections is what I thrive on, and I know that will be one of the biggest strengths of my business.
Tell us about one challenge you faced as a creative entrepreneur. What was or is the hardest part?
Right now, the hardest part is still finding my voice, as I feel very much at the start of my journey.
How do you react today to negative moments, to insecurity, to criticism, to rejection?
I tend to close up and retreat. The negativity comes mostly from myself, but I am generally fine with criticism from other people. Its the negative self talk and comparisonitis that is the worst thing!
What’s been your greatest reward in the work that you do?
I have been so lucky to get spotted on Instagram by a publisher who created the children's book 'Stories for South Asian Super Girls'. When this book came out, I was overwhelmed with the response from children and parents, on how much impact the stories had on their kids. It was profound and moving, and made me realize how important this work is. I actually affect how people see themselves, and how they see the world. Seeing that work can really impact people is the greatest reward. I hope I get a chance to do that again!
What's one thing that's really working right now to grow your creative business?
My business isn't really 'growing' yet! It is still germinating ideas and being playful. I'm trying not to focus on growth too much, just focussing on creating and enjoying the process of creating.
What are your future projects? Do you have any new ideas that you can share with us? I am self-generating projects at the moment! Right now, I am playing in about 4 different sketchbooks, just enjoying the process of filling them. I have one for botanical drawings and sketches, one for daily observations that I carry around with me, 3 watercolour sketchbooks for life drawing classes and one book for ink work. These are all just for me, so I can connect to myself and have a place to play and explore, but also so that I can enjoy the feeling of 'filling books' which feels so satisfying. A more focussed personal project I have set myself is to select 9 women / femmes / girls who I am inspired by and create a portrait series about them.
What else would you like us to know about you & your creative business? That I feel very new to this world! I am just trying to work things out as I go along!
What do you want to learn from the Illustrated.Community? I want to understand the nuts and bolts of business as an illustrator. How do we create income streams, how do we get seen, how do we even know who our audience or target is? I want to finish the year with a really clear sense of structure, process and strategy. And to connect to wonderful people and learn from them!
❤️ Thank you so much, Raj, for sharing your story as a designer and illustrator 💪🏾