“I just want to make people recognisible yet also adorable.” | Katiee Liz talks Animal Crossing and kawaii cuteness for her Curiously Colourful creations

Tell us about the art you make for Curiously Colourful.

A lot of my art starts out as things that I like or I’m obsessing over and then snowballs into me creating things for other people. I’ll design stickers or earrings based on things I love and then am always really surprised when people want to buy my stuff! My aesthetic is kinda pastel rainbow cuteness – so bead bracelets, cutesy dragon stickers, earrings, etc.

Both pastel kawaii cuteness – and really rather insulting – depending on your preference.

What inspired your cute cartoony art style?

Tokyo Mew Mew… This was the first anime I ever watched (both the actual proper version and the truly horrific English dub on Pop!) and was totally my gateway drug to this anime and the amazing art styles that go along with it!

Since then I’ve been inspired by Disney animators Steve Thompson and Glen Keane, Noelle Stevenson and many other stunning artists.

What inspired you to make art inspired by pop culture characters and stories?

So when I was in high school I was a Massive Geek and as such was not massively popular… (this is not a sob story, I also met some truly amazing super geeky pals who I still love to this day).

However, then I went to college and had to do a presentation about my art style and things I created. I started off by apologising for being such a Massive Geek at which point my utterly terrifying but amazingly empowering tutor told me to stop talking, stop being so gosh darn negative and to embrace the things that make me ME. So I did. I embraced my love of pop culture, Disney and storytelling and have never looked back.

How do you decide which franchises and figures to create art out of

Literally whatever I’m most obsessed with at the time!! So right now Animal Crossing has my heart and soul, along with She-Ra, which means a lot of Animal Crossing style art and endless Commander Glimmer fan art. I’m also super loving monster girl vibes at the minute – artists such as Ghoulkiss and Chao Illustrations are massive inspirations.

What is your trick to imbuing popular characters with your own style?

Oh gosh, erm, it has taken me years to develop ‘my own style’ and I’m still not entirely convinced I’m there yet! I’ll mostly just draw out the character and then make sure that my traits – such as the style of eyes, style of nose – are there and it’s not just a straight up copy.

You’re currently doing charity commissions of people as animal crossing characters. What’s your technique for recreating real characteristics in a cartoon?

If I’m drawing people as a particular character or animal then I want to think about their strongest characteristics and parts of their personality and fit them into my sketch. So things like eye colour, hair colour, if they’re a strong personality we’re going for a hands on hips boss pose, if they like reading they’ll hold a book and so on. My style’s pretty cutesy and I just want to make people recognisible yet also adorable!

What inspired you to use this project to raise money for Chester Zoo?

Okay so Animal Crossing came out at just the right time for everyone to play it during lockdown, and from what I can see it has totally taken off!! I figured drawing AC art for people was a good way to raise money, as we use their love for digital animals to save real ones.

It’s not the animals’ fault all this is happening, they didn’t get a say in this, the least we can do is look after them.

You can donate to the Chester Zoo JustGiving page here.

What else are you doing to keep busy during isolation?

Binge watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, playing through the backlog of games I’ve neglected, obsessing over Animal Crossing and spending wayyyy too much time cuddling my dog!

This is Lucy, my furbaby, love of my life.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to develop a creative hobby?

Just dive in!! Don’t overthink it, if you want to have a go at something then do it, don’t compare yourself to other people and have fun!

You can find out more about the Curiously Colourful art by checking out the Facebook page and Instagram, and buy some for yourself on the Etsy store.

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