Karolina Kubikowska is a Polish tattoo artist and the author of the coloring book Po Drugiej Stronie Snu. It was my first ever book review and the video truly sucked but I just redid it with a new video and everything and you can find it HERE now. Anyway Karolina has a truly distinct and unique style, once you’ve seen her work, you’ll know her anywhere.
It is my great pleasure to chat with the amazing Karolina Kubikowska a little, come, join us!
Iris: How old were you when you started to draw?
Karolina Kubikowska: I think I was about 2 years old. My mom still has my flower paintings hidden somewhere! I was painting before I could do anything else.
I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now?
KK: Nature then and nature now. Definitely! My subject was always the world of plants and animals. Over time it developed into my own fantasy getaway where anything is possible. That’s why in my work sometimes you see something out of scale or out of place. Because, well, why not?
I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
KK: The publishing house which published my first book asked me if I would want to participate in that kind of project. It was completely new for me, but a fantastic experience and an adventure that turned out to be just a beginning of an enormous turn in my life!
I: Do you paint or draw for other projects as well?
KK: All the time! Every day I am a tattoo artist which takes up most of my creativity. I make commission art, prints for my two online stores and my second book is about to come out.
I also try to have time for painting, just out of passion but lately my day seems to be too short for that.
I: How long have you been doing tattoos?
KK: It’s been 3 years now
I: Can you show and tell us a bit about your projects?
KK: I guess you can find everything online on my fanpages and store site. I try to post up most of what I do even when it’s in progress. There is so much going on that I figured it was the easiest and quickest way of letting everyone know what I am up to at the moment
I: How do you create a coloring page?
KK: I think it’s not about creating a page… I think about it as a whole story, the pictures that combine into one world that takes you somewhere.
I: What is the process for you?
KK: The first part is actually writing the words down. Being able to articulate what I want to show. What is the task, what magical creatures and beasts await you in this story. What adventures and tasks await you. Then I start planning out the pages, drawings, characters.
I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
KK: It is difficult to tell, because it’s never the only thing that I am working on, so it mostly depends on the amount of other projects.
I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
KK: It’s definitely staying creative. The demands of the world towards an artist are sometimes a bit overbearing – in this moment it is very very hard to keep up. Staying honest with my work is very important for me. Something needs to feel true and one of a kind after it materializes as a finished piece. So I wouldn’t show or sell anything that felt a bit unfinished or not as good as it could get.
I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
KK: My workaholic routine? I mostly get up at 7 and take my dog for a walk. Before going to the studio I sit down to answer emails and fanpage messages, check new print orders to know what to take to the printing house with me on the way to work. I check all my plants at home ( I have an addiction), feed my cats and pack my sketches and books that I am currently reading and can’t live without. Most of my day passes at the tattoo studio where I meet with new clients every day. It is amazing to meet people who want to wear my art on them every day for the rest of their lives. Like a totem and protector. I am very grateful for being given this wonderful opportunity to share my art. After I get back home I need to pack parcels for the store. Luckily they get sent out by my wonderful husband who is a big help! I have a bit of time for drawing, sketching down ideas etc. In my desk I have a drawer full of just tiny sketches that later remind me what I had in mind. I can use them later to make full size, finished pieces. I usually finish working at 9 or 10 pm.
I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
KK: Mostly Japanese office pens and my automatic pencils which I buy at Muji, Sumi Ink. Watercolor paper, even if only for pencils. Lately I got addicted to buying those food shaped erasers that come in tiny packages? They’re just fun to have around when you are working.
I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
KK: Don’t get frustrated, experiment and find your favorite tool and technique. Don’t be afraid to ‘ruin the picture’ with some mistake that you might make. The beautiful thing is that in art there are no mistakes.
I: Is there something in the works for the future as well?
KK: Hopefully already in January you will see my second book ‘Ticket to Dreams”
I: Can you share a bit about that?
KK: Ahhh don’t want to spoil the surprise.
I: Who are the people that inspire you? Why?
KK: Mostly it’s women that are powerful, beautiful, kind souls. Starting from Patti Smith who is a constant reminder how being sensitive to the world isn’t a bad thing, to Simona Kossak, Frida Kahlo, along to the blogger Gala Darling who helps women believe in themselves. Two people that are closest to me right now are also a big influence -my husband, who despite everything he’s been through is the amazing person he is today, and my best friend, who is a magical creature on her own.
I: And last, for fun, if you could be any fairytale or fantasy character, who would you be and why?
KK: Haha I went totally blank, because it’s been a long time since I actually compared myself to anyone. My best friend suggested Pocahontas? Maybe!
Thank you, Karolina, for taking the time to chat with us! I for one can’t wait for the next book! And I personally would die of joy if I’d get her to tattoo me. Trip to Poland, anyone?
Karolina Kubikowska’s book is available on Karolina’s website, Amazon and Bookdepository.
Images by Karolina Kubikowska, used with permission.