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Conversations with the Inspiring Kayla Buchner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Buchner.

Kayla, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a young illustrator and recent Long Beach graduate who has been drawing and sketching since the day I could hold a crayon. I grew up in Northern California, surrounded by golden fields and flowering orchards and just a short drive away from the Sierra Nevada mountains, which really fostered my love for nature and my need to create. My childhood bedroom was piled high with coloring books and craft projects: from miniature 3D models made of craft paper to animated flipbooks on sticky note pads.

Drawing and illustrating followed me throughout my life and I took any opportunity I could to create whether it was through class projects or volunteering at school. I loved seeing how my art could connect to others and make people smile using only imagery. As an artist, you have the opportunity to tell stories through your work, to carve away from just visual aesthetics of a piece and expose intimate thoughts and feelings universal to everyone. It’s a very rewarding feeling to see your creations be able to influence and inspire others. I continued to chase this feeling that would later lead me to study Illustration at Cal State Long Beach.

I am currently working as a part-time freelance illustrator, taking personal commissions and selling art prints, while continuing to build my portfolio. Working part-time as an artist has given me the freedom to keep a child-like self-indulgence in my own work; getting to explore new artistic routes, creating what I want when I want, and being able to dive headfirst into projects of my own choice, all while still keeping up with adult responsibilities through my day job.

Has it been a smooth road?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to create a life as an artist, but it wasn’t always clear which route I wanted to take. I grew up in a small town without a large creative community and it seemed as though there was only so many options for artists outside of gallery work and painting as a hobby. It wasn’t until I was older and looking for colleges to apply to that I became familiar with the concept of commercial illustrative work and became enamored with the idea of becoming an illustrator.

Choosing to work as an artist is never a simple path as it takes a lot of patience and self-discipline. Many people don’t see art as a serious profession and are quick to undersell and undervalue artists. I was fortunate enough to have a very supportive family when it came to my career choices but I still feel a lot of pressure from myself and from others. There is no roadmap to success as an artist and that can be difficult to wrap your head around. Instead of letting that get to me, I choose to let that motivate me to work even harder: building my portfolio, applying to art shows, and saying yes to any opportunity presented to me, including this interview.

What else should we know about your art? What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
My illustrative work is bright and inviting, ranging from digital paintings to more hands-on mediums, like watercolor, gouache, and even silkscreen. I take inspiration from the people and places around me: environments that tell a story, people you may pass on the street, and the little light moments in life. I am very drawn to nature and the ways in which we interact with nature and that has come to be a recurring theme in my work, and something that I am known for. There is so much beauty to find outside, whether in a natural or man-made environment, and my work searches for all the little details that may be overlooked by the passerby. I delve into the textures of a forest floor, the light coming through patches of tree leaves, even the color changes of concrete, and highlight those little moments in my work. In this way, I get to share my artistic vision with others and promote an appreciation for the world around us.

There is such a huge span of what illustrative work entails from pre-production in tv and film from editorial work to children’s books, and I prefer to not pin myself into any specific category. I feel that there is so much to explore, so many disciplines that I want to apply myself to, and so many stories that I plan to tell through my work.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
If I were to give any advice to young women, it would be to continue working hard on what YOU want to do. Do some soul searching, find what drives you and chase that. Don’t let others discourage you, and don’t ever feel intimidated by the road ahead of you. Keep working at your goals bit by bit, every day, and soon, you’ll be farther along than you ever thought you would be.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo: Cynthia Nava, Artworks courtesy of: KaylaBuchnerArt.Wixsite

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  1. Rick Stirrat

    October 15, 2019 at 23:36

    Awesome interview Kayla! Your art is amazing and I can’t wait to see your star soar high!

  2. Sylvia Lewis

    October 17, 2019 at 03:14

    You are so talented! Keep on doing what you do…it’s amazing.

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