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Life & Work with Briana Young

Today we’d like to introduce you to Briana Young.

Hi Briana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My love for art and illustration really goes back to my childhood. One of the things I remember most vividly when growing up was my mom taking me and my brother and sister to the library. Each time we checked out the max number of books possible! I would just sit in the middle of the floor looking at the pictures; some super detailed others leaving more to the reader’s imagination. There was just something magical about being able to look at the pictures and without even reading the words on the page get an understanding of what was going on. Over the years, I began to lose touch with my art and it just became something to do when I had free time; instead of making time for it. I think I got caught up in a mindset that if it wasn’t generating a salary I could survive on then it wasn’t truly worth of intention. It wasn’t until I had my son that the passion for illustration regained its hold on my heart and mind. I wanted to create something special for him that we could share and forever be connected with. Once I wrote and illustrated the book there was no turning back. Creating art is how my soul speaks, it’s how I learn more about myself, and creating art is how I share with the world who I am.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I feel like my journey as an artist has been travelled across a cobblestone road. I have frequent moments of doubt where I stop and contemplate if I chose the right path or if I should stop all together and just find a different road. But it’s really in those moments of me stopping that I have a moment to actually breathe and look at my bumpy road for the beauty that it contains. If you have ever looked at a cobblestone road or path, it’s amazing how smooth the stones look. But they didn’t get that way until someone journeyed over that road. So I look at my path and realize that while it may be bumpy at the time, it’s creating a beautiful sight.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I really love making art of all kinds, really I love creating anything with my hands. Over the most recent years, I have connected with my love for children’s literature and have focused on illustrating children’s books. My main goal with illustrating kid’s books is to create high-quality content that features children of color. I specialize working with authors, particularly women of color, who want to self-publish their book. Self-publishing can be an intimidating journey and I want to be part of the solution that opens the door for people who look like me to have less roadblocks when creating children’s literature. When I work with authors, I do more than just illustrate the story; I do in-depth character design, I help with elements you would get if you had a story editor and art director, and I provide direction on best practices so the story is ready to publish as soon as illustrations are complete. I want an author to write an amazing story and then help them carry it to the finish line without having felt like they had to carry the weight all alone.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I was a very silly kid who loved to be outside. I think it was as a kid that I discovered my love for making things. I was always interested in the design of toys and the beauty in nature. I just felt so much joy when I saw what I was capable of making with the most basic things I could find in my backyard. I was very close (and still am) to my brother and sister. We were the three amigos and we loved exploring. I was also very much into sports, basketball in particular. My family said that I was bossy but I wholeheartedly disagree; I just knew I was always right.

Contact Info:

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  • Instagram: designedbybree_

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