We are very excited to introduce you to Katie Ruby Miller, the designer behind so many of our most-popular designs at Art Wow! A love of the humble pun and animals, especially cats as seen in her designs, Katie Ruby Miller creates bold and unique designs which will put a smile on anyone’s face! From cat-versions of much-loved celebrities to bold typography-based designs, the artwork Katie Ruby creates is quirky and full of happiness. Below is a Q+A to give you an insight into Katie’s creative process…
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your name? Where are you based? What does a typical day look like to you?
I’m Katie Ruby and I live and work from my narrowboat which I cruise about on up and down the Grand Union Canal. A typical day for me begins with coffee in bed with cat snuggles, followed by a little time staring out of my windows watching the wildlife. Then, once I’m up and ready, the day always starts with emails. My days vary but are made up of either client projects (always my top priority), personal work and then any admin I need to do. I like to listen to music or podcasts whilst I’m working, and my day is often broken up by both of my cats interrupting me for food or fuss. If it wasn’t for my cats, I would probably be glued to my screen all day without taking breaks – so it’s good to have them about. I stick to working Monday to Friday and make sure that I take weekends off. Being freelance it is too easy to work 7 days a week, so in the last year and a half I have made sure that I take weekends off.
How would you describe your style of work?
Bold, bright, quirky, happy and sometimes rude – that’s how I would describe my work. I love working on character designs, especially anthropologic animals and I also love playing with typography, so a lot of my work is a combination of those two things.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in life?
Don’t give up.
What inspires you?
Inspiration can be found in so many things that I am constantly absorbing visual information whether that’s some amazing packaging artwork I’ve seen whilst I’m at the supermarket or the title artwork/lettering from 80s/90s movies. I am definitely drawn to vintage and retro lettering, bright colour palettes and funky patterns. I love things that are nostalgic from my childhood and remind me of a more carefree time in my life.
Is there a piece of artwork on Art Wow that you are most proud of? Why?
One of my fave pieces available from ArtWow is my “fuck yeah” design. This was one of the first pieces I created in this typographic style and led me on to a journey of play and exploration with my own lettering styles. I actually have this design as a mug and I drink out of it whilst I work, to remind me of what magic I can do.
If your artwork were music, what would it sound like?
If my artwork was music, I imagine that it would sound very funky with some 90s nostalgia. The nearest band I could think of would be Chromeo – they have a modern funky style with some 90s style synth.
What artist, past or present has inspired you?
I have always loved the work of Gemma Correll – she just has the most amazing wit and humour which comes across in her comics and illustrations. What inspires me about Gemma is the way she has always stayed true to her style and the amount of work she creates.
Who are your biggest influences?
Gemma Correll, Ed Gorey & Kate Moross
What was the last gift you gave someone?
The last gift I gave to someone was my dad. It was his birthday the day after Father’s Day, so he got a bunch of chocolates, snacks and beers plus a handmade card from me.
How did you get started as an illustrator?
I had always known that I wanted a career in design from when I started secondary school. So, my GCSE’s and A Levels were aimed towards that, then I went to university to do a HND Foundation Art Course followed by my BA Hons in Graphic Design & Illustration (which I had specialised in illustration in my second year). After graduating in 2010 my first proper job was as a junior graphic designer, then afterwards I moved jobs to work in a greeting cards and gifting product studio where I would design artwork for cards and other products such as mugs. It was in September 2016 when I began my freelancing journey after I had picked up lots of invaluable skills and experience working in house.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
If I was an animal, I would definitely be a cat. If I didn’t have work to do, I would quite happily spend 16 hours of my day asleep and ignoring everybody else. I’m super independent and not very affectionate – so I’m already quite cat like and if I didn’t have to work normal hours, I much prefer being awake at night-time.
How did you develop your distinct style? Was it an experimental process?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I could hold a crayon, so my style is something that has just developed over years and years. University definitely helped in exploring different ways of mark making and trying new mediums, but I have always been drawn to using pens for drawing. I like strong bold lines. My style is just how I draw things – it’s the way I translate what I see in real life on to the paper/screen. Someone once said to me that your style is the imperfections that you naturally make, and I think this is very true. My quirky linework is because I can’t draw perfectly, but that imperfection is my style.
What have been your biggest creative challenges to date?
I’ve had some big projects over the last few years but one of the most challenging was probably a website design I did for a client that was a fully illustrated and animated website. I didn’t do the web development side of it, but I came up with the concept and drew all of the illustrations that made up the interactive homepage. This was a lengthy project but did result in my client winning a digital award for their website which was super cool.
In one word, describe how art makes you feel.
Make sure you check out Katie’s designs on ART WOW here.