I’ve had so much fun with this interview series this year and it’s been great to get to know more about some of my favourite creatives and their cuddly pals! I hope you’ve been enjoying it too. I’ve got a huge list of creatives I’d like to interview next year so there’s lots more coming.
For the last Crafty Critters post of 2016 I chatted to Kayley Mills all about her cute pro-marker illustrations and her pets Frank the pug and Kevin & Arnold the Guinea pigs! Guess who they’re named after? Well (like me) you’ll probably be surprised!
When did you first start sharing your illustrations on instagram and what made you continue to share your artwork more?
I started sharing my work 2 years ago! Instagram is a very inspiring place and I was following some super talented artists/small business owners; lemon freckles (now hellobeestudio) wilyfoxvintage and samanthaeynon to name a few. After following them for a little while I was inspired to give it a go myself, so I started to share my doodles at first and they got a great response. Eventually I opened an Etsy store!
What made you want to get Guinea pigs and how do you manage to keep them so still for their little photoshoots?
The Guinea pigs were John’s idea, he had them when he was growing up and we thought we would start small with out first pets! They are little cuties and as long as you have some lettuce by your side they will do whatever you want!
What made you want a pug so badly and how have you found it raising Frank from a young puppy?
Ah I've been obsessed with pugs for like ever! I always wanted a small dog and pugs to me are just perfect! I've found it a lot harder than I originally thought it would be, there are a lot of challenges and you've always got to have them in mind before you plan anything. The guinea pigs are quite independent and can be left for the day with no problems, as long as you’ve filled their cage with hay and veg they will be happy as Larry, whereas a dog needs constant attention and has a routine you can't really break. That’s what I’ve found the hardest. That being said though I wouldn't change it for the world. Frank is the most loving little thing and has the biggest personality. He has changed my life.
Can you tell us a bit about your pets' names? My guesses are Frank from Men in Black, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin from Home Alone. Are any of those right?…
Actually they are all wrong! Everyone assumes Frank is named after the pug in Men in Black so I see why you thought that but he is actually named after our favourite singer Frank Turner! As I wanted a pug (John wasn’t fussed on what dog although he has always had a love for Labradors), I gave him the first choice of names and he came up with Frank straight away. Whenever anyone asks his name they always say "Oh Men in Black" haha, ooops!
The Guinea pigs are named after the two main characters in the musical The Book of Mormon. We are massive musical lovers, it’s our favourite thing to do together. The day before we got the pigs we were in London seeing the show and the two main characters were an unlikely pair that become the best of friends. We fell in love with them and we thought it would be sweet for us to name our new pets after them!
How did you first get involved with Cry Baby Girl Gang? Can you explain what exactly it is and what role you play?
Me and Natalie (the founder of the club) were friends on Instagram for a long time. I sent her one of my Princess Club cards and that’s where she got the idea to start her own club "The Crybaby Club”. The mission of the Club is to teach young girls and women that being sensitive does not trivialise their existence, negate their power or desecrate their worth. It’s an online community and flair shop now and there are over 15k of us in the club to date. I got involved after talking to Natalie about the club and where she wanted to go with it. I got so excited about her plans and ideas, I just knew I had to be a part of it. My role in the club is UK rep (I'm the only boss that lives here, all the other bosses are based all around the USA) I design some work for the club, cards, patches etc and promote it on my social media. It’s my favourite thing and I can't believe its been going for almost a year now, I love being a part of this growing movement!
What advice would you give to illustrators looking to promote themselves on instagram?
I would say go for it. Don't doubt yourself and don't compare yourself to anyone else. Instagram is full of other artists but you yourself are unique and you should show that off. Don't give up on your dreams!
How would you like to develop your illustrations and brand in 2017?
My work at the moment is all hand drawn and I would eventually like to work on my digital skills (I have none at the moment haha) so I can offer digital portraits as well as my original work, prints, and clothing. Oh and more pins! I also want to develop my style more, I'm still playing around with different looks and I want to eventually have something that people can look at and know for sure its my work.
Who are some of your favourite creatives on instagram who have super cute pets?
Thanks to Kayley for the chat, I'm looking forward to seeing her style develop and more cute photos of her furry friends in 2017! You can keep up with what she's been up to on her instagram instagram and buy lovely things from her Etsy Shop which will re-open on January 1st.
If you enjoyed this post you might like to read the other interviews in the series! Got a recommendation for a future Crafty Critters interview? Let me know on instagram, I'm @zabbyallen or use the form on my contact page!
All photos are courtesy of Kayley's instagram except the last three which are helloDODO, Pilfered and Home is Where the Pug is (links above).