Meet the Girlbosses: Kody of Kody Stewart Illustration

I had been admiring Kody's work for a long time when I finally decided to reach out to her - only to discover she's an Alberta girl as well! She is the uber talented hand behind Kody Illustration, where you can order the sweetest custom portraits. Kody is not only amazing at what she does, she is also incredibly nice. 
Kody did me the honor of drawing my little boy, and Kusmi, our sweet little cat. I am in love with her work and could not recommend it enough. Housewarming, engagement, new baby, wedding, anniversary, birthdays... it's the perfect present and I am so excited to see what's next for Kody (maybe a children's book, who knows!)

Could you describe your business for us?

I help my clients celebrate the people (and pets) they love and tell their story through simple + sweet custom illustrations!  

When did you start? 

Creativity has always been a big part of my life in some form or another. Two years ago, my husband gave me the Brene Brown 'gifts of imperfection' e course for Christmas and we did it together.  In one of the assignments she asked the question "what did you used to create before you believed it wasn't enough?" My 'people' popped into my mind! So I drew a few and posted them on my Instagram- and it just started to build from there!! 

(I loooove this one!)

How did you decide to start? Were you inspired by your product and the need for it or did you want to start a business first and thought of the product second? Is it a full time job for you?

By the end of that year- I decided I wanted to take another step and created a separate Instagram profile.  I nervously approached an acquaintance momma with a large Instagram audience, to see if she'd consider hosting a portrait giveaway to help me get started!  
Part Time...I have been a stay at home mom (and was homeschooling my kids this year) for the past 12 1/2 years.  I had always thought it would be great if I could find something creative that I could do from home and fit with our families life- but wasn't expecting that this would be it!! I'm slowly learning how to balance the demands of both and at this point - part time is enough for me! 

Was it hard to get things started? Can you describe the process?

It's taken some time to think through what is needed for each stage of the process- but I've been able to come up with a system that works for my life and my brain, and allows me to break it up into different stages throughout the day! 
Working with the details and photos from my clients, I begin with marking out base lines and sketching circles at the proper heights where the heads will be. Then I start building the rest of the details into the sketch.
Once the sketch has been created, I then move onto the 'inking' stage and erase the pencil lines.  
After this, I bring the illustrations to life using watercolor paints.  
Once the illustrations are complete- I take pics of them to share with my IG audience.  
The last stage is packaging up the portraits and getting them off to their new homes! 

How did your family react? Your husband? 

My family has been fantastic - my kids are entertained by the process and are especially curious about all the pets!  My husband has been more than amazing and my biggest support- he has stepped up and helped to fill the gaps that working to build this has left - and even cooks supper at least 50% of the time!

(that yellow house is so darling!)

With social media, it is easy to fall in the comparison game. I believe women entrepreneurs should lift each other up - what has your experience with social media been like?

I wasn't expecting the support by other women artists to be so huge- so I have been really surprised and encouraged by the group that has gathered around to cheer each other on!! 

Where do you hope your business will be in one year

A dream would be to illustrate a children's book one day-not sure if it will be in the next year ... BUT my hope is to be still 'showing up + rising strong' on a regular basis- with whatever opens up before me-one step at a time.  Observing, evaluating and adjusting how things are working as a whole.   I want to continue to be curious and keep exploring what's around the next corner!  

What advice to you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

"Admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own" 
Our value and identity doesn't need to be weaved into the success (or the perceived fail) of our work- so to consistently be putting that in its place as it tries to sneak in and say otherwise .  As I've been working through my own fears and shame that has come up throughout this process-I'm often redefining what MY definition of success is FOR ME- not our's been so worth it and has allowed for more creativity to flow.

Check out Kody's shop here. Kody is generously offering one free character on groups of four or more to my readers. Just make sure you mention this article in your order comment! 


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