Artist Feature with Erin Robinson
Today is an extra-special day for us at Piccolina! Not only are we kicking off the first of our Artist Features, a new blog series where we profile the incredible illustrators that bring Piccolina to life, but it's also the birthday of one of our favorite trailblazers Katherine Johnson! In light of this special occasion, it felt perfectly fitting to start this series with artist Erin Robinson, the illustrator behind our Katherine Johnson portrait among others!
Erin has been working in fashion design for over twenty-five years, working with brands such as Gap, OshKosh, and The Children's Place - and is a trained fine artist from Parsons School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art. She works with a variety of mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, ink, charcoal, and collage.
Tell us how you got into art and illustration!
I've been drawing since I can remember. Both of my parents are creative and made sure that I had the necessary tools to nurture my talent.
What has been your biggest challenge as an illustrator and how have you overcome it?
Balance... I'm still figuring it out. What I'm doing is a passion of mine and now it's something I do to make a living. I miss doing projects that are solely my creations... I hope to find time to do that as well as catch my breath and just relax and take care of myself.
You illustrated Katherine Johnson. Tell us what she means to you, what inspires you about her the most, what we can take away from her today, etc.
Katherine was a true game changer and I was committed to showing you what she was capable of. She is such an inspiration to numerous young black girls and reminds them to follow their dreams and aim for the stars!
Tell us about your process for illustrating Katherine Johnson.
I usually start with reading a bio for a quick refresher and then scouring the web for photos. Then I take a variety of the photos to create a pose so it's not exactly like any of the photographs. Then I'll do a rough draft concept for a page layout...then I'll add color. After that I continue to make edits of small details to get it just right.
What did art mean to you as a kid? What does it mean to you now?
I'm not even sure... for me it was just something that felt good and meant I got to be in my head and just lose track of time and passionately create... and honestly feels just about the same now if I'm creating for myself. It's a business now so there is more involvement besides just me... so it's once again trying to balance that and stay committed to the integrity of my work while delivering great projects to my clients.
What does "trailblazing" mean to you?
To me, trailblazing means being not only a leader but one that has made a positive impact and change in how society thinks, and leaves the world a better place.
What piece of advice do you wish you could give your younger self?
Don't ever ignore the spirit inside that's guiding you... it's always the truth!