Katie The Slayer
I've seen a lot of artists in my day. In fact, I work with them on a daily basis, but regardless of my experience, if an artist pours their soul into a something, it will call to you on a deeper level. (Assuming it's relatable.) Maybe that's why I decided to feature Katie The Slayer in our first-ever ART-icle.
Katie The Slayer – How did you come up with that? "Haha, my name, actually! My last name is "Salyers", and all my life I've dealt with people mis-pronouncing it...."Sailors, Sawyer", and....."Slayer". It's always annoyed me, until I decided to embrace it! Thus, "Katie the Slayer" was born!"
When did you first get into digital art? "High school! I discovered a (now defunct) website called TegakiE, which was like an in-browser drawing program/forum! I used to try to draw things with the trackpad on my laptop since I had no easy way to buy a drawing tablet. Then in Junior year I took a Digital Design class, where I learned how to use Photoshop for the first time, and the teacher had recently purchased drawing tablets for the class, which got me hooked haha. I wasn't able to get my own tablet (a dinky little Wacom Bamboo pen and touch) until a few years later, but it really changed my art game!"
How long had you been drawing before that and what mediums did you use? "I've been drawing my whole life, ever since I could hold a crayon, but I first started drawing more "seriously" when I was around 7 or 8. Of course back then it was mostly crayons, markers and pencils, but in Middle School was when I really started my "anime phase", which made me want to try a lot of new things, like inks and acrylic painting and other different mediums. Then through school I mostly stuck with pencil and pens in my sketchbooks making crappy anime doodles haha!"
Some of your most notable pieces consist of Steven Universe fan art. What is it that you love so much about that series and/or it’s characters that inspires you? "Steven Universe is very special to me!! When it first aired, I was in a really dark place, mentally. I had a TON of anxiety and depression that sprung up out of nowhere. I watched an episode on a whim one day, and enjoyed it, so I started watching it as it aired, more and more. In a way, it really saved me, and gave me something to look forward to every week! Steven is such a positive, kind character, and his positivity is contagious. I feel like he's sort of a rare gem (haha) as far as action/fantasy protagonists go. I also really identified a lot with the characters Pearl and Connie, who are both shown to have anxious tendencies. The show also constantly surprised me, with some of it's emotionally heavy themes. All of that combined with the art style, music, and story....it's all so beautiful."
Is there a specific character you relate to the most or certain aspects of a few characters? "As I said before, definitely Pearl and Connie. Pearl in how she's kind of an anxious mess and neat freak (although I'm not THAT bad lol), and Connie with her social anxiety, but also her strength."
What do you love about Steven & Connie’s relationship/story?
"Oh my god. What DON'T I love about them haha! They're so good....and I feel like they're a young romance done right. I have always been an avid "shipper", and a downright fool for romance lol. Connie was introduced as the "romantic interest", but she's quickly proven that she is WAY more than just that, and they really don't push the romantic aspect of their relationship on us, but rather let it develop naturally. They have a really pure, beautiful bond."
"They also remind me a LOT of my own relationship with my husband, whom I have known since freshman year of high school! Because of that, I tend to project a lot of the aspects of our relationship onto Steven and Connie, haha. It's easy to see what they might be like in the future! Also; Steven and Connie are great, because they don't NEED to be romantic. They're best friends, first and foremost. If they're ever shown more romantically in the show (when they're a bit older of course) would just be the icing on the cake for me!"
Amongst your beautiful fan art, are some funny comics – some that even give us a glimpse into the daily struggles of an artist – the ups and downs, if you will. Are those pieces harder or more personal to share for you?
"Funnily enough, no, haha! In fact, some of the pieces that I struggle with sharing more (especially on FB, where I feel like there is less "fandom culture" than say, tumblr) are my more "shippy" pieces. Those are WAY more personal for me. The comics I draw are a great way for me to vent my struggles, and cope with my anxiety and depression. I always appreciate it when other artists show their anxiety and talk about their struggles, because it helps me realize I'm not alone. So with my comics, my hope is that I can provide that reassurance to other artists (or anybody!) as well!"
What has art done for you as a person? (Helped you cope, let you express yourself, etc?) "Definitely helped me cope with my issues, but also helped me stop and really appreciate the beauty in the world around me. From nature, to expression of emotions, to human beings....there is SO much beauty in the world. Being an artist has definitely helped me stop and appreciate that beauty. Like, if I'm having a very bad day, I might see a flower growing in an unexpected place. It brings a smile to my face, and reminds me to stop and take a few deep breaths, and that everything will be okay in the end."
Do you have any tips for new artists? "Practice practice practice! If you feel down about your art, push forward and keep creating!! But also remember to take care of yourself, and don't overdo it, either. Take your time, and the biggest piece of advice I can offer is also the hardest to adhere to, but try not to compare your progress to another artist's progress! Also remember that EVERY artist has experienced the exact same doubt that you might feel, so you're definitely not alone. And if anyone tells you that what you do doesn't matter, or if they think it's dumb, screw them!! Don't be afraid to do what you love, embrace it!"
What piece or pieces are you working on currently? "I'm currently working on designing Christmas cards for this year, which is something I have tried to do for the last 3 years, haha! As well as a scene-redraw comic from one of my favorite episodes of Steven Universe. And of course more shippy stuff haha...."
Have you had any ideas for new projects pop into your head recently? "A little bit! I actually got some ideas for original characters, and a story, which is so rare for me because I've been doing mostly fanart for so long I feel like I never come up with cool ideas, haha! I want to try to do more and more original content!"
Is there anything else you’d like to share, personal or professional, to other artists or admirers of your work? "I love you all! All of my followers and friends and family who support my work, you keep me going!! I'm gonna keep doing my best!"