Meet Krystal Figueroa
What's your background?
I was born in the Philippines, and I have lived in Southern California practically my entire life.
I have never had any formal art education, but I have been creating art for as long as I can remember and it has always been a part of my life in one way or another. I have been very fortunate to have met and learned from many creative, talented and inspiring individuals throughout my life. One of the earliest memories I can recall is the first time my uncle taught me how to draw a rose and a swan when I was a little girl. To this day, I can still remember how to draw them exactly how he taught me.
In spite of my deep-seated need to be creative, I was raised to believe that being an artist was not a realistic way to make a living, so I never took it very seriously. I earned my Bachelor’s in Psychology, and after trying my hand at one odd job after another and failing out of graduate school, I was faced with that dreadful question, “What should I do with my life?”
During my search, a good friend of mine told me that the art studio company she works for was hiring a substitute teacher. With nothing to lose, I decided to go for it, and I ended up teaching art for five years. I was able to feed my need to create and hone my artistic skills and at the same time, I was able to share my love and enjoyment of art with others.
While I no longer teach at that studio, I still find every opportunity I can to show others what I've learned and revel in their creative discovery and growth. My desire to take my art to a more professional level has grown exponentially during these past few years, and although I’m still trying to figure out my place in the art world, one thing I am certain of is that art will always play a major role in my life.
What's your medium of choice when you're creating art?
It’s not a surprise to anyone that I love my Copic markers and ink pens! I love their versatility and immediate impact. I like that I can create clean, detailed work in a short amount of time and that I can bring them with me wherever I go with very little effort.
They also force me to commit to the outcome and learn to love it. My first love, however, is acrylic, and I would love to get back into painting again. It is very therapeutic!
How did you build your creative habit?
Through constant and deliberate practice and creation, as well as by surrounding myself with creative people.
Sktchy has played a major part in this process for me, both in providing me with constant inspiration and motivation to create and in engaging me with so many creative, talented and inspiring artists around the world.
When you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you get out of it?
To be honest, I find myself battling with creative block quite often, and I will sometimes go months without creating a single work of art. When I find myself in a creative rut, I tend to pull myself out of it when I encounter something art-related that I find inspiring. It could be a drawing, a photo, a crafting vlog or even a song.
These moments of inspiration tend to come to me in waves. When I catch a good wave, I try to keep the momentum going by creating as much as I can in that manic moment of time. Doesn't even matter what it is; I could be drawing a portrait on my iPad one moment and then creating a hand-lettered sign in the next.
You'll often find me working on multiple projects at once (often to my own detriment), but I just can't help myself sometimes! You never know when inspiration and motivation will strike again; you must strike while the iron is hot.
Which of your recent Sktchy artworks most expresses who you are now as an artist?
This is a tricky question as I find that I have constantly reinvented who I am as an artist over the years, and I feel as though I am still evolving and figuring out my artistic identity.
In this moment, I have definitely found a comfortable and exciting stride when working on digital portraits on Procreate using my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The freedom and versatility of this medium has enabled me to explore techniques and experiment with media I wouldn't have felt comfortable trying with traditional media before.
This portrait is a happy medium of where I started (a clear and defined face with clean inked lines and a tendency towards realism) and where I feel I'm headed, which is a more graphic, illustrative style. And as always, color and emotion is at the forefront of whatever I create!