Why let a pre-determined size of paper or canvas limit your creativity? If you think big, then you work big. Alli Koch’s drawings might be in one of her books to guide you in your own drawing journey, on someone’s arm as a tattoo or Texas-sized: covering an entire wall – even the side of a building. Specializing in florals, Alli Koch bucks the expectation of explosive color, instead achieving lush, free-flowing detail with lines of black and white.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
Art was always my favorite class elective or pastime while growing up. I think every scrap paper near me had a doodle on the back of it. I did grow up thinking art could only be a hobby, that the starving artist stereotype was true, and artists had to share their art in a gallery. So finding my own artist path that I am living now has been a big evolution.
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What inspires you to create?
Surrounding myself with other creatives inspires me the most to create but also my goal to want to inspire others to create. It fuels my fire when I get messages of others getting my books and being proud of what they created!
What are the advantages of being a self-taught artist?
Definitely not knowing all of the rules! Being able to do things the way that work for me helps actually get things done quickly vs stressing too much about doing it by the books.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your books? Do you take a different approach when you write for kids?
Building confidence is my number one goal with any of my books. I want them to feel like they accomplished something while also remembering that if it was perfect it wouldn’t look handmade.
Are there recurring themes in your work? What is it about a subject that inspires you to continue exploring it?
I am most known for my black and white linework, and mainly florals. Nature isn’t perfect in real life, so there is an ease of going into a drawing knowing it doesn’t have to be perfect or symmetrical.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
Most people think of art or something that needs to stand out requires a lot of color. But for me, I am more drawn to minimal black and white design. People do recognize my work and florals before they see my signature which is really a huge compliment to give any artist.
Where is the most unusual location you have been asked to create a mural?
I don’t think I have had an unusual location yet, but painting a bathroom and getting ladders around toilets is definitely a challenge.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
Honestly, right now I feel most creative and focused while working in bed. I like being cozy while I create.
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?
My lifeline is my paper planner and notepads. I love making lists and crossing tasks off. But I also love using my iPad. I am an instant gratification kinda gal so for getting digital artwork done quickly, the iPad is a must.
What is your favorite lesser-known tool for your trade? Have you taken something designed for another use and repurposed it for your studio?
Baby wipes! They are magic. I don’t paint a mural without them because they are the best at cleaning up paint on the wall or clothes.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
I have many and most are empty. I used to never actually use my stickers growing up because I could never decide where to put them. I’m kinda the same way with journals – I can never decide what to write or draw in them. So my iPad has most of my sketches!
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
Most of the time silence. I know I am odd. Just recently I started playing music in the background, and right now it’s a lot of country. They seem to always be having a good time in the songs, so it lifts my mood.
Do you visualize your finished work before you start it, or does it evolve?
It definitely evolves — I’ll do a super rough doodle of the shape or outline and then layer in more details
Tell us about your website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
It’s a catch-all for anything that they need to know either about me or my services.
Do you lecture or teach workshops? How can students/organizers get in touch with you to schedule an event?
Yes! I am the happiest when I am helping other people! Anyone can ask questions or contact me via email, [email protected]
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
Everyone is creative in their own way and looks different for each person!
How can people overcome the challenges they feel to their creative ability?
Knowing that everyone’s creativeness is different is the first step. I too go through ruts, so stepping out of my normal day-to-day routine or surroundings helps tremendously.
What advice would you give to emerging artists?
Just start! Don’t worry about trying to perfect something before sharing or selling your art. Nothing will be perfect, and truly you don’t want it to be — that’s what makes it different and unique.
Interview posted January 2021
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