About the Artist
Choosing to pursue art as a profession, many people ask me if I have taken the correct career path, or others do not immediately understand what it means to be an illustrator. From there, I often have to explain myself and make them understand that I am not just putting pencil to paper and spending all of my time coloring. It is also about having passion in doing something that many people are too scared to do or cast off in their early years of development. I have made a career out of something to help others see or understand or feel what words cannot do alone.
Through my work, I enter a whole new perspective and sphere, where anthropomorphic animals take on a life of their own in fantastical settings with soft rendering and high contrast, or where commonplace ideas are explored through eccentric characters and an exaggerated mood. This way my illustrations provoke a new experience to the viewer. I start my work usually my sketching out initial ideas in pencil and then move on to pen for more permanent and darker marks. Once I am satisfied with what has been produced in terms of composition and movement throughout the piece, I render and color the illustration digitally. Digitally, I have the freedom to make further adjustments more easily if need be and fully explore color choices and create mood through subtle contrast and color transitions.
Much of my work involves a more narrative sense than a conceptual nature. This derives from my love of reading, writing, and telling stories. It is my duty as an artist to explore and create new worlds so that others can take inspiration from what I see and imagine. I also love the outdoors, so much of my work sees a play of nature in some form or another. Inspired by the subtleties and delicacies that takes place in nature is enthralling from its natural movement and rhythm to its specific, unintentional use of light and color. Combining these two things, I am attempting to generate and form a more entertaining, creative, and eclectic reality through a vivid and inventive narrative.
The Interesting Stuff…
I am originally from Suwanee, Georgia, a convenient suburb of Atlanta where the dichotomy of urban and rural cultures often meet and high school football is a religion. I moved to Savannah, GA in Fall of 2013 to start my career path as an illustrator attending Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Here, I got to fully understand what it truly means to be an illustrator as my professor so eloquently put it on my first day of my first major class: “Illustration is not about drawing. If you came here solely to draw, there is the door.”
But if there is one thing you need to know about me, (if any college classmates are reading this, you know what is coming; you’ve heard my spiel several times) it is that I love books. I love reading them, holding them, collecting them, looking at them, storing them, admiring them, and even smelling them. I grew up on reading, and the magical aspect that everyone deems to be true is that reading takes you elsewhere, and when you’ve finished your novel, story, chapter book, novella, or what-have-you, you come out of it changed. You are simply no longer just Skyler Kratofil, John Doe, or Jane Doe; you are the main character. Their plight was your plight. Their joy is your joy. That. That magic is what I want to capture in my illustrations.