Lettering artist Belinda Kou on the power of creative community and iPad Air
March 30, 2022
Artist Belinda Kou on the power of the creative community, following your passion and iPad Air
Artist Belinda Kou never imagined that her lifelong passion for art would turn into a career. Raised in the Detroit suburb of Novi, Michigan, by parents who emigrated from Taiwan, Kou felt unspoken pressure to pursue a career that felt safe and secure.
“While I can’t speak on behalf of all Asian-American communities, I personally grew up in one where engineers, doctors, and others with STEM careers were among the most celebrated,” Kou describes. “This put pressure on me internally to pursue one of these careers, mostly because I didn’t know anyone else who looked like me in the arts.”
But while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology at the height of the Great Recession, art remained a hobby for Kou. During a time with Teach for America, he often redesigned the lesson plans and worksheets for his science classes. “He was always touching me,” he says. “He was always on the side, slowly becoming a major thing.”
When Kou Teach for America’s commitment came to an end, she decided it was time to pursue her true passion and made the leap to graphic design. While working at a marketing agency as an associate art director, a chance encounter with the iPad opened up a whole new world of possibilities for Kou, and sent her down a path that would eventually lead her to start her own business.
“Drawing directly on the screen with Apple Pencil instead of drawing on a device and having to look at a different screen to see how it translates has really speeded up my process,” he says.
Working with a growing number of customers, Kou enjoys boosting his color exploration with iPad and Apple Pencil, something that would take him hours with analog tools.
“Once I got my iPad and Apple Pencil, I created it faster than I could with pencil and paper, which helped me share it consistently on social media,” Kou explains. “Between that and perfecting my voice and style, I started attracting clients. Today, many of my clients hire me for digital art. I don’t think I could run my business without an iPad.”
Beyond digital art, Kou is also being hired to create tutorials on how to use design programs, something her social media channels show she enjoys. Going back to her teacher mentality, she often shares her artwork, along with tips and tricks for using Procreate, the exclusive iPad app she uses to create most of her illustrations.
Tools like the Apple Pencil and the new iPad Air have made graphic design more accessible than ever, he says, lowering the barriers to entry he encountered early in his career: “People I teach know how to use “iPad, and now they are. Ready to level up at Procreate. But the fact is, they were able to go straight in there and draw something, without a sharp learning curve.”
Over the years, he has cultivated an online community of self-taught artists with related ideas to share their work and creative processes. She is now working to create a network of mothers interested in pursuing a creative career for the first time.
“It’s been a struggle, especially during the pandemic, to figure out how to juggle everything, and limit ourselves to where we can take our children or seek help,” said Kou, who started his Instagram account as a starting point. creative afterwards. the birth of their first child. “I’ve always wanted to have someone who encourages me and also shows me how to do it, and I’m willing to be that person for other moms starting today.”
Your message to anyone, from recent college graduates to new mothers, contemplating changing fields and exploring the world of letters? “It’s never too late to turn around,” he says, speaking from experience. “Fear will always be there; you just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. “
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