Stormy Nesbit – Illustrator Q&A
Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Stormy is a passionate graphic designer, visual storyteller and digital illustrator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from West Virginia University and a Master’s in visual communication design from Arizona State University. When she’s not knee-deep in design or illustration, you can find her online shopping and eating French fries and pasta around the clock.
How did your illustration business come about?
“It’s actually funny. Last October I was managing a painting studio and I liked it but it just wasn’t serving me anymore. I remember just praying because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had an IPad and watched tutorials on Skillshare and I had all of these skills that I was using in my career that I could maybe do outside. One day I watched this class from an illustrator and it talked about how to turn art digitally, into an illustration. So I did a picture of myself and I posted it and everyone was like “Ooh I like this. This looks good.” From then I kept drawing things that I liked and I got more into drawing people and women of color and then it just kind of took off.”
With the heightened awareness of the racial injustice in America this past June your work has garnered a lot of attention and your audience has grown exponentially. Was the amount of support you received overwhelming?
“What was overwhelming about it all was the climate that we were in. In terms of that, yeah it was a lot. On top of having emotions I had to think, how can I use my platform for good? I had to reevaluate myself because I could speak to people in a different way.”
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
“That it’s okay to make mistakes and I’m going to make them because I’m new and I’m learning. Also to not be hard on myself because this is my first time and I’ve never done this before. Lastly, being able to say no to people because at first I couldn’t say no and I would feel bad.”
What has been the most fulfilling thing about what you do as an illustrator?
“I think connecting with people. I’ll be honest, since I started doing this, I’ve made so many Instagram friends. Connected with so many people who mean well in the world and they don’t want anything from me. Sometimes that can be an illusion because people think “how can I monetize your following for myself”. I love the genuine relationships I’ve been able to make. Because for me I don’t believe it’s a competition. I’m not competing with any other illustrators. The thing that no one can take from anybody is themselves, their personality and creative expression. So, I can’t copy the next illustrator, if anything I feel like we’re a team.”