SPOTlight: Meet Illustrator Kaila Elders & Greer

Why we love Kaila Elders (she/her). 
We first discovered Kaila's art through her instagram account and we immediately fell in love with her minimalist style, playful use of color, and (of course) her feature subject matter: DOGS.
Kaila and Greer signed on to be one of Awoo's first brand ambassadors and through our brief email correspondence as well as her IG feed, it quickly became apparent that Kaila is not just a talented illustrator but she is an artist who actively uses her platform and medium for good. She's not one to remain silent when she sees or reads about injustices and we love watching (and reposting) the creative ways she makes her voice heard through illustration. 
We're suckers for a human rights advocating, talented, badass dog mom.

Kaila Elders and her greyhound, Greer pose for photo

Q: What is your pup's name? 

A: She's named Greer, a shortened version of her registered racing name, which was WW's Greer. A lot of people change their adopted dog’s name but we fostered Greer for a month before deciding it was a forever fit, so we already knew her as Greer and it felt too strange to change it. Plus we think it suits her! We call her all kinds of other things, like Peachy, BB, Noodle, Poppet, Gweer, Goober, and more.

Q: How would you describe Greer's personality?  

A: Greer is the best dog, because she's mostly calm and relaxed at home, but when she sees her friends or goes somewhere new, she goes absolutely nuts and her little face fills with joy. We adopted her out of the greyhound racing industry, and she had spent all six years of her life up to that point at a track or on a farm. She didn’t know what stairs were, or how to ride the bus, or even what a lake or ocean was. Now at nine years old, she's seen snow about three times, and she absolutely loves it! She throws her body into it and spins in circles kicking it up in the air and tries to monch it. It's adorable and hilarious to watch. I love showing her the big world outside her experience in the racing industry.

Q: Does Greer have any funny quirks or habits? 

A: So many! A lot of them are greyhound specific, like chattering her teeth together when she’s happy. She loves to sleep on her back with all her legs stretched out into the air. She’ll eat pretty much anything but unceremoniously drops spinach to the floor every time. If you try to walk her in a direction she doesn’t want to go, she will stand very quietly but firmly and peer up at you until you change your mind. And when you pick her up, she goes absolutely still and just lets her legs hang straight down.

Q: What is your favorite activity to do with Greer?

A: I love taking Greer to different parks around the city, or on hikes outside of town. She loves exploring new places and sniffing as much as she can. The little pep in her step and crazy ear action as she's taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of somewhere new is the best to watch! We don’t own a car, so whenever we rent a car share she knows she’s about to go somewhere good and she can barely contain her excitement.

Q: Tell us about being an illustrator- how did you get started?

A: I started out my career purely doing graphic design, in roles where there weren't a ton of illustration opportunities. It wasn't until my partner gifted me an ipad and I started drawing everyday that I realized this was something I was a lot more passionate about. At the time we were fostering greyhounds already, but hadn’t met Greer. I started drawing my foster greyhounds because I loved their long bodies and the awkward angles they get themselves into. Just visually awesome creatures. Once I started doing it more regularly and growing my skills I realized I was much more passionate about illustration than the work I was being paid for at the time. Now I get most clients through sharing my art online and referrals from past customers.

Q: What’s your favorite part of being an illustrator?

A: Hmm probably the community. The amount of people I get to talk to by sharing my art is truly wild, and I can’t really picture having the same type of network in other jobs. The fact that I have mailed artwork to so many different countries is so cool! I feel connected to the rest of the world without going anywhere. And honestly, it’s cheesy, but when I get messages about how my seeing my art turned someone’s day around, or motivated them to try a new medium they’ve been intimidated by, or even that I’m in any way their favorite artist blows my mind!

Q: What word of advice would you give to other designers and artists.  

A: I think in this field there’s a tendency to overthink, and create barriers that really don’t need to be there. A lot of artists play the comparison game and struggle with imposter syndrome. But no one is good at anything the first time they try it. You have to put in the work and practice, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Envision the types of jobs you what to land and the work you want to create, and just start making it. You don’t need anyone else’s permission. And of course, sharing your journey can lead to great things, but not everything needs to be on the internet, so if you’re nervous that something isn’t “good” enough or “shareable” enough, try not to let that distract from actually creating it anyways.

Q: What is your favorite Awoo product or product feature?

A: I love love love the infinity leash. It’s so versatile, we’ve used it a ton when out and about at the park or beach as a tether so Greer can have her room to roam without constant hands-on supervision. And being able to convert the leash to hands free is so convenient when you’ve got a lot to carry, or are even just trying enjoy your coffee while you walk without spilling. I’m sure others would love it when out running with their dog, but I wouldn’t know as Greer won’t run more than a block before deciding she’d like to walk! Love our leash and can’t wait to try out the new black color.

 

Head to Kaila's website to see more of her art and learn how you can commission her for a custom portrait of your pup. 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published