• COPIC AWARD Interview with Kat Young

COPIC AWARD Interview with Kat Young


COPIC AWARD Interview with Kat Young

Kat Young is an Australian fine artist and illustrator. Her artwork spans many mediums and themes, but at its core Kat's work aims to tell a story and much of her artwork is influenced by her own experiences.

Kat's wide client base has seen her work on children's books, novel covers, illustrated movie companions, video game and art magazines, comic books, board games, public murals, and designs for clothing brands.

Kat is also a Lifetime Copic Ambassador in Australia and has been submitting entries to the COPIC AWARD for the past few years. The results have been impressive; in 2021, her entry Connection was selected for the APAC Regional Award. In 2022, her entry "From Within (anaglyph art)" won second place. In 2023, her entry "Sanctuary" was selected as one of the shortlisted entries (finalists).

Website https://katartillustrations.com
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/katartillustrations
X (Formerly known as Twitter) twitter.com/KAIllustrations
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KatArtIllustrations
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/Katartillustrations

Q1. Could you introduce yourself for those who are unfamiliar with your works?
Also, what is your artistic background?

A1. Hi! My name is Kat Young, known by KatArt Illustrations online. I’m an Australian Independent Illustrator who works predominantly in Copic Marker. I create whimsical, ethereal illustrations, that hold a hint of nostalgia and a little something like…hmm electropop? I am heavily influenced by color and light, and love challenging myself to find different ways to use mediums. I have been passionate about drawing ever since I can remember, I drew all through school (even when I wasn’t supposed to be) and went on to get a Batchelor of Fine Arts, and a Diploma of Illustration, and have been working in the industry since I was 16 - over half my life.  

Q2. How did you first encounter Copic markers? How did you become interested in them?

A2. We had them in the art room at school! Up until then I had been using graphite, or acrylic paint, but quickly gravitated towards Copics. So much more versatile than acrylic (especially in my school notebooks!) but with the option of color - at the time I was trying to teach myself color theory to break out of black and white graphite, so it was perfect timing.

Q3. What characteristics or features do you particularly like about Copic? Can you also tell us why you like them?

A3. They are incredibly versatile. So many ways to make different marks and textures, so much potential for experimentation. I love that they refill so I can keep drawing in the middle of the night when a color runs out, rather than having to wait till morning to go to the art shop and get a whole new marker. I also love that they are customizable, I have changed my nibs out on quite a few.

I love the color range, I love that you can get empties so I can make my own colors, I love that you can apply them differently, depending on what surface you are using, and get a totally different outcome. And all of that with little mess, and an easy pack up (this particular aspect has become more important to me since I had children, haha)  

Q4. Your technical exploration of Copic has always impressed us. You are truly an innovator, developing unique methods that even we, the manufacturer, would not have imagined, and expanding the range of expression of Copic. Do you have any favorite techniques or approaches when using Copic?

A4. Thank you so much, that means a lot to me! 
Hmm I think my favorite is probably always the next ‘what if’ experiment I want to try. Right now, I have 2 ideas for this coming Copic Award and I’m really excited to see if they work. 
But I think my most useful technique is replicating ‘wet on wet’ that you would normally use with watercolors. It can create large uniform gradients but can also make really cool textures depending on how you use it. It’s great for large backgrounds, or areas you want to create some interest in, but without details that might pull from your main subject.

Q5. You have been submitting your work to the COPIC AWARD since 2019. In 2022, your work "From Within (anaglyph art)," in which different images emerge in layers when wearing 3D glasses, was selected as the second-place winner in its anaglyph art style. Last year, your entry "Sanctuary" was selected as one of the shortlisted entries. We say you are a regular AWARD participant, and many Copic fans look forward to seeing your work every year.

What is your favorite entry you have submitted to COPIC AWARD, and why?

A5. And in 2021 my work ‘Connection’ was selected for the APAC Regional Award which was the first time I won anything and totally blew my mind. Hopefully, Copic fans are looking forward to seeing my work each year rather than being sick of me, ha!

It is so hard to pick a favourite. It’s definitely down to the three mentioned above:

I was really proud of how I rendered light in ‘Connection’ It was the first time I really tried to see how far I could push that, and it has a lot of meaning tied to the covid lockdown experience for me.


‘From Within’ is probably the height of my technical achievements with Copic. I had absolutely no idea if trying to make anaglyph from marker would even work. It is also representative of those of us suffering with invisible illness which is a cause I’m really passionate about.


But ‘Sanctuary’ (which is not technically flashy in its blending, or colour choice, or technique) is probably my favourite. It was a final farewell to my very first art studio just before moving to a new house. A space I finally found myself as an artist, I got married and created my veil and shoes within that studio, I lost the dog I think was my soul-animal in the time I was in that space, and she would spend hours in there laying on my lap while I worked, I had 2 babies in the time I was there too, which fundamentally changed me as a person. They too spent so much time in there being creative with me. Plus, ‘Connection’ and ‘From Within’ were made there. It might be humble in ambition, but it means a lot to me. I am going to frame it and put it up in my new studio.


Q6. What do you focus on when creating your entry for the COPIC AWARD? Please tell us what you do for creative inspiration in the creation of your AWARD entry.

A6. I like to ask, ‘what if’ and then roll from there. ‘What if I could make an anaglyph artwork actually work with just Copics?’ what would that aesthetically look like, and what deeper meaning would it have? 

The subject matter is almost always whatever feels most important in my life at the time (almost a diary at this point of whatever I was feeling just before each Copic Award!) 

Q7. What do you think about the significance of having your work judged/evaluated through your entry for the COPIC AWARD?

A7. I used to think it was actually a bit daunting, up against all these other artists who are so amazing at what they do, and if you get shortlisted - the amazing Judges who are so knowledgeable and amazing in their fields are up close and personal, looking at every single marker-stroke on your work. But in the last few years I have concentrated more on just really enjoying being able to see all the other artists works (and finding so many new artists to follow each year) it feels so comfortable entering now just for the fun to see how far I can get, no pressure.

Q8. Has the experience of winning second place or being selected shortlisted for the COPIC AWARD affected or changed your life or career in any way?

A8. I think perhaps more than anything it has affected and changed how I personally think about my work and career. Knowing that a company like Copic, and professionals like the Judges each year, and of course all the comments I’ve seen from followers of the Award all think my work is worth something, is like a tangible validation that I’m doing something right and making things that speak to people (which is all I’ve ever wanted to do). Particularly as I have managed to be selected more than once, I can’t explain it away to myself as a fluke (though I will probably still try).

Not that outward validation should have a huge impact on inward motivation – I will always be creating no matter what – but I think it has given me a confidence to back my own work more and believe in my instincts.

Q9. Do you have any tips for COPIC AWARD 2024 applicants to distinguish their works from other entries and contestants?

A9. Try to focus on something maybe no one else is bringing to the table. There are SO many artists out there who are incomprehensibly technically skilled with Copic, incredible manga artists, and total photo realism artists. The judges have seen all of that before. If you look at the winners and the judges’ comments each year you’ll notice there’s never someone who’s there just because they’re good at using Copics, there’s never a judges comment that’s just ‘oh it’s just really pretty’ Having a deeper meaning, and backing that up with interesting thought through imagery or technical skill that makes the Judges take a second closer look, or makes them think twice, will have them returning to your work again and again. 

Q10. Finally, how do you feel about the comments that works created with Copic have a unique appeal compared to works created with other art materials and/or digital tools? Do you feel the same way?

A10. I definitely agree. The vivid colors and smooth blending achievable with Copics can look just like digital, but with a grounded tangible quality. They can be bold and sharp, or floaty, delicate, and whimsical. They have such versatility, I can’t believe I am still able to think of new things to try with them, after so many years of experimenting already, but they just lend themselves to so many possibilities. 



If you still have issues and would like to request assistance,
please send a message from contact form.