Kercia is a designer and artist from a small-ish town in Minnesota. She spends her days creating in a variety of ways. From working with clients to create beautiful graphics to illustrating and lettering artwork, she loves to work with people who are on a mission to make the world a better and more beautiful place. When she’s not doodling or designing, you can find her playing board games with her friends and family, chasing her nephews around, or trying to keep her house plants alive.
I met Kercia back in 2009 in person at the Imperfect Bosses Camp. And TBH I had been following her from afar on IG for so long but I didn't realize it was HER until the second day of camp! This was partly because she never showed her face on her social!
Kercia's lettering art has always been a favourite of mine. She's funny as hell and the stuff she makes is always filled with simplicity and beauty. Her drawings speak straight to my heart. Recently she launched her print shop with stickers so that we can have her words in our homes. So thank you Kercia for showing up, for believing in your ability and dream! I am so excited that you are our first KDC Kind Crew features 🙌
What is your name (do you know what your name means?)
My name is Kercia (pronounced like ker-sha)! My aunt Jane made it up, so while my first name doesn’t really mean anything my middle name is Jane in honor of her.
Where in the world are you located? I live in Minnesota, in a small-ish city called Winona. It’s right on the Mississippi River and surrounded by bluffs. It’s super pretty, especially in the Fall!
What do you do/who do you help? I am a designer and illustrator and I love working with passionate business owners and creatives who are on a mission to use their gifts to make the world a better place. To get you where you are now, what habits have helped guide you? For me, I think developing perseverance and resiliency is the over-arching habit that has helped me get to where I am now.
I think it’s easy to get discouraged as we set out to do something that requires vulnerability, being seen, and sharing your work with the world. Reminding myself over and over again that I have to keep going to keep growing has helped me work through the doubts and fears that creep up.
Comparison will happen, getting stuck in a rut is part of the process, rejection is inevitable, doubts and fears will try to paralyze us…the list goes on but what matters is that we keep going, learn lessons along the way, pivot when we need to, rest and be kind to ourselves. What major change in your life redirected your journey (outside of the pandemic) Getting a D in biology in my second semester of college. I know that probably doesn’t sound like a major redirection but looking back it really was. I went to college thinking I wanted to be a pediatric nurse. In the back of my mind, I thought maybe I would do something artistic but I was far too scared to enroll in an art class, especially at the collegiate level.
I had never even taken a drawing or painting class before. Surely, I thought, real artists already had years of experience and it was too late for me. But after struggling through the introductory biology course, it was clear anything science-related was not for me. So, as fearful as I was I signed up for an art class the next semester. Feeling like an imposter, I tried to hide in the back of the room. Truth be told, I struggled through that course too. I may or may not have cried (read: I definitely cried). Creating and showing your work is vulnerable, but at least I didn’t get a D.
So I took another art course; this time an intro to digital media. And something clicked. I knew that this is where I was supposed to be. I was still scared, but something felt like I found what I was looking for. I promptly changed my major and redirected my journey from science to art.
Where and how do you find inspiration as a creative? As cliché as it sounds, I really do find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes it's in expected places like being in nature or when traveling, but other times it’s in the most random and tucked away places. What’s helped me the most to stay inspired is to stay open and curious — keeping my mind, heart, and senses open to what the day has in store for me, open to learning something new. Sometimes I am inspired by something visual, other times it’s a feeling or smell.
What has the pandemic given you? Oh goodness, I think I am still processing and working through all the emotions and effects of the pandemic, but I love the question because there has been so much focus on what the pandemic has taken away. But what if we looked at it from a different angle and asked what it has given us? What have we learned? With so much taken away, with so much out of my control, with so much hurt in the world, what truly matters and can I do to help? I think that’s one thing the pandemic has driven home for me — what truly matters and can I do to help? Love, kindness, empathy, connection, taking care of ourselves and serving others matter now. Do it now. Don’t wait. Smiling at a stranger matters. Small acts of kindness matter. Being with friends and family matters. We need each other. Everything can be taken away in an instant. Put your phone down, be present and take a moment to be grateful for the seemingly ordinary moments, because they matter. How do you keep your time in check as a creative? In all transparency, I don’t feel qualified to be giving advice in this category LOL. I’m a creative through and through and I admittedly can have a hard time staying organized and prioritizing my time. That said, though, I started using To-Doist this year in addition to a paper planner and it’s helped me stay on top of my daily tasks and plan projects in advance. Also, after I finish a task I try to take a small break as a reward…even if it’s just one minute to take a couple of deep breaths.
What communities do you find yourself a part of? I am part of my local Rising Tide chapter, volunteer at my local art museum, and am active in my church community. I play in a volleyball league and love taking Barre classes at the Y. I am also very dedicated to my role as an auntie to my two nephews. I don’t think there’s an official community but I’m definitely a proud member. What is your strongest time thief belief you are still trying to break up with? Overthinking and perfectionism, for sure! I tend to overthink even the smallest of details. Whether it’s creating a piece of art or sending an email to a client, my overthinking and perfectionism can send me into analysis paralysis and eat up so much time. This is definitely a hard belief to break up with because sometimes it serves me well. Being detail-orientated, double-checking, critiquing, and rearranging things until they feel just right IS part of being a designer. But most of the time I overthink and second-guess myself out of fear and self-sabotage. I am slowly working to unlearn these behaviors and lean more into self-trust. What do you do when you feel stuck/not great/unworthy/scared? First things first: Take. A. Break.
Drink some water. Go for walk. Shake it out.
Sometimes we just need to take a breather and reset. When tough thoughts and emotions pop up, I can try to push through them, not acknowledging them but they can keep piling up and I’ll start spiraling. Taking a moment to ask myself what is going on helps me break the spiral and allows me to show myself compassion and acknowledge the truth that I am safe, that I am loved and that I belong.
Who would you like to "Give flowers" to? This is a shoutout of thanks to another creator/online friend that has grown into something more. Oh, I love this. I want to give flowers to Ashley Beaudin! We’ve been each other’s clients countless times over seven years, which has grown into a deep friendship. She’s helped me grow in so many ways — emotionally, spiritually, and in business. Her friendship and support mean the world to me!
Favourite quote "words to live by" I have so many, but a really personal one is you gotta keep going to keep growing. That phrase came to me during a time when I felt stuck. I wanted to be a better artist and I wanted to be running my own business, but I was working at an uninspired corporate job. I felt defeated and impatient. For me, there has always felt tension between where I am and where I want to be. I want growth to happen quicker; I want transformation in an instant.
But unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. You’ve gotta put in the work. You’ve gotta keep forging ahead. So the phrase you gotta keep going to keep growing reminds me that growth isn’t instant, but every time you show up and put in the work, every time you choose to keep going, even when it’s hard, you’re growing little by little.
Check out Kercia and all of her work ⬇