traveling the world as digital nomad
29 years . illustrator . designer

I’m the the founder of CatCoq, an illustration and design brand. Illustration was my first love, and it’s currently the backbone of my brand. My style is bright, colorful, and typically incorporates intricate details and hand-lettering. I primarily sell my work through various licensing and print-on-demand companies, where my artwork is printed on everything from wall art and tapestries to tote bags and phone cases.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// Which media do you use to express yourself?

My favorite art mediums are watercolor / acrylic gouache and digital vector art.

// What is your biggest motivation to create? What inspires you?

The majority of my creative inspiration comes through travel. I'm usually working from coffee shops and co-working spaces around the world. I prefer locations that are "digital nomad" friendly– cheap cost of living, killer WiFi, and a thriving community of fellow nomadic entrepreneurs.

I primarily live off passive income. This is the money I make through licensing my work. For me, that means working as an illustrator + freelance designer and traveling the world for creative inspiration. I recently put together a guide for artists who want to boost their passive income, too. You can check it out here!

Because I primarily focus on licensing my work, I don't need to worry about manufacturing products, inventory, shipping, or customer support. Not only does this mean I never need to deal with storing inventory (which would be difficult since I'm always on the move), it also frees up a lot of time to do the things I love: travel the world and create art.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// What is your creative process like?

I find inspiration all around me while I’m traveling. I take plenty of photos while I’m out and about, then use those for reference later when I’m sitting down with a paintbrush and blank piece of paper. My love of the outdoors is reflected in my work– my portfolio is chock-full of foliage and animals.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// What do you do in your daily routine to help maintain creativity?

I’ve got to mix things up in my daily routine or else I get bored. My lifestyle makes this easy – I tend to stay in one city for a couple weeks to a couple months before I leave to try something new. Wherever I am, my day usually involves coffee, a café with a strong WiFi signal and painting at night. Despite what my social media life looks like, I actually spend the majority of my day in front of my laptop.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// What are your favorite works or projects that you have done? What was the motive?

My favorite things to paint are plants and animals. Among those, I’m particularly fond of my Alpacas, Wolf, Bonsai Tree, and Leaflets.

// Have you had a decisive moment in your career? How did this influence your trajectory?

The biggest decision I’ve made in my career was deciding to leave my nine-to-five job at a design firm and embrace self-employment. It was terrifying to leave behind a job that I’d loved (especially with all its securities like a steady paycheck and benefits) and take a gamble on myself, but it ended up paying off. I’m now pursuing what I absolutely love, earning a viable income, and am making all my own calls.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// Who are your influences, inspirations, or preferred artists? How do they reflect in your own work?

Here are some of my favorite Instagram accounts:

Lifestyle: Kate La Vie, I have this thing with floors, StudioDIY, A beautiful Mess, BritandCo, ShopBando, DesignLoveFest, SFGirlByBay, Humans of New York

Design & Illustration: Design Sponge, Design Milk, The Jealous Curator, Mirdinara, Refinery29, Jonathan Adler, MadebyPerrin, BlairZ, Designspiration, PaperFashion, Anndanger, NatashaLawyer, KatieVernonArt

Travel: Rusty Wright, OntheGridCity, NatGeo, NatGeoTravel, MattCrump, DeathValleyNationalPark, ExploreGuatemala

Cute animals: The Dogist, This Girl is a Squirrel, Meowtonsco

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you think there still exists a bias in relation to women's free expression? Do you feel this in your work?

Our world is a long way off from treating both sexes equally. However, it’s been inspiring to watch the demand for social change unfold in 2017 alone. We’ve had the Women’s March, the “hackaton” of coders and scientists coming together to preserve earth science data from federal websites, and the March for Science on Earth Day. These issues aren’t all gender-specific, but they’re all on a trajectory to a more progressive future, which would benefit everyone.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a community where my options seemed limitless and my choices were celebrated. My family has been incredibly supportive of my “artist nomad” lifestyle and at no point have I felt limited in my expression. However, this isn’t the case for many women in our world; gender inequality is the common denominator between Malala Yousafzai fighting for her right to an education in Pakistan and the “first world” biases pushing women out of STEM careers. I do believe that change is upon us, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// What makes you happy?

My parents’ dog, Jack. Exploring a new place for the first time. Mangos and sticky rice. Although the happiest moment of my entire life was last fall when I got to swim with baby otters in San Diego. Any time I get to interact with animals inevitably becomes the highlight of my day.

// What tips could you give to other women to help them bring their creations into reality?

Explore various avenues and find what works best for you. One person’s success won’t be the answer for everyone. Once you find your jam and hit your stride, capitalize on that momentum and work work work.

Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
Cat Coquillette por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you have a new project in the works?

I’ve been spending a lot of time considering how I want to “level up”. While the present is going great, I have my eye on the future and the potential opportunities that lay ahead. It can be so easy to get bogged down with day-to-day tasks and forget to consider the big picture. I’ve been asking myself how I want my brand to unfold in the future, whether it’s simply an increase in licensing deals, a product line, or more of a focus on coaching others how to succeed as commercial artists. I wish I had a more tangible answer to this question. Ask me again in 2018.