Bio: Kyle Steed is a simple dude. He loves to draw, design, and make things by hand. When not doing one of those things, he also enjoys cooking, eating, drinking scotch and documenting it all on Instagram. The desire to make work that’s both fun and meaningful is what he’s passionate about. He enjoys the simple things in life.
AHD: Kyle, your designs are so sincere and rich with style! Would you describe for readers the type of work you showcase at kylesteed.com?
KS: Thank you. My portfolio is a mixture of self-initiated and contracted projects. I guess that’s just about like anyone else. But within the last year every new project I’ve worked on has been because of the self-initiated projects I’ve done. And through this I’ve come to realize that showcasing my favorite work is the best way to land new jobs doing what I love.
Looking back on the design process of my website, which took 2 to 3 months of work, I am glad I pushed myself through it. I was not happy with where my website had been previously, it did not showcase my work very well. So that was my main objective in redesigning my website, to offer a simple yet fun experience that would showcase my style and my work. And I think that best describes the kind of work I do—simple yet fun.
AHD: Clearly, you can handle a pen and a mouse. Do you have a preference between drawing with a Micron pen and designing on your Mac?
KS: I prefer pen and paper over the computer any day. Some people are really talented at going straight into illustrator and POOF! Instant awesomeness. Me, not so much. I have learned over the years that I need to sit down and visualize on paper what I want to create. I start with some loose sketches in pencil, erase a ton, and then, when I’m happy with it, I can ink it in.
AHD: What is your favorite subject to draw?
KS: People... I guess. I don’t know if I do have a “favorite” subject. But I’m definitely drawn to people over anything else. I love how we each have tiny features that make us all unique, yet all completely the same. Two eyes, 1 nose, 1 mouth...but it’s how those are all shaped that make us different.
I also love drawing nonsense and exploring the boundaries of my imagination.
AHD: You recently made the decision to leave a steady job in search of more fulfilling work, which ultimately meant entering the freelance market. What are some of the key factors that led you to take such a leap?
KS: Watching my friends not only survive, but thrive on their own is what really motivated my heart. That and a ton of prayer. I think I’ve always had it in my heart not to conform to society’s expectations: go to school, get a degree, work in a cube. Those things might be good for some people, but not for me. I need to feel the wild air in my face and the uncertain future on my horizon. That’s what gets me going.
AHD: What advice would you give to fellow creatives out there who haven’t yet exercised faith over fear?
KS: Wait. Wait. And then wait some more. Please don’t look at my situation and compare yourself to it. Everyone has his or her own journey, and I am just being faithful to what God has called me to do. But please, don’t judge yourself by where I am. Continue to pray and ask for God to show you the desires of your heart. And when that time comes, ask for the strength to follow in faith.
It’s not always easy walking by faith, but when God says go, we need only put one foot in front of the other. He takes care of the rest. Just go read Matthew 6 and let that sink into your core.
AHD: Aside from a fine online portfolio, you also find time to do a bit of blogging about life. How, if at all, does regular writing relate to your design work?
KS: I’m a big believer that we are made to be whole. So it does not matter if we design, cook, clean or manage for a living. That does not define us. It’s just one part of us. So when I write about my life, design or faith, they all intersect with each other on a daily basis. For me, it’s hard to separate them out.
AHD: Others have said you build community through your art. This year you’ve committed to sharing your freelance journey online in hopes that your audience can learn from you and not feel alone. Why is community important to you?
KS: Community, or, as I like to call it, family, is necessary to my life. Without these people in my life, I would not be the person I am today.
No man is an island.
We were created with an innate desire to be loved and accepted. I’ve found that comes only in family. So I have my natural family, spiritual family and, yes, even my design family. Those that I can confide in, support, encourage and love on. Geez, it sounds like I’m some hippy freak. But it’s real. I couldn’t go through this life on my own. Maybe it sounds like a weakness, but that’s fine. I think God can do more through us in our weakness, anyway.
AHD: Have you found the Dallas area to be supportive of husband/artist/believers like yourself?
KS: If you would’ve asked me this question four years ago, I would’ve said no way. But in the past year I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting so many awesome people here in Dallas. My heart has definitely grown fond of the people I know here in Dallas. Something is going on, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I trust it’s a God thing.
Of course, I would be a fool to think the whole of Dallas is like my family/friends. I know we are different. But it’s in our differences that I hope we can make a lasting change in our city.
AHD: Why should coffee always be black?
KS: Why should it be anything else? I guess I’m just a purist. All that sugar and cream is just an excuse. It’s no longer coffee, but a hot liquid dessert.
AHD: Do you have anything coming up you’d like to share? Where can readers keep up with you online?
KS: Yes. I’m really excited about doing some work with the new restaurant Union Bear (it’s in the East Village). Also, I started a new blog this year in honor of Hand-Drawn Words. I spoke at the first Circle Meetup in January. I think it’s booked solid, but keep your eyes out for their conference later this year. And in April, I will be speaking at ConvergeSE in South Carolina.