Meet Kristin Varner – an incredible illustrator and a loyal FHC fitness enthusiast
We were so impressed by Kristin’s work, we wanted to share it with you. Check out the Q&A below to learn a bit more.
Q: Tell me about your published work.
A: I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for about 18 years. My first published work out of college was mainly editorial illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and brochures. Over the course of my career, I’ve created art for television commercials, educational books, toys apparel and other products. However, the last few years I have been fortunate enough to focus on my true passion which is children’s book work. I have one picture book published titled, PINK CUPCAKE MAGIC, written by Katherine Tegen and published by Henry Holt and Co. I am currently working on another picture book (writing and illustrating) as well as a graphic novel that I hope to be sending out to publishers soon.
Q: What got you started in this field and what are your goals?
A: I’ve been drawing since childhood and by high school, I began to take it more seriously. I attended art school at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. I was never exactly sure what area of Illustration I wanted to specialize in, but the whimsical nature of my work lent itself to the children’s market. I have always loved and collected children’s books, so naturally, to create them has been a lifelong dream of mine.
Q: Have you hit any obstacles, and if so, how did you get through them?
A: How to survive financially has been the hardest obstacle I’ve faced living the life of a freelance illustrator. Concentration in the children’s book industry has been particularly tough due to the market being so over-saturated with the many talented illustrators out there. It’s been a rough go at times and I’ve had to take less desirable jobs to make ends meet, but keeping goals in sight and never giving up when I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel have kept me going. Also relying on my people skills has helped me tremendously, as I’ve been fortunate to forge many good relationships with clients that have continued over the years.
Q: Tell us some more about yourself and your family.
A: I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah and still find my happy place, skiing or snowboarding in the mountains here in the Pacific Northwest. I lived for several years in Brooklyn, New York, where I met my husband. We moved to Berlin, Germany where our daughter, Francis was born. We were pulled back to the States by the mighty Amazon giant, and have been here in Seattle for the past five years, and happy to call Fremont our home. I love traveling, enjoying time with friends and family, riding bikes, and I’m also a bit of a history nerd.
Q: How has FHC been part of your life and for how long?
A: Several years ago, I was a member at one of the large, club gyms in town which I had joined for the child care option. However, my daughter, Francis, who was nearly 2 years old at the time, absolutely loathed this gym and would cry incessantly until one of the employees would come fetch me. I was rarely able to get a full workout in. My husband discovered and joined FHC first, and after meeting Lillian he thought that Francis would be much happier with a smaller setting and Lillian looking after her. I decided to give it a shot and quit the other gym. Francis was comfortable with Lillian right away. That was nearly 4 years ago, and I’ve been coming to FHC ever since and Francis still does too. In fact, I have to be secretive about going when it’s just myself on days when Francis is at school. She loves the gym and always wants to go see Lillian.
Q: How do you stay motivated to keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle?
A: I try to stay in tune with what is going on with my body, and I’ve always been the type of person that gets very cranky if I’ve been working too much or haven’t been to the gym or gone on a run for a few days. Keeping it all in balance makes sense when it comes to diet, exercise and everything else. I cook more often than not so I can monitor more closely what our family is eating (even though dining out in Seattle is such a treat). I like getting hooked on routines and the noontime classes at the gym have been a game changer for me. I really look forward to those days and the anticipation of not knowing what the instructor will be throwing at us. I also look forward to gym sessions on my own where I finally have time to put on my headphones and listen to podcasts that I like to follow. I even find that some of my best inspiration for work comes when I’m out on a run or sweating it out.