keisha in dumbo Brooklyn, NY


What a year 2018 has been! Usually, when the new year hits, we all start out with great intentions aka a list of things that we want to change, new habits that we want to develop, and those unwanted pounds that we want to lose. Personally, I try not to make promises to myself that I know I can't keep, but at the beginning of 2018, I chose to set a goal: Grow my business. Did I fully know how to do that or how to go about it? Yes and no. I understood some aspects of the business side of things when it came to marketing, but what I didn’t realize was how hard it would be to remain consistent and to be more engaging with my audience.

The aspect of putting myself out there and to stop hiding in the shadows was terrifying and still is. I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit, lol. But being this way can cause fear and doubt, and this is something that I can no longer afford. This year, I began focusing on creating and improving my skills. I wanted to show you guys that there is an actual black woman behind the creativity that you see. I told myself that I wanted to quit my job to focus on She Illustrates (mission accomplished). I tried to grow my following. And I wanted to see if being authentic can work in the space of redundancy.

keisha behind the scenes she illustrates

For me, this all started in the spring. We all saw the craze that Black Panther created and like everyone, I was mesmerized and most importantly, INSPIRED. I saw Okoye and all of the intricate details she had and got to work. To be honest with you guys, I was scared after I created her because she was gray. At that moment, I was doubting myself and kept asking, “Will they get it.” But, I didn’t care. I also had a few people ask me, “Why is she gray?” And my response was and will always be, “Because I wanted her to be.” I had to trust myself, and just like that, Okoye sold out. I created the ‘Wakanda Forever’ pin and that one sold out, as well. And then the Shuri pin came and went. It was all in 3 weeks that I finally understood and realized that I can do this. If I didn’t before, I fully believe in myself now. 


okoye black panther enamel pin she illustrates


As the year progressed, I continued to create more and more, and you guys responded in such a positive way it overwhelmed me.

she illustrates blog post instagram collage


Sometimes we all do need a little push from others to know that our work matters and that our talents are real. And as I sit here, writing this, my heart fills with joy because I’m grateful. I am thankful to have you guys continue to support my work. I’m grateful for the feedback you give, all of the tags and reposting that you do. Thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis and thank you for supporting and sharing my work. This year my faith has carried me more than it ever has and I’ve learned that God has my back as long as I meet him halfway.


Is there anything new that you’ve learned or noticed about yourself this year? Please let me know!


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