How to be an Illustrator with Conkrete Roses

Nairobi based duo, Kesha and Suhun have turned their friendship and talent into a successful business. The two who are known collectively as Conkrete Roses, work from their workshop in their Kenya hometown, designing both digital and hand painted pieces which they sell through their website, Instagram.

In my interview, the girls tell me what’s been their biggest learning curve as boss babes, who they’re vibing off of Social Media and how their puppy Mocha made a big inspired their designs.

1. Can you tell me about your particular style of illustration and what inspired it? 

Our style varies depending on our clients. As individuals we have quite distinct styles of painting, but we have worked together for a long enough time to mesh together to create whatever style is needed. 

2. Have you always been into art and how did you make the transition to becoming a digital illustrator? 

Yes, we have always been interested in art and have always been creative minds. We have both studied art and design which allowed us to flow into digital illustration quite easily. 

3. For anyone wanting to get into illustration as a business, what are your top investments? (equipment, apps etc) 

We both iPads to create our digital illustrations. If you are just starting off you can begin with something a bit less expensive such as a drawing tablet (We used the bamboo Wacom tablet for many years before upgrading) 

4. As a boss babe, what has been your biggest learning curve so far? 

Being a boss babe is difficult as it is, but being a boss babe in a developing country is a completely different ball game. We have had to learn how to work around the lack of supplies and efficiency that we could get while being abroad. All things aside, Kenya has always been home and we have been given such a great opportunity to be doing what we love. 

5. Drop the DMs of anyone you’re vibing off of right now… 

Two of our favourite artists and humans are @ed_wainaina and @akeemakart. Check them out on Instagram, they’re super inspiring! 

6. You both have separate accounts that make up two very different styles, talk me through the process of creating a brand that worked for both of you…

While we both do our own individual work on our personal art accounts, we have worked and painted together for a long enough time that we are able to work in any style together. Our work for our brand is mostly custom, and therefore we work according to the style that the customer wants, rather than our own styles. We are both great at adapting to different styles while also maintaining a consistent aesthetic to the work we do. 

7. What’s your piece of advice for anyone wanting to make money from their passion? 

Just do it, we have always been advocates for doing what you love. Everything takes time, but if you are patient, and consistent good things will come. Also, there is nothing better than doing what you love for your soul. 

8. What’s your 2019 goal for your business? 

As always, we hope to branch out into new things and work with new people. Our biggest goal is to grow internationally and create a presence abroad.

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