Hi there! My name is Katerina Tsoulogiannis. I’m an illustration student at Sheridan College and a part time freelance illustrator. Outside of school I balance my illustration jobs, YouTube channel, Etsy shop, and Instagram account on my own! It can be hard to juggle everything at times but I’ve found as long as I’m prioritizing what’s important in the moment putting some things on pause won't be the end of the world.
My older sister Anna is a photographer that built a social media following before I even started posting my work online. She was the one that set me up with the MissKaterinaT brand name, and made sure my email and social media handles were all reserved under that one name. All these years later, I’m still MissKaterinaT! You can find my sister’s work at www.annawithlove.com.
I started posting my art on Instagram in 2016, while I was still in high school. It wasn’t until April of 2020 however, I started posting on YouTube, and really began to take social media seriously. I was greatly inspired by artists I’ve followed on YouTube and Instagram for years. Seeing what they could do with their platforms inspired me to do the same!
What motivates me is a love of creating. Between my platforms I can share my art and my life with the world and that feeling has been greatly rewarding. Looking back to where I was as a kid doodling on my dad’s office paper, it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go! I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator, and right now I’m taking the first steps to realize that dream.
I use Pinterest religiously to gather all my inspirations and references. I find if you’re always looking for inspiration from the world around you and your own life experiences, you’ll always have something authentic to pull from. When it comes to actually putting those thoughts to paper I brain dump in any sketchbook or notebook I can get my hands on!
For a more in depth look at my process, I have a video all about content planning! If you’d like to learn how to schedule and repurpose your content across multiple platforms, here’s the link to check that out:
For drawing I go between Procreate and Photoshop, and for video editing I’ve always used Premiere Pro. Everything I learned about these programs was from trial and error and watching tutorials on YouTube. One extension I love is TubeBuddy, which I use for my keyword research and to find the best tags on YouTube. I would by no means say that it’s essential to get, but I find it makes the process easier and has helped teach me how to optimize my videos to rank in search!
The social media platforms I’m active on currently are YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. Even then my focus is mostly on YouTube and Instagram- without a social media team at your back, trying to use too many platforms in addition to work, school, and the rest of your life is a surefire recipe for burnout. I’ve experimented with scheduling apps and note taking software, but I keep coming back to pen and paper journal planning and habit trackers. I find it’s the simplest way I can stay on top of my to do list.
One thing I struggled with was being overly worried about what family and friends I knew in real life would think of what I was posting. I’ve always been confident speaking in public so adjusting to speaking behind a camera wasn’t that hard of a hurdle. But when it came to being vulnerable online, or posting my less family friendly art, the fear of judgement was overwhelming. As I’ve gotten older, and more confident, I’ve found that fear is alleviating somewhat. I think it comes down to time and practice- after a handful of videos I’m now much less stiff and scripted in front of the camera, which I hope is coming across as more authentic!
I would still consider my brand to be in the early stages of development! I believe that after I graduate and can dedicate myself to creating full time, everything I’ve been building now can take off. This may be unpopular advice, but to avoid unnecessary stress and burnout I’ve never forced a strict posting schedule. There are times that the rest of life simply gets in the way, and I’d rather skip a couple weeks than make forced, unwatchable content! That being said, I do strive for at least 2 videos a month and a couple Instagram posts each week, and when I’m hitting those targets I feel great.
When I first started posting videos to YouTube, I wasn’t concerned about the numbers whatsoever. I knew my first couple videos wouldn’t be my best so I just played around and experimented until I found my footing. My video “100 Video Ideas for Art YouTubers” was the turning point for my channel- the algorithm picked me up and suddenly I was gaining subscribers every day, and my watch time skyrocketed. To this day it’s still bringing in the most views of any of my other videos. From my channel people started finding and following my Instagram account, and that’s how I started seeing real growth on Instagram for the first time in years.
The biggest misstep I made starting out was rushing into creating products without considering the added workload managing a shop would be! My shop has done decently well, but without the time to market it and create new launches it’s definitely stagnated recently. Instead I’ve been focusing on creating regular, quality content, which I think starting out is a much better use of your time.
Some productivity hacks I swear by are the pomodoro method (I like to modify it to 45 minutes of work to 15 minutes of break), as well as setting up a shortcut on my phone that converts it to grayscale. Doing that at the start of the work day really helps to minimize distractions!
Right now I’m pursuing an illustration career, and the art school I’m attending has done so much to help me hone my skills and get ready for the workplace. I view content creation as a side hustle I can use in the future as a creative outlet and to fill in the gaps between freelance jobs, so even now I prioritize my education and my illustration work higher than social media.
My biggest highlight of the last year was hitting 1000 subscribers- now I’m well past 2000 and very close to my channel being monetized! But it’s the little moments that make me happiest- being so proud of how a video turned out, or a great drawing day I can’t wait to share the results of, or the supportive and kind comments I can expect to get under every video (my subscribers really are the best). Even when life gets crazy and I have to take a step back, I always find myself missing creating the most.
One thing I realized very early on is that
I’m not creating content for myself, it’s all about my audience.
I always try to make videos that other people will find value in, and if they do they’re more likely to stick around! Educational content that others can learn from or get something out of will serve you and them much better than content all about yourself. Once you build an audience, then is the time for those sorts of videos, as now your audience might be wondering more about you.
My strategy has never been about collabs, groups, promotions, or expensive marketing. I’ve just tried to create valuable content, and optimize the SEO so people can find it. The response has been better than I ever imagined it would be!