Kailynn Heide is a graphic designer based out of Minnesota. She is known for her work of The Walking Dead related print designs. Ever since she started her profession, her work was universally revieved positive in the community of The Walking Dead, and even some of the talent of the show as well. I recently got the chance to intervew Kailynn as we talked about that, along with her passion for graphic design, and getting to know more about Kailynn in this exclusive interview.
First, I would like to get to know more about you and I believe your fans and supporters would love to hear your story too. Where did you grow up? And what were some of your earliest childhood memories?
KH: “Of course! I grew up in Pillager, which is a very small town in central Minnesota (the population is around 500 people)! One of my earliest memories growing up was losing my first tooth. I was in preschool at the time and we were all hanging out on the playground. I remember telling the teacher I had lost my tooth and I couldn’t find it. After some searching, we miraculously found it amongst the wood chips and it was placed into a small bag so I could bring it home and show my family!”
What were some early goals you wanted to accomplish before you decided to do graphic design?
KH: “Before I applied to the graphic design program, I wanted to familiarize myself with the field. To prepare, I was using apps and free programs on my family’s computer to develop my skills. I was also working on building my social media presence by sharing my edits/designs on Instagram and Twitter. I was a shy kid growing up, so I also began to work on my interpersonal skills. I firmly believe my self-confidence improved greatly once I discovered the TWD fandom. It was a relief to finally find people who I could be myself around and who shared a common interest.”
Was there any point that graphic design was challenging if you recall?
KH: “At my community college, the graphic design and videography programs were actually merged together. Because of that, my fellow graphic design classmates and I were required to take a few videography classes and vice versa. Although I did learn some new skills, I did find those classes to be somewhat strenuous. I have huge respect for anyone who works in that field because I learned firsthand just how much work goes into filming, editing and rendering any and all types of video.”
I have seen your work and I am amazed at how much effort you put into it. The fans also love your work too. How did it feel for you when your work started to get noticed in this way?
KH: “Thank you! To this day, the love and support I receive for my artwork blows me away. When I first discovered The Walking Dead and began making fan art to display my love for the show, I was stunned to see the amount of people who were showing interest in this hobby of mine I had only recently discovered. It wasn’t long before I realized this was something I wanted to do long-term.”
A lot of your work is based on The Walking Dead. When did you first hear of the series and was The Walking Dead your first choice on doing commissions for fans?
KH: “Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the series until season six. My favorite YouTuber had the episode “East” playing in the background of one of her videos and it caught my attention. I watched the episode that same night and immediately became hooked. I ended up binge-watching all six seasons within about three weeks after that. The first episode I actually watched live was the dreaded premiere of season seven. In regards to commissions, it wasn’t until this year that I really had anyone show any interest in wanting one. Because most of my followers are from the TWD fandom, I haven’t been surprised that a majority of the commissions are based on the show. I personally find the TWD commissions easier to do, only because I’m so familiar with the show and it’s characters.”
What is your favorite episode of the show, and your least favorite?
KH: “My favorite episode of the show would have to be “The Same Boat” from season six. My favorite character has always been Maggie and being able to see her and Carol’s badassery on full display was so satisfying to watch. It’s hard to choose my least favorite episode, but if I had to, it would probably be “Swear” from season seven. The episode just wasn’t very interesting to me.”
My favorite pieces of your work are the World Beyond and Jaws tributes. Do you have any personal favorites?
KH: “Oooh nice choices! My personal favorites would have to be the Lucille Lineup and Whiskey Cavalier tribute posters. Both were big hits in the fandoms and I am so unbelievably appreciative of all the love I received for those designs.”
What is your thought process when you select particular scenes on the show for you to work on your projects?
KH: “Before the commissions started flowing in, most of my pieces were based on my own personal favorite episodes and scenes from the show. Because my work is done in a minimalist style, I have to be careful with which scenes I choose and how I create the design so as to not make it too busy to the point of the design becoming unrecognizable.”
If any, have any of the cast or crew seen your work? If they did, what did they say?
KH: “You know it! The number of cast and crew members has grown quite long over the past few years, but there have been a few reactions that have stuck with me more than others. The first was when I was able to meet Lauren Cohan at a convention back in 2017. I was lucky enough to have her sign some artwork I had done of Glenn and Maggie. When I first handed it to her, I could see she had become overcome with emotion and was speechless for a few moments. She actually ended up taking her phone out of her bag and taking a picture of it to send to Steven Yeun! Another incredible reaction I received was from Ryan Hurst just last year. Angela Kang had reposted my minimalist tribute to The Whisperers on her Instagram and Ryan had seen her post and ended up reposting the design to his own page and following me on Instagram and Twitter. I made a deal with him that I would bring him a print of the design at a convention in Atlanta later that week. To make a long story short, he now owns a 24×36 poster of that design!”
In the future, which franchise would you like to produce prints of and what would be your first print of that selected franchise?
KH: “I’ve had a few requests to design posters for the Marvel franchise as well as for Star Wars and Breaking Bad. If I had to choose, the idea of doing a poster for Breaking Bad is something I’d be more interested in. I’ve never watched the series myself, but the vibe and tone of that show would definitely be something I could easily translate into a minimalist design.”
What advice can you give to upcoming graphic designers that would want to do something similar to you?
KH: “Always be yourself. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but try to remember it’s not a competition. There is only one you.”
Within the next few years, would you like to see yourself in either this industry, or in a path that is not related to graphic design and art?
KH: “I currently define myself as working part-time as an artist and part-time as a service advocate at my retail job. My dream would be to travel the country and sell my artwork at fan conventions across the United States. However, as of right now, I feel good with where I’m at and how far I’ve come within the past few years!”
You can follow Kailynn and check out her online store at the links below.
Online Shop: walkerwyn.storenvy.com