Illustrating for Instagram: Curate a Beautiful Feed | Kristina Hultkrantz | Skillshare

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Illustrating for Instagram: Curate a Beautiful Feed

teacher avatar Kristina Hultkrantz, Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Illustrating for Instagram


    • 2.

      Supplies & Thoughts around using Instagram


    • 3.

      My workflow in Procreate on the iPad Pro


    • 4.

      Illustration Timelapses


    • 5.

      Curating a beautiful feed with Preview app


    • 6.

      Your class project and thank you!


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About This Class

Hello Everyone!

There is no better time to be an artist than now with soooo many opportunities to show our work to the world on different platforms and social media channels. Instagram is a fan favorite because of it’s highly visual nature and many artists use it as a mini portfolio, myself included. There is a lot of chat about Instagram algorithms and strategies at the moment but even so, social media experts seem to be in agreement that if you curate a beautiful feed, you post consistently and you are genuine, that is the best way to succeed on the platform. In this class I will be sharing my thought process when creating imagery for Instagram plus tips and tricks for designing a beautiful feed and using the platform.

If you would like to take a look at my feed I’m @emmakisstina

Check out my Pinterest boards for image inspiration if you'd like.


This class is geared towards students who are in love with illustration, art and design and have drawing skills of all levels but might feel a bit lost as to how to go about curating a beautiful professional feed.


Supplies you will need to create the class project:

  • Supplies to create your artwork. Whether it be traditional or digital. I personally draw all of my Instagram illustrations on my iPad Pro with the Apple pencil in the app Procreate.
  • Instagram planning app. I use Preview.
  • Instagram, of course.


In this class I will be sharing my thought process and techniques for picking out imagery to draw for Instagram, my workflow, planning my feed and posting to Instagram.

We will cover the following:

  • Gather inspiration.
  • My workflow in the app Procreate.
  • My process for choosing color and maintaining an overall look for my feed.
  • My process of creating an interesting balanced flow in my Instagram planner app Preview.
  • My insights for using Instagram.

I am so excited to share my tips with you and to see what you all come up with in your class projects!

xoxo Kristina

MORE FREE RESOURCES FROM ME I'd like to invite you to join my mailing list with tons of free resources for inspiring and building your creative business. SIGN UP HERE

Follow me and share your work on Instagram @emmakisstina with the hashtag #emmakisstinaxskillshare

Meet Your Teacher

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Kristina Hultkrantz

Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer

Top Teacher

Hello Everyone!

I'm Kristina Hultkrantz an illustrator and surface pattern designer based in the super quaint small town Mariefred just outside of Stockholm, Sweden. You might also know me previously as EmmaKisstina on the internet. I've been working with illustration and design since 2007 and have worked full time as a freelance illustrator since 2010 and now a teacher since 2018.

If you'd like to hang out with me outside of Skillshare you can find me on:

o Patreon in my surface design collection making group called Collection Club.

o Patreon in my mixed media sketchbook play group called Fun Friday.

o My supportive Newsletter on Substack, Fargglad, for free Feedback Sessions of your work and creative business advice and inspo.

o or... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Welcome to Illustrating for Instagram: Hello everyone and welcome back to another Skillshare class from me, Kristina Hultkrantz. I am an illustrator and surface pattern designer from Mariefred, Sweden. I've been working full time for almost 10 years. I'm super happy to share more of my tips and tricks and skills and knowledge and all that stuff with you guys in this class. In this class we're going to be building beautiful feeds for Instagram. There's a lot of chat about algorithms and strategies for Instagram, but I think in this class, we are going to be taking a step back, and we're going to be using the platform how it was built to be used and that is as an official platform to show off your best work. I think maybe if you have a beautiful feed and you're genuine and you're consistent, that could potentially build your following. But for the most part, we're just going to have fun with Instagram and we're also going to think of it as a great way of showing your work like a little mini portfolio that's really up to date. That's what we're going to be focusing on. Maybe your number of followers isn't always as important as how you are professionally presenting yourself. Also, I think it can be fun to design your feed, make it really beautiful, and feel very you, and put together. I go through periods when I don't put my Instagram feed together and I just slap, dash, put, post something when I feel like it. But when I take the time to really, then I put them together in an organized manner and I'm intentional with what I'm doing, then I feel like my Instagram experience is a whole lot better. I want that for you guys as well. In this class I'll be going over my thought process and what I think about when I am creating artwork for Instagram. I will go through a few tips and tricks of what I think of when I'm creating and picking out motifs to draw for Instagram on my work. I'll even go over a little quickly of how I draw in my setup when I'm drawing on my iPad to create work for Instagram, as well as how I use the app Preview to plan out my feed and pick out hashtags and all that stuff and post to Instagram later. Let's create beautiful feeds together. 2. Supplies & Thoughts around using Instagram: Okay, for this class, you'll only be needing a few supplies, and that's Instagram, of course. Then I suggest the app preview to plan your Instagram feed, but there's a couple different ones you can choose, whichever one, I like previews free. I've been using it for a couple of years, works fine for me. Then you'll also be needing your artwork, and that depends on how you work, but I use the iPad Pro for my illustrations for Instagram. I'll be using the app to procreate, and yes. I'll tell you a little bit about how I view Instagram. I love Instagram in the beginning, when it was, you could post whatever, could post ugly photos. There were dark weird toast sandwich and nobody cared really. Then it started to become more and more stress over you actually have the most perfectly curated feed ever. Enter beautiful professional photos every day, several times a day. That can stress me out because I'm not a photographer and I don't enjoy photography, so I was trying my hardest to create these photos curated flat lays of my work in products and stuff, but I never enjoy doing it. A year or so ago I decided to just, for the most part, post illustrations, direct digital illustrations in my feed it rather than trying to take photos instead, because I honestly don't enjoy that. I also think it has a nicer look when it's just your work. For the most part, I don't post any photos. Maybe I'll jump in with a little posted myself so that I can introduce myself, so there's still connection and I'm an actual person. Or if something happens in my life, like with the birth of my babies that I'll the post a photo of them just like an announcement to say what's going on in my life. Another thing with Instagram, I for the most part create work specifically to post on Instagram because it's my daily drawing practice. It's easier for me to curate a nice feed when I can be in control of what I'm drawing, is also the employer for me. I create simpler illustrations when I'm drawing for an Instagram, I'll just do simple like shoes or bag or a little flat lay. I don't spend insane amount of time creating work for my Instagram feed. But I also have the idea that maybe I could use the illustrations for something else, like a poster for my shop or something like that. My Instagram feed has a specific look that I think represents my brand the most in that's things like fashion forward, simple illustrations with light pastel color palette. I think that's become my signature. I'm rolling with it, especially on Instagram. I create other work, but I find when I tried to post those things like my surface pattern designs, they don't really match with the other things, so I have to keep them separate. I use the feature where you can have several images, you can swipe to the right, you can swipe to the side to see more images. Look, and that way I can have a cover that matches my feed and then I can share other stuff after that, which is the smart way to think of using that. Other things I think about, I usually post just five times a week, just once per day and I take the weekends off so I don't go in saying I don't really have a specific theme in mind, I just try to keep my signature look going. But there is plenty of different prompts that one can find on the Internet. Just look for Instagram challenges and stuff like that. If you need help to create contact, come up with ideas and stuff like that. There's always inktober in October and now coming up in March, there's marchmeetthemaker, which is an excellent Instagram challenge that you post, prompted image every day. I try every year to complete the challenge, but I usually get like five days, we'll see year. Like I said before, it's difficult to not get caught up in the algorithm and all the things that you're supposed to be doing and doing wrong in Instagram. But I tried to not stress about that too much and I tried to engage, but writing captions is not my forte, it's what I think I'm best at and I find it difficult to get people to respond and talk to me in my comment. That's something that I need to work on. But maybe that's something you're really good at. Unfortunately, I don't have any tips there. Then hashtags. One thing that I like this app preview is that not only can you like plan your feed, but they have a hashtags tool. It has the most popular hashtags in different categories as you can go through. Depending on what you're talking about or what the image is about, then you can pick different hashtags and try different things. I do actually notice a huge difference when I use hashtags or when I don't. To how many people, new people that see my work. There's a few different posts that I like to do. I like to just draw random things and I just think are pretty. I usually find inspiration for those on Pinterest. I'll go over how I use photos for reference in a little bit. Then I also create posts when I have a specific theme in mind in my head that I want to illustrate, such as, if I want to talk about how I'm getting super organized, so I'm going to draw lots of planning supplies or something like that or when I announced that I was pregnant with my daughter, so I drew a little baby shoes or something like that. I do those posts as well, mixed in. They have a theme that had to do with the capture. Then I'm going to write otherwise for the most part, I just draw stuff that's pretty and then I write a caption that has usually nothing to do with the illustration, just to talk about my life or what's going on, stuff like that. I also do tag posts. I tried to create a little community in Instagram by illustrating other Instagrammers photos. I do this because sometimes, to be honest, I'm a little lazy and there's so many beautiful photos that people take and I want to recreate them. Also there's the possibility that they will share the illustration and you could get a little attraction with followers and stuff like that. But I've done a recent trend that people usually don't re-post maybe in their stories. But that's not a huge thing anymore.The only thing to think about when doing that is that you have to absolutely credit the person who took the photo, and you should never ever sell this artwork because you are essentially stealing the photographers copyright and their properties. Always credit the photographer or the Instagram, whom you're drawing and do not sell the artwork. You can't put it on products, so you can't make it as posters, you can't sell it in any way. It's just for Instagram use. Just to spread the love on Instagram. That's just a note to remember. Another tip I have for creating artwork for Instagram is to batch draw. That saves you so much time and it also makes it less stressful to think like, "Oh, I have the post today, have to draw something right now." If you batch startling, batch sketching out ideas, one day when you have a lot of ideas, and then another day may be you finish all the illustrations so that you always have at your disposal may be at least five for the whole week or even more would be best. That makes you feel less stressed and also saves you a bunch of time so you don't sit down to draw something new every day. Then also I have picked out a specific color palette that I use for all of my Instagram illustrations. Then I don't have to worry about filters and making them look all the same because they all have the same color palette and they all match together for the most part. I have a pretty wide color palette so that there is some variation there, so it doesn't look exactly the same. Every post says what I do. But you could feel free to do your own themes and stuff like that. Or maybe you have a color scheme that changes every month, that could be fine. Or if you feel free to have different themes, so they can winter create lots of winter themes. You can also see this as a way to build your portfolio that you'll be using for artwork and licensing and stuff like that, so feel free to do that as well. I'm just a crazy person and I create work just for Instagram for the most part. Let's jump into my iPad and I'll show you how I set up my space when I'm drawing, and what do you think about when I am creating my illustrations. 3. My workflow in Procreate on the iPad Pro: Here we are in procreate, that's the app that I like to use the most when creating illustrations for Instagram or illustrations in general. I have a whole app stack with 98 artworks that I have already created for Instagram in particular. I can go through and show you a few of them that I've created previously, like glasses and I like this square, the traditional square format of Instagram. Creating illustration binders like a nice parameter here to go off of, ideological makeup bag thrown out. I try to keep these illustrations maybe slightly more simple than I would if I were drawing for something else like for a job. I try to make these quite quick. I don't spend too much time on them, I just make the overall look something that's really nice that I like. Then of course like I said, I use inspiration from photos. This one, it was actually a photo that I pretty much copied and I of course credited the person who is responsible for the beautiful photo and I won't be using it for anything else. Same with this, another inspired illustration. See here this is just a few examples. Here's another one that I came up with in my head when I announced that I was pregnant with my little girl. Sometimes I have ideas behind them, like Popsicles it was insanely hot this summer, so I was just thinking about summer items like sun chairs and stuff like that or bathing suit. I keep some theme and then now in the winter it's more wintry things maybe. I started sketching on a few ideas just so that I would have somewhere to go off for this video. I did this book stack, I thought was to be pretty, so I just did a little pencil sketch for that or this wintry scene of a girl holding it within pretty meetings in a little miniature snowman and I got that idea from Pinterest. Pinterest is something that I use a lot, so that's something that I would reference and I have different Boards where I have saved different items and things like that. What I usually do is I open up procreate, and then I open up Pinterest at the same time, you drag it up and hold it and then drag it to the side and get a little window that you can split screen, which is really handy and then I can go into my different boards that I have. Then I have things saved in and that's where I can go and gather inspiration like programming look. I can discuss so slightly what I think about when I use photos for reference, they are here romantable a Board called and I think we can have this one with this no [inaudible] and then go with the mittens. Now, I've used this photo if you've seen them beside each other they are quite similar. I change a few things like I haven't drawn the hands exactly the same where the snowman the same, but the idea is very similar. Also when you have a photo that you referenced that comes up more like this. Then there's plenty of other people who have done the AX3 created the same photo. I go through all of these and take a little tidbit from each of them, so maybe I make this snow man look a little bit more like in this photo, or I wing the snowman and then I look at a different pair of mittens to get an idea of how to draw the thumb. So you're not straight up copy and one individual photo, I just use references from several different photos. Then of course you always add your own flair like extra details and things like that so that you make it your own. I think that is the best practice. So yeah, when I'm sketching, I will reference Pinterest photos that I had saved or in a bind when I'm looking through different things. You just go into a little pinches day inspiration hunt. Like the little snowman guy said that maybe I'll draw that. Here I have my one sketch and then I'll create a new layer. Another thing I wanted to mention was that, I actually have a color palette that I use for all of my Instagram illustrations at the moment. I worked with this palette for a different project and then it was here all the time and I started falling in love with it poses me I felt, so I started using it more and more and now when I create all my illustrations I use this palette and I'm sure I will change this up and change the palette out in a little while but for the moment, I think it's fun to use this color scheme. There's quite a few different colors to choose from, so I have a lot to work with here. That's another thing that will help you to make your feed more consistent and have an overall look and feel there will be very huge definitely suggest doing that. Also, if you have different works that you want to put in, you can always recolor them to fit your Instagram feed at the moment. That's something that will also save you time. I've done that a few times where I have older work and I want to just give you a little refresh. Post it and get into almost gets new even though I posted it a couple of weeks ago or a couple of months ago. That's another thing that I think about. If you want to know, my favorite pen or brush to use is the dry inc brush to make my inclined. I always choose a black that's more like a charcoal gray. I don't like black black lines. Again, I just start trying to make sure that I'd double-check that I'm actually on a different layer because that's irritating and leave us get to drying. I don't really want this class to be about techniques for trying, so I'll speed all this stuff up. You can see a couple of my time lapses for different illustrations that I've completed in the nearest future. 4. Illustration Timelapses: Experian uses a guest home. It now living better days. Check in the back way ahead of the magazine way. - Lady , obviously invasions once, in a way, just want to get away faded. But it's okay. Let's bring it back to the seventies way no. 5. Curating a beautiful feed with Preview app: Let's look at Preview app. Once I'm finished drawing a bunch of illustrations, I will bring them up into Preview and it looks like this. I'll just cancel this. But here's my feed. I have already brought the illustration in. But there's a little plus sign in the corner and you can bring in your photos from Procreate, just to save them to your device or if you had created artwork from other place, you can input them from your Google Drive or whatever like that. Then one thing that I think about when I'm creating my illustrations, is that I usually do a white color to break it up, so this is a white background of the other and then a colored background. I think that has a good look. That's just what I personally like to do. That's something you do. Then you just start rearranging until it looks nice. I've already posted these two on Instagram, so then I'm going to start choosing other ones. The next one should be a white background. I can maybe try those, click to, switch those around. That looks nice. In here we need another. Just keep switching around, something like that. Maybe there's too much greens or no, look good. Then looks like pink has started to bring in more pink now. For a while I was doing really black in the mustard. I thought that was cool for awhile. Then I have great gray there. Then I have the green coming in and I start the green. Even though I'm using the same color palette, I use different sections of the palate. It is a little bit different every time. Yes, is a flow that I like and then now I have 10 more images ready to go for Instagram. If I do drag and switch those out tools so they mesh well into the overall look. Then in the app, you can start writing your captions. We take this next one, the hand. You can press a button here and you can write your caption now. Then they have the Find Hashtags featured down here, so you can go through and pick up hashtags. They even had one about nail art that I could choose nails. I could pick like nails of Instagram or nails chunky or something like that, nail lover, nail art, stuff like that. That matches the artwork. But also if I'm talking about something else, I love talking about being a girl boss, creative entrepreneur. There's a lot of those hashtags that I think are fun. They're under like business women or content creator, or creative business creativity, so there's all kinds of different hashtags that you can go through and they automatically add to your caption API as you press them. Then you can schedule your post. This app so far it doesn't post automatically to Instagram, because Instagram has not allowed that, but I think that's been opened up. I think you have to have the plain version of this app for it to actually do that for you. But if you schedule it, a pop-up notification will come up and prompt you to post your Instagram. But I use that. Then I just post whenever I feel like. When you press "Done" your caption gets copied and then you can share directly here from the app to Instagram. That's how I do. When I'm using this app, I think it is a great way to know what's coming up and feel less stressed about Instagram and also see the overall look of your portfolio and how it's being built. I just switched over to using the iPad with this app that's why I don't have as many in here rather than my phone. But I think it's so nice that I can save time by creating the artwork on the iPad and then plan it on the iPad and then post it directly from the iPad, so I don't have to worry about sending the images to my phone to post from my phone. This is a great time saver and I really like it. 6. Your class project and thank you!: Thanks so much for taking my class. I hope that you enjoyed the process of learning how I think about Instagram. I hope that you feel a little bit less stressed about the numbers, algorithms and the strategies and you're just going to have fun creating beautiful artwork to go off for your followers and that you'll think of Instagram more of in a professional way that it's a simple, easy portfolio to show your best work, your newest work. You can even experiment a little bit. For the class project, I think it would be great if you took a before and after shot of your Instagram feed. Take a photo with your top nine, how it is looking now. Then take all the inspiration that you got from this class and create a new top nine and take a photo of that or a screenshot and share that in the project gallery and you can see the before and after. Also make sure to follow me and tag me in your posts that I can see them and like them and help you with your engagement. I am @emmakisstina on Instagram. No matter what people are saying about Instagram, all the algorithms, and shadow bands, and strategies and stuff like that. The Instagram experts always seem to be at least in agreement that if you're consistent, if you post quite often but not too often. Like maybe once or twice a day, that you are genuine yourself and that you create nice content, if you show beautiful photos, or if you create artwork or designs that are of high quality and you write captions that are genuine and engaging, then you will find success on the platform. That depends on what you think success is. If that's a lot of followers, you have a little family of people that are really engaged with you with your work and love your work and love to see what you are doing. That's great and also it's great if buyers can come into your feed and see that you are a professional working artist and that you create beautiful work and you're creating work consistently. That's another great way to see it. How to use Instagram. I hope that you have fun with Instagram, you get lots of jobs and referrals and all that stuff. Thanks again for taking my class. Bye.