Independent Innovator: Allexis Kristedja
The talented comic book artist brings her illustrations to the forefront of storyteliing through crowdfunding
Allexis Kristedja has always been drawing—“since I was a little kid,” she said. “I stopped in high school and my friend asked me if I needed money. I went to a convention, drew some artwork and then made money, which is when I realized it didn’t have to be a hobby.”
Kristedja, who is from Riverside, Calif., and was previously working to become an astrophysicist, studied illustration at Academy of Art University and has gained, as well as continues to acquire, many fans for her comics—the latest of which is called Kings Folly.
“I get a lot of people commenting on how I color my illustrations,” Kristedja said. “I definitely read a lot of black and white comics, but I’ve always liked color. I told my parents I didn’t want transition lenses when I first got glasses, because I wanted to see all of the colors.”
Kristedja not only stands out because of her art and the colors she uses, she is unique because she is very entrepreneurial, Director of the School of Illustration Chuck Pyle said.
“I know her as the director of program and she has been coming to me since she was a freshman,” Pyle said. “She has a very distinct market presence for her Kings Folly comics and other online comics. She’s an exceptional case that embodies the next wave of entrepreneurial comic book storytellers.”
Pyle elaborated that instead of going to a major comic book corporation such as Marvel, Kristedja uses her own crowdfunding and is a big fan of conventions, which are two ways to make money.
“She’s a darn good artist on top of that, which is why she has the public following [what] she does,” Pyle added. “She’s already working hard in the industry and creating her own market niche in the industry—proving you can still make it as a comic artist and doing it with the most current trends in the industry.”
Pyle shared that Kristedja is a shining example of what you can do if you are smart and savvy in the ways of social media.
“You have to have a great story to tell,” he said. “Allexis is a wonderful combination that embodies the spirit of the illustration department and I’m proud of her.”
The first Kings Folly chapter was recently published in full from the support of Kristedja’s followers. The entire comic is free to read online and is being printed a chapter at a time.
“The more you promote it, the more it works for you. I created my own platform for crowdfunding and didn’t use Kickstarter,” she explained. She worked with PayPal to secure donations and gained more followers by posting her work to various comic sites. Kristedja shared that she’s gained 7,000 fans in the past six months from one particular site.
Fulfilling what Kristedja’s always dreamed of doing makes all her hard work worth it. “The teachers create a really friendly environment that makes me want to learn more,” Kristedja said, adding that she’s been able to pay for her schooling with her art. “It’s a lot of work and sleepless nights if you want to make money. For conventions, I prep for two months in advance and have an army of friends to help me.”
Fellow entrepreneur and friend of Kristedja’s Brianna Newman said she’s personally seen how much her artwork has grown.
“From her drawings in her early years to the work she puts out now, I certainly see her going places, and I always look forward to working with her and helping her where I can,” Newman said.
Kristedja said she’s not sure how people don’t draw, because to her, “it’s like an addiction.”
“Don’t stop doing it,” she advised other illustrators. “Keep going the second you lose the steam or it falls apart. Put yourself out there. Remember, it’s fun to post on the Internet and go to conventions and stuff, but it won’t be easy. There will probably be people who don’t like you and they’ll have their reason why—I think it’s part of the trade.
“People on the Internet say they have nothing to post—who cares, just post anything, no matter what other people say.”
Read Kings Folly online at www.kingsfolly.com.