Life as a professional artist holds no fears for ex-Spalding High School student Kerstin Lankey (20).
Commissions for the pet portrait painter have spiralled since Kerstin quit her job as a graphic designer to set up Pintoleenibod Portraits from a studio at her home in Spalding last August.
Kerstin said: “My dad Rob taught me how to draw, using pastels, at the age of five and he was the one who helped and supported me from the beginning.
“Then my art teacher at school thought I was an emerging artist, but I didn’t like art at the time because I didn’t like being told what to do and told to write about what I was doing.
“I didn’t want to do A-levels and go to university so I did a motorsport course at college in Scarborough before getting a job with a product and graphic design company in Bedfordshire.
“I didn’t know anything about 3D art but I learned quickly and after a two-week trial and three-month internship, I taught myself how to do it.”
At the same time, Kerstin was doing landscape and seascape paintings outside of work which led to requests from friends to add animal portraits to her portfolio as well, sowing the seeds for her art business.
Kerstin said: “I decided to become a full-time artist after leaving my job because I wanted to do art of some sort.
“People kept asking me to do portraits of their pets which I liked doing more and more, so I set up a website and Facebook page where I mainly get my business from.
“I love working from home and being my own boss because I can make time for my family who come first, although I also like how my art can make other people happy as well.
A huge boost for Kerstin came last month when her portrait of a Charles Darwin-lookalike, using white pastel on a black background, won the public vote at this year’s South Holland Open Arts Exhibition.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was told that my portrait was in the exhibition and when it was announced that I’d won, I had to pinch myself and do a double-take,” Kerstin said.
To find it more about Kerstin’s work, visit www. pintoleenibodportraits.com