Lala Watkins is an illustrator, author, and self-proclaimed “good vibes connoisseur.” A graduate of the Ringling College of Art & Design, Watkins has worked on numerous children’s books and comics. Lala has also worked as a product designer, product developer, illustrator, and graphic designer at Sanrio, Paper Culture, and Cartoon Network.
I work in the world of publishing, and children’s books are the first doorway of knowledge and education we give to the world at a young age and continue to do so with books in general. It was my immediate reaction to the quote given to me, which was perfect.
I love being creative because it’s my life purpose. Art was what I chose to do at six years old and has evolved in many different paths. I continue to do and follow what makes my heart emote, the heart-eyed emoji; it motivates others to follow their passions, creating more authentic people in the world being honest with their hearts. As a result of my work, I inspire people to take a chance, and they inspire me to keep going. That brings me so much joy because we’re in this space doing what makes us aligned with happiness. I get to be someone’s little ray of sunshine, the reason for someone’s new beginning–and vice versa. How lucky is that?
My experience has been different from others. It can be difficult, and there can be many moments of adversity, but I learned that there are many more people willing to listen and give opportunities. Surrounding myself with a supportive community has helped as well as organizations like Where The Black Designers Are. I know my friends and I share opportunities, a lot of word of mouth, and sharing posts. Finding other black people who experience those workplace commonalities helps you not feel alone. So many more people are speaking up, and it’s nice to see it on Instagram, TikTok, etc.
We live in a world that is not just perspective and has many cultures and people who are so creative and intricate. Give people the opportunity, allow them to have the chance with removed biases. Design in itself can be complex, so why not give an opportunity for someone like me to try.
Well you’re starting by opening dialogue. Sharing opportunities and supporting artists who are black is a start.