Kaitlyn Koroby and her family pose with her artwork at Milton Schoolhouse.

ALTON - Kaitlyn Koroby has never been a traditional artist. That’s exactly why people love her work.

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“I was real big on drawing even before I hit high school,” Koroby remembered. “And then when I got in high school, I found out there were art classes, and I was like, ‘No way.’ Of course, I signed myself up for it, and I didn’t get as much as I was expecting out of those. I was kind of turned off by it. I think I kind of draw differently and paint differently than a lot of other people, and a lot of my art teachers didn’t like that.”

Her teachers encouraged Koroby to focus on the techniques being taught in class, which Koroby said was “understandable.” But as a young artist, she became discouraged and took a step back from creating. It wasn’t until she found herself pregnant and bored that she decided to give art another shot, no rules allowed.

Four years later, Koroby is the Milton Schoolhouse Artist of the Month for November. You can see her art at the schoolhouse, located at 1320 Milton Road, through the end of the month. She has enjoyed sharing her work through exhibits like this and vending events like the summer’s Night Market, and she hopes to spread her work throughout the Riverbend region.

“Ideally, I hope to get my name out there and bring in more commissions,” Koroby shared. “I do custom art, so people can come to me, tell me what they want, and I make it happen. I’m just hoping to get more of a flow going. Instead of bringing my art to vending events, I’d rather them come to me. But that’s my goal moving forward is that I just kind of branch myself out, get a few more people to know who I am. I guess that’s pretty much everybody’s goal.”

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Koroby enjoys the commission because they often push her outside of her comfort zone. She recently painted a catfish, which she called “really out of the ordinary” for her.

But when she’s not taking commissions or drawing cartoons for her two kids, Koroby is drawn to horror. She laughs remembering how she has always loved watching horror movies with her grandfather, and while her grandmother is not a horror fan, she still encourages Koroby’s spooky art.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Koroby added. “And they helped — they were the only ones who helped push me to do my art. I am so glad I have them. So I just wanted to thank them. They’re just amazing grandparents.”

Between cartoons, horror pieces and commissions, Koroby admitted that it can be difficult to find a balance in her art. She feels like most artists have “one specific thing” they specialize in, but her work runs the gamut because she “want[s] to do everything.” But that ability to branch out is what draws a lot of people to her art. Everyone can find something they love.

Koroby’s biggest fans are her children. Her 8-month-old son isn’t creating masterpieces quite yet, but her 4-year-old daughter loves to draw with her mom. As Koroby surveyed her art and her family at Milton Schoolhouse, she admitted she’s pretty proud of what she has done.

“My daughter wanted to see my pictures hanging up,” Koroby said. “She’s big on drawing herself, so to see her mom’s work hanging up is just another thing. Even if it is just outside of a coffee shop, it’s a big thing for us.”

You can see Koroby’s work at Milton Schoolhouse through November, or visit her Facebook page at Miss Katie’s Art and Design.

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