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  • Kristina Hultkrantz

My full-time creative career and life journey. The extended version.

Updated: Feb 20



Hello and welcome everyone! As this is my first blog post on my fresh new blog it only makes sense for me to properly introduce myself. This is the extended version of my creative career journey but still quick and snappy. Because no body really cares about all the teeny tiny details of my life, except maybe my mom. So if you've ever been curious to know about my journey, this is your chance. Here we go!


I'm Kristina Hultkrantz a full-time illustrator, surface pattern designer and online educator from Mariefred, Sweden. Google this place, it's incredible. My hunky boyfriend Johan and our 2 littles Stark and Tilly moved here 2 years ago, and we're still in shock as to how friggin'

quaint and beautiful this place is and that we call it home.


But let's rewind a bit to the beginning. (That's me with my Mom's clip-on earrings!)


Born in 1984!

Grew up in Portland, Maine in the United States.

Family: Mom and Dad both originally from Sweden. Little sister Ingrid.

I'm a dual citizen with Sweden and the USA but I've always identified more as Swedish.

(Btw I feel like a secret agent with my two passports!)

From the age of 10 or so I proclaimed that I would move to Sweden one day.

(Well sorry Mom, I did.)

Figured out I could draw. NBD.

Took as many art classes as possible, and ballet too. Danced from age 3 to 23. (I think this taught me a ton about discipline, great for self employment, and gave me some gnarly blisters to boot!)


Major life change #1: Moved to Tampa, Florida. Dad got a new job.

I was 17 and about to become a senior in high school. Major bummer moving away from all my friends I'd grown up with, but I saw it as an adventure.

Got eleventy billion sunburns.

Time to go to University. Art major because I didn't think I was good at anything else.

Choice of two schools. The best art school in Florida or our local State school.

I ended up going to USF the state school as I received a 100% scholarship to attend (because I was a smarty pants in High School), and the thought of having no dept after graduating was too good to pass up.

(Thank goodness for some great decisions in my life!!! This is definitely one of the top ones!)


Graduated from University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, ummmm now what?!

I'm definitely no Picasso. Dang it, I'll just be a waitress then!

Discover Etsy. Open up first unsuccessful shop.

Decide I want to be an illustrator instead. (They seem to at least get jobs!)

Completely revamp my artistic style to be more commercial, teach myself Adobe Photoshop, then Adobe Illustrator, and finally start to draw what I love (girly stuff.)

Open Etsy shop EmmaKisstina in 2007.



Major life change #2: Move to Stockholm, Sweden in 2008.

I was thinking of only staying a year or so to test it out, learn more about my Swedish roots and find myself. (You know the drill! Stuff you do when you're in your early 20's)

Oooo a quick love story!

Meet love of my life, the hunky Johan Torsten Valter with in the first year of living in Stockholm. Definitely not moving back to America! (Sorry Mom, again.)

Work in catering.

Work on my EmmaKisstina Etsy shop in my free time.

Catering company goes out of business. Now what, again?!


EmmaKisstina is registered as a business in 2010 and I decide giving full time freelancing and Etsy shop selling a chance. Go me!

Move in with hunky Johan. (Live for a couple months in the women's changing room of his parents car dealership. Very glamorous!)

Hunky Johan is a student at this time. We live very modestly in tiny apartments and don't do much travelling to save tons of money. (We've got each other though!)

EmmaKisstina Etsy shop becomes top seller in Sweden in the category art!

By 2013 I was finally making an ok living from selling my art in my shop as well as freelance projects. The ball was starting to get rolling.

Meanwhile I was also having tons of fun with hunky Johan plus slowly growing EmmaKisstina but pretty much just scraping by with no real focus or plan. Just rolling with it.

(Not recommended.)



Major life change #3: Kids!

Hunky Johan graduates and get's his first big boy job as an engineer, we buy an apartment (hello mortgage) and I get preggers. Yay!

Decide it's high time to get my shiz together. Let's do this adulting thing!

Organize, plan and make goals like a crazy person in preparation for being a stay at home working Mom. I've got to make this work!

Son Stark born in 2016.

Work part-time around 25% but manage to accomplish more than in the time before kids because I am focused, work efficiently and I have a major dose of motivation.

Exhibit at Surtex with art collective Swedish Creatures.

Sign on and off with several agents.

Start teaching on Skillshare in 2017.

Daughter Tilly born in 2018.

Sign on with Pink Light Studio licensing agency. Finally a great agent!

2019 found EmmaKisstina Academy to share my wisdom around building a creative career with other aspiring illustrators and surface pattern designers.


Present day: make it my mission to help other creative people build sustainable, beautiful, full-time creative careers in less time with less hiccups than my own story.

Plus still have tons of fun with hunky Johan and our two kids!

Oh and draw, draw, draw!


That's all for now! Thanks so much for reading my story.

xoxo Kristina

p.s. You know what?! I actually had another blog back in the day. I'm talking 2007, on blogspot when blogs became a thing and everyone had to have one... and so did I. I shared behind the scenes glimpses into my business, personal stuff, my favorite recipes and pretty much anything or anything yet with out a real content plan, consistency or strategy. In 2016 I said a final goodbye and closed the doors to my blogging career (or so I thought). I was convinced blogging was dead and blogging just wasn't for me. I think I was kind of bitter actually.


Yet alas, here we are in 2020, I've felt the calling for blogging again and I'm going to give blogging another shot. This time with a whole lot more direction, clarity and focus. I would love this to be a space for you, fellow creatives, to come to learn more about me & my work, to be inspired and learn from my story. I look forward to sharing and growing with you and am very excited for this next blogging chapter. Let's do this!

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©2019 BY KRISTINA HULTKRANTZ.