Trending: Big Cats

I’m really into big cats and big cat patterns like dots and spots and stripes. I’m seeing them in art, on runways, everywhere! And I love it. Here are a few favorites from my Big Cats Pinterest board. Click through the images to see more from these artists.

Source: https://pin.it/snknsp7azzr2qp

Artist Spotlight: Bunnie Reiss

I love seeing art out in public spaces and especially when it is a creation by L.A. artist Bunnie Reiss. I discovered her vibrant art recently and right away had to have a piece of my very own (see gloves below). It makes me so happy to see them on my wall, as her artwork has all the elements I love, and some of which I incorporate in my own work. Decorative folk elements, check. Bright colors, check. Strange birds, check. 

She not only paints amazing wallscapes, but also works with textiles, odd materials, creates installations, illustrations and more. See more of her work here on her site.  

 Images were obtained courtesy of artist. All images © 2016 Bunnie Reiss.

© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
 My very own pair of Animal Gloves! Sigh.

My very own pair of Animal Gloves! Sigh.

 

 

 

June Instagram Fave - LIVINGPATTERN

Wow! I love to see how people are influenced by nature and this feed by Jenny Kiker is full of lush botanicals along with the sketches and paintings they inspire. She is a botanical artist who started Living Pattern "to connect herself and her audience to the still delicateness of nature and to themselves." I feel like I'm breathing fresher air just looking at these!

Reflective Patterns

© Katja Ollendorff

Some folks love either designing in repeat or putting designs into repeat, but I must admit it's not my favorite task. I'm much more of a free flow kind of person. But here is one easy way I can create a quick and interesting repeating pattern, that's different from the traditional square or half drop repeat. And if you are interested, you can watch a 15 minute video of me sketching what is to later become this beautiful decorative pattern.

WATCH HERE>

It's pretty amazing how simple it is and it's fun too!  It took me under an hour to create this pattern from start to finish. Of course I did a tiny bit of cleanup and if I were to do multiple colors, it would take longer, but after I did a live trace in Illustrator, I left the variations of gray because I liked the "antiqued" look that it created and that saved time.

Go to my Product Samples tab to see more reflective patterns that I have designed to be used as tablecloths.

 

  Original scan

Original scan

  Clean up any gaps

Clean up any gaps

So to start, fill a page in your sketchbook with a design—of anything! The key is to have shapes running off the edges and corners so that they will join when flipped horizontally and vertically. Keep this in mind as you are drawing and try to envision what will happen when they are reversed and joined. It makes for less clean up down the road.

Next bring your sketch into Photoshop and flip and copy the image both horizontally and vertically on the top, bottom and sides. You may need to fill in and do slight adjustments at this point if there are any gaps or strange seams (see image below left). 

That's it. You have yourself a cool reflective pattern that you can play with. Have fun! 

  Flip horizontally and then vertically

Flip horizontally and then vertically

 

 

Oh Vienna...

I so wish I was heading there now. My friend invited me to join her on a trip to Berlin, Vienna and Budapest (happening next week)—but unfortunately I had to bail. I had hip surgery recently and wouldn't be able to handle that flight, let alone be mobile enough for sightseeing! What a bummer. Boo hoo for me.

Anyway, since my grand hopes of viewing any Weiner Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) art or textiles I could find there have now been dashed, I resorted to an internet search instead. There are many works of art from that company of artists, and the range and scope is incredible—from art, to postcards, to textile and furniture. My eyes are happy.

Vienna Workshop

 

 

 

Nature Inspired

Since I've been working from home this past year, I sometimes get a bit str crazy. For me, the best solution for this is to get out into nature and fresh air. I decided to take a drive up to Mount Tamalpais yesterday morning. It was so refreshing! It's only 40 min from the city after all and it's really paradise on a weekday morning. Very few people are up there and I kinda love to be there as the fog lifts and reveals the amazing green hills and views below. 

If you follow my two Instagram feeds (this one and this one) you might have seen a few pictures I posted. There were all sorts of sweet and colorful wildflowers all over the hills and they got me inspired to make this when I got home. 

 All designs and images © Katja Ollendorff

All designs and images © Katja Ollendorff

Color Changes Everything

Are you someone who...

  • Mixes paint and chooses a palette before beginning a design?
  • Uses reference material or an existing palette for inspiration?
  • Just wings it and let's the design speak first and the colors follow?

I think lean toward #3 with a little #2 thrown in. I've heard that many people begin painting with a specific color palette in mind and let the colors guide the design. I personally like to design in black and white first. I almost never have a palette in mind until the layout is finished. Once I have the full design in front of me, colors just start appearing in my mind based on the kind of design I have created. I open up my swatch panel and really just start plugging them in as I begin to visual the end result. I never worry about the initial palette because I know I can always change it.  Even if I paint something in color, I usually don't think too hard about the colors I put down.

Color can change the vibe of a design so much—I lean towards bold and bright colors, but that's just my personal aesthetic. If I have a client who is requesting a subtler color palette, I have to be able to change that design up to work for them too. 

Here are some examples of how different a design can look when the palette is switched up for different uses. Which would you apply for wallpaper?Stationery? A shower curtain? The possibilities and uses are endless! 


Putting Inspiration To Work

I often visit libraries and used bookstores in search of new inspiration. I found a few great books recently and wanted to share how I get inspired by imagery and designs, and then capture various motifs to make my own. I found this book on Erté by Charles Spencer at the Russian Hill Bookstore and found that it contained a huge amount of inspiration.

Erte - Charles Spencer
Erte5.jpg
Erte - Charles Spencer

While flipping through it, I sat with my sketchbook and noted little details that spoke to me and my aesthetic. Once I have a selection of motifs I like to take a page from my sketchbook like the one here, into Photoshop and start playing with various items to see what I can come up with. I sometimes use individual motifs or combine a few—the possibilities are endless.

Can you tell which ones I used to make the patterns below? With color and scale changes, rotating, reflecting and putting my own spin on things, the designs now feel like mine but I know Erté was my inspiration and that's I nice thought. Because I did these designs in the same hand and used a complimentary color palette, they also feel like they could work as part of a collection. 

I hope you have fun finding your own inspiration and putting it to work.

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 

 

 

 

On My Inspiration Board

Do you love Pinterest? Do you collect a gazillion images but then never look back through them? Women are gatherers after all. We love to scoop up pretty things and then store them away. It's in our nature.

I make a point to go back through my boards and gather up images that are speaking to me at that moment. Obviously I love them all because I chose to hoard them in the first place. But it's fun to think of a theme or trend you are feeling at the time and revisit them. 

So what have I been feeling this week? What's on my inspiration board and speaking to me right now? Well it's definitely bold and bright—did you expect anything less from me? 

 Click through to my  Fabric Textile Print and Pattern  board for sources 

Click through to my Fabric Textile Print and Pattern board for sources 

Minted - First Ever Outdoor Challenge

Hey Friends! I have entered the first ever outdoor challenge from Minted. The project was to design a mural for the front of their building in San Francisco. I'd love your vote for any or all of my 3 submissions to the right! You can click on each one and rate them 1 - 5. 

Voting starts today. Please, click on the images here and vote for my Strange Bird murals (if you like them of course). Thank you so much! It would be so fun to win this one and see my art on a wall in the city.

Have bloomin' great day!

I woke up super early again and decided to do my "morning design flow" exercise. I get out my sketchbook first thing every day after waking to see what comes. I used to keep a dream journal, but now I'm letting my thoughts come out as designs. Here's what happened today.

At 6:00 AM I began sketching, and by 7:00 I had a motif I thought I could play with.

© Katja OIlendorff
© Katja Ollendorff
Flowerflw3.jpg
© Katja Ollendorff

 

Then I brought the motif into Illustrator and did an image trace so the lines were nice and clean.

I dragged the motif into PS and worked on the layout and then the color. 

A few hours later...and voila! 

A pattern is born. 

 © Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

 © Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

I couldn't help but make some coordinates to go along with the primary design. And then a gazillion color changes later... I landed here.

Letting It Flow in Black & White

The "letting it flow" piece.

I was in a bit of a creative slump so I decided to just sit with a large white page for a bit. Instead of worrying about a palette, I got out some black free-flowing acrylic (love that stuff!) and just filled a large round brush with it. I wanted to see what would happen if I approached a design with absolutely no intention—no aforethought as to what I wanted the design to become. Most times I go in with an idea or vision of what I want. 

It felt really good to let the ink just flow on the page and see what would happen naturally. I had been using Sharpie's lately to draw motifs and it felt great to switch mediums and try something different. Something looser. Before I knew it, I had filled my page, and I was super pleased with the result. It actually got me excited to do more, so now I can confidently say my block is down!

Through this experiment for myself, I have learned that starting a design not thinking about the end result, allowed my inner creative voice do its thing. I urge you to try it the next time you don't think you have anything left in you, because I bet you do!

Wine Time

How cool is this!?  My friend Scott Lucas of Just Cook Foods (a super duper delicious spice blend company) created 300 bottles of a Rutherford Valley Cabernet and asked me to design the label. How could I say no!?

I created the artwork for the label and worked in partnership with Jenny Doll, a talented designer who specializes in wine labels. Check out some of her work here Jenny Doll Designs. It was a really fun collaboration.

Back in June I posted a photo of me painting outside at my friends' home. Well this is their backyard, where I did my concepting for the label. It's so fun to see it come full circle. It will be a few months before it will be ready to drink and I can't wait to try it!

Katja Ollendorff
Katja Ollendorff
Source: www.katjaollendorff.com/blog

Strike Away Show a Success

The Strike Away show at Paxton Gate Kids is over, and it was a big success with over 100 pieces sold (still waiting to hear if mine was one of those). But in the meantime, some pretty cool articles popped up about it. 

Check them out on SF Art Enthusiast and Jealous Curator

My piece for the show

A variety of artists' works.

Chelsea Wong



Inspiration Abounds

50watts.com is an unbelievably rich resource for illustrations from around the globe and throughout the years. It has the most incredible collection of images, end papers, posters, children's illustration, vintage advertisements and more—I could peruse this site for hours! Here's a small sampling of the amazing treats you will find here. Have a great time getting lost for a while.

  Skandias 1924 - Sweden

Skandias 1924 - Sweden

  Shigeru Hatsuyama - Thumbelina 1925 - Japan

Shigeru Hatsuyama - Thumbelina 1925 - Japan

  Lev Tokmakov for  Katya in Toy City  1973 - Russia

Lev Tokmakov for Katya in Toy City 1973 - Russia

  Carlos Mereida 1939 -   Dances of Mexico 

Carlos Mereida 1939 - Dances of Mexico 

  Kenojuak Ashevak 1959 - Inuit

Kenojuak Ashevak 1959 - Inuit

  1955 Shiseido Advert - Japan

1955 Shiseido Advert - Japan

  Carlos Merida 1947 - Guatemala

Carlos Merida 1947 - Guatemala

  Bente Miltenburg - Holland

Bente Miltenburg - Holland

  Einar Nerman 1950 - Sweden 

Einar Nerman 1950 - Sweden 

  Takeo Takei 1969 - Japan

Takeo Takei 1969 - Japan