New Products in my Shop

I am happy to announce that I have a whole slew of new products for sale on my site. Visit the SHOP tab to see what's in. I'm currently adding to my list of kitchen items which include coffee mugs, coasters and travel cups. Aprons, oven mitts and tea towels are soon to come.

Next up will be some great new accessories for the home including fabric, pillows and ready to hang artwork. So stayed tuned - there will be plenty available in time for the holidays. Wait what! Holidays? Well, it's never too soon.

11 oz. and 15 oz. coffee mugs © Katja Ollendorff

11 oz. and 15 oz. coffee mugs © Katja Ollendorff

Travel cups and tumblers © Katja Ollendorff

Travel cups and tumblers © Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

Coordinating set of coasters © Katja Ollendorff

Coordinating set of coasters © Katja Ollendorff

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

 

 

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! 


Stella Jean Fall 2016

It's no secret that I have a real love for folk-inspired design. I have always been a big fan of Stella Jean and her past collections of vibrant African wax fabrics and mixed prints. The new Fall/Winter season is just as inspired. I love that you can't tell exactly where the inspiration comes from. Is it Scandinavian? African? Slavic? Aztec? It's all in there—geometric shapes, wraps, bright yet earthy colors, tassels and emblems. It's global. Even the choice of models makes for an exciting united design nation.

Credit: Regis Colin Berthelier/Now Fashion

Credit: Regis Colin Berthelier/Now Fashion

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

 

 

 

 

My Inspiration this Week

I'm always inspired by world cultures—from the Sami people of Lappland to the Omo tribe in Ethiopia. I also love how tribal and folk wear is so prevalent in today's world of design. Below are some images that really drew me in— can't get enough of the colors, the patterns, the fabric! Some are authentic folk wear and some are modern interpretations, but each of them feeds my creative soul. Click to see more on my Pinterest Folkology board.

Around the world folk cultures. My personal inspiration using images from Pinterest. See more on my Folkology board. 

November Instagram Fave: Alea Toussaint

Alea Toussaint on Katja Blog

I stumbled upon this Instagram feed and was immediately taken with the incredible patterns that Alea Toussaint makes out of a variety of objects. Whether it be flowers or peppercorns, pens or sequins—she makes one stop to take a closer look. Just beautiful!

She is a graphic designer and pattern artist based in Minneapolis. If you would like to see more of her work, visit her website here www.aleatoussaint.com

And you can buy prints of her work on Society 6 here.

 

 

 

 

All images are used with permission of the artist ©2015 Alea Toussaint

 

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