I met Karamfila with the help of, well, internet. Before that, I`ve never thought of an interview with a graphic designer. I admire some of the contemporary graphic-designers and above all. I appreciate their commitment, but an interview wasn`t precisely in my thoughts. Seeking through her vast artwork, this idea sprouted to my mind. You may be wondering why. Because she has it all! She is incredibly skilled and zealous and she plays effortlessly with various topics. Do you think that is difficult jumping from tribal elements to mermaids or glittery skulls? Not for her!
So, I popped her the question, and even though she has pretty engaged days, she was so peachy and she accepted.
Interview with a graphic designer- tips and stories from a pro
I won`t tell you more. Find the core of her activity in the lines below.
Hi, Karamfila. Let`s start, to say so, with the beginning. How your passion for graphic art started? You had a predilection for drawing since you were a child? Or this dedication came later on?
I’ve been drawing since I was a child, but all the children are drawing, aren’t they? In primary school, my art teacher went to my parents and told them “This girl should take drawing lessons, she definitely has what to show.”. That’s how I started drawing more and more, learning about light, shadows, objects’ shapes and different techniques. I had to travel to the neighboring town to attend the Children’s Art School. In my home town there wasn’t much. After that, I attended the local Arts High School and went on to the Bulgarian National Academy of Arts, and I have been drawing, drawing and drawing all my life… 🙂
You have studied at a profile university, Bulgarian Academy of Arts. How important is this, I mean, do you think that studies, regarding this domain, are entirely crucial or you can learn this “business” by yourself, being your own teacher?
The academic schooling is a great base which cannot be received anywhere else. The live contact with famous names in the fine and applied arts – who are also great personalities…This is such a gift which we, the students there, received as a bonus to all the other things we got in that environment. The spirit of the place, the building, the ateliers where such talents like Christo Yavashev had created their first significant artworks… Where else could you feel all this, besides in an Arts Academy?
That’s in terms of education, in terms of the business side of selling stock illustrations that academic knowledge isn’t very helpful. Yes, we were taught that we could draw in any possible way and style, and with any medium – charcoal, pencil, watercolors, oil, gouaches, digital – both in raster and in vector software. BUT (!) the customer is not very interested in how the image was created.
The market needs something recognizable, something that could be applied (printed, embroidered, engraved, made of sugar, etc.) on multiple surfaces and items. To be somehow universal for children, adults, street fashion and home decor. The modern technologies allow that, but the image should allow it too. When I started with the Karamfila brand, I had to forget what I’ve learned in the Academy. I had to find my own way to express something that I am calling “an elegant lack of elegance” – this cute kitsch of glitter and sweet colors, little pixies, unicorns, mermaids. It’s as if someone starts to draw for the first time, but the result has to be not accidental as of a beginner’s one – the result always should be if not on top, at least in the leading positions.
I know you`re the mother of two boys. Is motherhood a source of inspiration?
Well… If it’s not an inspiration, it is definitely a big test of endurance and patience. But… you know, all these baby and children TV cartoons somehow show me the trends, from them I can see what is intriguing for the kids… Yes, motherhood is an inspiration, like everything else in our lives.
Speaking of inspiration – I noticed that you`re approaching random themes: from retro Hollywood cliparts to urban life, glittery skulls or tropical flowers…to name a few. And I think that this is extraordinary. What are the roots of all the themes? Movies, books, personal life?
I think it’s exactly that one, from the second question – that we were educated to be universal artists. The topics come in many ways – my customers give me ideas, I am running across something and I am saying to myself “Hey, you’ll do it better!” or “It’ll look so cool with your way of drawing!”
Movies and books, of course, are our all-time storage of knowledge, but they are more of a mind’s library, a metaphysical treasure of sorts.
Even if your subjects are so boundless, I`m sure that you have a favorite topic. What do you like to draw most?
Hold on!… The Skulls. 🙂
Are you working exclusively as a freelancer? Tell us how a day in the life of a freelancer designer looks like.
Yes, I’ve been a freelancer from the very first moment I started working. Before the kids were born with my husband we ran a studio of graphics and spatial design. When the kids were born, I started working from home on some projects. But it was very difficult to concentrate. And little by little I reached the idea of creating stock illustrations and the possibilities they have with their varied applications.
Well… I am waking up at 5:30-6 in the morning, the kids and my husband are sleeping. While I have my coffee I am responding to my customer’s messages and drawing. When everyone wakes up we have breakfast and there’s no more time for work. My kids are young, they are 5 and 3 years old and don’t attend kindergarten. My husband is an IT engineer, he is the invisible engine behind my brand. He runs all the administrative tasks and my online shops. It’s quite an ungrateful job, isn`t it?
Last, but not least can you share some tricks/ advice for all the young designers that are now starting their career and maybe are a bit afraid to jump on a loaded market?
Just go! Nowadays there are so many free platforms where you can showcase your artworks! Just do it!
Thank you for your time!
Thank you too, I am honored to be a part of your blog!