Get Inside Julia Kostreva’s Rad Graphic-Design Process

Where paintbrushes and computers both get their due.

Spend a little time with Julia Kostreva, and you’ll start wanting to up your paper game—to swap out your little black and beige notebooks for something a lot jazzier. “More and more nowadays, we value functionality and design,” Julia explains. “I think I gravitate towards paper goods because they’re the first things I ever designed.” Dive into how she makes writing things down feel so exciting. —kristina erfe

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“When I was in college, I hung out with illustrators. There used to be no separation between graphic designers and illustrators, but nowadays graphic design has become more technical—it’s so rare for a graphic designer to pick up a pen and draw. The illustrators I worked with loved using sumi-e ink, and I have grown to love it as well.”  

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“When I create a pattern, sometimes, it’ll look totally different in real life than on the computer.”

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“I like sumi-e ink because if I don’t use water, it’s texturally very thick, and then I can water it down to feel like water color. Whenever I work with a pattern, I always start with a collage of something I painted or created and then transform it into something else on the computer. The sumi-e ink creates these bold, defined strokes.

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“This notebook pattern with hand-painted stripes is something I made through a collage. I never sit down and draw something and make it final.  I love taking ink and then mixing in another pattern digitally. This is a mix of hand-painted brush strokes and digital color blocks.”

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“This planner and notebook have a similar marbling effect to the ones I created for the Of a Kind edition. The planner on the left contains marbling with thinner lines that kind of look topographical. I created the patterns using marbling paper, which I scan and edit the color of to create graphic interest. For the spine, I started with a Navajo-inspired pattern, but only used the core essence.”

Julia made the prettiest notebook, planner and wall calendar for you to start 2014 off right.

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Canoe

In graduate school, Natalie Davis wrote her thesis on the storytelling power of patterns. “When you look at patterns, you focus on shape, color, etc.,” she explains. “But all of those choices have meaning.”

These considerations have always been significant to Natalie’s work: She is a graphic designer by training and launched her first venture, a home goods line called Miss Natalie, in 2007, inspired by handkerchiefs that her grandfather and father carried. After moving to Austin with her husband in 2009, Natalie began experimenting with leather, working from the couple’s new digs overlooking a lake. The outcome: a new brand suited to her new environment. “Canoe had this rustic quality to it, but it also had this timelessness,” she says. “When I think about canoes, I think about the time I spent on the water, the calm and peace.”

Natalie’s handmade leather pieces—bags, jewelry, wallets, and keychains—evoke this sense of serenity. They’re simple and straightforward, but they still make the most of her pattern-obsessed background, working in elements drawn from the mosaics she saw during her Catholic school days, Arabic textiles, and, no surprise, the Western boots that speak to her new surroundings.  —meghana gandhi

canoegoods.com

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