Ever wonder how our Soul Flower Original designs come about? Well today, all those questions are being answered by our graphic designer, Leiah – the talent behind those positive, upbeat, gotta-have-it Soul Flower designs!
So… Tell us a little about yourself, Leiah.
My name is Leiah and I am the (self-titled) Pixologist here at Soul Flower! The term Pixologist (to me) means a graphic designer who mixes handmade and traditional art techniques with digital processes and pixels to create cool stuff.
When & why did you get into graphic design?
I studied Studio Art in college, and first got into graphic design creating posters for my school’s choir. After graduating, I worked for the University of Minnesota graphic designing, and then found my niche at Soul Flower doing what I love most—a mix of graphic design AND art. Originally, I got into graphic design because there was a need for a creative person to produce marketing pieces. I knew the basics of Photoshop and studying art helped develop my eye for aesthetics, so I was the girl for the job!
How long have you worked for Soul Flower?
Soul Flower hired me at first to help out in the warehouse picking and packing orders in the summer of 2009. Working hard on the side doing graphic design projects for Soul Flower gave me that extra push I needed to snag the best position I could ask for at Soul Flower – as their graphic designer! I’ve been Pixologist since May 2010
Do you have a favorite Soul Flower design that you created?
I really like one of our newest designs, Soul Rebel Cycles. For this design, I really pushed myself to come up with something super creative and a little bit badass, which was fun. Another favorite is Be Yourself, a tweener and now women’s tee design. It’s super simple, but has a great positive message, which I love.
Which design best captures you as a person? Why?
One of our new tee designs – Road Warrior – captures me as a person pretty well. I love basic line drawings, and this one is a little bit quirky and not quite perfect – just like me!
What process do you go through to create a T-shirt design?
First of all, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. I’m constantly collecting images that grab my attention and that I think could inspire a sweet design. The Karma Captain (Peggy) and I then talk through some concepts we think our Soul Flower customers would love. If you haven’t noticed already, here at Soul Flower we especially love peace, love, nature, and music!
Then comes time to draw! Depending on the concept, the design will either stay pretty true to the original sketch (like Road Warrior, Soul Rebel Cycles), or it gets a sweet digital treatment (like Gypsy Soul, Soul Flower Nouveau). Most of my designs started as a hand-drawn sketch, and evolved from there.
I like keeping it real with the designs I create. Along the way, I use real pencils, ink, crayons, and paper. I used a linoleum block to create Soul Flower Block Print, and a stencil and spray paint for Free Your Mind.
Blog: Free Your Mind Tee Process
Cutting pieces of paper helped me create Cattails and Love You Make. The texture on Take It Easy came from crayons. And Feel All Right was born from a doodle
What inspires you most?
Line and color. I love lines and see them in everything: line drawings, outlines of tree branches, strands of hair, the veins on a leaf, stitching on clothing… And color: I love color! Since childhood I’ve been a huge fan of Lisa Frank, Rainbow Brite, everything rainbow, tie dye, and just bright colors in general.
Did any Soul Flower designs come to you like a lightning bolt, like, BAM! Yes, I have to make that!?
One in particular – Peacock. One day I thought, “I really feel like drawing a peacock.” I didn’t even know if we’d end up using it, but I drew it anyway. Next thing I knew, Soul Flower’s Peacock shirt was flying off the shelves and we even translated the drawing into another design, Birds of a Feather. People love peacocks!
What other artistic hobbies are you into?
Bookbinding, art journaling, printmaking now and then, sewing, knitting (although I’m not very good at finishing any knitting projects!), and cooking. Does cooking count?
Where do you typically draw designs?
I work at home, so anywhere comfy! Actually, I prefer to sit down at a table with good lighting and draw. Sometimes the hours just slip away when I’m working on something; I love that state of flow.
Do you work in silence? If you listen to music, what’s your favorite draw-time tunes?
Usually I’m listening to music, and it depends on my mood as to what gets played. I have a couple of playlists that right now consist of some Trampled by Turtles, Jem, Alison Krauss, Nicki Minaj, Alanis Morisette, The Shins, and lots of Soulive.
Can we see some pages from your sketchbook?
Are you currently working on a new Soul Flower design? Can you tell us about it, or is that top secret?
Right now all of our designing is on hold while we crank out our Fall/Winter catalog! But I’ve got some
ideas and am excited to get back into it. Maybe we’ll have to do a sneak peek!
It’s beyond awesome to learn all that goes into designing the Soul Flower Originals we love so much! Thank you for sharing your artistic process with us, Leiah! You Rock! 🙂
☮ ☮ ☮ 🙂
Pixologist, Leiah Interviewed by Daydreamer, Jacqueline Lee