Wooly Dreams Design

 

Inspirations for Designing

 

Cats from Japan known as Maneki Neko or beckoning Cat to lure in business

My favorite sources of inspiration come from the fantasy costumes of the Venetian Carnivals, Turkish architecture and design, Central Asian textiles, folk arts from Russia, Mexico to India, fascinating places filled with beautiful hand work and colors - all are unique and colorful - perfect for my love of brilliant color and pattern. I absorb everything and somewhere in my mind, they mix and form into new scenes that will eventually show up in future designs and illustrations. Sometimes, people I've met will appear as characters in my work looking vaguely familiar as I paint them.

Chinese porcelain vase with figures of little boys climbing all over

It has always amazed me how universally creative we humans are within our surroundings, creating art that is unique to each culture and environment. Now with worldwide communications, we can see the influences of popular mass culture, especially western, influencing folk arts around the world sometimes for the better in introducing new materials, subjects and techniques to be adapted and in other cases changing them forever losing the old techniques and styles. It's fascinating to study the evolution of world art through the ages and the history behind the images, a fully illustrated, tangible history of the world filled with artifacts, textiles, paintings and all manner of objects left behind.

Like many designer/illustrators, I have an extensive library of books and reference materials for research as well as collecting interesting bits and pieces that inspire my work. It is a pleasure to work in the studio, surrounded by these quaint and whimsical folk objects - even Mozart's opera Don Giovanni sounds a little less tragic in here. Music is another great source of inspiration creating feelings and pictures with sounds. I remember listening to a lot of inspiring opera especially music by German composer Richard Wagner while designing Valkyries.

Mexican pottery candlesticks in typical folk art forms

I prefer to "draw" most of my designs and illustrations in my mind first as I'm not much of a sketcher. Most of my work is drawn, painted and finished in one step. Sometimes, I'll veer off onto something else as one good idea leads to another even before I complete the original idea. That's how many of the design series come into being.

It's not easy being a designer as it can be very frustrating - there are times what you see in your mind will not translate into tangible form no matter how hard you try and of course there are the times you can't stop working, getting carried away and run out of hours. Overall, it's a great feeling to be able to create a good design or illustration that works, similar to solving a puzzle - fitting the proper pieces into their proper places in an aesthetically pleasing form.

Generally, I keep written notebooks of design ideas rather than sketchbooks as I write and describe all scenes, like tiny detailed stories. Whenever I need ideas, all I have to do is read my notes and imagine scenes either the same or in newer details. Words have the power of creating wonderful mind pictures. This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much, imagining characters and scenes. Inspiration is wherever one looks for it - one only has to observe and listen carefully.

Carved wood and cloth puppets from Rajasthan, India representing musicians



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