Designer Spotlight:Nataša Kaiser

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

I’m an Illustrator from Frankfurt/Germany. I’ve been working as a Graphic-designer in advertising for the longest part of my business life, but followed the calling of my heart a few years ago and now spent most of my days illustrating children’s imagery and also love to play with pattern design and hand lettering.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR?

Actually: yes! But for a long time I didn’t follow that dream, because I wasn’t convinced I could earn a living by just doing what I love. I thought, payed work has to be something „more serious“ and so I studied Communication Design and ended up in advertising. It wasn’t bad at all and I had a good time – but this little voice inside of me kept calling me and so I drew and doodled whenever I found the time. I even took painting classes, that I thoroughly enjoyed!

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY/WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

My ideal day looks like this: When everybody left the house for work and school I walk the dog and shop for lunch. Back home I make myself a big cup of coffee and sit down to check my emails andtodo list. Right now I’m busy with prepping my second exhibit at Surtex, where I will be in May together with our art collective Finch&Foxglove. So I’m working on my portfolio book, booth banner, promotion items and so forth. At around noon I start cooking lunch for my daughter and husband who are usually home for that time. We enjoy eating together and updating each other, and afterwards everybody turns to their businesses again. I go to my studio in the basement and try to get some more work done. When I’m satisfied with my achievement for the day I love to have a glas of whine on the couch, where I’m accompanied by our dog and the two cats – and my husband, when he’s home. I love drawing on my iPad pro. Many projects start out as a sketch here and are taken further on my computer afterwards.

When the day is not so ideal I have to do a lot of errandsin the morning and I am my daughter’s taxi driver in the afternoon. So I eventually start my design work in the late afternoon and stay up late.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I think I’ve just answered this one: Listen to your heart, follow your dream and work hard towards it. 

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I flip through old sketchbooks, while listening to music or audiobooks. I keep a list of things that I want to draw and sometimes I’ll pick one, start drawing and see what happens. If I don’t feel like creating at all, then I don’t force myself too much. Usually a one-or-two-day-break is enough to miss pen and paper again.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Inexpensive paper, mechanical pencil with 0.9 lead „B“, kneaded eraser. Caran d’Ache Gouache and Kuretake Gainsai watercolor. When painting I use a DIN A 3 paper pad with heavyweight paper and pretty smooth surface. It scans really well and I don’t have to remove a lot of grain when working in photoshop. Lately I’ve enjoyed drawing directly on my iPad pro a lot!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

Usually I brainstorm an idea and draw some thumbnail sketches. Sometimes I’ll sketch straight on the iPad and manipulate the sketch till I like it. When using paint I dedicate some hours to playing with paper and paint. I scan in and clean up all my icons and then arrange everything in Photoshop. I’m a pixel gal. I love experimenting with different media just for fun, such as potato print and mixed media. The output can be very inspiring…

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I’m a MATSIE and thankful for many great experiences and learnings I had in that classes. (The biggest plus for me certainly was being connected to „my tribe“ and especially to the girls from Finch&Foxglove.)

The last class I’ve taken was the first „Illustrating children’s books“ that was great fun! I learned, that I really enjoy the process of developing imagery for a story, bringing characters to life and working on the same topic over a certain period of time.

In general developing characters is what I love most. Also drawing little scenes and trying to show certain expressions is great fun to me. 

Last but not least: the FolioFocus challenge is super and certainly one of my favorite portfolio building projects!

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I would love to illustrate a children’s book with animal characters and a fictional story. Also it would be great to see my art on stationery or in the gift market.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

My Japan Sakura SumoGrip mechanical pencil, paper and my iPad pro.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Watching people in cafes or on the train, study their poses and expressions is very inspiring to me. 

The turning of the seasons is something I’ve been observing much closer since we have a dog and I’m outside everyday – nature is very inspiring and the greatest artist to me.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Really hard to point out only one. There are so many fantastic designers out there and each of them is great for another reason. And if only I knew all the names…

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for this one super beautiful children’s book that every child and their parents want to read over and over every evening before going to sleep…

Where you can find me:

www.natasakaiser.com

www.facebook.com/natasakaiserart

www.instagram.com/natasakaiser