Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

Today we are thrilled to bring you an inspiring and uplifting interview with successful Make it in Design alumni Kelly Kratzing! Recently, Kelly got in touch to share on some fantastic strides in her design career! Kelly is an alumni of Module 1, 2, 3 and The Ultimate Portfolio Builder, and our very own Rachael Taylor had the pleasure of meeting her at Surtex last year! Take a peek below for some of Kelly’s beautiful work and more on her exciting design journey.

All About Kelly

Kelly is an independent surface pattern designer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. Her background in biology is reflected in her strong use of nature-inspired motifs, particularly anything distinctly Australian. She takes inspiration from everything around her, saying “I have a real passion for nature, especially the unique Australian fauna and flora after studying biology and ecology at university.”  In terms of materials, Kelly loves to use fine ink pens, prismacolour pencils,  and watercolours to create intricate, elegant, modern, hand-drawn designs.

Kelly Kratzing Magnolia Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?

I have always loved art but it wasn’t until after having my children and while living as an expat in the USA, that I opened an Etsy store selling my illustrations as prints. Shortly after, I started noticing patterns and discovered surface pattern design was an actual career (very exciting) so I enrolled in the MIID classes while working full time in clinical research, and the rest is history!

What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?

I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t completed all the wonderful MIID courses! The courses were essential for building the foundations and skills for surface pattern design and gave me the confidence to put my work out into the world. I have also completed a lot of short courses (such as Skillshare) to ensure that I keep current, learn new skills and continue to improve my work. I am a self-taught artist (my background is in biology) but this background has also helped me to get where I am now as a designer as all aspects of biology inspire my designs!

Kelly Kratzing Wildflowers Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

What was the most important lesson you took away from “The Art and business of Surface Pattern” e-course?

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

What difference did it make to have a supportive community of fellow students and how important do you think that will be going forward?

I still follow quite a few of my fellow MIID students and their successes. It’s always great to see other artists doing so well. During the classes, it was fun to see others work and how they approached a theme/brief and to learn new skills from them too. It’s also good to know that artists come from different backgrounds and skill levels and each are successful in their own way but there is still a place for everyone. I am also thrilled to be part of a small group of 5 MIID artists who help each other daily with support, feedback and technical help which is so great to be a part of. It’s like a virtual studio and I count these artists as true friends now too even though we are all spread out across the globe!

How would you describe your style?

My work is often described as hand-drawn, elegant and classic with a modern twist, demonstrating a clean design with detail that makes it interesting and distinctive.

What kind of designer do you want to be known as?

I would love to be known for elegant, nature-inspired stationery and home décor. I love Abigail Borg and Matthew Williamson’s work and aspire to be have beautiful designs on products too.

What are you working on currently? Can you share on any recent achievements?

I just finished a bedding design for an Australian company and I am working madly on adding new collections to my portfolio for the upcoming Blueprint shows in May where my work will be shown through my agent.

My biggest success to date would have to be the opening of a new dumplings store in Melbourne that has my designs on the wallpaper, packaging and signage! It has been so great to see my designs everywhere in one place. This opportunity came about because Rachael suggested that my work was similar to the beauty brand Mor (during the UPB portfolio review) so I decided to take a chance and seek out the founder and ask if they hired freelance artists. The founder was starting a new business and asked me to design everything for this new business instead! The back patio wall covering was also one of the designs that I did in MIID Summer School!

Kelly Kratzing Drumplings Wallpaper Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

What advice would you give emerging designers wanting to build their portfolios?

It is really important to find your style and then find your niche (i.e. what makes you stand out in your market) and produce work that is consistent with this, and therefore will be recognizable as ‘you’. Target your marketing to companies that suit your style and try and meet a need that they have (or don’t know that they have yet)!

What would be your dream design gig?

I really enjoyed designing wallpaper for the dumplings store and seeing my work on a larger scale, so I would love love love to have my own nature-inspired wallpaper and home décor collection with a prominent global company.

Kelly Kratzing Drumplings Patio Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?

I am about to be an expat again (this time to Papua New Guinea) so I hope to be inspired by all the amazing tropical plants and animals while exploring this new country. I am dedicating the next 2 years to surface pattern design and illustration to establish a full-time career in this industry and have my dream career moving forward (and the flexibility to work anywhere as we tend to move a lot!).

If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?

Detailed and realistic with a few surprises to make things interesting and distinctive!

Kelly Kratzing Night Jungle Collection KK14P Alumni Success: Interview with The Fantastic Kelly Kratzing!

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