Artists reveal where they find inspiration - Part One

by Gloria Quintanilla in

Daydream. Keep a notebook. Find time for yourself. Spend a day outside. There are many ways to find creative inspiration. This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing 5 wonderful illustrators to learn about where they find the insight behind their creations. Take a peek into their minds.

Lieke van der Vorst

Lieke is a Netherlands-based illustrator that loves to work with ceramics, wool and many other kinds of materials. The subjects of her work are mostly animals, good food and nature.

“I get a lot of inspiration from our vegetable garden, talking and eating with Dave (my boyfriend, you can check out his website here) and from organizations like Edgar’s mission, a non-profit organization that advocates for animal rights and cruelty-free living. Sometimes I struggle to get inspired, for instance when I end a big project. Then I feel completely empty. That emptiness can be very frightening, because you have no idea how long it can take to get inspired again. In such cases, the worst thing you can do is focus too much on your lack of inspiration. What I like to do is watch documentaries about how food has been made, about what we eat, about what cats do all day...and I bake a lot of cakes, eat with friends, work in the vegetable garden and visit second-hand-shops. And then, when you were not looking for it, you find it again.”

Artwork by Lieke van der Vorst

Artwork by Lieke van der Vorst

Visit Lieke’s website for more.

Het Paradijs

Het Paradijs is a studio located in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The studio is led by three artists: Esther Hörchner, Els ten Klooster and Maaike Burgers. Esther, Els and Maaike specialize in crafting beautiful line drawings. They are known for their detail, delicacy and playful character.

Picture by Masha Bakker

Picture by Masha Bakker

“We love to visit flea markets and get inspired by old porcelain, books and toys - beautiful things that are made with much more care and love than average things you'll find these days in stores. For example, we love to collect hand-painted prints on porcelain dishes from the 1940s and 50s. When we feel less inspired, we just make a big pot of tea and have a chat. A cup of tea solves everything.”

Illustrated pottery by Het Paradijs - shop

Illustrated pottery by Het Paradijs - shop

Learn more about Het Paradijs here.

Alexandra Ball

Alexandra Ball’s artwork explores the magical world of wildlife and animals. Muted colours and delicate expressions give her pieces a sensitive flair, while fluid compositions offer an element of movement and fun. With her drawings, Alexandra builds an imaginary world that both children and adults want to be a part of.

I believe inspiration can come to you regardless of what you are doing, and it completely depends on how your mind works. Mine is a mind that wanders a vast deal and therefore I can pretty much be anywhere when the light-bulb glimmers and something comes to me. Having said this, I know a lot of my ideas come to me when I’m out in the countryside. Not only is nature generally my chosen genre, but it’s also quiet and peaceful, which allows my mind to be consumed by many thoughts. If I ever get stuck, I take my dog for a quiet walk and allow my mind to wander, along with my feet.”

Artwork by Alexandra Ball

Artwork by Alexandra Ball

Check out more of Alexandra’s work here.

Begoña Masiá

Begoña Masiá’s illustrations are mostly black and white and drawn with thin lines. Begoña loves to draw slightly surreal situations that make you fly away to another reality. Look close enough and you’ll discover smalI and surprising details.


Normally, inspiration comes unexpectedly. That’s why I always carry a notebook with me to write down the ideas that come to my mind for future illustrations. Just walking on the street I get a lot of inspiration, also from movies and past experiences. When inspiration doesn’t find me and I have to look for it, I just relax, close my eyes and I try to search in my mind. In my case, I think a lot of ideas are already in my head and I enjoy more to draw things that come from my thoughts. That is why my illustrations sometimes can be very happy and sometimes a little bit more somber, they are a reflection of the way I feel at a certain moment.”

Artwork by Begoña Masiá

Artwork by Begoña Masiá

Visit Begoña’s website for more info.

May van Millingen

May van Millingen’s work is colourful, observational and diverse. The artist combines hand drawing with digital processes, and uses ink, pencil and watercolor paints to create illustrations for a wide range of clients. Her process usually combines mark-making and strong graphic lines, with a bold use of colour.

“Visual Inspiration comes to me anywhere and at any time. It could involve people, travel, films, landscapes, nature. I’ve always been interested in biological science, and love detailed historical botanical illustrations in particular. Inspiration can be found in anything, and I'm able to see beauty in the most mundane things.”

Artwork by May van Millingen

Artwork by May van Millingen

Follow May on Instagram or visit her website for more.

Where do you find inspiration? Let us know in the comments below!

Designing an inspiring product catalog

by Gloria Quintanilla in ,

Catalogues are among the most common products printed by our users. We’ve seen many different kinds - from clothing line catalogues to lighting and furniture. This week, a catalogue by Gabriela Noelle Gonzalez from B. Pila Design Studio caught our eye. Gabriela is an entrepreneur with a graphic design background. After studying Design and Management at the Parsons School of Design in New York, she set out to create her own streetwear brand and began selling her own design caps, screenprint tote bags and more.  While she continued her work in the Big Apple, her mother, an interior designer with over 30 years of experience, decided to launch her own furniture line. Thrilled by the idea, Gabriela decided to return to Miami, her hometown, and hop on board. The catalogue below showcases their very first collection, titled Hide & Seek.

Gabriela, can you tell us more about the catalog and the collection it showcases?

The catalog is a quick way to show our audience all of the unique things about our furniture line in a light, casual, and clear way. We wanted to communicate the distinct finishes available, the colored hides that we offer and the customizable sizes we can make, without overwhelming our clients.

The collection is inspired by our mutual love of vintage acrylic and its incredible ability to transform when combined with exotic and unexpected materials. For as long as I can remember, my mother and I have been exploring and scavenging thrift stores and vintage shops in search for what we believed to be unique, character-rich treasures, and we became most excited when we came across Lucite furniture. The idea was to bring a similar, stimulating, one-of-kind look and feeling to a space, inspired by vintage looks, yet executed in way that transcends any particular style or era.  

Designing the catalog for this collection has been one of my favorite parts of the business. It offers me a different perspective on the pieces and I find that pretty insightful.

What is the importance of a good catalog?

I think it’s important to communicate your vision to your audience and the catalog helps to do that. It can also show your competitive advantage as a designer - how your product is distinct from others, how it is special and why your target customer should have it.

What would you say are best practices in terms of layout and overall catalog design?

Although I have been taught to follow layouts and grids, use rulers and guides, I find that I do my best work when I simply trust my eye and my free hand. I never want my catalogs to look systematic or contrived and I definitely want to urge the readers as well as the users of the products I am featuring to embrace imperfection and a natural look.

Of course, it is important to balance that “easiness” with sophistication and taste. I think a simple tip to achieve that is to have more negative space than positive space in a layout.   

What information do you consider a must-have in a catalog?

A must-have in any catalog is amazing photography. I'm sure someone famous and powerful once said this, and I also vividly remember one of my college professors quoting this:  “if your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” This quote has always resonated with me and that is how I see catalog design. Great products, photographed well, speak for themselves and should not need much to back them up.  

Another must-have, in my opinion, is a touch of fun. I think everything should have a bit of lightness, playfulness or a sense of humor to it.

How do you promote your catalog online and offline?

We send the catalog link to customers that are interested in seeing our collection and also provide a physical catalog as a handy reference for a selection of customers that request it. It’s a tool that shows a bit more detail than our website and walks you through the options associated with each piece. I have also included original drawings from the design process in the catalog. My intention behind that was to show how each piece was designed by a real person. Our products are not mass produced in a factory overseas, but handcrafted locally and made to order according to your needs.

Why did you decide to offer a printed version as well?

I love tactile and physical elements, especially now that we send and receive everything on a 2D screen. Things are dispensable with a click of a button. I think a printed catalog can leave a more lasting impression.

Visit to learn more about the collection and follow Gabriela on Twitter for inspiration.