Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Katerina Kirilova, Second-Place Winner | Spoonflower Blog

Behind every design on Spoonflower is an independent artist from around the world.

The Spoonflower tradition of Weekly Design Challenges had its start way back in 2010. Nearly every week since then, our community of artists, makers and all-around Spoonflower lovers have participated by submitting original designs and voting on their favorites. Together we hit a major milestone with our 500th challenge: Your Artistic Voice. With over 1200 designs entered, this was quite possibly our most popular design challenge to date. Today, we’re going behind the scenes with second-place winner Katerina Kirilova as she shares the process in which she created her winning design. To browse all Your Artistic Voice designs, including staff favorites, you can view them all here.

— Meet the Artist —

Katerina Kirilova portrait

Katerina Kirilova

Location: Bulgaria

IG Handle: @katerinamitkova

List three fun facts about yourself:
I have six adult cats and recently adopted two kittens. I listen to audiobooks when I draw my patterns and I very often draw in my bed leaning on two big pillows with a tablet on my lap and surrounded by sleeping cats.

Two cats, one brown and white and one black and white cuddle on a chair.
A black-and-white cat sits on the shoulder of a person working on a laptop screen.

What was your creative process like when designing for the 500th challenge?

My process is usually like this: first I draw the elements for the pattern on paper with ink, then I take a photo or scan the drawings. Next, I redraw and color everything and make the repeat in Adobe Illustrator®. For the 500th challenge design, I used poppies illustrations I created last year and I only drew the cornflowers recently. You can see more of my process on my YouTube channel.

A black-and-white drawing of a poppy on a white piece of paper
Original sketches from Katerina’s winning design
A black-and-white drawing of a cornflower with blooms popping out of the stem on a white piece of paper

Did you come across any stumbling blocks?

I found cornflowers very difficult to draw. I didn’t have my own reference photos, so I had to look at a lot of pictures on the internet to study the flower so I could draw it. It was also very difficult to choose the colorway for the entry.

A look at Katerina's drawing of red poppies and a blue cornflower on a white background on Photoshop
Katerina's design of red poppies and blue cornflowers spill across a Photoshop canvas
Katerina’s winning design, Red Poppies and Blue Cornflowers on Blue

Which Weekly Design Challenge was your very first?

It was Coral Limited Color Palette and I placed 182nd. My design was Underwater Life.

What motivates you to participate in these challenges?

They challenge me to draw things that I wouldn’t draw or that I wouldn’t have thought to come with on my own. Also, they are an opportunity for my work to be seen by more people. And there are the prizes of course. 🙂

A floral study for Katerina's White Hydrangea design, a white hydrangea with a few light yellow petals is outlined on a white piece of paper. A color palette with green and blue paints is to the paper's left
Floral study for White Hydrangea
A floral study for Katerina's Blue Hydrangea design, a blue hydrangea with bright green stem and leaves in painted on a white piece of paper. A color palette with green and blue paints is to the paper's left
Floral study for Blue Hydrangea

Share your secrets to success in relation to design challenges:

I stick to my style and use bold colors to make my design stand out amongst all other designs.

If you could collaborate with any person or brand, who would it be?

Nobody specific. I’m open to all collaboration.

A person wears one of Katerina's design with bright pink flowers with green leaves on a bright blue background and stands in front of a stucco wall.
One of Katerina’s custom designs
A person wears a bikini with one of Katerina's designs that has red flowers with white leaves on a black background. A sandy beach is behind them.
A bikini with Katerina’s design Wrens in the Roses
One of Katerina's designs is on a bag by Mud Thread. The design has a light brown background, and black-and-white butterfly with red and yellow flowers with green leaves behind it.
A bag with Katerina’s design A Colorful Garden

A person wears a dress with one of Katerina's designs with a dark purple background and white and yellow flowers. The person is standing in front of a door
A dress with Katerina’s design Art Nouveau Daisies

What have you learned that has positively impacted your career?

That I can sell my patterns on Spoonflower’s fabric and wallpaper. 🙂

Do you have any creative goals for 2021?

To continue drawing and designing patterns, growing my portfolio and adding some diversity to it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I want to thank my dear friend Uta Naumann for encouraging me to join Spoonflower. For walking me through the site and for her continuous support. And I want to thank all the nice people who helped me to choose the colorway of my winning design.

A hand paints details on a yellow-and-brown butterfly
A close up of a hand-drawn poppy bloom drawn in black and white

Inspired by what you see? Don’t miss your chance to participate in the Weekly Design Challenges, or, for more behind-the-scenes stories meet more Spoonflower artists here.