Meet Monkia Dudikeni, a graphic designer from Gdynia, Poland. She is the owner of Pastel Feather Studio, which sells design services such as custom web and blog designs. She also makes and sells beautiful gold foil prints. Although she came from a very artistic family, she studied Chemistry in College and never saw herself becoming a designer. Read her story below:
Please tell us a little bit about your creative process.
My creative process starts in a very spontaneous manner. Equally, when it comes to prints or blog design, everything starts in my head. Sometimes an idea, a color combo, or something that really inspires me sticks in my head and I have to transform it into a product. This happens to me very often because I draw inspiration from everything: nature, TV, magazines, photos, books, music, the internet (mostly my Pinterest feed). When I have a general vision, I start sketching a draft in my notebook. Then, I create a new version on my computer using Photoshop or Illustrator. This allows me to rearrange elements and play with fonts, colors and layout. Since I have opened my shop, I have worked in the manner. It is has been through establishing this sequence of steps that I have discovered my own style. I prefer simple fonts, modern and minimalistic elements, strong colors and artistic watercolor textures.
When I'm working on an original custom blog design, the process is slightly different and longer. I consult with clients through email, analyze questionnaires I send them, and design moodboards of color concepts for them. I pretty much chit-chat with clients to learn about theirs needs, vision of new blog look, overall expectation and style. Even after the project is complete, I keep in touch with them. This is the part I like the most - I not only get to know them as a business clients but also as bloggers and finally we end up as friends. :)
Tell us about your blog. What do you like to write about?
In my Pastel Feather Studio blog, I write about my creative process, "making of" custom blogs, other project. blogger templates. I post color palettes, moodbards, everything related to my work, sometimes I design free wallpaper. But I really want to have a better blog, to write more regularly so this is my 2015 resolution to be better at this :) I really want to start writing actual blog posts about what I like, for example home decor, style or books.
I noticed, on your Etsy Shop, that you make a point to say that your prints are not mass produced, but made to order. Why is this important to you?
I was delighted when I discovered the opportunity to buy handmade products from all over the world on Etsy. Then, I was finally able to sell my crafted products on Etsy as well. I love the idea of items made literally by the hands of a designer. I love that feeling of buying a unique, one of a kind piece just for me, sometimes with a handwritten thank you card from a designer. This creates a connection between the client and the maker.
I'm involved in Etsy life, I love to be in touch with the Etsy community. I was observing the whole discussion when Etsy started. Manufacturers featured now are bigger then ever. Smaller shops and Etsy users express their opinion loud and clear, dissatisfaction and fear that Etsy will lose its character. The line between the handmade and the mass produced is getting thinner and thinner. Now we have two kinds of shops: those who remained with a handmade feel and bigger shops with thousands of sales a month. This discussion is still ongoing and is very controversial.
Because of this I realized that handmade is valuable in itself. So it is important that my clients know that every blog design or print is handmade by me which covers: sketching, design, printing, laminating the gold or silver foil, selecting, measuring, trimming paper, packing and shipping.
What inspired you to become graphic designer? Was it a specific event or person?
I never really thought that I'd be a graphic designer, and it's funny for me that I ended up in the creative industry. To be honest I never wanted this, but I think that the artistic element just flows in my veins. My whole family is artistic. My dad is a painter and a true art enthusiast. He loves to paint marine paintings and portraits. He is also an author of few reproductions of popular Polish painting. So at my home we had a lot of sketchbooks, pencils, crayons, ink, acrylic and oil paints, brushes, solvents, paper block, canvases and easels. (Artists are not very organized persons, trust me it was a pretty mess all the time ;) My aunt and cousin studied art and are artistically talented. My uncle was working on local TV station as a camera operator and photographer. Everyone from my father's side had something to do with art. So all my life I was surrounded with art, but it was my dad taught me how to enjoy art, and that had a great impact on me.
But, when I was in school, I wanted be a chemist. (I know I was in denial;) studied Environmental Protection and went to class in a laboratory. It was an amazing time to experience this, working in a white smock, learning accuracy and discipline. When I finished the school, I couldn't find job in this niche. While unemployed, I spent many hours in the house, in front of the computer and I start becoming interested in graphic design. I learned basics of Photoshop and Illustrator. I wanted to have a pretty blog where I could show off my illustrations, so I started learning coding. Now self-taught, I have enough skills to run my small business. Now, when I think about my artistic family and my work I have a smile on my face and I'm just like "hey, it was my destiny anyway". I finally accepted that I'm equally artistic as my family and I'm really happy about it :)
Thank you for sharing your story and photographs with us!
You can visit Monika's webiste, and buy her prints and design services on Etsy.com. Remember to take advantage of her 20% off Sale by using the coupon code below. Also, stay connected with Monika on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.