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Q&A with Kathy Weller

Artist and illustrator of greeting cards

My name is Kathy Weller. I’m an artist. My main focus is licensing my art work to companies for use on the products they create, manufacture and then sell to retail markets. (This sometimes also involves coming up with new product concepts, which is a lot of fun.) I also write and illustrate greeting cards.

Within my licensing work, I focus on a few specific areas: character brands, hand lettering, and a loose style of illustration I call my “Fusion” style, which incorporates themes of nature, food & drink, botanicals, and hand lettering.

For the character brand development piece, I’ve been interested in this area for several years and have worked hard at it, trying to find my way. But the past couple of years have been very positive and encouraging! This year, leading gift company DEMDACO launched a line of gift products to retail featuring my "Kitty Yoga" and "Doggy Yoga" properties. And next year, the book counterparts "Kitty Yoga" and "Doggy Yoga" will be published with Peter Pauper Press.  I love writing humor, like I do in my greeting cards, but in general I have never written anything longer than an essay. So writing the books was a total revelation to me. It combined several of my favorite things: cute and funny characters, lettering, humor writing, design, and a cohesive branding and identity package. the book work forced me to put it all together, and it was a perfect mix! I’m so proud of the work, and I am SO excited for people to read them! The books are so funny and cute, and the mini-book format is truly the perfect fit for the books' tone and content.

Last but definitely not least, I have another character brand that I've been very busy with. I launched "Cats@Work" on March 31, 2014. Cats@Work is a web comic focusing on office cats who share their innermost thoughts with the reader, so they can relax and keep their jobs. (I like to call it "catty office humor".) C@W is published five days a week to the C@W Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Since the beginning, Cats@Work started to find its audience. Since then, it's just continually growing. And the fans and support for Cats@Work has been astounding. I could not be more thrilled AND grateful for the growth of C@W and for the community, who give it so much life, and who are so hilarious in their own right! The future for Cats@Work is looking very bright, too… We currently have several licensing partners, and next year, the first slate of Cats@Work products will launch in the retail space.

What inspired you to become a designer?

My whole life, I have always been an artist. It was just what I did. I just drew, forever. There was never really the question of whether I would go into art. As I got older, the questions that surfaced were: what shape would it end up taking, and, how would I make a living doing it.

My whole life, my father and my step-mom also ran a design and illustration studio out of their home. My sisters and I visited for extended stays during the summers. Experiencing that career as a lifestyle during our summers did make a big impact on me.

What design software do you use?

I use Adobe Creative Suite, primarily Photoshop and Illustrator. In addition to the above, I also use Flash, InDesign and DreamWeaver when I’m at my day job (doing graphic design and illustration).

What is your ideal work environment?

Gee, I would LOVE a big, spacious studio with a high ceiling, recessed lighting, plenty of book shelves, and unlimited flat files! However, I live in a city, our house is little, and space is tight. So, my studio is tiny, but I am lucky enough to have a nice, high ceiling with recessed lighting, and some great tools to help me do my job the best I can. I am continually searching for the space to fit one more book shelf, though!

© Kathy Weller

Where does your design inspiration come from? 

This is going to sound kind of weird, but I get a lot of inspiration from looking through my sketchbooks at the stuff I draw when I’m just creatively brain-dumping. Later on, there is always something good in there to develop! Other than that, just the little daily things in everyday life that my eyes and brain tend to cling to provide plenty of inspiration. There is no rhyme or reason to it, really. I just keep my eyes open,  and my idea-brain just doesn’t shut off so much. I will also say that the basis of my "inspiration eye”  was in development really, really early. Many of the same themes that inspired me when I was really young are still at the forefront today!

Also… I LOVE Instagram!

Who is the person you admire most?

Eek!! I have to plead the fifth on this one! There are just too many inspiring people in the world, living and deceased. I do love to illustrate quotes though, and some of my favorites come from Albert Einstein. :D

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Kathy Weller