An Interview with Marina Solodkaya of Solmari Art
Marina is a famous Ukrainian illustrator and surface pattern designer. She strives to make modern, lively prints and cheerful designs for fabric, textile, bedding, home items and children's clothing.
What are some of your most significant accomplishments as a surface pattern designer?
I believe that my most significant achievements are yet to come. Still, for now, I think seeing my many different patterns on products from other brands and companies worldwide is an excellent result of my creative work.
What have been some of the challenges you've encountered in design?
In my opinion, my most complex challenge was finding my style and place in the vast world of surface and pattern design.
What role does surface pattern design play in your life?
Surface design plays a significant role in my profession. It is the main direction in my creative print and pattern design studio, Solmari Art. I develop a design style to order and create my design collections, which are available in my gallery.
What is something you wish you knew about surface pattern design before you started in it?
At the very beginning of my creative career—more than ten years ago—there was not enough information on the Internet about the process of creating seamless patterns and their specifications. I lacked this knowledge and its quality at the start of my career. I had to learn everything in practice. Many courses and tutorials for beginner illustrators and pattern designers greatly simplify the learning process and provide technical and practical knowledge.
Where do you find inspiration?
To be honest, I can catch inspiration everywhere. This may be a print on the dress of a woman or child passing by. I'm always inspired by nature, especially the sea coast. And, of course, how can anyone live without Pinterest?! :) I can scroll the feed long enough to find attractive and exciting color combinations or features of the author’s style.
Do you have a strategy or system you use to approach designing your patterns?
I think, yes, in fact, every designer or illustrator should have this. The system helps to work more efficiently and manage a lot of work.
Do you use mood boards or other sources of inspirations for your designs?
From time to time, I use mood boards for inspiration, mostly when I prepare a new collection.
Which program or programs do you use to create your designs?
I mainly work in vector, so my work process uses Adobe Illustrator. I also work with a tablet and use Adobe Fresco for vector sketches and Procreate for raster drawings.
How long did it take you to build up your portfolio?
It took me several years to create a complete portfolio that could represent me and my studio for collaboration.
How did it feel to see your designs on a product mockup for the first time?
Of course, for any author of a pattern or print, it is always a joy to see it on products; it always motivates and inspires. But the very first time is always exciting, it's a moment of recognition as an artist, and it's unforgettable. I have a folder with photos I found on the internet of my very first pattern on products. Now they look a bit primitive, but for me, they mean a lot.
Do you have a favorite design or collection of designs?
I love many designs and patterns more than others—my kids’ bedding Tiny Dream Brand and many patterns for customers and their products. I usually post my favorites on my Instagram to show my followers.
How has using product mockups benefited your design process or sales?
I use mockups whenever I present a new collection or patterns, which is vital since the customer can see this print on finished products and decide to purchase the design. And every time, I am surprised by the resourcefulness and creativity of Creatsy, where you can find a mockup of almost any item and product. I often buy a mockup of children's clothes or fabrics, and it's always challenging to choose because of the large selection.
Is there anything else you want us to know about you and what you do?
I'm not particularly eager to talk a lot about myself, but I would like you to know that I am obsessed with patterns and colors. When I paint, I "zone out" into that palette and that style for a while and only come back when the work is done.
Solmari Art x Creatsy
It was an absolute pleasure to use Marina's patterns while creating numerous children and infant mockups. Thank you so much, Marina!