Carmen, designer at Gudulab, is based in Madrid and creates energetic prints from lino cuts which are then digitally altered. Passions include Josef Frank, San Francisco and Christine and the Queens.
What is your studio name and location?
The name of my studio is Gudulab. I’m based in Madrid (Spain)
Where did you study (if you did)?
I studied advertising and public relations and I specialised in graphic design. After many years working in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire and as an art director, one chilly February day I decided to leave the publishing world to create Gudulab.
Describe your design process,
The first thing I do is looking for references for the pattern I'm going to create. I usually take a look at art books, nature books, fashion trends... everyday life is also a good source of inspiration! Then I make a sketch on paper, pass it to the rubber, carve the stamps and stamp it with special inks. Finally I assemble it digitally without losing the artisan finish.
What is your favourite part of the design process from inspiration, drawing to the final printed fabric/product?
I enjoy the whole process but I especially love carving the stamps, it's a very relaxing process.
Who do you design for? Who is your muse?
I don't have muses, I do really enjoy working very closely with the client. It makes my day when we’re both happy with the final result.
What first sparked your interest in print design?
I’ve always enjoyed painting and creativity in all forms. Two years ago I started learning about
handmade techniques: marbling, hand carved stamps, block printing. I’ve found hand carving stamps is a Zen way to work.
Describe your style in 10 words:
Organic, colorful, arty, modern, versatile, artisan, vibrant and unconventional.
What is your favourite medium to work in and why?
Hand carved rubber stamps and marbling techniques.
What / who are your major influences?
I love the style of Josef Frank, William Morris, the marbling works of Susan Pogani and Karli Frigge. I also like Karin Haas a lot.
As I’ve worked so many years in women's magazines, fashion trends are part of my creative background. I do also recommended the V&A Pattern Books Collection: so inspiring!
What has been your career highlight so far?
I'd been working doing illustrations on a big packaging project collaborating with an American creative agency. If I tell you their name, I would have to kill you :)
Your biggest challenge you have faced as a designer
To reinvent myself, to go from working in fashion magazines to starting a career as a print designer.
Best exhibition/museum/research trip/inspirational place
Any Klimt exhibition, the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Museum (Spain). I also love Paris and San Francisco. They are very inspiring cities.
Favourite music when designing
Yumi Zouma, The Japanese House,… I’ve been obsessed with Christine and the Queens lately.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a pattern for a Spanish beauty brand, I also create patterns for several trend agencies and I’m part of the artists roster of a Canadian company that designs packaging.
Do you have any tips for new designers starting out?
1) It is never too late.
2) Enjoy your work
3) Be persistent: to be a freelance artist is a long-distance race
4) Allow yourself the time to test what you like before making a decision
5) Think big. You can have customers anywhere in the world. I live in Spain and my first client was Australian
6) Never lose your child’s eye. I believe that in creative work it’s fundamental so as not to lose freshness.
You can see more of Gudulab and Carmen’s work over at their website http://gudulab.com/