Designer Moment: Cats of Karavella

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Tell us about yourself!

I was born in a little city in Eastern Hungary and I have been living for some years now in sunny Portugal in a small seaside village around 50km to the north from Lisbon. Before we settled down, we had been living in several countries, including Hungary, Romania, Poland, and even Malawi for a year. This lifestyle made me find a way to sell my original paintings. I offer them on Zazzle, so I don’t need a physical shop; my art is available for everybody from everywhere.

Tell us about the space where you do your work.

I have a room in our house that I turned into studio space. It has two large desks and some shelves to store my art supplies. It is very comfortable — I can work from home surrounded by my family and my own things. I am flexible as to when I create and take care of my two boys and pets.

What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?

I have loved creating since childhood so I chose my schools accordingly. I graduated at Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design MOME Budapest, Hungary in 2002, as a textile designer specializing in handwoven textiles. After the university, I started producing unique textiles on my antic loom. I returned to painting and design after I left my country because I had to leave my huge loom behind. I needed to find a way to stay creative using less space. I can paint anywhere and use my computer for designs.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I’ve always loved cats. I started to paint them about ten years ago. By the time I opened my Zazzle shop in 2016, I had a decent body of cat art, so I dedicated my shop only to my colorful cat paintings. I opened a Facebook business page with the same name as Cats of Karavella Atelier where my followers send me daily photographs of their cats to be my muses, so I have plenty of inspiration. My Lynx point cat, Riscas, is always by my side too so I don’t need to look far.

When do you feel most creative? Your least?

I am most creative in the morning, but as I am a professional artist, I do this all day, every day, 24/7. When I am not creating, I am marketing my paintings and designs, keeping contact with my followers, answering emails, packing original paintings for shipping. My mind is always around my paintings and designs, and even if I do something else, I am always thinking about my next steps.

What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?

I love calendars very much because they are a great way to show my art in one collection. If somebody purchases my cat art calendars, I feel honored. It is a sign that they like more than one of my pieces of art and that they would like to see my cat paintings all year long.

If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?

I would love a calendar with two pages but in vertical layout. The two page layout is only good for horizontal images. It would mean that one page could be a full-size vertical image.

What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?

It was a throw pillow featuring my all-time bestseller ‘Blue Cat with Goldfish’ painting. It is a very early artwork I made in 2009 and a favorite of mine. I felt thrilled and excited that others thought the same as me about this painting.

What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?

I love the calendars and then items such as prints, throw pillows or tote bags, magnets or mugs with my art. Because my paintings are complex, I don’t need to complicate them by adding text or special effects.

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?

Dare to stay unique. You don’t need to follow all the trends or do what others do. If you stay true to yourself and to your style, you will be recognized. Find your niche and build up a community around it on your social media accounts. And most importantly have patience; it’s not a short run but a marathon. If you stay consistent while trying new ideas, sooner or later your audience will recognize your work and find your designs and you’ll succeed.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you? I am a real crazy cat lady, or better to say a cat artist and feel very fortunate that I can make a living from what I absolutely love. I was able to turn my passion of painting cats into a small business, supported by my fans, collectors, patrons, friends and family. I must thank them all because they’ve helped me a lot.

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