“Since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a designer. All my textbooks were filled with doodles, and I continuously imagined myself being a designer travelling all around the world. That passion and need to draw have been a constant throughout my life.”
Julia Grifol works from her small and chaotic studio at home in Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain, with her computer and a big drawing table filled with papers. It has a big window with a view over the park and blue sky and she loves being there. Sometimes she dreams of a tidier studio, but she never quite gets there. “I try not to be messy and absent minded, but it is very difficult for me. Anyway, I think it is quite usual among artists.”
It was while undertaking her Diploma in Artistic Illustration that she received a grant to promote young designers in Valencia, and she first started designing prints. She went on to graduate in Illustration and then undertook a further Diploma in Fashion Design.
Her work combines bright, cheerful colour and a sweet naivety, with lots of flowers and a big emphasis on line and drawing. She’s a big fan of Gustav Klimt, William Morris and the Art Nouveau of Alphonse Mucha.
“I enjoy most designing floral patterns. All my patterns are vector ones. First, I sketch some ideas on pencil on a tracing paper and trace them in hand by ink. I scan the drawing and clean it in photoshop, then I trace it with my mouse or my wacom tablet in Illustrator. But on my last works, I wanted to be faster so I have used Illustrator Live Trace. Once the motifs have been vectored, I colour them and distribute them around to make a repeat.” She has developed prints for a wide range of industries for both Spanish and international brands, including children’s print and fashion industry as well as graphic projects for fashion and stationery. Currently freelancing, she works with the home and fashion industries, and also accepts commissions and collaborative projects.
Being a freelancer certainly has its advantages, but it’s never all smooth sailing. Some clients are painful, with unrealistic requirements and deadlines. “You must also be versatile as they think you can design anything.” And then there’s the disappointment of seeing what some of them do with your hard work. “The worst is when you see your design on products with poor quality or which are distributed badly.” She has learnt from that experience, and now chooses her clients more carefully.
Her best advice? “I have told several times to good designer friends and myself that it is very important to believe firmly in our work, and to believe we are good enough to reach our dreams and that we deserve it.
“It is also very important to be persistent.”
“Very easy to say in words.”