We’re excited for you to meet our newest designer, Paula & Waffle!
Paula & Waffle is a fun-loving illustration and design studio based in New York City, with a focus on pattern and stationery design. Paula Cheng-Mehta is the illustrator and Waffle is her five year old Havanese pup, who keeps her company and is the joyful spirit and inspiration behind much of her work. Paula & Waffle’s sweet, heartfelt illustration style is sure to brighten up your day and bring a smile to your face. When they’re not dreaming up fun new ideas, they can be found exploring the parks of NYC and eating lots of dessert!
Paula & Waffle’s first collection, Fresh Dew, is shipping in January. See one of the designs come to life in this video:
We asked Paula about her design process, where she gets inspiration for her designs, and if she has a morning ritual. Read on for the whole interview!
DS: How did you get started as a designer and illustrator?
PW: I’ve always loved art. Even at a young age, I spent summers at art camps painting and making cups and vases. After college, I spent many years working in the tech start-up world but was always drawn to stationery and design. I decided to take a graphic design class at Parsons and loved it! The experience really challenged me to think creatively and outside of the box in ways that I hadn’t in many years. I left my job a few months after that to start my own stationery line. It’s been about two and a half years since I first started down this path and I absolutely love spending my days creating fun and colorful designs.
DS: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you have a process? What are your sources for inspiration?
PW: Each collection I create is largely inspired by the music I’m listening to at the moment, the books I’m reading, as well as the various interesting experiences that I have living in NYC. I often sketch from NYC parks and public spaces with Waffle, where there is always something going on!
I start each collection by thinking of a specific mood and style (sometimes a quote) and then usually create a bunch of mini pen sketches as a starting point. I draw from the many sketchbooks and notebooks I keep around, where I jot down phrases, notes and doodles that are often incorporated into new designs.
DS: What is your favorite medium to work with?
PW: I love drawing with pen and paper; I think that drawing with pen really forces you to think more deeply about design, shape, and layout before adding color into the mix. A few months ago, I also started using the Apple Pen, which has allowed me to try out even more textures and styles, which has been a lot of fun!
DS: How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
PW: My style is sweet, clean, and colorful. As with most people, my illustration style is a representation of my own preferences and personality, and I’ve seen it shift as I’ve grown and changed as well. I think that more recently, I’ve gravitated toward creating more complex, busy pieces and have also shifted from creating designs using more “contemporary” aesthetics to pieces with a bit more character.
DS: What colors are you drawn to right now?
PW: I’m currently really digging warm natural colors like dark green, moss, tan, terra-cotta, and then also warm shades of mauve and pink. (Earlier this year it was all about blues!)
DS: When you’re not creating designs, what can you be found doing?
PW: When I’m not designing, I can be found outside at the park reading, or eating! On the books side – I love great thrillers, mysteries, and classic poetry. On the food side – I’m lucky to live in NYC where there’s no shortage of interesting and delicious food. I’m always on the lookout for some good dessert, bagels, and pizza!
DS: Do you have a morning ritual?
PW: My morning ritual is walking Waffle every morning. We take a different path every day – some mornings we’ll walk through Riverside Park, other mornings he’ll take me to Verdi Square or Central Park. It’s always fun to get out and explore the neighborhood with my favorite fuzzball.
DS: How do you take your coffee?
PW: I’m actually more of a tea person these days! The first thing I do every morning when I get to the studio is make myself a cup of earl grey with a tiny bit of milk and a cube of sugar. It’s such a nice way to start out the work day!
DS: We can’t wait for your fabric collection to debut! What sorts of projects do you hope to see made?
PW: I definitely hope to see some cozy quilts and blankets (you can never have enough!), some kitchen accessories, and maybe even a bag or two. I can’t wait to see what wonderful creations everyone comes up with!
Stay close by – we’re showing a first preview of Fresh Dew on our blog soon!
For more, check out Paula & Waffle here: