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Interview with Denver Wallpaper Designer + Artist Katie of Modern MAgic

Life moves at a fast pace, but amidst the chaos, it's essential to pause and appreciate the beauty in the everyday moments. Whether it's the soft glow of sunlight filtering through the windows and lighting up your walls or the tranquility of a sleepy puppy nestled in your favorite chair, these simple joys are what truly matter.


Katie Jackson is the creative force behind Modern Magic. Through her passion for slow living, creativity, and illustration she started a brand focused on capturing the magic of the everyday. In her illustrative original art, prints, wallpapers and stationery, she captures the moments that seem ordinary but reminds us that there is magic in the world.


With her distinctive art and wallpaper designs, she empowers women to curate spaces that reflect their unique style and nurture their well-being. From vibrant prints to soothing patterns, each piece is crafted with care to evoke a sense of creativity and tranquility.


Join me as we chat with Katie about her process, her work, and what she hopes to achieve by creating wallpaper for spaces like yours.





Form: What inspired you to become a wallpaper designer?


Katie: I've always loved home decor and designing spaces. In middle school it's what I thought I'd go to college for. In the end, I went for art and started a career in marketing and design after graduating. In recent years though I started to miss doing my own art and had this moment where I thought "how do I create a repeat pattern and make my own wallpaper?" From there I just took it one step at a time figuring out how to make the dream come true.


Form: Can you share your creative process when designing a new wallpaper pattern?


Katie: Yeah! I start usually with a theme for a collection. Like currently, I'm working on a collection inspired by trip to Santa Barbara, CA that I'm hoping will be out this spring. Once I have an idea of the theme I write down as many words as I can come up with that match that theme. Whether they'll become designs or not I try to get as many words on the page as possible. From there it's about playing. I layout a bunch of thumbnail squares in my sketchbook to play with different ideas I have in my head. I experiment with different subjects and styles of repeat until have I have at least 6 designs I'm excited about, if not more. Then comes the hard part. I have to create the elements that will go into the pattern. Sometimes I'll make full original paintings, other times they're just doodles in my sketchbook. Once I have all the elements or what we call "motifs" created, I scan them and put them into Illustrator to make the actual repeat patterns. A lot of designers will vectorize the art making them a limited number of colors, this makes it easy to scale or gives you the ability to screen print the pattern on wallpaper or fabrics. I will do this for simple elements but I like the variety that paints give and will often just keep them as the high quality photos to be used in the final pattern.





Form: How do you stay updated on current design trends and incorporate them into your work?


Katie: This is a balance. On the one hand I want to create things that people will like so that they sell. On the other hand I want to create things that are timeless and not trendy. Wallpaper is meant to be in your home for awhile so I don't want it to be a part of the latest fad. I keep up with a lot of design resources from blogs, to newsletters, to magazines to get a feel for what's working in home decor. The rest is just a gut feeling for what I would want in my own home or what is getting me excited to create.


Form: What sets your wallpaper designs apart from others in the market?


Katie: There are a lot of amazing wallpaper options out there. Mine are different because they have such an illustrative feel to them. I like to say my art style is a children's book for adults. They bring you back to nostalgic moments which is part of the magic. That to me is another reason that I don't want them to be too trendy. I'm an old soul and want to help others travel back to a simpler more slow time of living.





Form: Are there any specific themes or motifs that consistently inspire your designs?


Katie: Nature seems to come into my wallpaper designs a lot. My paintings often have women or people in them but my wallpapers hold a lot more nature.


Form: How do you approach color selection when creating a new wallpaper pattern?


Katie: I love color and am not afraid of it, but I try to use it in a way that approachable to home owners. So while I have a few patterns that are really bold in the color choice, a majority of my patterns have colors that won't overwhelm but are easy to pair with other colors. I also have a somewhat standard color scheme throughout my artwork and wallpapers so they're all really easy to mix and match.





Form: What challenges do you encounter as a wallpaper designer, and how do you overcome them?


Katie: Printing my wallpaper has been the hardest challenge. I'm a one-woman show and my business is very small so having inventory and investing in a line isn't really an option for me right now. Because of that I've partnered with Spoonflower to make all my wallpapers. I love their quality and their dedication to sustainability with high-quality papers and inks. It means that my profit margins are much smaller but I get so much enjoyment from creating these patterns and from seeing them show up in people's homes that this works for me for now.


Form: Do you have any favorite projects or collaborations that you've worked on?


Katie: I've done a couple custom wallpaper designs for clients and I always love those. Sometimes it's working with an interior designer to adjust colors from one of my current patterns to perfectly match their client's home, other times it's creating a new pattern from scratch in my artistic style. These collaborations are always so fun because it makes me think in new ways and I have someone to bounce ideas off of.





Form: What advice would you give to home owners searching for the right wallpaper?


Katie: Take your time. Choosing wallpaper is like choosing art–it is choosing art! But art that you can't move from wall to wall. There are a LOT of options out there. It's easy to get overwhelmed. This is also why it's such a great idea to hire a professional designer who can help sort through the patterns, colors, and materials that work best for your project.


Katie Jackson is a local artist and designer in the Denver area. You can find all her wallpapers, artwork and stationery at ShopModernMagic.com


Want help finding the right wallpaper in your space? Book a consult today. Change is good. Let me show you just how good!

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