Above the Fold: Danielle Malmgren, Fashion and Textile Designer
In Above the Fold, we spotlight individual members of Coroflot's vibrant creative community. The idea is to take you behind the scenes and inside the minds of talented Coroflot members who we think are doing exceptional work. Coroflot was created by designers, for designers, and Above the Fold is the place where we can talk to creatives about work that we not only love but think you'll love too!
Illustrator and fashion designer Danielle Malmgren demonstrates her variety of skills in whatever it is she's designingâ€”whether it's a collection of clothing or a detailed illustration, all of her works demonstrate a keen eye for color and a vivacious view on life. After discovering her work on Coroflot, we were curious to hear more about how she comes up with all of her creative ideas as well as her ultimate design heroes.
Is there a specific moment in life where you realized you wanted to pursue a creative path?
I attended an all-girls Catholic high school and the sea of uniform white blouses and plaid skirts drove me a little crazy. It definitely started an obsession to create my own style and be different. I would scour vintage stores and flea markets all over LA to find something unique and interesting.
Around that time I was also getting really into music, everything from Punk Rock to 60s soul and swing dancing. It became a weekend ritual to have a great outfit for a show or club. With all that going on, attending an art school and pursuing fashion seemed like a natural fit. Clothing was always the best medium for me to express myself and I felt really confident I could be good at it.
Over the years, I have gravitated more toward the print and pattern side of things. It pushed me further creatively rather than just doing fashion and I liked how more of my personality and sense of humor was getting out there.
Who are/were your design heroes?
Definitely Vivienne Westwood. I love her unapologetic attitude.
When I was in school I was obsessed with Pucci, Rudi Gernreich, Diane Von Furstenberg. I've always been attracted to great design paired with modern prints and offbeat colorations.
A lot of people in music actually inspire meâ€” Bowie, Blondie, Stevie Nicks. Although they aren't designers, their looks and style are so iconic. I like to think I have the same attitude and spirit when I get excited about design.
Lately, I have been watching the Netflix series Abstract and there are so many amazing artists in that. I was on a design high after I watched it.
Walk us through some of your process for creating.
I love building off a theme, my head goes wild when I think how far I can push it. I think the best prints come from the humorous and the unexpected. Recently I pulled inspiration from Disco and Rollerskating and the process led me down a rabbit hole of inspiration. You start to look at a theme from every angle and that's always fun.
Graphic Designer Paula Scher said "You have to be in a state of play to design. If you aren't in a state of play you can't make anything"...I really can relate to that.
Lately, I've been looking at a lot of nature photography for painting inspiration. I start with a loose sketch, then try to let the paint do what it wants to. It's a balance of chaos and control that I think makes great art, but I'm definitely still working on mastering that.
What tools (physical or digital) do you find yourself using repeatedly?
I live and breathe by my Wacom, it makes the process much faster and gives me the ease of bringing my "hand" to my digital work.
I'm a big fan of markers, especially Copic. The brush tip is beautiful to work with and gives a painterly effect with the saturation of markers. I find that markers also scan better than paints.
As far as paints, I mainly use Winsor Newton Watercolors.
For both my watercolor and marker pieces, I finish with Prisma color pencils and Microns; it highlights the work in a way I like and always looks more finished.
Do you have a ritual for getting in work mode?
A good cup of coffee, definitely great music. I usually eat pretty healthy when I'm working; if I don't I'll just crash and get lazy.
One big tip someone told me is, if you have a block don't push yourself too hard. The work you make when you are really frustrated probably likely won't be great. Go for a walk, take a break, do yoga, go to a museum. Blocks can be frustrating, but it's a part of the process.
It's also really important to get off the computer AND social media. It's hard to have a creative thought when there is so much white noise out there, both good and bad. It doesn't create a good environment when you are comparing yourself to others.
I've had great success by pulling out my old books and magazines or going to the library.
Outside of your professional life, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?
I had a blog for years documenting my adventures, but I have since retired it and put the energy into purely making art. Even though I don't blog about it anymore, I still love cooking and discovering new restaurants. Last Fall I traveled all over France and parts of Italy, which was life changing. My other big passion is decorating my apartment in Brooklyn. Having a space to work in that inspires me is key.