Hello !

Welcome to Karolful.Designs



My name is Karolina Szymkiewicz and I am a freel­ance sur­face design­er and an illus­trat­or. I am ori­gin­ally from Poland (Wrocław) and have lived in the UK since 2006. I gradu­ated with a Masters in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art in September 2011, for which I was awar­ded a dis­tinc­tion. Not long after this I moved to Leeds and set up my freel­ance prac­tice as Karolful. 

Building on the theme of my Masters, ini­tially I con­tin­ued to cre­ate real­ist­ic and fig­ur­at­ive illus­tra­tions inspired by con­tem­por­ary dance. This per­son­al explor­a­tion res­ul­ted in numer­ous exhib­i­tions on the sub­jects of the human body as a medi­um of expres­sion. Alongside this my prac­tice also diver­si­fied greatly, such that over the past sev­en years I’ve applied my skills to a wide range of com­mer­cial pro­jects. These include work­ing in char­ac­ter and graph­ic design, pro­du­cing illus­tra­tions for games, stor­ies, appar­el, phone apps, logos, wed­ding invites and even album cov­ers. 

Running through all my work has always been a deep pas­sion for draw­ing. I’m par­tic­u­larly exper­i­enced in work­ing lin­early and in tra­di­tion­al pen­cil, but these days I am also as com­fort­able draw­ing digit­ally. In fact, I espe­cially enjoy get­ting find­ing cre­at­ive ways to com­bine the two. 


Over the past sev­en years I have, nat­ur­ally, begun to spe­cial­ise and my work is now increas­ingly focused on sur­face design. This is some­thing that has grown out of my long stand­ing col­lab­or­a­tion with Kidspattern, who work closely with sev­er­al large Chinese kidswear brands. Initially I was involved solely as an out­sourced illus­trat­or but quickly expan­ded into work­ing on sea­son­al pat­tern designs for a range of children’s cloth­ing (up to 5 years old). For over half a dec­ade I have now worked with them annu­ally on cre­at­ing both Autumn-Winter and Spring-Summer col­lec­tions. More recently we have also begun expand­ing our sur­face design port­fo­lio bey­ond fash­ion, by work­ing with oth­er cli­ents on ele­ments of their brand­ing such as pack­aging and merchandise.

I’m very enthu­si­ast­ic about my work as a sur­face design­er. I find explor­ing a new brief and going through the pro­cess of pat­tern devel­op­ment very reward­ing. I also appre­ci­ate how this exper­i­ment­a­tion has led me to devel­op­ing new skills and draw­ing tech­niques. I have also learnt a con­sid­er­able amount about the finer points required in file pre­par­a­tion for print pro­duc­tion and rel­ish the chal­lenge of work­ing cre­at­ively with­in these constraints.


Having built my con­fid­ence and an expert­ise as an illus­trat­or who works in sur­face design, in 2019 I made the decision to begin com­pos­ing an inde­pend­ent port­fo­lio as Karolful.Designs. In my pat­terns I show­case the crafts­man­ship of my draw­ing skills, incor­por­at­ing hand-drawn ele­ments into most of my designs. These can be both tra­di­tion­ally or digit­ally drawn, paint­erly and lin­ear in their style. I like to emphas­ise the detail and intric­acy of the sub­jects I por­tray. In doing so my pat­terns are often highly orna­ment­al, styl­ised and dec­or­at­ive in their tone.

My inspir­a­tion mainly comes from nature, with my interests cov­er­ing both flora as well as fauna. Additionally, my aes­thet­ic is often influ­enced by my endur­ing admir­a­tion for move­ments such as Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts. Building on the tra­di­tions of flor­al and botan­ic­al themes present with­in dec­or­at­ive arts my work strives to offer mod­ern inter­pret­a­tions. 


If you’d like to learn more about my pre­vi­ous work or get to know me bet­ter use the link below to my per­son­al ins­tagram account @karolful. There I share bits and pieces of my pre­vi­ous port­fo­lio as well as my oth­er cre­at­ive pur­suits such as hand writ­ten typo­graphy and char­ac­ter designs. Additionally, I posts about my oth­er interests that include : house plants, out­doors hikes in the Yorkshire Dales and trav­el­ling. I’m also involved in a loc­al illus­tra­tion com­munity by run­ning a bi-monthly meet up group called “Leeds Illo”.