Caroline Pivovar is a graphic designer by day and a hand letter enthusiast by night. The one half of Oh So Graceful, the passion project turned viable business, loves colours. In fact, there’s no such thing as too many colours in her world. Her love for colourful and dazzling illustrators has also become her connecting bridge toward the world of inspiring Instagram creatives— and there are oh, so many!
Read on to find out who some of Caroline’s favourite artists are and what the process of transforming a passion project into a successful lifestyle brand has been like for her and her best friend-slash-business partner Ally.
Can you describe your creative process? Where do you start? What do you usually have on or around you?
I usually find that I am most creative in the evenings, so that tends to be when I work on most of my passion projects. I was one of those ADHD little kids (and let’s be real, I still am) who has to sit on their legs and moves around a lot when working, so I find that I cannot draw when sitting at a desk or in an uncomfortable chair for too long. Ninety-nine percent of my illustrations are done while propped up with pillows in my bed, Friends on in the background and the bed filled with all of my art supplies. I work primarily on my iPad Pro, but I always have my laptop, reference colour theory books, sketchbook, pencils, and watercolours close by as well — just in case!
I begin every project with a little bit of time reading through quotes and scrolling through some of my favourite illustrators for colour inspiration.
What do you do to get out of a creative slump?
When I find myself in a creative slump and have no idea what to draw, the first thing I will do is pull out my copy of Heart Talk by Cleo Wade because I can always find a quote in there that speaks to me and fits my mood for the night to hand letter. Sometimes you just need something to get your hand moving and let your creative spark take it from there.
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite project, and why it’s your favourite?
That would probably be the logo and branding I did for Lizzie Schlafer’s Podcast, Trying My Best. Lizzie is a local Cleveland photographer and has been a huge support for Oh So Graceful. She reached out to me because she loved my lettering projects and wanted a logo in my style. During my initial meeting with her, she referenced photos of past lettering projects of mine that she liked and it meant so much to me. In the end, I love how it turned out and had a few people reach out to me because they recognized my style when they saw her logo.
I knew I was onto something when I realized people were recognizing my work without my name being attached to it.
Oh So Graceful started as a blog. What has the process of transforming a passion project into a successful lifestyle brand been like? What have you learned along the way?
In a word…INCREDIBLE. It has been the biggest blessing and best stress relief to have a project that you are so passionate about that you can pour yourself into. Ally and I have met so many amazing creatives and have built so many meaningful connections with inspiring women in the process.
The biggest thing I have learned along the way is to just keep going.
With social media, there is always an ebb and flow, and you have to be ready to wake up with fewer followers some days, for a design you love to not do as well as you thought, etc. I try to not get too fixated on how a post or design is doing and just move onto the next. Getting into the schedule of posting one new design every single night has pushed me to be more creative for myself, and I can see myself improving when I look back at my work.
You’re in business with your best friend. Have there ever been any issues? Did the relationship change?
Ally and I are best friends. We are insanely close and know how each other is doing mentally at any given second of a day. It has been incredible working together because we inherently know when the other needs a break and pick up each other’s slack posting, responding to emails, and scheduling blog posts. If anything, our relationship only grew closer during this process and has created a huge shift in our lives — where we are planning our futures and how we can grow this into a lifestyle brand that will support us both financially. There is no greater dream than getting to work with your best friend forever!
Your work has popped up in iPhone cases, prints, and even T-shirts and sweatshirts. What item makes you happiest to see your work appear in?
It has been so cool to see my work on products, and we have some more collaborations in the works now with apparel brands. But I have to say the most exciting thing for me has been seeing huge accounts share my work on their feeds.
Seeing Kacey Musgraves, Brit + Co, Refinery29 and others share something I drew had me freaking out.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are some of your favourite artists?
Mostly Instagram! There are so many insanely talented illustrators on Instagram, and I find myself scrolling through artists’ feeds admiring their work every single day. Some of my absolute favourites are Sarah Tate, Dina Rodriguez, Curated Dry Goods, and Tyler Elise.
What’s the worst advice you have ever received?
We had someone comment on one of my designs and just said, “There are too many colours in this.” HA!
There are never too many colours. What a gift and blessing it is to even be able to see colour. It is medicine for your soul.
What does the future of design look like to you? What changes do you foresee in the near future that will affect your work?
I am hopeful that I can continue to grow my design business to the point that I can work with large brands in the bright, colourful style that I love. I am always working and love my day-to-day graphic design projects that I do for my company, but it is such a dream of mine to be able to support myself just on my “passion project style.”
My ultimate dream is to have a line of products with my designs at Target. I don’t know how it is going to happen, but it’s on my vision board and I’m not going to stop until it is a reality.
By May 2020 my family and I will be moving because my husband is finishing up his residency. We are hopeful that the move will be to Nashville, and if that works out as planned, I can’t wait to see what effect it will have on my work. I am so happy whenever I am in Nashville and so inspired by everything in the city. I can see that move having a great impact on my art.
What’s next for Oh So Graceful? What about Caroline and Ally?
Next for Oh So Graceful are a few more exciting collaborations with local Cleveland brands, more interviews on our blog with creative women who inspire us, as well as opening a vintage section in our online store with unique finds. We are both so excited to continue working together and can’t wait to see where we can take this brand!