Mukta Lata Barua

Name: Mukta
Location: College Park, Maryland
Interests: Design, Fashion, Illustration, Watercolor, Digital Painting, Travel, Photography, Food
Favorite Color: I love bright colors - pink, blue, coral, yellow, green
See the Designs!
Mukta is an artist and fashion designer currently based in Maryland, USA. After several years working with major designers and brands in India, she turned her hand to freelance graphic design. She creates colorful paintings and illustrations inspired by her travels and the interesting people she encounters along the way.

Interview with Mukta Lata Barua

How did your journey as a designer and an artist begin?

I had an interest in art and painting since childhood. My love for sketching and designing kept growing in school and very soon I realized this is the only thing that I wanted to pursue as a career. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree (B. Des.) in Apparel & Fashion Design from India's premier fashion design school, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi in 2011. I learned a lot during those four years and explored many techniques related to apparel and textile design. I started my professional career in 2011 working with major brands as a designer for womenswear and accessories. I also worked with the world-renowned designer Manish Arora. While working with his brand, I show-cased my work in three seasons of India Fashion Week and India Couture Fashion Week. In 2016, I moved to the United States and started exploring the print and pattern design industry while working on my own brand. I discovered many print design studios and started licensing my work. Initially, progress was slow, but gradually I was successful in reaching brands who wanted my prints for their products. Currently, my prints can be seen in stores like Printed Village, Nordstrom Rack, Target, as well as small boutiques. I also work as a freelance textile print designer for several print studios like Estudio Iceratin, Dash Studio, Patternpeople, and Patternbank.

Your work is so playful and colorful! How do you describe your unique style?

I was born and raised in India, a land with a colorful and vibrant culture. I have seen people wearing colorful clothes with quirky prints, detailed embroidery, and lots of embellishments. I love Indian aesthetics and style and it inspires me to create colorful illustrations, be it hand painted sketches, watercolor or digital prints.

How long does it take you to create a new piece? What is your design process?

It depends on the style. At times I just make free hand digital illustrations using my Wacom tab on my computer. Then there are days where I really put in a lot of time in creating doodles, hand-drawn detailed sketches and watercolor. I then finally manipulate these in photoshop to create beautiful prints and patterns. I don't stick to a single style, I love to explore new techniques. My favorite styles are watercolor and digital painting. Recently I am exploring fluid art with lots of acrylic colors on my canvas.

You made the jump from textile design to graphic design. What drew you to the world of illustration?

When I moved to the US from India, I took some time off from work. During this period, I started exploring the world of illustrations. I would create doodles out of everything including my daily salad meals, other foods, fruits, plants, etc. I used to spend a lot of time sketching and painting and then thought of converting these to beautiful prints and patterns tailored for a variety of products.

Your designs feature a lot of ‘on trend’ motifs such as pineapples and flamingos. How do you stay up to date with what is popular?

I always keep an eye on current fashion trends, fashion shows, brands, and designers who are making print headlines. I also follow Pinterest boards, Instagram, design blogs for inspiration. Keeping up with current trends is very important to me as it allows me to create prints that are loved by clients.

You mentioned you were inspired by travel. Where is the most inspiring place you have visited?

I get inspiration from everywhere. I got introduced to the intriguing world of cactuses and succulents during my visit to California and the unusual look of these plants have heavily influenced my illustrations. My tropical designs are inspired by the beautiful beaches of Florida. Other sources of inspiration include the beautiful sceneries I experience during the course of my hikes in a range of US National Parks, for example, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite.

Tell our readers something they don’t know about you!

I have a huge obsession with plants and love to decorate my house with exotic indoor plants. I also find pleasure in cooking with innovative recipes and trying out different cuisines from across the globe.