Paper Fashion's Katie Rodgers Turned Her Hobby into an Illustrating Career
Artist Katie Rodgers in her home studio. (Photo by Melissa Mahoney)
Katie Rodgers began dabbling in watercolors at age seven. Nearly two decades later, the pastime has become her livelihood. Growing up, Rodgers painted whimsical runway scenes and ladies outfitted in Balenciaga and Dior—a passion she revisited in 2009, when she launched the stylish blog Paper Fashion to showcase her work.
Industry bigwigs were quick to notice the artist: Coach tapped Rodgers to illustrate its holiday campaign and paint limited-edition bags by hand later that year, while Missoni and Target asked her to sketch models wearing coveted pieces from their collaboration.
Rodgers’s burgeoning freelance career convinced her to leave her full-time job as an apparel designer at Reebok earlier this year to focus on her art full time. “I’ve been sketching fashion ever since I can remember,” says Rodgers, who recently began selling stationery and iPhone cases emblazoned with images of Chloé and Dior dresses on the website Society6. “It never gets old to me. I’ve managed to discover what I love to do, and how to do it for a living.”
In addition to her online sales and commission work—Rodgers recently scored a hush-hush gig working for a Grammy-winning superstar she can’t name—the 26-year-old hopes to branch out into wallpaper and other fashion-inspired goods, keeping with the family tradition started by her great-grandfather, who was also an illustrator. “My work is done almost exactly how [he] did it—by hand,” she says. “In such a digital age, it’s nice to know there are still some things that can only be created that way.”