From Concept to Creation: Pen & Ink

Happy Valentine’s Day! With love in the air and hearts all around, I thought today would be a good day to show all the love that is poured into the designs in my Etsy shop. I love what I do and that I get to do it from home, and I am happy to share this process with you.

All of my unique designs in my shop are created by me and I’ve been asked several times how I go from concept to creation. So, I thought I would share a little more about how I make my designs come to life. One of my favorite new designs that is full of playful pattern is my “Triangles” from my Pen & Ink Collection.

Pen&Ink Triangles, Birth Announcement by Kat Phillips

1) I begin with my hand-drawn sketch. Sometimes this is a doodle on a scrap sheet of paper, that as I am going just takes on a life of it’s own and the design just happens. Other times, it is more planned and possibly inspired by something like a great pattern or an architectural detail that caught my eye. The design usually starts out on paper with either a trusted Sharpie Permanent Marker or my favorite Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball ink pens. The sketch is first scanned in to my computer to create a digital version that I can tweak, and clean up before placing it in the design. 2) Next I play. A lot. Shuffling the elements from here to there until I like the layout. Sometimes I even sleep on it and come back the next day or two and continue to tweak. Then I get to choose the font styles, which is one of my favorite parts as it makes the design come to life. I add the wording and an image, and do any color palette adjustments. Then the layout is ready for it’s debut on my Etsy shop. 3) The layout is then customized by a lovely client, proofed and approved, and then beautifully printed and carefully packaged and shipped to it’s new home.

Concept 2 Creation - Pen&Ink - by Kat Phillips Designs

Also available in a soft feminine colorway.


New Etsy Birth Announcements – “Pen & Ink”

Pen & Ink is a fun textural design series that I have created from simple shape illustrations and line art doodles. It’s been fun to play and tweak the pattern, to add color here and there to see what emerges. I have a couple more designs up my sleeve for this series, but I want to give you a sampling of what’s available now in my shop.







And I created a holiday card version too.


New Etsy Holiday Birth Announcements – “Ornaments”

Introducing my Holiday Birth Announcement design series “Ornaments.” I custom designed a version of this last Christmas for a dear friend. I loved it so much, I created a 5×7 version for my shop for this holiday season.




New Etsy Birth Announcements – “Faded Roses”

Here is the “Faded Roses” series in a variety of color stories. Honoring my husband’s grandfather’s art, these roses are given new life on this vintage hand-painted birth story print. This birth announcement is sure to be a treasured work of art in its own right.

Faded Roses-Apricot_BA

Faded Roses-Aqua_BA

Faded Roses-Chartreuse_BA

Faded Roses-Plum_BA

Faded Roses-Stone_BA

New Etsy Birth Announcements – “Garden Bouquet”

I’m so happy to finally have some of my new designs debut in my shop. The color palette is bold and the designs are playful and fun! I even have some holiday cards available this year as well, I’ll post on that later. So, visit my etsy shop and check out the new designs, and spread the word to all the Mom-to-Be’s in your life. Below is the Garden Bouquet series.

A little about the design: I hand painted the flowers with watercolor and then played with the hues and saturation in Photoshop to create different color palettes. I love that this looks hand created with the beautiful hand-lettered font by Emily Conners with Emily Lime Designs.




I also included a shower invitation version as well.


Custom Birth Story Keepsake Print

I wanted a keepsake print for my own kids. The print I imagined needed to be more of a narrative and not just a list of the facts. However beautiful I think their birth announcements are—I may be a little biased since I designed and loved each of them respectively for different sentimental reasons—the print I was thinking of needed to tell the story of their birth day!

This fresh & botanical keepsake print emerged from the beautiful design details of my Flora & Fauna collection of designs, and is the perfect way to capture a child’s unique birthday story. It’s great as a keepsake for your child or as a gift for a child in your life. Isn’t it just so pretty?!

The Gray Attic - Kat Phillips Designs

Each little one’s birth details are nestled within hand-drawn floral elements, loosely inspired by the timeless design of vintage cigar labels, all in varying color palettes representative of the four seasons of the year (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), see below.


This keepsake print coordinates beautifully with the Flora & Fauna Birth Announcement sets sold in my shop.

This card speaks volumes … record the time, type of day & season, and actual date your child was born; whether a doctor or midwife delivered your child & placed him or her in your arms; your baby’s weight and gender; how early, on time or late they arrived, and how long it took for your baby to be born once admitted to the hospital or birthing center; and most importantly what you chose to name your beautiful baby. Designed using subtle “letterpress-style” elements, this keepsake print is a wonderful blend of vintage and modern. Friends and family will lend you compliments on this announcement, and may even ask to purchase a print of their own to frame and hang on their wall!

The felt finish paper compliments the design and was hand-selected by me for its unique look and tactile feel of fine handmade paper. Its acid free, warm white color and thickness lend a premium quality to each print. Digitally printed with archival quality inks, you’ll be able to treasure this print for years to come.

It’s the perfect addition a child’s room decor. Use this print to share your child’s birth story with them, and watch them beam with pride as they delight in how they entered the world. Let your kiddos feel special and honored as they grow.

Flora & Fauna Birth Annoucement – Design #1

Meet my newest birth announcement design from the oh-so-lovely Flora & Fauna Collection:

Ain’t she pretty? I really enjoyed working on this design. Fresh & botanical. The new babe’s information is nestled within hand-drawn floral elements, loosely inspired by the timeless design of vintage cigar labels, all in a soft feminine color palette. This is the first design to debut in the “Flora & Fauna Collection.” The boy version is so fun, and the two additional designs for the “Fauna” side of this collection are on the horizon.

Check my Etsy store to see all my designs.


I make things look pretty

Why I do what I do—I love taking people’s favorite things and creating an entire design around them … childhood toys, favorite trips, memories, family heirlooms, or funky traditions.

My style—Clean, modern, elegant, playful, whimsical—and yes, I believe that all of those things can mingle in the same place. My big dream is to have my designs lovingly squeezed through a letterpress, but until that day, I’ll just design like they are just that “impressive.”

The Gray Attic on Etsy

The Gray Attic is the name of my Etsy shop, where I made my first sale in August of 2011.  Since then, I have mused over and designed all sorts of lovelies in my head, and then scratched them onto pieces of paper. Some of those ideas have come to life and now reside in my shop where they await a new home.

So, why the blog? (You might ask) …

I wanted to log my creative process and collect all of my inspirations and musings in one place. Here, on thegrayattic. I’ll try to be interesting, but I can’t promise anything ground-breaking, but I do commit to making it a true and real record of MY process.