Hello, please introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Michelle Grace a surface pattern designer form Derbyshire in the UK. I love to sketch and paint from nature and create collections built around the changing seasons.
If you could give your 10 years younger self one key piece of advice or an insight, what would it be?
I would say always stay true to yourself, if something feels wrong don’t be afraid to move on. Set goals and aim high! I always enjoy learning and over the last year have taken many online courses. Knowledge can bring endless possibilities.
When you feel stuck or in a design rut, how do you get yourself out of it and back on track?
I go out and find inspiration. Simply walking in the fresh air or gardening can give you time to think clearly. I also find lots of inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram and find it relaxing yet motivating to browse at all the amazing art out there!
What are your favourite design tools?
I have always loved to paint but since working more digitally I have found a love of working with a pen and paper so fluid and organic. I prefer to have an object in front of me to draw from, rather than just doodling randomly and I don’t pencil sketch 1st as I like to see what my hand wants to do! Sometimes little ‘mistakes’ can be quirky and fun. I love to have the freedom of sketching without restraints. In the past I have worked as an In-house designer where the common practice was to get our images from Google, print and trace them precisely then paint the motifs. I found this such a flat and mundane way of working and much prefer to inject a bit of my personality into my drawings now.
How would you describe your design process? Favourite apps and programs
My design process starts either with a theme or by walking and collecting found objects such as wild flowers. I have my camera at all times as I’m constantly looking for inspiration. I like to experiment with lots of media, trying to paint in new ways or changing my materials depending on a theme. I remember last Autumn sketching berries and I ended up squashing and ‘painting’ with them to create a nice background texture. I love to get a little messy some times! A long time ago I was a Decorative Painter living in Spain and as well as painting furniture with decorative effects such as marbling and colourwashing I painted huge scale murals. The work was quite varied and I think that’s why I still love to experiment with scale and media now.
Nowadays, I often create a moodboard though don’t always stick to my initial thoughts, preferring to let me ideas grow.
My preferred program is illustrator with a wacom tablet. An app I used a lot is PicsArt as it allows me to add my logo to jpegs on my phone.
What are some of your favourite design projects to date?
Over the last year I have been creating collections which have so far been licensed by PatternJam.com and their new company stitchedcustomquilts.com who create customised quilt tops. It’s been amazing to see my patterns on quilt tops and I’m very happy to work with such a great company who has good values and are so innovative!
Who are your dream clients or what is your dream project?
I would love to licence fabric collections to Robert Kaufman Fabrics and create art work for Rifle Paper Company. I have been very lucky to have been commissioned by Harrods before and I would love to work with them again!
There has been an art supply sanction imposed and designers are only allowed to possess 3 items/tools, what do you choose?
A unipen, an Pental Aquash water brush pen and a tube of gouache, but I would be quite happy with a pen and sketchbook which is what I take to the Garden Centre!
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! Mostly from nature though also from places such as Instagram and Pinterest where I follow some brilliant Artists and Designers, many of whom I have done online courses with and I happily call my friends.
Who would you say the greatest designer is?
That is hard for me to answer because my hero’s have changed over the years! I am most inspired by modern designers including Nathalie Lete, Bari J and Miriam Bos at the moment as well as many supportive friends in the industry.
When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for someone who created beautiful art and inspired others!
Where you can find me: