Designer Spotlight: Kath Watmough

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, I'm Kath and I am a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer working from home in Padiham, Lancashire UK. I did a degree in textile design, specialising in printed textiles at the University of Derby. After 16 years working for Hallmark UK / Hambledon Studios I set up Kath Watmough Designs in October 2013. I work on a freelance basis for clients in the UK and China, designing greeting cards, gift wraps, gift bags, money wallets, crackers and calendars, for retail and wholesale markets worldwide.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR?

As a child I loved colouring books and I would spend hours colouring in. I remember being interested in patterns around the home and in my grandma's house; I think this is where my love of mid century art comes from. Anything art related I showed a real interest. I knew from the age of 11 that I wanted to work in the creative industry.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY/WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Once I've got the children off to school, I check my emails, put some music on and start work. I like to do my research, get inspired. I look at trends and different themes. I work 5 days a week and weekends when deadlines are approaching but try to keep weekends free for family time.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

To be less critical of yourself, it's okay to make mistakes. Being a perfectionist can hinder your creativity. I enrolled on Module 1 of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course back in February 2016 and I found it really helpful and inspiring. It took me back to basics which I'd not done for years and I loved it! I rediscovered the fun element of mark making again. At the end of Module 1 I entered and won the typography testimonial competition and got a free place on Module 2! It was a real boost for my confidence.

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I have a break from the computer, make a brew, do some housework; this soon gets me back to doing what I really love! Other times I'll do some mark making with different materials or look at design books for inspiration.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my Wacom pad and I would be lost without it. Pentel brush pens, Uni pin and the pigma micron pens are great for finer line work.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I like to sketch my initial ideas in pencil first. Once I'm happy with them I use layout paper or tracing paper and draw in pen before scanning them in. I then manipulate my scanned drawings in Illustrator. Colour is really important to me and it is the first thing that catches my interest. I like to do a bit of research on colour and look at different colour palettes and what's on trend. I look at pinterest and magazines, as they are a great source of inspiration and for researching trends.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I have sold a large number of my designs for gift wrap use only and here are some of them that I enjoyed creating.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I love stationery products, so seeing my designs in Paperchase would be a dream come true.

I would also love to see my designs on fabric and wallpaper.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

Pencil, Uni pin pen and paper.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Everywhere! From household objects to nature. Visiting exhibitions, books, pinterest. Me and my family went to Barcelona last year and I found lots of inspiration there. I think I drove my children mad because I kept stopping to take pictures of patterns everywhere I went.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Ooh this is a hard one! There are so many great designers. I love 1950's vintage patterns and I love designs by Lucienne Day.

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for creating colourful designs that make people smile and brighten up their day.