Hello, please introduce yourself:
Hi. My name is Alice Potter. I am a freelance illustrator and surface print designer specialising in children's illustration and pattern design.
I have been running my own studio since 2011 and in that time I have worked with a number of clients including Abacus Cards, American Greetings, Cico Books, Jelly The Pug, Lonely Planet, Ted Baker, Tesco, Mollie Makes, Parragon Books, Quarto Books Trend Lab and Papercrafter Magazine.
I love the variety my job brings, and being able to have a certain amount of flexibility every day.
If you could give your 10 years younger self one key piece of advice or an insight, what would it be?
This would take me back to almost graduating university and I think I would tell myself to knuckle down and stop going to the uni bar! I would also like to advise myself to try and get a studio job after graduating to gain some valuable experience. My degree was in Textile Design, and I was too cautious about finding a job in this sector when I left university. It could have led to interesting things.
When you feel stuck or in a design rut, how do you get yourself out of it and back on track?
I feel stuck in a rut often, and what I find helps me a lot, is writing down subjects I want to tackle in a spider-diagram, and coming up with rough thumbnail sketches to get me started. It helps my mind to let things spill out onto a scrap bit of paper or in my notebook and then I can pick one thing to get started with. Recently, I also started referring to trend boards more for my work and I have a few that I use. These are really helpful when I am designing collections, and I will go through them and make notes on what resonates with me most. Emily Kiddy has great references, and Patternbank studio also offer books at affordable prices. I also sign up to the Design Garden Kids Trend Workshop which supplies a fantastic trend book at a great price too.
What are your favourite design tools?
I stick to the very basics when I design using a pen and paper, Adobe Illustrator and most recently the Apple iPad Pro where I use programmes like Adobe Draw. I would like to add painting to my tool kit but currently I feel less confident with this medium.
How would you describe your design process?
Depending on the job I am doing or if it's a piece for my portfolio, I will always start with a very rough thumbnail sketch to get a general vibe of the design and where I see it going. I then start by drawing out any icons using references from the internet, Pinterest or books. Once I have some icons, I tend to redraw them using the pencil tool in Adobe Illustrator. This is where I begin to make decisions about colour, layout and composition and pulling designs into a pattern. I would say my process is fairly clean and streamlined and can go from sketch to a finished design in a matter of hours.
What has been/have been some of your favourite design projects to date?
About a year into my business, I was lucky enough to do a pretty large project with Ted Baker. It involved illustrating a print that would be one of 12 available in all stores worldwide. I had to go to their HQ and sign 1200 prints, which was very exciting.
I also remember doing a really huge world map as a private commission. It was for a wedding present, and the groom happened to be an ex-actor/ turned director from one of my favourite Australian soaps. I ended up sending a few prints with a letter to the cast, but I have no idea if it got there.
Other standout projects include my recent collaboration with Trend Lab Baby in the US. They used one of my designs to build a whole nursery collection for babies, which included an Owl clock and a really adorable quilt.
Who are your dream clients or what is your dream project?
Dream clients for me include Paperchase, Next, Boots Mini Club, Land Of Nod etc. My main goal is to finally see my designs on children's clothes in a highstreet store in the UK. I love designing print collections for children and am focusing on this area more and more, building up a portfolio of character designs and fun everyday prints that I hope will appeal to these types of clients.
There has been an art supply sanction imposed and designers are only allowed to possess 3 items/tools, what do you choose?
It would have to be my iPad Pro and pencil, and a pen and sketchbook (Is this 3 or 4?)
Where do you find inspiration?
As mentioned before, I now use trend books a lot to inform my direction. I also have a very full Pinterest board where I keep boards on subjects within illustration that I would like to/or need to work on. These include subjects like Flowers, Christmas, Food, Cats, Dogs, Birds, Maps, Hand Lettering. It motivates me to keep adding these subject matters to my portfolio as many of them are always in demand.
Who would you say is the greatest designer to have lived?
Maybe Josef Frank. Or Matisse. Or Picasso. I like designers in the 20th century who had their fingers in lots of different areas and excelled at them all for example painting, ceramics, textiles, photography. There are simply too many to mention here.
When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for:
my sense of humour, my colourful art and my friendship (if you have been lucky enough to know me)
Where you can find me:
My illustration and surface print website and shop: http://alicepotter.co.uk/
Email me: email@example.com