Designer Spotlight: Rebecca Prinn

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, I’m Rebecca Prinn, a greeting card and surface pattern designer living in West Yorkshire, UK.  I worked in house for 10 years, and took the leap of faith to freelance at the beginning of 2016.  I’m represented by Advocate Art, and have been lucky enough to work with clients including Design House Greetings, Papyrus, Hallmark, American Greetings, Paper Magic, and WHSmith.  I love unusual teas, macarons and cookbooks. 

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

Yes I think so, I remember being fascinated by the wallpaper my mum had chosen for my bedroom - little geometric cats, and thought that it would be an exciting job to be able to create patterns for a living!

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

Each week is different depending on how much client work I have on.  One week I might have the opportunity to build my portfolio, the next week I might have a few client projects to juggle, which can range from greetings cards, diaries, giftwrap, wall art or book illustration.   If it’s a big project, and time permits, I like to concentrate on that in the mornings, and do something more experimental in the afternoons.

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

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.  My most popular work has come about through experimentation, where I’ve not been at all sure of whether it’s going anywhere, but I’ve persevered, and kept all my sketches and concepts and experimented in putting elements together in a different way. 

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

I love Skillshare, if I have some down time, I pick a class, and try and implement some new techniques or approaches into my own work.  I often find this sparks off a whole new set of ideas.  If I can get myself into a “play” mode and quiet the self doubt, my doodles and experiments often spark off new ideas.  Once I have one idea for a card or wrap range, I can usually go with the theme to make a small collection.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my Mijello watercolours as the colours are so intense and smooth.  They were a bit of a treat, but most of my other tools and cheap and cheerful; a dip pen, Indian ink, and a stamp pad, but most of my tools are found objects.  I love mark making with my husband’s tools, although he isn’t always too happy when they’re returned covered in ink!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

I love getting my hands dirty with different mediums, so often I’ll have an idea in mind for a new look, but I’m not always sure what subject matter that will involve.  So I’ll spend a couple of hours mark making, trying to be as loose as possible to create unpredictable results.  I then scan or photograph my originals, and manipulate on my mac, integrating the more abstract shapes and marks into more traditional subject matter for greeting cards, such as flowers, cakes, presents etc. 

I use both Photoshop and Illustrator; if I’m working texturally, I generally keep everything in Photoshop, as I don’t think you retain the same texture in Illustrator, even if you use Image Trace.  For more graphic works, I tend to use Illustrator.  I often use Illustrator for client work if it’s suitable, as it’s far easier to tweak colours, scale etc. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I loved working on this project for Noel Tatt, this experimental approach was something a bit different for me at the time, and it really gave me the confidence to keep going in this style

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

I would love to design a fabric collection, I especially love all the designs that come from the Dashwood Studio.  It would also be pretty cool to see my patterns across a range of products in Paperchase.

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

Indian ink, Mijello watercolours, and my scanner.  I’d have to find some random objects to make marks with!

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

At the moment, I’m really interested in textures, so will check out kids art departments, DIY departments or found objects on a walk for new ways of mark making.  I take my smartphone everywhere to capture industrial patterns, colour combinations, or an interesting flower shape I haven’t seen before.  Antique shops, vintage packaging and food packaging also really get my juices flowing.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Lucienne Day, her style still looks so fresh today.