FolioFocus Abstracts Showcase

 Studio Esperluette

Studio Esperluette

Last week, FolioFocus classmates let loose and embraced abstracts (and a touch of geometrics) with some gorgeous results. 

Leah Quinn

Leah broke out her acrylic paints for the first time in a long time especially for the task!

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"It’s been 2 years at least since I touched my acrylics - so far only one tube had dried out 😂"

Having mixed a bunch of delicious colours and shades, she took to the canvas, creating intuitive marks and movement, pulling and moving the paint.

The end result is a collection of soft furnishing and home decor designs.

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Louise Brainwood

Louise too a more geometric and structured approach. Inspired by the potteries in Cornwall and a recent trip she took to Marazion, for a fresh coastal collection.

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Krystal Williams

Krystal used digital tools to create here designs:

"I'll admit abstract is one of my favorite things to do. Once I choose a color pallet its easy for me to flow with the design. I used my iPad and the Procreate app for these. Included in this post is the photo I used as inspiration from my weekend in Cuba.

I added a time lapse video of my process as well. I was initially going to incorporate both designs into one, but decided they worked better as separates". 

More Abstract Gloriousness from Classmates:

FolioFocus Sweet Greetings Showcase

 kristy decastro

kristy decastro

Following a fab week of creating patterns and illustrations for the greeting cards industry, it's a pleasure to share a showcase of the wonderful art created by FolioFocus classmates for our Sweet Greetings themed brief. Once again we have a couple of designers giving a little behind the scenes look at how they came to their final pieces - Enjoy! 

Sara Aguiar

This week Sara gives us a little insight into her process and how she tackled the brief for our Sweet Greeting Week:


"First I sketched a lot of anemones in Procreate, then I took them into illustrator and vectorized them. 

I made a repeating pattern using the pattern tool. I also created an illustration for the card. Then I took everything to photoshop and made the mockups card and journals.. I have to say I loved doing this assignment! Thanks Natalie".


Daniela Glassup

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Classmate Daniela has a background where fabric and sewing has always been important in her life so when there was a mention of looking at embroidery (from this week's trend info), she revisited her Sewing and Embroidery board on Pinterest:

"I was inspired by some photos of flowers that I have taken over time and some greeting cards that I had photographed while looking at what there is already available. I make fibre art too and find that my sewing background is often a source of inspiration.

I always prefer to rough out ideas in a layout pad as the paper is cheap and light and I don't feel precious when making all sorts of notes and thumbnail sketches while working out my designs. I always work with pencil on paper too while thinking and designing, before I have to put a more complex work together.

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When I had worked out what I needed, I started to sketch out some flower forms and work out some colour choices. I will sometimes throw in more elements than I need but I also will sometimes a flower or element that I had not used in a previous design as necessary. When I had a selection, I painted my design elements with gouache. In this case I also drew and painted the hand lettering and made a coloured background which I did not use as it as there would not have been enough contrast between the type and the lettering.

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Once I have finished painting, I will scan my painted illustrations and work with them in Photoshop so that I can easily combine the different elements to get the look I am after. I always prefer to have modelling in my work, so Photoshop is always my preference. I printed off some proofs to check scale and readability as judging these things on a computer screen is not accurate enough"

Heather Powers

Next up sharing her process, we have Heather Powers:

"I started the week creating a few birthday cards but decided to stick closer with the brief and focused on the Mother’s Day theme.

Whenever I start a design I first ask myself what would I buy for myself or as a gift. I looked through some baby animals on Pinterest and when I saw an adorable fox I knew that would be my inspiration for my design. I tied in some of my favorite local wildflowers, adding them to the field surrounding my protective momma and cub.

After my card was finished I moved on to creating coordinating patterns. I pulled the wildflowers from my card, repeating them in an overall pattern by flipping and rotating elements. I decided I needed one more pattern and went with the chicory flower to tie in with my other two designs.

Since I started using my iPad Pro and Procreate this year, I work through the sketching phase right in my drawing. I added a video to share a peek into my process. I also worked up my designs in a few gift related mockups".

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More Wonderful Art for Sweet Greetings

FolioFocus New Nautical Designs!

Hello, it's been a while but we are back and in full FolioFocus swing! To celebrate, not only will be share the first FolioFocus summer gallery, we also have some work in progress snaps and tips from a couple of our classmates.

 Liv Wan

Liv Wan

Last week's brief involved the creation of some watery wonders and as usual, they did not disappoint. From Viking ships by Inga Zwirschitz to a Blue Mermaid scene by Sam Pernoski (both shown below), the variety and imagination submitted is a feast for the eyes. 


 Inga Zwirschitz

Inga Zwirschitz


Alexandra Butcher

"Once I have an idea I tend to run with it. I always start with sketches and thinking about the different elements going into the design. I tidy up my line work on my light box and make marks and textures that I think may be useful. Everything is then scanned into my pc and I start building the design. It's here that I start playing with composition and colour, gradually building as I go".


Mandy Leeson

After taking a trip to the harbour and aquarium taking photos for inspiration, Mandy started her process creating a motifs designed in Procreate. These were later taken into Illustrator.

New Nautical Showcase

SURTEX EXHIBITOR: Elizabeth Silver Represented by Jewel Branding


Elizabeth has spent her career keeping the 'fun' in functional with color and surface pattern. With 10 years of in-house design experience with brands like Target, Walmart, Disney and GapKids she is comfortable working in a variety of styles on tight deadlines.

In 2012 she went rogue and have been building a freelance and licensing client roster ever since. Beyond textiles, Elizabeth has had the opportunity to create illustrations and prints for such products as party paper, dinnerware, outdoor decor and greeting cards.

SURTEX EXHIBITOR: Bex Morley, Represented by Brenda Manley Designs


Bex is a British surface designer living in Canada. She has a bachelor's degree in Creative Arts and has spent the past couple of years focussing exclusively on illustration and surface pattern design.

Bex's work is playful and colourful and she particularly enjoys hand lettering and drawing botanicals and quirky characters. She mostly works digitally, using an iPad Pro and Photoshop. She loves creating her own digital brushes to look like real mediums to combine the texture of paints and pastels with the convenience and speed of digital drawing.


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When not drawing, Bex can be found hanging out with her kids, singing in a choir or going on long dog walks.



Anne is an lllustrator and Graphic Designer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Graphic Design from Quebec, she has also been trained in Paris. From stationery and greeting cards to textiles and children's book illustrations, Anne has researched various media and, since 2012 her surface design artwork has been in demand around the world.

As a surface design illustrator Anne has fun spreading love with positive energy and happiness through work. Her mission is making people dream and smile with her daily products. She loves to create art to feel good.


Traveling and discovering new cultures always makes Anne feel refreshed, and it stimulates her to create new things. She draws her content from botanical and animal worlds, as well as from the realm of fairytales, Anne also pulls inspiration from her real life experiences. With her sense of delicacy and playfulness, she continues to explore art in her daily life.

Anne Côté,



Danielle is a painter, illustrator and surface designer. She grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she received her BFA in illustration with honors. In addition to freelancing and gallery shows (and painting a lot of ships), she has also worked in-house as a product designer for a division of Bed Bath & Beyond.

Her paintings have been exhibited in cities across the U.S. including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.


She is inspired by past times, past places and the sea. Danielle lives in a charming little NJ town along the Delaware River, in a big old house, with her husband John Murray, their son Rocky and dog Frankie.
Instagram: @danielleR_murray

Surtex Booth 2642

SURTEX EXHIBITOR: Angel Gerardo Represented by Brenda Manley Designs


Although gouache paint will always be Angel's first art love, she likes to experiment. Watercolor, markers, ink and other assorted media can be found in her work. Lately, she's having fun creating artwork with the iPad Pro.

Angel has enjoyed working with great companies in the stationary, paper and gift, home decor, fabric and craft markets and would love to learn about/expand into further markets.
Angel Gerardo is represented by Brenda Manley Designs.