And We're Off! FolioFocus Spring 2018 πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ¨

FolioFocus, our Intensive Creative Portfolio Builder is underway and I can't tell you how excited I am about it! 

As ever we have some fun, trend-driven briefs and inspiration in store for classmates over the next 10 weeks. So I thought I would share a little taster! If you'd like to join this round you still have time. We are starting with a dreamy twist on a staple theme, good old Nautical.

 
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Be sure to check back over the weeks for roundup posts featuring work from our talented classmates and follow @risedesignandshine on Instagram along with the hashtag #FolioFocus2018 to see some serious eye candy and new accounts to follow. 

Designer Spotlight: Megan Carter

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, my name is Megan Carter and I'm a Surface Pattern Designer based in the sunny region of West Yorkshire in the north of the UK. I live with my husband and two wonderful daughters.

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

I think that my desire to just draw was with me from word go. I've got very vivid memories of drawing and painting as a child and I always had loads of encouragement from my dad who is an artist.

I imagine I was about eight when I started drawing pattern ideas for outfits for my friends and various co-ordinating patterns for homeware items like cushions, wallpaper and curtains. I also had an attraction to drawing tiny mice and creating complex mouse house plans for them. I couldn't imagine any other direction to go, it was what I solely enjoyed and still do to this day.

I studied art and design at college and then on to Staffordshire University where I took the fantastic BA Honers course in Surface Pattern Design. From there I immediately went on to work as a greetings card designer for Tigerprint, a division of Hallmark Cards and then on to UK Greetings.

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

Having become a mum nearly nine years ago, my week consists of juggling my time between my two daughters and exploring and developing my love of drawing and designing.

I have been really lucky to have worked part time for Uk Greetings since having a family so I continue to design cards for them two days a week where my work has evolved into a combination of illustrative and pattern based styles.

The other three days in my week are used to explore new design projects on a freelance basis with more focus creating my patterns.

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

You know, I would have to say be happy with your choices, have confidence and no regrets. When I look back to how I've lived my life so far, career choices, life choices, relationships, I like to think I wouldn't have done it any other way. Life's a massive learning curve and it's impossible not to make mistakes or wrong choices along the journey especially when it comes to moulding a job out of your passion.

I try to live with the ethos of looking forward rather than to the past.

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

If I'm designing for UKG I generally have a pretty short window of time to complete the briefs that I'm set because of the limited hours I work for the company. So, it's become a case of taking a little time out and to look for something inspirational to help focus my mind. Just having a doodle focused on something completely different often helps. I also seem to thrive working in the afternoon so having my lunch often makes a difference!

With my own concepts that are allowing me to have more time to work on and be more experimental with, I generally find that if I'm working on a design that just isn't evolving I put it aside and focus on something new. Of course, I always have the massive, crazy part of my life with my kids as a welcome distraction to step back to and stop thinking about work which often puts everything into perspective.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

My sketch book, pencil and my Mac.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

I like to have a good old research into the theme or trend I'm working on first of all so I have a rich source of visual inspiration to work from. Once in a while I can come up with ideas that are more spontaneous with little input from visual resources but more from memory of images and shapes I've seen around me.

I then draw in my sketch book or on large rolls of paper, often in a doodle approach to make it more of an experimental experience. It's then on to scanning onto the Mac and then playing with Concepts through Illustrator and Photoshop.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

The recent collection of patterns that I have designed during my freelance exploration have a definite unique look to them that move away from my greetings card concepts. This is a new experimental area of play that I have thrown myself into since last September now both my daughters are at school. It's still early days with ideas in the making and I'm trying a handful of new free-lance projects that are keeping me busy. I'm always on the look out for new collaborative adventures to get involved with, one of which I am particularly excited about.

Contrado is a Uk based online platform offering designers the opportunity to build their own exclusive brands, offering customers exceptionally well-made designer homeware and fashion products.

At the beginning of July I launched my own store with Contrado  https://www.contrado.co.uk/stores/megancarterpatterns applying a collection of my patterns to their great selection of products. I love the fact that these are one off bespoke products that are ethically sourced, skilfully manufactured in one facility and not mass produced. The joy of this approach is I still get to focus more of my time designing rather than getting tangled up in the manufacturing elements of the process.

I am also a seller on the Pattern bank website  https://patternbank.com/megancarter-1 where I have a collection of designs available for various licensing agreements and also Art Rookie http://www.artrookie.co.uk/megemlew another online platform for designers to sell their designs on a collection of homeware products.

Over my career at UKG I have worked on some great seasonal and everyday briefs. Some of my recent favourite designs include a Mother's Day, Easter and Good Luck card. I also worked on a collection of cards called Scandic which focus more on whimsical characters.

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

I adore the prints of Marimekko. I love the unique vibrancy and boldness of their statement designs and the very graphic nature of the patterns really appeal to me. It would be the most amazing opportunity to design for their range.

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 sketch book, pencil case (though I suppose that's cheeky as it would be a very full pencil case!) and my imagination.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I always seems to go back to the natural form of flowers as a starting point for my patterns. There is  something about the flowing organic shapes that I'm naturally drawn to plus there's such a variety to choose from. I mix this up with my fondness of vintage patterns. I usually gather my inspiration through Pinterest, Instagram and my own collection of books plus gathering forms and shapes from flowers and plants around me. I've also started gathering objects that I've collected over the years as starting points for projects such as old ceramic plates or old tins adorned with gorgeous patterns.

I love looking at a whole variety of historical applied arts, particularly textiles, wallpapers and fashion. I recently took a trip to Vienna as I find the designs from the Vienna workshops (Wiener Werkstatte) absolutely wonderful. I've always been a fan of Art Nouveau and this movement was happening in Austria during the same period of time which had a slightly different edge to it.

I like to keep on track with current trends and I think it's important as a designer to be aware of the changing styles around you especially if they influence the commercial value of your work. Saying that, I'm also a strong believer of going in your own direction that differentiates you from the crowd. I think if a design is created naturally from your own exploration of ideas and where your passion lies it is more likely to be a successful outcome.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

There are so many to chose from in my eyes. As always I would say William Morris but I like the work of Joseph frank at the moment who is having a notable come back.

I also aspire to the work of Alexander Gerard, Voysey, Matisse, and Gustav Klimt to name a few.

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I would like to be remembered as a woman who has managed to try and get the right balance between supporting and loving her family whilst still remaining true to her passion of creating bold, colourful patterns to add some happiness to the ever crazy world that continues to evolve around us.

l will be having my work showcased at Surtex and Blueprint in May with Hansen Print and Textiles

Where you can find me:

website https://www.megancarterpatterns.co.uk

instagram https://www.instagram.com/megemlew/

facebook https://www.facebook.com/megancarterpatterns/

contrado store https://www.contrado.co.uk/stores/megancarterpatterns

Pattern Bank https://patternbank.com/megancarter-1

Art Rookie http://www.artrookie.co.uk/megemlew

Help Wanted: Join the RDS Team!

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ABOUT THE ROLE ...

This is primarily an admin, organisational role with a focus on tasks such as emails, social media marketing, posting content, research, file organisation and working with templates. I am looking for someone who is enthusiastic, friendly and committed. You will have an eye for detail and have good communication and time management skills. 

The role will be on a freelance basis, hours and wage to be agreed.

If you are interested and would like to learn more please complete the following form by Sunday 28th January. If shortlisted you will be contacted via email to arrange a Skype/Video meeting. 

Designer Spotlight: Diane Sullivan

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hello, I am Diane Sullivan.  I have been working as a clinical social worker for about 30 years.  I live in the Finger Lakes region of NY, where I am surrounded by water and hills and lots of green pastures!  I took up pattern design about a year and a half ago.  I have sewn my own clothing and home decor products since I was quite young, and took up quilting in my early 20's. Surface pattern design became a passion after I took an online class and I couldn't stop!!

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

A typical day when I am not working at my private practice is to get up and have my coffee while writing down all of the creative energy ideas floating around in my brain.  I am most creative first thing in the AM and often wake full of ideas.  So I write them all down, no matter how crazy they might seem, and come back to them later to tease out which of those ideas to develop further.   I then do a little creative reading before I jump into working on patterns.  My days and weeks are defined by ultimate goals I wish to accomplish throughout the year, which are then broken up into which projects for which months, and then each month is broken into weeks with concrete action steps for each week to be able to accomplish my goals.  This is how I prepared for Surtex and it has worked for me as a way of propelling myself forward in my surface design goals.  On my work days, I find time at sketch in between clients, and often am often creating patterns into the night. I am an early riser, so my energy is best in the AM.  

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

If I were 10 years younger I would tell myself to pay closer attention to my creative voice and make it a priority,  to make space every single day to do something creative.  

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

When I feels stuck or in a rut, I go outside into nature, which is my biggest inspiration. I love the changing seasons.  I usually have my camera and my sketch pad with me at all times.  I recently began playing with watercolors, so I imagine that will become part of my traveling "toolbox."  I look at design magazines, I talk to other creatives, I switch up projects that I am working on, or change mediums and I am always game for learning something new.  These are all ways in which I keep myself fresh, challenged and growing in my work. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

My favorite design tools are my sketchpad and markers.  I have recently begun playing with watercolors and I imagine that will become part of my design work as well.  I work in Ai, but am determined to learn Photoshop as well to have room to work with some of my newer ideas. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

Most often, I sketch motifs without thought to what they will become or how they will be used.  Then I begin a design by putting together different motifs to create a pattern.  More recently, I'm beginning to work with the idea of a word or an idea, writing down associations I have with that word and creating a story by putting all of the together in a design or illustration.  I recently purchased an iPad Pro, so I now learning to use some of those apps, e.g. Procreate, Adobe Sketch, but I often still come back to my sketchpad as the place I started.  I like each for different reasons.

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

My dream is to design fabric collections for quilting and home decor projects.  I would love to see some of my designs on upholstery fabrics, wall paper, and home decor products.

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

My 3 design tools - my markers, sketchpad and my watercolors.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Nature is my greatest inspiration.  I spend as much time outdoors as possible, and I love the changing seasons, yes, including the winter!  And gardening is one of my many hobbies, so florals usually make their way into my work as well. 

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Abigail Borg are a few of my favorite designers.  I love the work of Martha Armitage.  

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I would love for people to remember me for my love of color and nature-inspired design work and my insatiable need to learn new things. 

Where you can find me:

http://www.dianesullivandesigns.com,

https://www.instagram.com/dianesullivandesigns/

https://www.facebook.com/DianeSullivanDesigns/

Competition Winner: Brenda Manley Designs Consultation

Super happy Fri-Yay! Especially for one incredibly talented designer from our September FolioFocus class, who has been selected by artist agent, Brenda Manley to receive one to one consultation to help step up their art game and move their business forward. 

Drumroll Please....

And the winner is: Deb Hudson!

Deb Hudson Animal illustrations

Brenda really liked Deb's wonderful submissions and how could she not, just look at the level of adorableness! The subtle textures and vibrant accent colours really draw you in. I can imagine each design on products. 

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Once again, well done Deb. I can't wait to see what you create next.

Wraptious x FolioFocus

During our September FolioFocus workshop, one of the live briefs was to create cushion designs for Wraptious with the theme of Natural World.

These simply gorgeous designs are now available to buy online (with free UK Delivery and Subsidised International Delivery) and boy do they look stunning! Check out the preview below.

You can support our designers and artists by snapping up one of these stylish cushions directly from Wraptious up until after Christmas. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Designer Spotlight: Courtney Capone

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hello! My name is Courtney Capone and I am a surface designer/illustrator living in Queens, NY. I work as a graphic designer by day, and spend my nights drawing, creating patterns and watching tv with my cat, Catface. 

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

I did not know that being a surface designer/illustrator was a job option until recently! I always liked art when I was younger, I was always the kid getting in trouble for doodling in class instead of paying attention. I thought that the only way to be an "artist" as a career was to be a fine artist, and I thought being a fine artist was limited to being able to draw or paint photo-realistically, so I reluctantly gave up on that dream. After college, while working an un-inspiring desk job, I discovered graphic design and went back to school. It was actually in my design program that I learned about the wonderful world of pattern design and fell in love.

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

 I do my graphic design job during the day and when I get home I settle in for some sketching/ideation. I try to do this every night, for a half an hour at least, just to make sure I keep my creativity flowing. When I don't have any freelance work coming in I like to give myself challenges, like posting a pattern a day to Instagram for 100 days. I find that these keep me accountable and challenge me to try new styles and techniques. I recently started working with print studio as a freelancer so most of the art i'm working on at the moment is for them. I'm also trying to open my own Etsy shop, so lately i've been working on figuring out which products are the best fit for my designs!

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

 It would be to have confidence in myself! I feel like I lost a lot of time by thinking I wasn't "good enough", and it seems very silly to me now.

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

Usually by getting up and doing something else! I find that stepping away from the project, even just for a few hours, usually does wonders for me. I like to take that time and take a walk, cook a meal, or spend time working on a separate creative project (i've just started to learn how to use my sewing machine, finally!)

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Big, inexpensive sketchbooks or a stack of copy paper, 6B pencils, any smooth inky pen I can get my hands on, and Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

My design process usually begins with a concept or theme. I think about what I want to convey with my patterns and what look and feel I want to capture. Sometimes I create a moodboard if it's a big project. Then I just draw! I just draw motifs without judging, and just try to create as much as a I can within the theme. For example if i'm drawing Unicorns, I draw them in lots of different shapes and styles and then I start to draw things that could live with them in a pattern, like flowers or rainbows, etc. Once I feel like I've drawn all I can , I go through and pick the motifs I like the best and take pictures with my phone. Then I open the pictures on my ipad and trace with a sketch program so that they are vectorized. I then open them on my desktop where I can manipulate them in Illustrator or Photoshop depending on the effect I'm going for. Once I have the layout set, I start to play with color. I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to color palettes and I like to play around with options until I land on something I love.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

 I did a really fun job for a client who makes nutrition bars for pregnant women, I really enjoyed working on the patterns for that one! There are also a few one-off pattern's I've created that I really enjoy because I think they are fun. Lately i've been trying out a new style and I like a lot of that stuff as well even though its different from the way I normally work.

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

I would love to design patterns that get used on products for Land of Nod!! I love their aesthetic and it would be so cool for my work to be available on such cute stuff. I would also love to do an entire home line for Target!

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

A pencil, a sketchbook and a smoothy, inky pen.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I am very inspired by things that are unusual. I love a weird flower, or an interesting rock formation, or even a very alien looking insect! Nature is the first go-to for me but I also really enjoy looking at vintage packaging, illustrations and advertisements. 

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

That's a hard question! I recently discovered the work for Josef Frank and fell completely in love! Close second are not individual designers, but I am endlessly inspired by Marimekko and Liberty of London. 

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I hope people remember me for having a good sense of humor and being fun to be around! I strive to be a positive force in the world and hope that my work reflects that.

Where you can find me:

 www.courtneycapone.com

Instagram: @courtneyecapone

Photoshop for Painters Class by Megan Dunagan & Brooke Glaser

Hands up, do we have any painters in the house? Keep that hand up if you find editing your lovingly created masterpieces in Photoshop in order to remove your backgrounds so you can rework them? Well, this one is for you! 

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Megan Dunagan and Brooke Glaser spent over six months putting together a class for traditional painters who want to bring their art into Photoshop. It’s for artists both new-to-Photoshop and experienced alike and it’s called Photoshop for Painters.

About the Class

Hate tedious background paper removal? If you are spending hours manually erasing edges and little random bits of paper, the class has some tips and tricks to seriously speed things up for you. 
If a client asks you to change the colour of a single flower in your design? No biggie. Learn 5 essential ways to edit colour - some which take less than a minute.

Photoshop for Painters breaks down some confusing topics like DPI, resolution, colour space and file types, into easy to understand lessons so you can get the best quality prints out of your artwork.

Right now, the ladies have 3 free mini-classes *from* Photoshop for Painters. Great, right?!

All you have to do is sign up at this link for the details. You'll also be in the loop for when it releases and get information on how to pre-order:

http://bit.ly/bmini