art licensing

UPDATE - Wallsauce Licensing Design Contest: Tips from the team!

As we have a really exciting competition to become a new licensed artist with wall mural and wallpaper company, Wallsauce is underway, I wanted to share some insights to give you the best opportunity of working with this great online company.

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 22.18.29.png

I asked the Wallsauce team to share some insights about what sells well and why to pass on with you. Below you’ll find some handy tips along with example artwork.

Details of the design contest can be found here

Start with what you do well

Try starting with a current design in your portfolio which you really love. Scale it up and tweak it sit well on a feature wall.

Space Vs Density

Don’t be afraid to let your design breath, not every space has to be filled. But on the other hand, if your design is to go big and bold, don’t be afraid - embrace it! 

Examples of good sellers for something that doesn’t fill an entire space include:

Some examples of going big and bold that sell well:

Made to Measure

Wallsauce’s murals are made to measure, it’s therefore a good idea to consider how your design will work at different widths for all shapes of walls. Landscape is the common choice for customers but it may be that the customer’s dimensions are square and they need to select a portion of this design.


This design by Philip Straub is very popular. As you can see, for a wall 3m wide x 2m wide it looks fab:


It also looks great on a wall that’s 2m x 2m, even though the customer won’t get the whole image:


Here’s how it could look on a wall that’s 1m wide x 2m:


Metallic Illusion 

Metallics and glitter cannot be printed as special finishes, but will be printed as an image - which still looks great!

Here’s a collection that showcases this well:

I hope you found all the above info helpful. If you would like help with your design or feedback on you work in progress or finals before you upload, feel free to post in our private Facebook group tagging me or send me an email.

Don’t forget to checkout our Pinterest board if you need some inspiration. The theme is very open so be as literal or lose with the idea of Nature and above all have fun!

Best of luck,

Natalie x

Designer Spotlight: Erin Dollar


Hello, please introduce yourself:

My name is Erin Dollar, and I’m a textile designer and surface pattern designer in San Diego, California. I launched Cotton & Flax, my collection of patterned textile home goods in 2012, and I opened my first retail shop last year!

Have you always wanted to be a designer/illustrator?

Not exactly! Like all kids, I was very creative when I was young, but I was part of the generation that watched Free Willy and immediately decided to be a marine biologist when I grew up. My creative side was at a soft simmer during my teenage years, and I took a lot of art and craft classes, including painting, ceramics, and photography. I had planned to major in Environmental Studies in college, but when I discovered the printmaking department, it was all over for me… I never wanted to leave. Discovering my creative passion as a newly minted adult sealed my fate, in a way.

How did you come to the current point you are at in your career?

When I first started working as an artist, I was working part-time jobs, and spending every spare minute in the studio. I would contribute art to gallery shows, and sell my work on Etsy -- at that point it looked more like a side hustle. I brought my artwork to some craft fairs, and the enthusiasm from shoppers encouraged me to put more work into my creative business, and consider the possibility that it could become my full time job.


Cotton & Flax began as a series of experiments with printing my artworks on fabric, which I built into a full collection. Making utilitarian goods really appealed to me, and by honing my sense of pattern design, it helped me create a distinct style for my work. As the business grew, I’ve partnered with brands on pattern licensing projects. As I continue to grow as an artist, these partnerships and collaborations allow me to experiment, and grow in new directions!

What is your design process?

All my patterns begin as ink drawings. I use sumi ink to draw/paint a pattern onto smooth paper, and then scan and edit in photoshop. I am certain that there are easier ways to design simple patterns, but I find that working on an iPad or computer to start makes my patterns feel too “perfect.” It takes away some of the charm of the hand drawn line.

My design process is usually centered around creating a pattern for a specific product, so I’m brainstorming color choices, and thinking about how the texture of the fabric will affect the design. For client projects, I’m often working from a design brief, so I am thinking about the best way to communicate the idea of the design through my minimalist modern lens.


What does a typical day look like for you?

I have a design studio in San Diego that’s part retail shop, which is where I work from most days. I arrive in the morning, check emails, package and ship out orders from my online shop, and then the afternoon is spent working on admin or design projects. On a good day, I get to grab coffee down the street with a friend or client, and brainstorm new creative projects.

When you feel stuck or in a design rut, how do you get yourself out of it and back on track?

I try to rest, and not beat myself up too much. Experimenting with a new technique or medium tends to help shake things up a bit.


What has been/have been some of your favourite design projects to date?

I’m very proud of the design work I’ve done for Cotton & Flax. Being in charge of the entire process, start to finish, is a huge undertaking, and I often forget to celebrate that fact!


I’ve created two fabric collections for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Arroyo and Balboa. Both are overprinted on linen fabrics, much in the same way that I create work for Cotton & Flax, which has made this a dream partnership for me.

I created a collection of stationery for Scout Books, a company in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, that focuses on creating the coolest notebooks from recycled materials.

One of my favorite commissions from 2018 was a pair of silk scarves that I designed for Deseda. This was one of my first fashion collaborations, and it was so exciting when the samples arrived in my mailbox!

If you could go back 10 years and give your younger self one key piece of advice or an insight, what would it be?

Try to slow down and enjoy your successes more. Find as many like-minded creative folks to collaborate with as possible, and be generous with your time. Sleep more, and wear sunscreen.


There has been an art supply sanction imposed and designers are only allowed to possess 3 items/tools, what do you choose?

Oooh, that’s a tough one! My first two are staples of all my design projects these days: sumi ink, and smooth bristol paper. Almost every pattern in my collection has started with those two tools. I guess my practical side would pick my computer as the third tool… but that’s boring! Instead, I’ll say my Case for Making watercolors, which feel so special and rare to me that I treat them like gold.

Where do you find inspiration?

Walking! I believe that so much of being an artist and a designer is just noticing things, little details that others might miss. When I go on a walk, my brain stops whirring over all the items on my to-do list, and let’s me just daydream and observe.

Which designers, artists or individuals truly inspire you (past or present, living or dead)?

Anni Albers

Anni Albers

SO many: Anni Albers, Eva LeWitt, Yayoi Kusama, the quilters of Gees Bend, and Sigrid Calon come to mind. My friends inspire me constantly, Jen Hewett’s beautiful floral patterns always delight me, and Laure Joliet’s photos capture so much magic. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a truly creative community.

Where you can find me: (your website link, social media links)

You can learn more about me on my website, or you can get a peek at what I’m up to this week over on Instagram!

Call for Art + Trend Reports SS 2019


We have a great opportunity for our Rise Design and Shine community once again! Trend forecaster, consultant and Designer, Emily Kiddy has provided us with an insider look at some of the trends that will be included in her next Trend publication. What’s more, any designs you create for these trends can be submitted to be included in Emily’s industry shared Trend Report. If your work is featured, you will also receive a free PDF version of the full trend publication (for personal use). 

These reports are sold to retail companies with a focus on design for Baby, children and pre-teen age ranges. Many of the designers featured in these reports are approached by the companies using them to either license the designs they see or work on a commission or freelance basis to create something specific – win win!

So if you are currently designing with kids in mind or want to start, this one’s for you!

Why this is a great opportunity:

  • It's free!
  • Get a first look at key trends for the kids market for 2019*
  • Add some new designs to your portfolio
  • Get your work in front of potential clients (your work will be fully credited)

Simply pop your name and email address in the form below and you will get access to download the pdf. You are free to work on these trends as long as you wish but as this is a live call for submissions/brief, if you would like to submit your designs to Emily, you have until Midnight (GMT) Friday 22nd of September.

*Please note that the trend inspiration boards and notes shared with you are NOT to be shared online, on social media or any other public forum. They are solely for your reference, to be used as design inspiration.

Name *

FolioFocus Week 1 Showcase

Last week, our popular portfolio building workshop, FolioFocus, started another round. We kicked off with Florals as a theme, complete with trend insights and inspiration to get our classmates going. WOW did they nail it! 

Here are a few of the beautiful submissions to our FolioFocus Showcase Gallery - you really must see the full gallery here FolioFocus Gallery!

Follow along and watch our classmates on our Instagram account, or join the current FolioFocus session to take part.

Working Ways | Designer Spotlight Interview with Lauren Lowen

In this interview, we catch up with Artist Illustrator, Lauren Lowen. She currently focuses on licensing and art for products. Known for her "Offbeat Characters" and patterns, Lauren is represented by the wonderful, Jennifer Nelson Artists.  

In this interview we get to hear about where she works, how she got to where she is now and some of her favourite projects and influences. 

Watch below or you can also listen to the podcast


Time to Shine: Elena O'Neill

Today I'd love to share with you this gorgeous new line of fun, painterly tea towels...


"My name is Elena O'Neill and I am an illustrator, pattern designer and product maker specialising in watercolour! I am from Wiltshire, England and have the drive to create patterns featuring anything and everything, which I love to apply to handmade products! 

I usually create pencil cases and makeup bags from my patterns, but I have recently created a new range of tea towels in preparation for my first solo craft stall! 

I am looking to continue to extend my product range in the future into more homewares, and I am really excited about"!

You can shop the full range of tea towels and other goodies, in Elena's Etsy shop:

Video Designer Spotlight: Brooke Glaser

Grab a cuppa and tune in for this week's Designer Spotlight with Illustrator & Surface Designer, Brooke Glaser.

We talk about where Brooke finds inspiration, her design process and have a good old catch up!

Watch the video below, or play the podcast:


Time to Shine: New Card Line by Christine Gardner

This completely adorable set of birthday stationery was designed by Christine Gardner. Starting with a pattern collection, Christine then applied the characters to these wonderful cards. 

"I have just launched this new collection which I was only brave enough to complete after taking your FolioFocus course! I was never confident with characters at all but enjoyed that week on the Folio Focus course so much I thought I would give it a go! I came up with the pattern collection first and then added the characters to cards. I'd like to combine the two soon and create a character pattern." - Christine Gardner

These and many other beautiful designs are available to buy on Christine's site:

Designer Spotlight: Alice Potter

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: 
Email me:

BLUEPRINT Preview Part 2: Surface Design and Print Trade Show May 2017

It's May and the print and surface pattern trade shows are coming up fast! Here we have some more luscious art in the second part of our Blueprint show preview. Enjoy! And best of luck to to everyone showing, we can't wait to meet you :) 

Emma Jayne Designs

Agency: Brenda Manley Designs


Kaz Lammie

Exhibiting at Blueprint Show 1 & 2  with Cinnamon Joe Studio 

Natalie Williamson Design

Blueprint Show2: 21st-23rd May, represented by Dot and Flow Design

Lucinda Kidney

Blueprint 18 - 20 May 2017

Exhibiting at Blueprint Show 1  with A Fresh Bunch

Olivia Gibbs

Exhibiting at Blueprint Show 1 & Show 2 with Cinnamon Joe Studio

Pencil Parade Art Collective

Blue Print Show #2, May 21-23

Betsy Siber, Brooke Glaser, Katherine Lenius, and Megan Dunagan

Rachel Schafer

Exhibiting at BluePrint May 21-23

Sareka Unique

Blueprint 21-23rd May

Kimberly K Carter

Blueprint Show 2: 21-23rd May

Cindy Willingham

Blueprint Show #2

Revel Designs