surface

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/

Designer Spotlight: Heather Rosas

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hello! I'm Heather Rosas. I'm a surface pattern designer and illustrator. Most of my work is for the Children's and Baby Markets, but I'd like to start expanding into other markets as well. I started out in college as an Architecture Major, but after two years I became much more interested in Graphic Design. I ended up transferring to the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston majoring in Graphic Design. I always wanted to focus on the Children's Market, and I ended up getting a job as a designer at a children's novelty publisher called Intervisual Books. After that I moved on to Mattel and worked in the creative department for Barbie Consumer Products. I learned all about licensing there, so when I decided to license my own artwork, I had bit of a background. I've been doing this for about 6 years now. I live in Southern California with my husband, two children, three guinea pigs, one dog, and one fish. So, I'm never bored!

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

Actually, I had never heard of a pattern designer until I became one! We didn't have that major at the college I went to, so it never occurred to me. At BCP, I was on the team that would design the Barbie style guides that the licensees would use to design product with. We would work with trend experts, fashion designers, and illustrators and come up with collections that had icons, patterns, borders, illustrations and photographs of the doll. I really enjoyed that part of the job and it's pretty much what I do everyday now.

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

After I bring my kids to school and walk my dog, I have a quick breakfast and try to dive right in to my workday. I have a much shorter day than I'd like (usually 9 to 3), because of all my responsibilities at home. I have to get used of lots of interruptions. I also do a lot of waiting in my life.... waiting at ballet lessons, basketball practices, piano lessons.... so I always have a sketchbook and pens and pencils with me. When I get a few hours to work, I have to really focus to use the time wisely. I try to have one main goal everyday. It has to be very specific, not "work on art". More like: sketch 10 icons for new collection or research inspiration, reference, and color palette today. Sometimes after I get the kids to bed and if I have the energy I might do a little work at night, but honestly, most of the time I'm wiped out!

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

I would say, don't put so much pressure on yourself! Little by little, work on your goals, but remember to take care of yourself, too. This is a long term career and if you work a little everyday you will accomplish a lot after a few years.

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

I would look at some of my favorite stores and artists and see what they are doing. Read some of my favorite blogs. Spend some time on Pinterest. Look at some vintage children's books. Try out a new art medium. Take an online class. Basically just play and not put pressure on myself to make something that's going to licensed right away! But to be honest, my problem more often is not having enough time to accomplish everything I want to try out. That is something I haven't solved yet!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I use Illustrator the most, but I love Photoshop too and have been taking some online classes to learn more. Right now I'm trying out cut paper, and that's really fun because it takes me away from the computer (but quite messy!). I also love painting with gouache and watercolor, but I'm still learning and experimenting. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

If I'm starting on a new collection, I start out with research. I'll make a Pinterest board for the collection and pin reference photographs, color palettes, inspirational art from history and present time. I'll try to see what's trending right now. Maybe different ideas on how to add texture. Even products that I might imagine the collection being used for. This gives me a place to start. Then I will spend a couple of days just on sketching. Sketching from reference, sketching from imagination, experimenting. Maybe sketching with cut paper or black ink or gouache. The next step is usually inking the best sketches, scanning them, and turning them to vectors in Illustrator with live trace. Then lots of time experimenting with color. Next I'll put some pattern repeats together and make some digital mock-ups with Photoshop. I've found that putting the extra time to put together a mock-up really pays off, rather than just showing a pattern. I usually just purchase the mock-ups from Creative Market or Design Cuts, because my time is so limited.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I have a couple projects that stand out for me. I did a Holiday Collection with CR Gibson a few years ago. It was all produced with felt and hand-stitching. We still put the Christmas ornaments on our Christmas tree and hang up the Advent Calendar every year!

I was lucky enough to do a nursery decor collection. There was wall art, banks, nightlights, bibs, blankets, and picture frames. It was a woodland animal collection. My daughter still has the fox and owl bank on her shelf in her room.

I also did a greeting card with Design House Greetings. It was sold at Trader Joe's and I think between my Mom and my Aunt, every one of those cards in the Santa Barbara area Trader Joe's was bought by one of them! 

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

I would LOVE to do a bedding collection with Land of Nod! 

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

Oh no! That would be terrible! I would say: pencil, sketchbook, Illustrator.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Pinterest, Instagram, nature, vintage children's books, art history.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

I love Charley Harper. So ahead of his time. His art looks current and modern and relevant and yet is 60 years old! Amazing!

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I hope people remember me as a great wife and Mommy. I love making art and I think it's important for everyone to have their own passion, but my husband and children always come first.

Where you can find me:

web: www.heatherrosas.com
instagram: @heatherrosasart
facebook: www.facebook.com/heatherrosasillustration
pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherrosasart/

Designer Spotlight: Julie Harrison

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

My name is Julie Harrison and I’m a Graphic Designer and Surface Pattern Designer from beautiful Brisbane in Australia. I am the sole owner and designer of Pattern Play Studio (www.patternplaystudio.com), and it is my goal to design beautiful, bright, modern and playful pattern designs for both fabric and paper.

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

Growing up I was always creative and Art was my favourite subject at school. I started my career as a Graphic Designer in 2003. I had not heard of the term Surface Pattern Design until about 2009 when I discovered the excellent Print & Pattern blog by Bowie Style. That was when I had my creative ‘lightbulb’ moment. I knew EXACTLY the type of art and design I wanted to create, and what industry I wanted to work in.

At the time, I was working at a global Engineering company as a Senior Graphic Designer and, although I enjoyed designing for big, exciting projects and working on branding campaigns, I was not liking the corporate office environment anymore. I knew I needed to keep designing, but also knew it was time to switch industries. I made the decision in 2015 to make the shift to Surface Pattern Design. But I did it sensibly by changing to part-time work at first. This gave me one full day a week, plus nights and weekends to work towards my dream.

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

I love starting my day sitting at my desk with a tea or coffee in one hand, a pen and paper to write my ‘to do’ list in the other. I usually catch up on social media first and then check on my emails - all before 7:30 am. I am happy to say I am fully self-employed now and I love working from my little studio space. It’s been a year since I left my previous position and I have not looked back!

I am consulting in graphic design to support me financially, and my work and schedule is varied and flexible, which is great because I can focus and allocate time to developing designs for my surface pattern design folio. So, right now you could say my typical day consists of designing, creating, learning, researching, drawing, painting, completing administration tasks, phone meetings with clients and printers and planning marketing activities for Pattern Play Studio. There is always something to do.

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

Everyone says this and it’s true - be prepared to work hard and put yourself out of your comfort zone. It won’t come easily. Enjoy the process and the journey as you go because it takes time and you need to continue to keep searching for new opportunities every day and be brave in chasing those opportunities down. I’m still working on it! Also, relationships are the key. Work recommendations will come from people you know, so it’s important to treat people well and be easy to work with.

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

I just try to give it time and try not to freak out. I acknowledge I have a creative block or that I’m in a design rut and I try to do something completely different. That might be watching a good movie, reading some creative magazines or even baking a cake. Or I’ll tackle the dreaded paperwork and sort out my tax receipts. That’s enough to make me reach for a paint brush or my mouse and mac again!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my uni pens and sharpies  and of course my wacom tablet.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

I start with quick sketches, research the subject matter, investigate colour palettes and by then I’m usually itching to get on my mac. Or if I’m painting, I set my desk up, get my paints ready, paper towel, fresh water and clean brushes. I need to have a tidy workspace in the beginning, but it sure doesn’t stay that way during the ‘creative’ process!

My favourite programs are both Illustrator and photoshop. I think it’s good to be skilled in using both programs efficiently. My artwork varies between flat, graphic and bold vector designs to bright, playful watercolours and paper cut collages – usually always florals! I also appreciate the workflow efficiency I get using my ipad pro and Procreate is a great app too.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I am still relatively new to the surface pattern design industry so the projects I’m proud of to-date have all been through my own efforts and to aid in promoting Pattern Play Studio.

As part of my project experience in the world of surface pattern design, I’ve designed patterns for textiles and have used the fabulous services of Next State Print in Melbourne, Australia.

Infact, I recently upholstered a 1960’s Wrightbuilt wooden arm chair with a watercolour floral I designed and that Next State printed on their beautiful Organic Panama canvas. That chair sits in the corner of my studio and it puts a smile on my face every time I look at it. It’s comfy to sit in as I flick through design magazines too!

I haven’t had any artwork licensed yet. I mentioned in the beginning that this industry will take time, and I’m prepared to continue to work hard to make it a reality.

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

I want to design for both paper and fabric. So to start with paper, I would love to design stationery for Madison Park Greetings or gift wrap for The Gift Wrap Company. Then the fabric dream would be to design a range of fabrics for Wyndham fabrics or Cloud9 or even to design for Marimekko. Why not aim high? I’m a firm believer in dreams.

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

Seriously hard to choose just three. But if I had to choose…Pen, Paper, Mac.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Oh…good question. I love foraging in old flea markets or antique stores. I flick through old books or home and decorating magazines, and sometimes I look at Pinterest. I’m very mindful to get off-line a lot, however, and do my own research and think of my own solutions. I notice patterns in nature, find inspiration in my travel adventures and the photos I take and remember vividly my childhood and the bright bold florals of the 1970’s.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

William Morris, without a doubt.

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I hope to be remembered as a kind, friendly, and genuine person who was always supportive and ready to help lend a hand or an ear. And someone who also happened to be an amazing designer.

Where you can find me:

Website: www.patternplaystudio.com

Instagram: @patternplaystudio

Twitter: @patternplayart   (patternplay studio was too long…..)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patternplaystudio

Designer Spotlight: Kath Watmough

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi, I'm Kath and I am a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer working from home in Padiham, Lancashire UK. I did a degree in textile design, specialising in printed textiles at the University of Derby. After 16 years working for Hallmark UK / Hambledon Studios I set up Kath Watmough Designs in October 2013. I work on a freelance basis for clients in the UK and China, designing greeting cards, gift wraps, gift bags, money wallets, crackers and calendars, for retail and wholesale markets worldwide.

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

As a child I loved colouring books and I would spend hours colouring in. I remember being interested in patterns around the home and in my grandma's house; I think this is where my love of mid century art comes from. Anything art related I showed a real interest. I knew from the age of 11 that I wanted to work in the creative industry.

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

Once I've got the children off to school, I check my emails, put some music on and start work. I like to do my research, get inspired. I look at trends and different themes. I work 5 days a week and weekends when deadlines are approaching but try to keep weekends free for family time.

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

To be less critical of yourself, it's okay to make mistakes. Being a perfectionist can hinder your creativity. I enrolled on Module 1 of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course back in February 2016 and I found it really helpful and inspiring. It took me back to basics which I'd not done for years and I loved it! I rediscovered the fun element of mark making again. At the end of Module 1 I entered and won the typography testimonial competition and got a free place on Module 2! It was a real boost for my confidence.

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

I have a break from the computer, make a brew, do some housework; this soon gets me back to doing what I really love! Other times I'll do some mark making with different materials or look at design books for inspiration.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my Wacom pad and I would be lost without it. Pentel brush pens, Uni pin and the pigma micron pens are great for finer line work.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I like to sketch my initial ideas in pencil first. Once I'm happy with them I use layout paper or tracing paper and draw in pen before scanning them in. I then manipulate my scanned drawings in Illustrator. Colour is really important to me and it is the first thing that catches my interest. I like to do a bit of research on colour and look at different colour palettes and what's on trend. I look at pinterest and magazines, as they are a great source of inspiration and for researching trends.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I have sold a large number of my designs for gift wrap use only and here are some of them that I enjoyed creating.

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

I love stationery products, so seeing my designs in Paperchase would be a dream come true.

I would also love to see my designs on fabric and wallpaper.

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

Pencil, Uni pin pen and paper.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Everywhere! From household objects to nature. Visiting exhibitions, books, pinterest. Me and my family went to Barcelona last year and I found lots of inspiration there. I think I drove my children mad because I kept stopping to take pictures of patterns everywhere I went.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Ooh this is a hard one! There are so many great designers. I love 1950's vintage patterns and I love designs by Lucienne Day.

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for creating colourful designs that make people smile and brighten up their day.

Designer Spotlight: Miriam Bos

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

My name is Miriam Bos. I am an illustrator and surface designer from the Netherlands. I live in Apeldoorn, a city that's located in the middle of the forests and moorlands of the Veluwe. I really enjoy living here, as it gives me plenty of inspiration for my illustrations.

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

I would tell myself to try and go to bed earlier, instead of working late nights to catch up with deadlines. I still need to remind myself that this is often very counterproductive in the end. You exhaust both your body and mind at some point, which, in the long run, slows down your productivity during the day. But it's hard to get it out of your system once you get used to it. I still struggle with it sometimes because I'm also by biological design more of a night owl than a morning person. But going to bed early makes me feel better during the day, which means I'll get more done in the end. :)

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

Sometimes there is no time for it, but if I can, I will put away that design and do something totally non-related. Which usually means I start working on another creative project, haha. But it can be anything, really.

One of the things I like to do is going to the gym and work out on a cross-trainer for an hour straight. It's not as much fun as working on a creative project, but when you are trapped on a cross trainer, there is just no other way to go. It's just you, your body and your mind. To me, it works wonders most of the time. I like the exercise and the routine. It keeps the blood flowing.

When I am working out, most of the time I'll get all kinds of fun and creative ideas which I tend to write down in the little notebook I bring along. Or I use the time to brainstorm when I am stuck on a project.  I can't do this at home for some reason :) (Too many distractions, I guess.)

Another thing I like to do is going for long walks. It kinda works the same way as a work-out, though I always get distracted more easily by my surroundings.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Definitely my gouache paint and my Wacom Cintiq

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

My design process can be quite impulsive sometimes.

It can start with a sketch, but more often I sort of brainstorm, and simply start drawing randomly until an idea comes to mind. 

Then I start working on a composition and work out the details. 

A lot of the time I start with gouache on paper (and any other material that's within my reach). Then I scan it in, and when needed I will cut out elements and adjust the composition on the computer. Enhancing or changing colours is also part of the process. 

Photoshop is the program I go to most of the time. And Adobe illustrator comes in 2nd. 

My favourite app is definitely instagram. I love to see what people create and it's a great medium to share my own artwork as well.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I like a lot of the projects I've worked on, but if I have to choose, then I think it will be my Hidden Garden collection for Birch Fabrics (http://miriambos.com/the-hidden-garden-birch-fabrics-2) and the Mistigri game with cats and dogs that I made for the French publisher Auzou (http://miriambos.com/jeu-de-mistigri).

In 2015, Birch Fabrics approached me to create a fabric collection inspired by ‘The Secret Garden’. A classic novel (1910) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The collection has been released in December 2016.

'The Hidden Garden' is a beautiful story about the friendship of a girl and two boys who find a secret garden and work hard to make it bloom again. I was listening to the audio version of the book while working on this collection. If you look carefully through the designs within this collection you will notice that I've hidden the old padlock key among the characters a couple of times. It's the same key that the girl is holding in the main design with the old entrance door that leads to the garden.

The Mistigri game was a lot of fun to work on. French publisher Auzou approached me to illustrate the so-called 'old maid game with cats and dogs', and of course I couldn't refuse. 

The game contains playing cards with pairs of dogs and cats, and it was a pleasure to create all these fun little characters. One of the dogs, the little dachshund who's drawing cute butterflies, was named after me by the art-director. 

In French the game is called ‘Mistigri, de chats et chiens’, and it's available on Amazon.

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

Someday I'd love to have a product with my design on it with Anthropologie or perhaps Land of Nod.

I realize these are two very different clients, but both work in categories I really love. I personally don't feel bound to either adult or children's themes.

My dream project would be a set of dishes or pottery with my artwork on it. Or perhaps a collection of Tin Tea cans (which I collect myself).

And for the Land of Nod I would enjoy designing a whole room for children that includes bedding, furniture, plushies, playtents, whatever would be fun. Who knows... someday? You'll never know. :)

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

A large tube of gouache paint (W&N Ultramarine blue), a fine cat tongue brush and a big moleskine watercolour sketchbook. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Everywhere I look. Designs I see on people's bags or Clothes. The flowers and trees in the gardens and, store windows or sometimes simply a combination of colours.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Hmm that is always a tough question because for me that changes all the time. But I guess I've always been a fan of our Dutch Fiep Westendorp.
She was an illustrator who was pretty famous here (and still is). She is from the same period of Marie Blair, and you may find some similarity in their techniques, though they both had their own styles.
And lately I discovered my fondness for Gustav Klimt, technically not a designer, but his work is so gorgeous.

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for someone who made art that leaves you with a warm happy feeling or a smile on your face.

Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Olwen

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

I’m a surface designer and sometimes illustrator from Toronto. I create patterns and illustrations and license them out for all sorts of different products, like bedding, rugs, pillows, aprons, floor tiles, stationery, fabric and so much more. That’s one of the things I love most about what I do — I never know what new kind of product collaboration is around the corner.

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

There will be many challenges, but if you push through, work hard and devote yourself to something you love, they all make you stronger, and your success is so much sweeter. Celebrate what makes you different. And always trust your gut.

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

Top tip: don’t freak out. After many battles with this, I have come to accept that there are ebbs and flows with my creativity. When I’m in a rut, I remind myself that creativity is like a boomerang — sometimes it feels like it’s getting far away, but it always comes back to you. And sometimes it comes back with gifts, like new ideas or directions you might not have had if you didn’t have a bit of space from it.

That said, sometimes I find the hardest part is just getting started. I find myself avoiding work for fear that I might not create something I like. I simply make a deal with myself: just start and spend 15 minutes. If it doesn’t happen in 15 minutes, you’re free to walk away. But usually I sit down, and within 15 minutes I remember how much I love what I do, and am having a blast.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I love my ipad Pro and apple pencil, as well as my Wacom Tablet, for drawing motifs.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I usually start with good old fashioned pen and paper, away from my computer. I find that I feel most free when I’m away from my computer. I sketch out lots of ideas really loosely and get them out of my head and onto paper. Then I’ll either go back and explore them further on paper, or lately, I find I love just hopping onto my iPad Pro with apple pencil and exploring there. Lately, I’m obsessed with the Adobe Illustrator Draw app, but I also rely heavily on Inkpad — both apps export vector files, but Inkpad also retains strokes so you can further adjust once I’ve exported to my computer. Ultimately, I take my artwork into Adobe Illustrator, where I lovingly assemble all of my patterns.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I always love designing fabric — I work with Cloud9 Fabrics who are amazing and always really let me do my thing and support my ideas. I absolutely love seeing how people then take my fabrics and create something new… I think creativity is essential to happiness, so it feels so special when I have a part in someone’s creative play, it’s a privilege. My most recent collection with them is called Underwater and it’s based on my first foray into snorkeling on the Mayan Reef.

I also love working with the Land of Nod who always gives me super interesting and creatively challenging projects. Last year, I got to design a set of wooden baby blocks. A big undertaking, each of the 26 blocks had 6 sides and required a different illustration, and I had a blast working on it. I also love doing bedding with them. I have some crib sheets with a nest theme, and I’m always seeing pictures on Instagram of people’s babies curled up in the nest motif and it warms my heart.  

And some projects are just so interesting and unexpected, things that I wouldn’t have dreamt about working on… floor tiles, or lamps, carved wooden chests, paper dolls. You just never know what’s around the corner.

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

I would love to do a wallpaper collaboration, pretty office products, or gardening products like cute plant pots. I’d also love to a cosmetics collaboration, doing packaging!

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

Pen, paper, ipad.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I find inspiration everywhere I look… I think it’s important to always have your eyes really truly open to what’s around you. I’m inspired by my city — Toronto is an amazing city with a pulsing creative energy, and I have lots of talented friends here! Sometimes it’s the pattern on an old mattress waiting for trash collection, or the shape of a leaf in my neighbour’s garden. I love used book shops and flea markets, and pick up things to bring home to my studio — I think it’s important to surround yourself with beautiful things. I take a lot of pictures when I’m out and about and somehow all of those images culminate in my brain and come out when I’m doodling. And I’m endlessly inspired by nature so I try and escape the city and get out into it when I can. Travel is also a huge inspiration for me — the inspiration from those adventures constantly fuels my work.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

William Morris

When I'm long gone, I hope people remember me for spreading beauty

Designer Spotlight: Deb Hudson

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi I'm Debi, I'm an artist from Melbourne, Australia.

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

Be braver and strive harder, you've got nothing to lose and so much to gain!

 

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

I search for inspiration in shops and online places like Pinterest. This always gets my creative juices flowing again.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

Coloured pencils and inks. I love blending my coloured pencils and highlighting with inks.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I research online or wherever it takes me and then sketch out ideas and when I'm finally happy I work directly on paper.

I use a few colour correcting apps on the final piece.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I have had lots of fun in an online class for Make Art That Sells. Here are three of my favourite pieces.

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

I'd love to design for Land of Nod or Oopsy Daisy.

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

Coloured pencils and paper and I'm set :)

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I find inspiration everywhere, from window shopping to my children's toys. 

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

I don't have a favourite as there are so many great designers.

I hope people remember me for my colourful drawings that made people smile.

Where you can find me:

Web: www.debhudson.com

Shop : www.redbubble.com/people/DebiHudson

Instagram : debi_hudson

Facebook : debhudsonartist

Designer Spotlight: Claire Wilson

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi! I’m Claire and I’m an illustrator and surface pattern designer, working from a small studio in my countryside home in Northamptonshire, UK. I love to create fun, illustrative and colourful designs to make people smile. As well as producing my own range of greeting cards and art prints which I sell through my online shops, I also license some of my designs through The Paintbox Art Agency for use on greeting cards. I also work with some UK retailers on a freelance basis across a wide variety of projects, some of which have included bedding, nursery products, children’s bedding and nightwear apparel. Over the course of the last year, I have completed all four modules of the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design and was fortunate enough to have been shortlisted as one of the top 8 for the Printsource 2016 Competition. I absolutely love my job and feel very lucky to be able to do what I love every day. 

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

Be strong and just believe in yourself. You will experience a lot of things in the years to come; some bad, some good and some amazing! Stick with your gut instincts, go for it and most importantly, have fun.

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

I’m getting much better at knowing when to take a break from something that’s just not working, instead of sticking at it and trying to force myself to carry on - it just doesn’t work! I have to take myself away from my desk and do something completely different. Whether that’s exercising, seeing a friend for a cuppa, baking a cake or taking my Springer Spaniel, Bertie, out for a walk in the countryside that surrounds my house. He’s a great distraction and I find a change of scenery can really help to clear my head and allow me to re-focus.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

My Wacom tablet and pen – I can’t use a standard mouse anymore, it just feels so clumsy! I love my retractable pencil and brush pen too, and have several pencil cases full of lots of different drawing pens. I like to work on loose sheets of paper as I personally find sketchbooks really intimidating and feel pressure to make every page amazing which is a bit silly really! Single sheets also make it a lot easier for me to scan in my sketches and work on them digitally.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

I spend a little bit of time researching and collecting initial ideas and images from magazines or Pinterest, then I put on some music and start sketching! I have music on all the time as I really can’t handle working in silence! The type of music can help to influence and inspire me, and often gets me into a good creative zone. If I’m struggling, often changing the music I’m listening to can really help. I usually start my process by quickly sketching out rough ideas in pencil first to get them out of my head onto paper. I then draw them up in more detail, refining and changing the design as I go. If I’m designing patterns for a new collection, I tend to draw out individual elements first and bring them together in Adobe Illustrator to form a pattern, playing around with colours, composition and scale. If I’m creating new designs for greeting cards or art prints, I usually sketch out the full composition I want to create and then I use my light pad to trace over my pencil lines and create black ink versions which I can then scan into Illustrator and use the Live Trace tool.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

Being a freelancer, I get to work with some great clients and I love the wide variety of projects that I’m asked to work on. It’s always a great feeling when you can see your designs on real life products for people to buy - I never get bored of that buzz! It can also be quite challenging and often pushes me way out of my comfort zone, making me work in ways that I wouldn’t usually work but it’s a great feeling when I manage to achieve what my client needs. One of the most recent examples of this is a stag bedding design I created for Dunelm.

I’ve also been working with Avon over the past year to develop some cute new characters, Ava & Friends, for use on nightwear apparel and homewares. The first phase of this project has recently launched and it’s great to see the characters used across a variety of products. Characters have never been something that I’ve felt comfortable designing, but I’ve proved to myself over the last year that I’m capable of designing them. So the biggest lesson for me is to believe in myself, to say yes to new challenges and to worry about the how later!

I was also fortunate enough to have some of my designs selected by Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine during the Make It In Design Ultimate Portfolio Builder Course last year. I was really excited to see the designs published in their recent October edition of the magazine and loved the idea that people could make their own Christmas cards using my designs!

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

I can’t resist playing around with product mock ups to see how my designs could be used across different product categories and as a result, there are lots of different areas I’d love to get involved with. I’m a stationery geek at heart and love to collect cards, notebooks and gift bags, so it would be great to work with Paperchase on a collection of different products. I’d also like to see some of my designs used on fabric so I’d love to work with Dashwood Studio or Cloud 9 Fabrics to create a collection – it’s great to see the wide variety of products that people make with those gorgeous fabrics.

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

My pen collection, Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I find inspiration everywhere, from simple everyday household objects to all things bright and beautiful outside. Nature inspires me a lot and being surrounded by beautiful British countryside means I’m never short of inspiration. I find myself naturally drawing lots of flowers and leaves in quite a bright and stylized way, but have recently been trying to develop my hand lettering and character skills too. I spend quite a lot of time doodling and sketching as I find it helps me to unwind and relax. Sometimes those doodles turn into a finished design and sometimes they don’t but it doesn’t really matter, I just love to draw!

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Wow, that’s a really tough question to answer, there are just so many incredibly talented designers out there! I don’t really have one favourite designer that I look to for inspiration but I’m constantly discovering new talent and current designers whose work I love and find inspirational. 

When I’m long gone, I hope people remember me for being a hardworking, fun and friendly person who loved to create bright and colourful designs that made people smile and feel happy!

Where you can find me:

Website: http://www.clairewilsondesigns.co.uk

Shop: http://www.clairewilsondesigns.co.uk/shop/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireWilsonDesigns

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairewilsondesigns/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairewilsondesigns

Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/clairewilsondesigns/

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/ClaireWDesigns/

 

Ask an Agent: Brooklyn Nest Studio Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lacey from the Brooklyn Nest to gain an incite into their thriving studio. She gave really great advice on several topics, I really recommend watching it.

Where to find The Brooklyn Nest:

Website: http://www.thebrooklynnest.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebrooklynnest/

Tradeshows: Blueprint & Surtex 2017

FolioFocus Week 7 Roundup!

What a wonderful week of people power! This was a tough one but at the end really great designs :)

Here are a few from Instagram, Facebook and our Gallery can be found here: flickr.com/groups/foliofocusaw16/