foliofocus showcase

Be Inspired by Work from our First FolioFocus AW Week

Christine DeCarvalho

Christine DeCarvalho

Last week marked the start of our September FolioFocus session, with a solid design foundation setting focus, to set us all up for the coming creative weeks in the best way. I couldn’t resist also setting a quick turnaround brief with new trend info and boy did classmates rise to the challenge!

Have a gander below and enjoy the beauty and talent.

Youngsun Kim

Youngsun Kim



sinead hanley

sinead hanley

Enrolment for the current session is still open, so feel free to jump in if you can. Follow along on Instagram @RiseDesignandShine for more stunning work.

FolioFocus Lush Lettering

Anne Côte

Anne Côte

Last week's assignment revolved around hand lettering and typography. Have a read to see how Lauren took on the task and some great sources of inspiration from Annie!

Lauren Hamil

"I really enjoyed this week's brief as I don't often work on lettering. I decided that I wanted to create something fun that could work for greetings/stationery as well as children's wear so I started by finding a quote that I felt could work - "Today is the beginning of anything you want" as well as and vibrant colour palette.

lauren sketch 2.jpg
lauren h sketch.jpg

I then started roughly sketching out the words in different styles and planning the layout on paper before using a fine liner to draw final lettering.

In addition to the words themselves I decided to add decorative elements to my design and therefore drew a variety of motifs - mainly flowers but also arrows and swirls. I also did some mark making with paints to later use as textures.

lauren 3.jpg

I scanned everything in and used Illustrator to trace my designs before colouring and adding texture to the various elements. I like to do this initially in one file as sort of an index of motifs which I then pull from to make my designs.

In a new document I then put together the basic layout of the lettering and began adding the decorative elements to them.

Lauren .jpg

Overall, I am really happy with my final design as well as the patterns. I might try experimenting with a completely different colour palette as I think I could possibly achieve a very different feel with different colours."

Annie McGee

"First up I sketched out my initial thoughts to work out my target audience/client, best places to do research & my theme. I’ve been wanting to do something around roller skating for awhile & my son loves his skates so a young lad’s art print for the bedroom it is! 😊 We’re looking to decorate his room as he moves from that little boy stage to almost teen, so I’m thinking a funky street/graffiti vibe influenced by the skate parks. Gone are the Thomas the Tank Engine curtains! 😆

"When it comes to lettering there’s some fab Instagram accounts out there. Definitely check out Lauren Hom, she has a fun weekly lettering challenge on Instagram & provides great tips in her newsletters.

One of my favourite lettering books is the one pictured here by Dina Rodriguez of Very thorough, fab examples & encourages you to develop your own typography. Her live videos are great, check out her YouTube & Instagram (word of warning - don’t watch when the kids are around due to swearing)." 

annie mcgee 2.jpg

Thanks for the insight Annie! 

More Lush Lettering!

Illustrated Recipes Showcase

 Kristy de Castro

 Kristy de Castro

Last week, FolioFocus classmates designed beautifully illustrated Recipes for TDAC (They Draw and Cook) and what a delicious outcome! 

Emma Bresola

"This week I illustrated The Red Velvet, a made-up name for a smoothie recipe, containing berries and red fruits. When I can, I prefer gathered fresh food as reference. Usually I start making some icons and in this case I painted with watercolour.

I made the recipe, 2 patterns, and I made the Red Velvet smoothy for myself and it was so yummy. The name, smoothie and ingredients are hand lettering".


Liv Wan

liv w.jpg

Next up we have illustrator, Live who began her processes with pencil sketches before taking her elements into the computer.

"I was going to illustrate a salad recipe but we had very horrible weather recently and it's wet and cold so I don't really fancy salad. I saw this "Shakshuka" recipe and it looks so delicious, warm and spicy! That's how I decided to illustrate this dish instead".


Leticia Plate

When Leticia shared this sketch at the beginning of the week, I know we were going to be in with a treat when it came to her final design. As expected her final illustrated recipe is colourful, fun and full of energy. I can see these food characters being developed into a story! 


Leticia started with ink sketches which she has digitised without losing the thick and thinks in the line, keeping the original hand-drawn look and feel. 


More Deliciously Illustrated Recipes

FolioFocus "The Everyday" Showcase

Kristy de Castro

Kristy de Castro

Last week's theme in FolioFocus was The Everyday and we had a wonderfully charming trend to accompany the week's brief. Above is piece by Kristy de Castro. Her beautiful use of colour and incredible texture really make these objects something special!

Claire Morosi

Once again we have some work in process images to share. Below Claire gives a little peek at how she approached last week's class assignment.

"I usually start by brainstorming ideas that come from a first read of the brief. What usually happens is something sticks in the mind and then I go off on a tangent - quick sketch, then on to a more detailed one. Sometimes I abandon everything, sometimes I go to a different thought and see where that takes me. There are occasions when I can't keep one thought going and I get frustrated - nothing is coming together. I don't start with a moodboard although I bring ideas together and then look for a spark.

Claire Morosi 2.jpg

For this brief I was thinking about the curtains and window dressings that get left in a house and then I also thought about how beautiful old windows are... what about old room dividers and screen? gates? on to thoughts about what could be waiting to be found in an attic and the ragdoll popped into my mind. Also a while ago we bought a house that was built in about 1870 and behind all the layers of 60s wallpaper was a layer of floral paper that we think was the original wall covering - delicate roses and a lot of faun and sage colour - so that also popped into my mind. I take these ideas and doodles into photoshop and start playing around with colour and texture, size and position. I use a lot of layering in my work so this is also the bit that excites me the most - seeing what effects I can achieve by overlaying.

The work just sort of evolves. For some reason I was looking through some old design work the other day and found some typography - a series of children's rhymes like 'ibble obble blackbobble' and 'High low medium dolly rocky pepper' and I decided to try this sort of thing with the rag doll.

At some point I have to make my mind up and get on with it!

It's exhausting but extremely enjoyable."

Claire Morosi 1.jpg

Thanks for sharing, Claire!

Liv Wan

Liv wan IMG_3560.JPG

Here we a fantastic set of illustrations by Liv Wan, skilfully turned into a repeat pattern. Each element is lovingly decorated with pretty details and full to the brim with character. I would LOVE to get my hands on that apron!

live wan illustration IMG_3598.JPG

More of The Everyday from Classmates

FolioFocus Pet Power

inga circus pets.jpg

Last week's assignment was all about the fabulousness of pets! True to form, classmates got creative with their inspiration and illustrations. Above is a super cute pattern packed with circus dogs and kitties by Inga Zwirschitz. 

Rita Martinez Ilarduya

It's always fun to see a little of the process classmates go through during the week. Here is a peek at how Rita reached her final designs featuring her lovely dog, Willow.

"I was looking forward to this pet power week because I have always wanted to create an illustrated portrait of my wonderful girl Willow (see photos:) and also find character design quite a challenge 

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 11.49.24.png

I usually start putting a moodboard together then draw inspiration from it for my sketches...."

Rita dog sketches.jpg
Rita dog sketches 2.jpg

I think her final collection for back to school and stationery came out great! 


Leticia Plate


"Hello! This is the week I’m sharing some of my creative process... I always have a sketchbook on me to put my ideas down. Most of my sketching happens in my head, while I’m doing something else.

When the idea is ready, I do a quick pencil drawing as the base for my line art, which I render using a brush (or an ink brush). Finally, I scan the line art with my phone (with a scanning app), and send it to either my computer or iPad, where I clean it up and play with colors- Photoshop, Illustrator or Procreate are the apps I use"

One of the great advantages to working through your ideas on a digital platform is that you can quickly figure out placements and ideas, as you can see below.

More Fabulous Pet Patterns and Illustrations

Here's to another creative week! 


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!

Leah q 1.jpg

"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.

leah q.jpg

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.

louise brainwood.jpg

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 Glassop

daniela g.jpg

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.

dan 37877609_1892275197482415_3953048123546271744_o.jpg

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.

dan 37891985_1892285670814701_5004569775326625792_o.jpg

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".

heather powers 2.jpg

More Wonderful Art for Sweet Greetings