Featured Designer: Fizah Malik

Pattern Observer Featured Designer Fizah MalikPattern Observer Featured Designer Fizah MalikPattern Observer Featured Designer Fizah Malik

Fizah Malik is a freelance textile designer from Sydney, Australia and currently works from home where she is also a busy mommy of a 20 month old. She has been working in the industry for almost 6 years now as a textile designer, and you may have come across her work on Instagram where she has been doing a 100 day project, posting artwork or patterns for 100 consecutive days. As a testament to the power of marketing your work on Instagram, Fizah has recently gotten two international projects (one from the UK and one from Taipei) via her Instagram posts and maintains a strong following.

To see more of Fizah’s gorgeous work you can follow her on Instagram @fizah_malik, on Facebook or Twitter, or visit her website, www.fizahmalik.com. Have a wonderful weekend!! -Chelsea


Our FREE video training helps you turn your artwork into TEXTILE DESIGNS that sell. You’ll learn industry basics and how to make it easy to sell your work. LEARN MORE… 

Textile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Crissie Rodda

Textile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Crissie RoddaTextile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Crissie Rodda

For our third Textile Design Lab member spotlight (previous posts here and here) I am delighted to introduce you to Crissie Rodda. Crissie created the patterns above as part of her collection for our Sellable Sketch e-course in the Lab, and I just love the quirky color palette and the fun hand-drawn details in her work. Learn more about Crissie and her journey into the world of surface pattern design in our interview below!


Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What is your career background and what drew you to textile design?

I live in the beautiful rural city of Hamilton in New Zealand, with my husband and our two lovely little girls.

I have a Bachelor of Media Arts, majoring in Photography, but have spent much of my working life as a graphic designer in corporate marketing and publishing. I’ve also spent the last few years dabbling in wedding stationery design.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a creative soul. Right from when I was a little girl I loved to make and create things – be it miniature gardens, music, drawing or painting, surrounding myself with beautiful things both found and hand made.

I only discovered the practiced art of surface pattern design in June of this year, when I was looking at doing some online creative classes. It was like a little spark was ignited in my belly – I knew this what was I wanted to become a part of and I’ve been totally immersed in this wonderful world of patterns, textures and colors ever since.


What courses have you taken in the Textile Design Lab? What is your favorite aspect of the Lab?

I’ve just finished The Sellable Sketch course and I’m about to start the Ultimate Guide to Repeats. Even though I’ve only just scratched the surface, I know the Textile Design Lab is an ideal place to learn, grow and connect as a textile designer. The Lab is such an amazing place full of amazing resources, tutors and mentors, not to mention the abundant level of support you receive from the tutors and fellow participants alike. Feedback and encouragement is really vital, especially when you’re just starting out and I think its been my favorite part of being part of the Lab so far.

Textile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Crissie Rodda

What projects are you currently working on?

As a relatively green textile designer, I’m all about learning, experimentation and prolific creation at the moment. Taking in as much technical and industry information as I can, entering design competitions and gaining experience while I build up my portfolio and create more collections.

It’s early spring in New Zealand, so with the days getting longer and warmer there is a burst of activity everywhere – especially in my garden. So my next body of work will be based around the feeling, colors and scenes that ‘spring fever’ evokes.


Where do you find inspiration when creating a pattern?

As a naturally artistic person I’ve always looked at the world a little differently, so for me inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere: Magazines, shop windows, quotes, posters, photographs, walks to the park, literally anything that catches my eye and makes me go “ooh”. But being in the great outdoors and nature has always held a great deal of wonder and fascination for me and is always a place I seem to look to when creating something – even when I worked in photography and wedding stationery.

Textile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Crissie Rodda

What do you do if you’re stuck in a design rut or feeling uninspired?

I get outside. Go for a walk, run, go to the park or just sit out in the sunshine. There’s something about fresh air that really soothes me. We have amazing botanical gardens here in Hamilton, so whenever I can I take my girls on a picnic there and we explore and wander taking in the sites, smells and colors all around. I also take loads of pictures or collect a few specimens from our outings, take them home and start to draw. I also find Pinterest a great source of inspiration. I find scanning through the images a great tool in looking and thinking about things differently. Like the way to approach sketching something, color combinations or a new technique to try out in a repeat.


What do you hope to achieve as a textile designer? What are your goals for your career/business?

Like everyone I guess I want to be a successful and sought after textile designer. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, not because I don’t like working for other people, but because I wanted to set my own schedule to make the most out of my best times of the day rather than following someone else’s 9-5 timetable. I love to meet people and grow good relationships, so having my own design label as a platform to pursue contracts with my favorite fabric; home décor and stationery companies would be a great first step. Then to see my designs in my favorite local and international stores would be next and ultimately attending and having a booth at a big trade show like Surtex or Printsource one day would be pretty amazing – especially for someone tucked a way down at the bottom of the world.

But for me success is more than making a good living from what I do – that’s the bonus. I love to design and so I’m really excited to have other people love and engage with the designs that I create; be it some one just like me or an art director at a global company. I guess that’s the luxury of being new to something – the future and possibilities it seems are endless.

Connect with Crissie via Linkedin or see what’s currently inspiring her on Pinterest.


Ready to transform your talent into a thriving career in textile design? Become a member of the Textile Design Lab today! Membership is just $42/month and includes nine different e-courses, a private forum, weekly live artwork critiques, guest expert tutorials, fun design challenges and lots more exciting and helpful content to get your textile design career off the ground. Visit textiledesignlab.com to learn more!

Inside the Studio: Unfinished Florals

Welcome to the second edition of “Inside The Studio”. This is a new video series that gives you a peek into what we are working on in the Pattern Observer Studio and will offer inspiration and guidance as you develop your own collections.

For the past few months we’ve been developing Unfinished Florals. We love how loose and expressive this trend is and how it can be taken in so many different directions. While I have been exploring pattern development using the Adobe Mobile Apps and developing cleaner florals with a modern touch, Jamie has been creating florals using traditional watercolor techniques.

If florals are not your style, or not appropriate for your market, you can adapt this trend to other motifs such as leaves or  geometrics. What you want to capture in this trend is the unfinished look of the artwork. The pattern should convey a sense of discovery or mystery. In some ways these patterns actually show the buyer the process of developing a pattern, the various layers and steps that go into creating a finalized designs.

Have fun with the process but remember, even though the pattern is a little rough around the edges the layout and repeat should remain well balanced.

If you are a designer interested in learning how Jamie creates her unfinished florals join us in the Textile Design Lab. In addition to this tutorial, you’ll have access to countless design and marketing lessons to help you expand your textile design business. We have also compiled a Pinterest board filled with Unfinished Floral inspiration for you to check out.

If you are a buyer interested in shopping from our collection of patterns please email us for more information. 



From the Textile Design Lab: Chelsea’s Challenge – Album Art


Chelsea’s Challenge is one of the design challenges offered to members of the Textile Design Lab, with an archive of more than 60 individual challenges now available. Over the past several years this twice-monthly challenge has been a fun way for me to share design ideas, inspiration, and ways to step outside of your usual artistic comfort zone, and has been a catalyst for countless new collections added to our members’ pattern portfolios. In a recent Chelsea’s Challenge I provided the theme of “Album Art,” asking our members to think about a musician or band that inspires them and to create a collection of patterns that could be well-suited for their album art. I personally love designing to music and find it to be one of the easiest ways to access that pleasant zoned-out state of creative “flow,” avoiding overthinking and just designing from the heart. And that is exactly what TDL member Pupapop did!

pupapop_dm_03 pupapop_dm_04

“I was very happy when I read that the new theme for the Chelsea’s Challenge in Textile Design Lab was “Album Art”. I have always loved the idea of mixing design with music, because music is a real passion for me, so I felt very, very inspired! I decided to design my patterns for one of my favorite bands, Depeche Mode, having in mind that my ideal customer for this would be the band itself, or a fan… like me!

I found that their cover art was based in dark color palettes, grungy textures, hand drawn text and very simple/geometric -strong- shapes. The first thing I did was to pick up the most meaningful colors throughout their album covers to use them as my color palette for the collection. Then I made a little research about trends for 2016-17. And after that, I began to hand draw my motifs and texts. Then I scanned them and colored my artwork in Illustrator. I have to say that this process was a lot of fun and joy for me because I was playing Depeche Mode all the time, and I loved it!

Finally I reached a very satisfying result. I couldn’t be happier! I feel that I practised and learnt a lot with this challenge. Thanks Chelsea and everyone for viewing my works!”


Visit Pupapop online at www.pupapop.com, or visit her on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.


Ready to transform your talent into a thriving career in textile design? Become a member of the Textile Design Lab today! Membership is just $42/month and includes nine different e-courses, a private forum, weekly live artwork critiques, guest expert tutorials, fun design challenges and lots more exciting and helpful content to get your textile design career off the ground. Visit textiledesignlab.com to learn more!

Watercolor Techniques with Lital Gold

This month in the Textile Design Lab we are honored to host guest expert Lital Gold, a textile designer and artist originally from Israel, who moved to Philadelphia in 2011 to work as part of the print-and-color team for Free People and now works from her own studio as a print/CAD designer. You can read more about her in our interview here. Today we hope you enjoy this short excerpt from Lital’s beautiful tutorial on watercolor techniques. Join us today in the Textile Design Lab to access the rest of this in-depth training!


Before you start, take your brush and paint some free lines with it. See what kind of results you can get with it and choose the ones will work the best with your trend.

Old and overly used brushes can be great tools for making nice textures. They are also good for “drier” techniques like acrylic. They will give the line a “buzzy” feeling. Try brushes that have different shapes for textures and, as always, feel free to be creative. Try textures you don’t usually try.


After warming up a little bit, take a quick look at your color palette and make sure you stick to it. It’s true that colors can be adjusted easily in Photoshop, but it’s always good to stay close to the source. Sometimes I’d paint small squares at the corner of my paper with my color tones.

You can start with sketching your artwork’s outline with a light pencil (I use B). Make sure not to use the eraser too many times, it ruins the paper.

If you need a good eraser, I usually use FRESH BREAD (yes!) – take a piece of the doughy part and make a ball with your fingers. It’s the best eraser in the world, just make sure not to accidentally eat it afterwards, like I sometimes do without paying attention…

Making an outline is not a must, but it helps with the planning process and with making changes. However, it’s not always necessary, as different artworks can have a freer style to them.

Working with watercolor and inks are nice and simple as long as your working space is clear and relatively organized and you don’t work too fast.

Use different amounts of water for every line and learn how to feel when you don’t need anymore water. The most unique thing about watercolor is that the paint spreads, and, if you can control it, the result is amazing. Here’s a simple way of doing it – work with a lot of water and make sure that both your brush AND surface are soaked with clean water. Then, place your brush on one spot and let the paint spread out. You can then work with a little piece of cotton fabric to absorb the water.


Pay attention to the way the colors merge into each other. Sometimes you can stop them from merging too much by putting a little piece of paper towel on the area.

Here’s an example of how to work in layers and create depth with watercolors. The movement and direction of the hand that’s holding the brush is the key here, along with the amount of water. I usually let the paint dry for a minute or two (sometimes even more) between the layers and I highly recommend it. Watercolors need a lot of patience… The darkest mark of paint occurs at the end of a given line (in other words, the visible boundary will happen at the point where the brush lifts from the page)



Don’t forget to switch brushes, as different lines require different thicknesses. Be creative with your process. This working technique has so many different options to offer – you don’t have to use all of them, but be aware of them and know how/when to use them. Most importantly – have fun!


Become a member of the Textile Design Lab for a closer look at Lital’s watercolor techniques as well as her suggestions for designing with trends in mind. TDL membership is just $42/month and in addition to our monthly guest expert tutorials you also will receive access to our private forum, nine different e-courses, fun design challenges and lots more exciting and helpful content to get your textile design career off the ground. Visit textiledesignlab.com to learn more! 

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.