How stunning are these detailed florals by Jane Cooke?! Jane is one of just eleven designers to have received the Pattern Observer Award of Excellence, for designers who have proven themselves to be talented artists, trustworthy partners and emerging leaders in our industry, and we are delighted to share her story with you today.
“I found Pattern Observer a year ago and have been working my way through the courses and sharpening my Photoshop and Illustrator skills with guidance from the PO team. It’s been fantastic and has really given me the framework and motivation to get my business off the ground. The designs featured here are part of my “Floral Fiesta” and “Hummingbird” collections, and were created during the Mastering Your Market course.
I recently moved from England to British Columbia, Canada, and I’m excited about drawing inspiration from the landscape and nature here. My art and design background is in teaching both painting and printmaking. I love traditional printmaking and textural prints created from collagraphs and I’ve recently invested in a printing press. I’m looking forward to experimenting with a combination of traditional printing and digital design while expanding my collections for the home décor, apparel and stationary industries.”
Is your eye drawn to the colors and patterns you see on clothing or in home decor? Do patterns fill your doodles, drawings and artwork? You could make money in the textile design industry. Get our FREE video training today!
Rebekah Strunz-Sherpa is a current Textile Design Lab member and designs under the name April Hitchcock Pattern Design. She recently completed our Sellable Sketch group study, having created this beautiful pattern collection. By the end of this course our students understand what elements lead to a successful print collection like Rebekah’s, the importance of staying true to your artistic style, how to pick appropriate trends and inspiration sources for your target market and how to develop a print from sketch to digital file in both Illustrator and Photoshop. The next Sellable Sketch group study begins Monday the 16th in the Lab, join us here!
About the Collection
I decided to target the home decor market with this collection, and specifically I had an Australian direct marketing company in mind at the time. My research got me interested in the earth forms trend, the beautiful colours and layers that show through in rock formations and in crystals. I feel a strong affinity for crystals and the mountains, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to spend most of this year in Nepal trekking and living in a remote Sherpa village. During this year I’ve seen some amazing scenery. The Himalaya Mountains are powerful and ancient and I love the way the history of the formation of the mountains is evident in the layers that show through the sides of the cliffs, particularly in the Mustang region with its barren, treeless landscape and beautifully carved mountains. I wanted to try to recreate that to an extent with my collection, using the limited art and technology resources I have available to me. I played with watercolours and textures a lot to begin with, but I also love working on the computer and most of my work ends up heavily manipulated in Illustrator – to good effect I hope!!
My Sellable Sketch Story
I actually just stumbled across Textile Design Lab and the Sellable Sketch course one day after I decided I was going to wrestle again with the art of surface design, and actually creativity in general. I’d initially studied face-to-face at a private college in Australia but once I left there some personal circumstances left me demotivated and uninspired, and I felt poorly equipped to tackle the surface design industry on my own. I was really floundering and just kind of gave up. But they say a change is as good as a holiday, and I guess my move to Nepal has been like one long holiday. I felt re-energised and ready to flirt with creativity again and an online cookie trail just led me to TDL. I hesitated to begin with about joining and when I did join I then hesitated with the Sellable Sketch course to begin with because I think I was actually just afraid of failing. Of getting in too far over my head and looking like a fool. Of being surrounded by such wonderful and talented people that I couldn’t even begin to compare to them. And I was. Everyone who was part of the Sellable Sketch group study was incredibly wonderful and talented. But they were also incredibly supportive and encouraging. And I learned that I am just like them – I am wonderful and talented too, I do compare and as long as I tried then the idea of failure became a case of semantics. When I left my face-to-face studies I was not producing anything like the work I produced in the Sellable Sketch, and so I’m incredible amazed and proud of the work that I produced. I don’t view this collection as my work alone, because without the feedback from all of the other participants and the teachers within the Sellable Sketch group study I don’t think I would have pulled together a collection that looks like this. This collection really is a result of the many voices I had the honour of engaging with as part of the Sellable Sketch group study, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. And now I’m excited! I just want to keep going. I’m working on my next collection and I’m taking it slowly, enjoying the daily sketching process – something I always fought against! I am still afraid of failing, and that’s okay. It means that I now approach my work with more care and thought than I might have once done and that’s not a bad thing!
Ready to uncover your unique artistic style and pair it with relevant trends to create a focused pattern collection? Join us in the Lab today to take part in the next Sellable Sketch Group Study starting on Monday, November 16th. We can’t wait to work with you!
You may remember Dikla Levsky’s beautiful textile designs from our past posts here and here. Today Dikla is back with her new collection of patterned scarves, kimonos and blouses and we are so excited to share them with you! All photos by Michael Topyol.
“I am Dikla Levsky, a textile designer based in Tel Aviv, graduated from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. In my work I focused on print and pattern.
I take special interest in different cultures and traditional textiles. In my work I interpret those inspirations into new colors and motifs – always hand drawn by me and only then translated into different printing techniques.
This season, my mind was set on traditional textiles and art from Asia and Africa.
For the first time, some of the scarves are printed in Italy, on a beautiful twill silk fabric. The rest of the collection is hand printed and hand drawn, with great attention to details.
In this collection, there are not just scarves, but also unique hand dyed Kimonos from wool and silk and beautiful blouses inspired by ethnic vests. All the prints are original by Dikla Levsky.
Side by side working on the brand’s collections, the studio is happy to discuss collaborations, custom prints and projects with other designers and companies.”
Welcome to this month’s 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.
While I have been working on the launch of our new studio website and a few custom client projects, Chelsea has been busy working on developing a new collection based off the WGSN trend: Tidal Beachcomber.
As the name implies, this trend focuses on objects and textures one might find along the beach. From water ripples to textural shells washed ashore, an endless amount of print and pattern inspiration can be found at the beach and in our oceans.
The Tidal Beachcomber trend immediately caught our eye for its mix of hand-painted textures and hand-drawn geometric designs, two elements that we love to create in the Pattern Observer studio. Chelsea created this collection by going into what she calls “mad scientist mode.” She fills her desk with a variety of paintbrushes and media and whatever odds and ends she can find that might be useful for stamping (in this case cardboard rolls, mini clothespins, bubble wrap and Blu Tack) or as a resist (washi and masking tapes and hole punch reinforcement stickers.) She sets herself up with a mixing palette (using a plastic egg container and a paper plate,) water to clean her brushes, and keeps paper towels handy in case of spills, and then she just has fun and experiments to create various textures and patterns that she then layers and combines in interesting ways.
To see her step by step guide through her development process please 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. You can also check out our Tidal Beachcomber Pinterest board to get loads of inspiration and collection ideas.
For the month of November we are delighted to welcome Kim Gann as our guest expert in the Textile Design Lab. Kim is a licensed artist with wall art, needlepoint, flags and fabric under her belt, including two collections with P&B Textiles. Later this month in the Lab Kim will be sharing a tutorial on creating art for digitally printed quilt fabric (stay tuned for an excerpt!) For now we invite you to get to know Kim in the interview below.
Tell us a bit about your design background/career path. What led you to the world of art licensing?
I am a self taught artist with no design background other than what comes from within. I know my path is directed from God who created me as an artist. I once said this to a group and was told I shouldn’t say that because some people would think I was crazy, but it is my belief. I have been painting and drawing my entire life. My favorite gift as a child was a fresh box of crayons. My path traveled into crafts in my 20’s. My business was called Eggs Etc. I painted wooden egg Christmas ornaments as well as driftwood, gourds, okra, sand dollars, rocks, anything that didn’t move. In my 30’s I opened my first art studio/ shop in October 2001, just after 9/11. Everyone told me I was crazy then too, but I knew it would be ok. During this time I painted mainly landscapes and still life’s, but never painted just for me. In my 40’s I had a change of life, went into the family business recycling scrap metal from vehicles, but needed to paint. So on Labor Day weekend 2009 I nailed 2 nails into my kitchen wall, hung a 24×36 canvas and began painting this chicken I envisioned. This was the beginning of The Chicken Coop Series and this painting was Cuppa Joe. That weekend I also met my husband to be who gave me the support and encouragement to paint my ideas. With his continued support and ideas that my art should be on everything I started researching how to get my art on product. We would go into stores and he would say “your art should be on that” so we would look at the bottom of the product, make notes of the manufacturer and/or artist and I would research. In January 2012 I discovered Surex and in May 2012 I exhibited there. I didn’t get any contracts, but did get lots of contacts and ended up on the front page of their website for 2013, which was amazing! In 2013 I was discovered by P&B Textiles and had my first fabric collection Flying Sweetly for 2014. My second collection was Fancy Feathers. Both were in the Digital Line.
What do you enjoy most about licensing your artwork? What would you say are the biggest challenges of working this way? What drew you to licensing over selling the copyrights to your designs?
I love seeing my work on product and feel it is a better way to get it out in the world rather than just as prints and notecards. It’s great to be able to paint something once, but have it printed on so many different products. When I painted eggs I had to paint each one, the same thing over and over. When someone mentioned putting them in magazines and getting them out into the world I said no, I never heard of licensing. I thought I would be painting each one of them and I was already painting Christmas ornaments in July. I don’t really find it challenging to work this way unless I have several deadlines due at the same time. I paint better alone, so me time at the studio is great. I do like to make things with a group. I have chosen to license because I want to keep some control of my art. I also want to be able to freshen up older pieces and use them through out my career, if possible. I feel if I sell the copyright, I would have to wipe it away from my portfolio.
Could you tell us about your experience working with Red Carpet Licensing?
Red Carpet Licensing is great! It’s the place to be to have a one on one portfolio show directly with the art directors. I have direct access to companies I am interested in working with and can share my portfolio or new work with them and it goes directly to their inbox. With Red Carpet Licensing I am still representing myself, but there I don’t have to submit to a general submissions email. I can simply share my info with the companies I am interested in and they can see my profile and portfolio.
Could you talk a bit about the different licensing trade shows you have attended? Do you have any tips or suggestions for designers interested in exhibiting?
I have attended and exhibited at Surtex. It’s a great show to meet people, but very costly. When I exhibited exhibitors received free entry into the National Stationery Show and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The National Stationery Show is a great place to talk to individuals who are selling their own goods, there’s more than just stationery. I didn’t attend last year, but have heard there have been changes. I would suggest designers do a lot of research about the show they’re interested in exhibiting at and actually walking the show first. If you decide to exhibit display only your best and freshest work. Don’t try to show everything on your walls, that’s what portfolios are for. You could have your portfolios organized by styles, year of creation, etc. This way you can show more or all of your work and you need to have lots.
Tell us about some of the different products/markets for which you currently license your patterns. What are your favorite products/markets to design for and what makes them so enjoyable?
I currently have art on needlepoint with Artneedlepoint.com, flags with Toland Home Garden, wall art with Laila’s and fabric with P&B Textiles. Fabric is the most enjoyable to me because I love to quilt, sew and make things. Being able to create with my own fabric designs is like a dream come true. I have such a deep connection with fabric coming from a family of quilters. It really excites my soul to be able to sew with my art. If I had to choose only one thing to license, it would be fabric. Something new is in the works!
How did you arrive at your unique design style that defies your brand? Was this something you had to intentionally cultivate or did it come very naturally? Do you have any advice for designers who struggle to put out a strong message about who they are as designers?
I love color, so everything I create ends up being really colorful. I have a hard time with neutrals, they don’t make me happy. To me it’s natural for art to be bright, vibrant, happy and whimsical. I believe if designers will create art that makes them happy and won’t get wrapped up in what anyone else is doing, their art will convey the strong message of who they are as designers.
What role do trends play in your design process? Do you find that trends hold as much sway in the licensing world or is the personal style of the designer a bigger factor?
I don’t really keep up with trends, but I am aware of them. Sometimes I find myself incorporating a trending icon into my art, but I never follow the color trends…they don’t make me happy. I believe personal style is a bigger factor in licensing, remember… you want to be different, you want to be you!
What have been some of the challenges you have faced throughout your design career and how have you overcome them?
My challenge is the business side of being a licensed artist. There’s a lot of work, it isn’t just painting, sewing and creating all the time. Submissions are very important and keeping track of it all. You have to keep yourself out there. Social media marketing takes a lot of time as well. I have a day planner I keep dates in and I create folders on the computer for the different companies I work with and want to work with. In those folders I add the artwork I send. I create email folders for all correspondence with companies I work with or submit to. I haven’t overcome my challenges yet. Maybe I’ll get an agent.
Become a Textile Design Lab member to gain access to Kim’s tutorial on creating art for digitally printed quilt fabric when it becomes available later this month, in addition to all of our past guest expert tutorials and the other helpful e-courses and features of the Lab. Visit textiledesignlab.com to learn more!