Custom Patterns by Shelley Steer

If you love animals and the wild, you will really love Shelley Steer’s work. It is stunning and her animal illustrations are gorgeous! The way she lays out her custom patterns is incredible. She creates layered worlds of flowers, foliage, and animals that you just want to dive into and explore.

I always enjoy hearing about someone’s background that’s in the custom patterns industry, and Shelley has a wonderful background to share. She says, “I’m a textile designer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. Long before I knew I wanted to become a textile designer I got my first job as a teenager in a fabric store—I went on to spend the next 7 years working there part-time. After a false start studying Interior Design for a year, I figured out I was all about pattern and wanted to learn how to create it… I switched to a Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) at RMIT in Melbourne and graduated in 2007. I’ve spent the last 13 years developing my skills and refining my style—I now specialize in creating custom pattern and illustration for any surface.”

It’s always wonderful to hear what happens when people identify their creative passion, and it results in custom patterns. Shelley told us: “Make the work you wish you were creating! Many years ago, I worked on A Side Project with Louise Jones—this was a place where we could experiment and make the work we really wanted to be creating. This personal project showed potential clients what we were capable of earning and in turn, the paid work followed.” This is great advice for all of us.

Shelley has shared some wonderful work with us. Here’s what she wanted us to know about her custom patterns: “The images included were designed for a variety of clients, such as The Plant Society (Australia), Sonix (US), and Anthropologie (UK). I’ve also including some personal projects (A Side Project) and some recent experimentation. These custom patterns employ a range of techniques, more often hand-painted with watercolor or hand-drawn with graphite then digitally rendered, and always put into repeat in Photoshop. I find the most inspiration in plant life and spend a lot of time gathering reference images in gardens big and small.”

Be sure to look at Shelley’s fabulous work on her website.

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

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