Surtex Feature: Shannon McNab


It’s going to be wonderful to have Shannon McNab at this year’s Surtex. One of the most notable things about her work is the scenes she sets in her patterns. She tells beautifully illustrated stories through motifs, color, and layout.

A little bit about Shannon that helps you understand her inspirations and background better is: “Residing in the SF Bay Area, I started my career as a graphic designer at Pottery Barn. But I soon realized the corporate world was not for me and two years later, I switched to become a full-time freelancer. From there, I slowly transitioned from graphic design to scrapbook design and finally shifted into surface design full-time in 2016.

“Since then, then I’ve had the opportunity to license and sell 30+ designs and collaborate with clients on over 15 different projects – it’s been extremely rewarding working with brands and being part of the supportive surface design community!”


Most designers evolve over time and we asked Shannon about how this process has gone for her. She said, “When I first started creating patterns over ten years ago, my style was very simple and clean, which I attribute to my years in graphic design, but now my art has morphed into a more hand drawn, imperfect look.

“I still work almost exclusively in Adobe Illustrator though and try to push the limits of vector by mixing in other mediums like gouache or sketching in Procreate. I’ve enjoyed playing with a clash of traditional and digital in my recent work.”

With all the exciting work and opportunities that Shannon has, we were curious to know what she was most proud of. She shared: “I’m especially proud of the last few pieces I’ve completed for my portfolio, which is a mix of character work and hand painted floral and geometric art. I only wish there was more time to complete new designs – less than 9 months between shows this year has definitely been a challenge for my portfolio!”


Aside from working with clients, Shannon has many other passions, which include teaching and supporting aspiring designers. In fact, last year at Surtex, she hosted a live AMA session. It was such a fun time that she’s doing it again this year! If you’re interested in what goes on during Surtex or have any questions about trade shows, join Shannon and see what happens from booth setup on. This year’s live session will be on Friday, Feb 1st at 3pm EST/12pm PST. However, you do have to be a part of Shannon’s private Facebook group, The Creativity Clan. This group has hundreds of friendly, talented, and supportive artists.

Remember, this year’s Surtex is February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you stop by Shannon McNab’s Booth #3383 to enjoy her amazing talents. If you can’t make it to the show or crave seeing more of her work, you can also visit her website.

Surtex feature: Camilla Carvalho


When it comes to Camilla Carvalho’s work, these are the thoughts that come to mind: I love the retro, whimsical feel of her work. It’s funky in such an approachable way. This makes her an ideal person to feature her work at Surtex.

Camilla shared some heart-warming insight with us about her journey in her career up to this point. She says, “As a child, I always enjoyed drawing and doodling, but I never pictured myself pursuing that career path. After working many years in another field, I decided to pursue my passion and now I work as a Surface Pattern Designer and Illustrator.” It goes to show, follow your heart and you’ll realize your dreams!


According to Camilla, this year’s collection is of her latest designed and they are “mostly inspired by nature and are very representative of my Brazilian heritage.”

Our natural question was what is the best description of Brazilian heritage in her patterns and Camilla shared: “I’ll be bringing lots of bold maximalist patterns with eye-catching color combinations that create an expressive feel and statement. I would love to see these designs on all kinds of products like fabrics, stationery, and home goods. But I admit, biggest dream is to see my designs on swimwear, maybe because I’m Brazilian, right? :)”

Remember, this year’s Surtex is February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you stop by Camilla Carvalho’s Booth #4186 to enjoy a feast of the senses. If you want to view more of her work before or after the show, visit her Instagram page.

Surtex feature: Lizzie Clark


It’s time for Surtex again and this year it’s going to be great having Lizzie Clark back again to show her designs. It’s hard not to be enchanted by her floral patterns and her nature-inspired illustrations.

When it comes to Lizzie’s background, she shared with us that “for 15 years, I had a graphic design practice (one-woman show). I’ve been a surface designer for about two years. In this time, I have obtaining a licensing agreement for bolt fabric and am looking forward to my newest collection shipping in February.”


Lizzie’s success has been excited to watch and is appreciated. When asked about her inspirations and techniques, she said, “The images are inspired by nature, and are a combination of paper and pen, and iPad sketches.”

The things that Lizzie loves to create most are wallcoverings, rugs, kitchen and bed linens, and home decor. She is also interested in gift wrap and boxed cards.

Remember, this year’s Surtex is February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you take the time to visit Booth #3779 so you can see Lizzie Clark’s work. If you want to see more work before or after the show, you can also visit her Instagram page.

Surtex Feature: Mable Tan


With this year’s Surtex just around the corner, we’re so excited to begin highlighting the amazing designers who will be at this year’s show. With Mable’s work, one cannot help but be drawn to her charming animal patterns and feminine color usage.

A natural first question to be curious about is how Mable’s career path began. When asked, she shared this with us: “My creative career started out as a journalist, fashion stylist, travel writer, and then a fine art photographer. Currently, my passion lies in surface pattern design because I have discovered you can make a career from making patterns! What makes me unique compared to most is that I’m a self-taught surface pattern designer who is a bit of a Scandiphile!”


When it comes to inspiration for creation and process, Mable’s influences come from many sources. She says, “I love nature and particularly enjoy birds, flowers, and insects. I use a combination of digital and hand-drawn elements when creating the patterns. My style is whimsical and folk-artsy with a twist of vintage. The Woodland Wonders collection, for instance, was inspired by William Morris and it features more intricate and elaborate patterns.”

This is Mable’s first time at Surtex and when we asked her about her vision for this extraordinary show, she have a very thoughtful answer, replying: “As a first-time contender at Surtex, I’m excited to show my style to buyers. I think I bring an element of fun and frolicsome feel to vintage—it’s something old and something new put together, which you don’t often see.”


Remember, this year’s Surtex is February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you stop by Mable Tan’s Booth #3377 to enjoy her amazing talents. If you can’t make it to the show or crave seeing more of her work, you can also visit her Instagram page.

Featured Designer: Michelle Moore

MichelleMoore9_PatternObserverIt takes just one glance of Michelle’s work to fall in love with her artistic style. Her watercolor work is so charming, filled with character and lovely colorways. Whenever I get the opportunity to enjoy someone who’s so gifted at their craft, I have to know more.

I asked Michelle a bit about her career path up until this point, and this is what she shared: “I returned to school as an adult at age 29 to pursue my creative dream of becoming a designer. I then spent 2 years at a fantastic local community college, SUNY Ulster, studying Fine Art. After that, I transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where I studied Textile/Surface Design.


“These were big and exciting changes. Prior to that, I fed my love of travel by working in Travel/Tourism industries. I worked as a General Manager for Marriott hotels and was a travel agent. Today, I use both my travel and leadership experiences to help me grow my own business in this field. I am so excited to be creating everyday and pursuing my daydream. Being fortunate enough to live in the Hudson Valley, beauty surrounds me everywhere. Every day I am inspired by nature, the river, and cool towns like Woodstock, NY.”

It’s easy to appreciate Michelle’s inspiration, isn’t it? Michelle said, “The images I am showing here are all inspired by nature. They were all made using various techniques from watercolor + ink to paper cut outs. I love simple and clean designs with an element that makes each one more complicated. For instance, I might use bleach or a resist in my work, or something fabricated to create a unique texture. I love the perfectly imperfect. I am drawn to whimsical art and design.”


It’s exciting to watch designers grow and come into their greatest potentials. When it comes to the future, Michelle is excited to work toward this worthy goal: “I dream of having my own line of products and designs in major retail stores! In the meantime, I’m just happy chipping away at the big goal, and celebrating each new adventure as comes my way.”

Don’t hesitate to see more of Michelle’s work on her website.

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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.