Design, fabric, patterns, Surface Patterns, Wrapping Paper

Enter Surface Pattern Design School

make it in design schoolI am having so much fun with a new creative design arena. Several months ago while looking for fabric swatches to sew window treatments for the guest bedroom I stumbled upon a surface pattern design website. There are thousands of fabrics online, and I found many I liked, but I wanted something different, something special. When I saw surface pattern design, it was my “Aha” moment! Never thought much about this in particular, even though I am a graphic designer.

My graphic design skills have mostly been directed to printed and web work (brochures, ads, booklets, posters, and such), that’s my day job, and I do love it, but it does get boring at times. I’ve made digital house portraits which is digital painting using PhotoShop. Digital Scrapbooking is fun too, yet I’ve mostly purchased other designer’s scrapbooking objects. Oh, I created my own vectors, but not focusing on surface patterns. I just never thought about designing my own fabrics or wrapping paper, or selling my patterns on products. I enjoy sewing and I love wrapping paper, so why not design my own?!

I spent months learning new techniques involved in creating surface patterns. I started at BonnieChristine and was hooked with the process. I joined her Tribe immediately (that was last year, May 27 specifically). The more I read and learned the more I wanted more, hence Make It In Design’s The Art & Business of Surface Pattern and SkillShare are two other favorite online course websites (these two cover almost anything one wants to learn, not just surface patterns. I also like Udemy, and there are several others.  I’m loving this. One thing  leads to another in the design world as there are so many venues and options.

The basic process involves creating an idea board (mood board), taking photographs, sketching items (objects, flowers, animals, shapes, hand lettering), importing these into Illustrator to fine tune, manipulate, and color the objects, create motifs, layout out the design, tweak it, recolor, then create and save the pattern. Next is uploading them to online shops, make mock ups, use the patterns in designing note cards and stationary—all sorts of things. Design once, sell many!

What is good for me is that this gets me back to sketching and painting with watercolors again. Something I had stopped doing several years ago when I turned more digital. Now I can do both. Yes, one can scan watercolor to make beautiful patterns.

And, wait there’s more. Along with process I started learning hand lettering. It’s like calligraphy but with pen brushes, or any type of writing utensil (markers, ink pens, pencil, but I mostly use brush pens).

You’ll find three patterns for sale in my shop at It’s a start. I have a few other patterns uploaded there but they are not available just yet.

I’m enrolled at Make It In Design, a surface pattern design company from Great Britain, for two online courses. Classes start May 21. Since I already know how to use Illustrator, PhotoShop and how to make repeating patterns, I’m taking Module 2 and 3. These are more in-depth courses in the surface pattern design business, along with how to set up shop. I need a little more fine tuning in these details of it all. Can’t wait for the classes to begin.

I’ll share my progress as I go along.

I still haven’t designed my window treatment fabric, but most likely will soon enough. I’ve got to get a few 100 patterns done first (yikes)…practice, practice, practice. Luckily, I’ve been designing for a while so let’s hope it doesn’t take a 100 patterns to get me started.

Wish me luck. Better yet, go buy some fabric or wrapping paper at My Spoonflower Shop. Much appreciated. 🙂

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