Thursday 23 January 2014

What I've learnt working with an agent

Today I thought I would share a bit about how it has been working with an agent.  As a lot of you will know I am a guest designer for Believe Creative Studio.  They are taking their studio to the Indigo Premiere Vision show in Paris this February and my work will be winging it's way there along with several other designers work.

It has been such a fantastic opportunity and as soon as I saw the shout out from Rosie Martinez-Dekker I knew it was meant to be!  She was asking for children's designers to come forward for consideration for the guest designers roles.  I absolutely love to design for children so am just so thankful I grabbed the opportunity when I saw it.

This post is all about how I've grown as a designer because of this and what I've learnt about myself in the process.

First of all, when I put my mind to it, it's really surprised me just how much I can get done.  I never really pushed myself enough before, I now spend my weekends away from the computer, which is a lovely break from the glare of a computer screen. Instead I spend them drawing my motifs and illustrations for the following weeks patterns.  I go through a huge amount of paper, which can't be good for the environment!  It never really feels like work when I'm drawing though, so it's a nice way to spend my weekends if I haven't got plans to go out already.

I love to use Pinterest to gather my ideas, of course when a project has to be kept under wraps you don't want to let the world know as you begin loads of new boards.  So I opened another Pinterest account under and alias and use that for projects such as this.  It means I can collect my ideas without anyone knowing!  I use these to spark ideas for my drawings.

This then sets me up for the start of the week where I scan them all in, this takes a surprising amount of time!  Once this is done I am usually set up for 8-10 patterns.  I divide my motifs up into seperate illustrator files with similar ones or motifs I think will work well together to make a complete pattern. This gives me a good idea of how many patterns I could have from that weekends drawings.

I've learnt that in just over two weeks I have finished 10 designs, not simple ones either, they mostly have a lot of different motifs and plenty to look at.  This may not seem much for 14+ days.  But take 4 days for the weekends for drawing, I then worked every Wednesday and Thursday so had no time for working on these patterns then.  This leaves me with 7 to 8 days of putting the patterns together and colouring them, aswell as coming up with a coordinating pattern for these 10 aswell!  Which works out at more than one pattern and one coordinating pattern a day.  I don't know about you but I'm impressed with myself!

I didn't know I had it in me!

Not only have I seen the rate I can design at, I've learnt tons of new little tips and tricks with Illustrator.  When you spend a lot of time on a software you can find some things take you quite a while to do.  So I would just Google it to see if there was a quicker way about it, and 9 times out of 10 there is!  It's made my work process a lot less painful when you're spending 20 minutes doing something that could take you 2.

It's fantastic working with Rosie and having a mentor there who takes the time to really help you see how you can make your work better.  She likes her 'pops' of colour in patterns, and I've begun to add those pops of colour to make a pattern really jump out in areas.

This is fantastic for children's designs, and I think Boden do this really well, which you can see in the images below.  Children should be dressed in lovely bright colours and wonderfully cheerful patterns.  It's about the only time you can get away with it!

 The white really jumps out against the dark blue background.  
The orange also adds a brighter pop of colour.
 You can see straight away the yellow jumps at you.
The orange again adds little pops against the blue and yellow though.
A softer colour palette but the darker blue and bright red jump out.


  1. Thank you for your kind words Emma, and having such an enthusiastic spirit.
    I loved your attitude and work since first I meet you, so I am glad you were brave and confident to sent your work.
    Trough my research about each designer that wanted to take part of this adventures, I went to every single blog and websites, aside of view their submitted pictures.
    By reading your some blogposts I though I found the kind, commited , enthusiastic and driven designer that we look to work with, and now I know I was totally right, you are awesome person and desigenr to work with.
    Is such an honor and a pleasure collaborating together in this adventure.
    Thanks for your trust and enthusiasm!
    Rosie Martinez-Dekker

  2. Emma - you hit this right on the nose. Having an agent/mentor is very good for your work. My work has changed quite a lot over the past 3 months with Pink Light. Color has been a big change for me as well. I usually work in less saturated tones, but my work has actually become much brighter. No one knows it, because I can't really share it, but it has been great and challenging.

    Good Luck at Indigo!

    xoxo - Brandi

  3. Great post Emma. Thanks for sharing. Best of luck with Indigo