Monday, 30 September 2013

A bit about myself: Waitress

Big news today, well for me anyway!  I've got a little interview for a part time job, I love designing and would honestly spend all day everyday doing it if I could.  It does get quite hard to be on your own all day though, and I miss the interaction with people!  Going a bit stir crazy, but this will be the perfect opportunity to meet some new people and to bring in a little extra money.

Seeing as though I'm sharing this with you I thought I'd write more of a personal blogpost about me.  I began working part time at 15 as a pot washer and it was the best thing my parents could have made me do!  I felt more independent and I had money coming in every week to spend on whatever I liked.  At 15 I think this was saving up for a nice fancy phone that had a camera seeing as though my Nokia 3310 was albeit indestructible but a little out of date.  At 16 I moved up to working as a waitress and I absolutely loved it.  I've mentioned in my past posts that I am not a very confident person and can come across as quite shy at times.  However I feel at ease interacting with customers and it is especially nice when you do that little bit extra that makes the customer feel like their getting the special treatment. 

A lot of this job is about reading the customers, you've got to know when a customer likes you to chat to them and when they want you to be pretty much invisible.  I've gotten fairly good at reading people and spotting when something is wrong!

After working in a country pub restaurant for years (and years!) I worked in a very busy high class restaurant in the centre of Leeds.  You really get to know your strengths when you are under a huge amount of pressure every shift! It was a huge step up from what I had been used to, but I took it in my stride and loved (almost) every minute of it.  I went from being in charge and knowing the ropes inside out in my previous job to being thrown out of my comfort zone and into the fire.  I met a wide range of people and worked with some fantastic people and incredibly hard workers.  It is an experience that will stick with me forever. 

Christmas was unlike anything I've ever known, the shifts were 12 hours at least and you were on your feet for all but about 15 minutes to shovel down some food.  The restaurant was absolutely packed with huge tables in every direction you looked, people were everywhere.  You just had to stay as calm as you could, which got quite difficult when you were carrying 3 or 4 plates and having to shout above the noise to make yourself heard, all while a customer behind you wants to get out of their seat and another is shouting at you for more drinks! Madness!  The last friday of the year has to be at the top of this though, again imagine the chaos I've described above, mix in about 20 people out of their seats and wandering around talking to each other.  Which meant it was like an SAS course just to get to the table you were serving.  The private room then wanted the music louder so the manager was messing about with the music which was turned up and booming out through the whole restaurant a few times before he got it right.

Well I've learnt one thing about myself, I work pretty damn well under pressure!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Catch up with Lily Reilly

I have Lily Reilly back with us today for a little catch up since her last feature last December.  Since then Lily has had a very busy year (that’s good news!).  

I am still living in Berlin and can happily say that I am comfortably working through the German language which was a challenge for me at first!  I do miss a lot about my home in Ireland, especially the beautiful landscape, mountain views and proximity to the sea. 

So what have you been up with your designing since the feature last December?

Since the last feature I have been featured on over 10 different blogs/sites.  I secured my first licensing deal with US based company Kekacase, which was a great learning curve for me as I found out a lot about licensing.

 That will come in handy for the many more licensing deals I’m sure you will secure!

I helped to organise a group exhibition with two Berlin based German artists which was exciting as it was my first exhibition here.  I have recently had some limited eition screen-prints produced and these are available at two cafes here in Berlin.  Macarons de Stephane and Madame Tartinette.  I have printed new work on metal and exhibited in a couple of galleries back home in Ireland.  My greetings cards are now stocked at one of Berlin's finest Papeteries, Schwesterherz.

Wow it sounds like you have had an exciting year so far and have come so far since the last feature!  Why did you want to become a designer to begin with and what is it you like about patterns?

I think designing is just something that you do and it isn't really a choice.  It's and extension of yourself as all creative careers are.  Patterns make everything look so much more beautiful and can make even the simple and banal things a visual pleasure to have around.  Nature is that detailed and beautiful, why shouldn't man made things be too?

They have to be the best answer's I've ever had to these questions, your completely right, it is just who you are!  What have you learnt in the past 9 months and how do you feel you've grown as a designer?

I have learnt the importance of not following trends and especially not trying to push your style to fit a specific brief.  It if doesn't fit don't do it!  Pick projects that suit your work, don't water down your style by trying to make your work suit projects.  I have also learnt not to take everyone's opinions to heart.  I recently worked on a project and some people were very unsupportive of it and didn't hold back the fact that they disliked what I was doing.  It was hard to believe in myself and what I was doing but I held on and it really paid off in the end.  Remember that people have different tastes and not everyone will like your work, particularly if you have a specific style.

Some fantastic words of wisdom there for new designers, it's hard to hear when people don't like your work, but there will always be some I'm afraid.  What are your plans for the future and where do you hope to be in another 9 months or so?

I hope to start working on a new project, I am looking for more nice stockists for my greeting cards and art prints and I hope to exhibit more with friends.

In an ideal world I would like to sell enough to fund one of my dreams which is to visit Glasgow for a first hand account of Mackintosh's wonderful creations.

Overall I hope to be able to keep doing what I love and for it to be well received.  I hope to challenge myself to do things that I don't think I can.

I wish you the best of luck in the future and hope to see how you're doing in the future!  Lily has also sent us a few pictures of her work space and her newest project.

My studio space, I work at home in the corner of our living area with the company of our little cat Poppy.  Our neighborhood is very quiet and there is a lot of natural light which is lovely and a perfect work space.

Inspiration Board - I put anything that I think is beautiful up on my board, cards from friends, work from creatives I admire such as Sandra Dieckmann, Jane Ormes and Sanna Annukka, photos, concert tickets, anything goes!  Some of these things have followed me over the years and are very special to me.

New work - Moon.  This is a sneak peek at a new series I am working on.


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My Favourite Pinterest Boards

For any of you that aren't yet a member (it's free!) of Pinterest, get yourself signed up! It is honestly one of the most inspirational tools you can have.  Even if you aren't a designer the amount of information on there is phenomenal!  I can guarantee there is something for everyone on Pinterest.  

Pinterest is an online tool for collecting information and organising pictures, tutorials or an array of things from across the internet in one place so you can easily go back to them.  It's a brilliant place to collect tons of inspirational images which you can draw ideas from.

So for example if you are thinking about redecorating your house you can have a browse through Pinterest, use the search bar to search for a certain style you would like to go for and loads of images will come up.  You can then 'repin' them onto a board of your own so you have them all in one place! The same for if you like crafts, have a search through and there are some fantastic crafts on there.

Today I'd like to share with you some of my favourite boards from Pinterest

Ones to Follow!
Wini has tons of amazing boards, from patterns to creative spaces, from books to get to craft tutorials, she is definitely one to follow for tons of design goodness!
Majo's Pattern Ideas board is full of design inspiration, I often draw from images I've found on Pinterest, sometimes the smallest object will draw your eye and spark off an idea.
Yaz Raja is a Pinaholic, which is the best way to be =) She has loads on her Pinboards and I especially love her colour and inspire me boards.

Pattern Boards
I'm always adding to my Pattern board (it's my favourite!)
Patternbank literally have boards for any type of pattern you could possibly want, they are very on trend so are fantastic to follow if you like to design to trends.
Inspire Art Licensing is another company I follow and they have some fantastic boards with up trends for the gift and stationary markets
The Little White Book of Surface Pattern Designers have a combined pattern board which is always updated with new patterns from a huge range of designers
Bethania Lima Designs has organised her pattern boards into specific themes, tons of inspiration here!
Mary Tanana also has loads of inspirational boards, I can't choose which to guide you too because they're all amazing!

My Illustration board is here
Ursula O'Connor has put together a wonderful Illustration board with loads of different styles
Lesley Todd's Illustration Board is wonderfully delicate

If you are ever stuck with colour palettes, refer to Pinterest! The amount of colour thrown your way on these boards is overwhelming!
Julie Ansbro
LAMP-IN-A-BOX's Landscape board is full of gorgeous colour combinations and some fantastic photography, breathtaking!
Yaz Raja
Jane Farnham's Colour board is a delight to browse through too

I've also got a Typography board full of beautifully designed type
Kelly Crossley's Trippy Type board is one of my favourites, she is always updating this and if you love Typography or want to try out making your own then this is the board to follow!
Faye Brown has a wonderful Typography board and a lot of her other boards include type so be sure to check them out.

Other Interesting Boards
I want to draw attention to Wini's blogging board, you can collect loads of helpful information in one place to read later or refer back to when you are starting a blog, or building a website.  You could do this for any number of projects.
Alexia Claire's 'breath taking places' is will show you some beautiful scenes
Sinead Mansell's Packaging and Branding board is full of colour and interesting design

If anyone has any other amazing Pinterest boards please leave a comment!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Update on The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

I took a little trip home this weekend as it was my birthday yesterday so I got to see my family and have a huge roast dinner with all the trimmings.  Then my grandma even made two desserts, so of course I had to have a little of both, it's safe to say I had to be rolled out the door by the end of the afternoon.  My little brother snuggled in bed with me in the morning to have a read of his Dandy and Beano's whilst playing (the out of tune) happy birthday tune on his radio clock...

Anyway, I managed to find the stitched postcard I received last year so wanted to share it with you.  The theme was 'Discover'

As I said in the previous post about the postcard swap, in all the excitement I forgot to take a photograph of mine!  I used the phrase 'Discover what makes you different' Which was embroidered onto a green piece of fabric, I then used some wool to stitch some fluffy sheep dotted around.  It's always good to be different, to stand out from the crowd and to not be a sheep!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Designer Feature: Laura Escalante

Laura Escalante is a Colombian designer graduated from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) with a degree in product and graphic design. Since about a year ago, she has focused her career in Surface Pattern Design and has complemented her studies with some fabulous online courses, such as The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats and other Textile Design Essentials and Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeats in Adobe Illustrator.
Now a days, Laura spends her days drawing and designing patterns inspired by the stunning flora and fauna of her country. She currently finds herself beginning her own surface pattern design business, focusing her work in wallpaper design, and has licensing deals with Kekacase and Kess InHouse. In addition, she was shortlisted as one of the Top 5 Finalists of the Ideal Home Show Wallpaper design contest of 2013 held in company of and Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, who chose her design to be in the top 5. 

A huge congratulations on your successes already and I'm sure there will be many more in the future, so why did you wanted to be a designer and what do you like about patterns?
I remember as a child being surrounded by markers, crayons, colors and paints all over my room, and since then I have had a fascination for hand drawing and colored pencil illustrations and a passion for design. I like the way patterns bring color and life to places, outfits and a wide variety of products, and I believe even the simplest patterns manage to do this. With this in mind, I have loved colorful patterns, especially patterns in stationery, swimwear fabrics, wallpapers, tableware and kitchen textiles. I think I have always been particularly obsessed with colorful pattern scarfs and feel they are a great way to decorate my outfit and bring life and happiness to my everyday life.

How would you describe your style and what is your favorite medium to work in?
I would describe my style to be based on delightfully detailed and delicate hand drawn motifs inspired by nature, which are layered and interwoven with simple graphic elements in gentle and soft calming colors. The color palettes I frequently use are soft pastel colors and bright bold colors; but definitely, pink in a wide variety of tints and shades, is a must on my designs.
I don’t have a favorite medium to work in, but I certainly include in hmy designs colored pencils, fine liner pens, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Laura's motifs are beautifully delicate which you can see below but lastly what inspires you and where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired and amazed by a lot of things in my everyday life, such as packaging designs, stationery, giftwraps, colorful scarves prints, wallpapers, swimwear fabrics, tableware and kitchen textiles. But most importantly, the beautiful flora and fauna of my country inspire my work.
I am not a huge follower of trends, but eventually my work is influenced and inspired by retailer showcases, products people are using, design blogs, designers’ webpages and networks like Pinterest. Though I believe trends are important, I prefer staying true to my style and instinct.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Emma Frances Lookbook coming soon!

I have been working on putting together a Lookbook, which is a catalogue of sorts.  It will display my work and mock ups of theses designs on products.  It is an ideal thing to send off to possible clients for them to get a quick look at my style and to see how they work on real products.  Hopefully enticing them into licensing my designs or loving my style and hiring me!  Well that is the goal anyway.  

I started off with a little research, a lot of my designs aren't in collections but the style and bright colour palettes link them together.  I also wanted to see how I should go about putting the whole thing together and how to lay it out, it has to look professional!
First up I had a look at some other designer’s books, and I hope you'll have a flick through as well as these are some amazing designers and their work is worth a look!
So we have:

Here are a few things I noticed from perusing through their work:

1.      They all work in collections of similar motifs, style and colour (so that’s where I’m going wrong!)

2.      Make sure your logo and name are on the front cover, I think Brandi and Elizabeth’s look great with an image of one of their patterns on a product as well as the title standing out clearly so you know what it is you are about to read.

3.      An intro page is essential.  It gives you the chance to tell viewers a bit about yourself and your background.  Three were written in third person and one was in first person, I quite liked the connection you felt with Elizabeth when she spoke as herself.  It made you feel like this was coming from her heart but third person does make it sound more professional and as though there is a whole team behind you instead of you being a one (wo)man show.

4.      It’s nice to include a picture of yourself, one that also features your designs or studio is a good idea as it ties into you, your job and your life as a designer.  It also gives readers a face to the name.  It makes it a bit more personal.

5.      Make sure your email address is in there, on the intro page and the last page so people see it a couple of times and so they don’t miss it.  You could include other links aswell, your website and blog or social media.  I wouldn’t have loads of links though or it begins to look a bit messy.  You can add links to images like in Rebecca’s Lookbook for her social media links.  Brandi has taken a different approach and put her links on the back cover so you can direct yourself from there after you have read through her book.  Rosie's (Believe Creative Studio) idea is clever though, she has put hers on the last double page so it is included in the book and not overlooked or missed!

6.      As for the layout of the rest of the Lookbook I was drawn to the books that included loads of product mock up images.  They break up the blocks of pattern and make you visualise what these designs would look like on real products.

7.      I think it goes without saying that keeping patterns in collections works well, all of these Lookbooks use this method.  One off designs don’t work as well (so I have a bit of work ahead of me!).  I love Rosie’s use of illustrating the name of the collection.  Putting a simple typed title for each collection works just as well, as long as you have each collection together so people who don’t know your work inside out can coherently see what goes with what.

8.      Most of these designers have kept either a double spread or a single page for a collection.  It depends how big your collections are but keeping them to a double page will help readers see the full collection and how it all works together.  Rosie and Rebecca both do this really well!

9.      Now for how many designs in a collection and how many Stock photos to get.  You may not be interested in mocking up patterns, Rosie hasn’t included this, she has made sure her images are big and the page isn’t too cluttered.  Leaving a whole page for one design or illustration really draws you to it.  Doing this with the main design will bring your readers focus straight to it over pages with several images on.  So you by no means HAVE to produce mocked up images.

If you want to take this route then make sure you buy your stock photos or have permission to use the images.  You don’t want to get into trouble!  These designers have used between 5 and 35+ mock ups , Elizabeth’s images are all mock ups which is the complete opposite of Rosie.  So you really have the full scope of Lookbook’s to learn from here!

Elizabeth and Rebecca both use a similar amount of stock photos and use them several times throughout the books.  Rebecca has given her readers the chance of seeing each of her collections on the full range of products whereas Elizabeth has mixed hers up and not shown the full collection in some cases but only one or two designs.  Brandi has done an incredible job and hasn’t replicated any of her stock photos (wow that’s a lot of mocking up!) and the end product is fantastic.  You see all of her collections on a wide range of different items so get a good feel of how her designs could work across a number of end uses.

Massive well done to all of these ladies for their fantastic Lookbooks and I do hope you have a look and think about making one of your own.  Get in touch if you do and I would love to showcase it for you!  Mine will be on its way soon =)