I’m excited to share that I was selected as the Spotlight Surface Pattern Designer for the month of June on Shannon McNab’s Sketch Design Repeat blog. If you’re not familiar with Shannon, she is an American surface pattern designer living in Dublin, Ireland and has a wealth of experience in the field. She offers courses to other surface pattern designers to help artists get licensing deals and price their work for profit. Shannon also provides many free tips and resources for artists including a very comprehensive surface design industry survey that is released annually.
Every month Shannon features a different designer on the blog and I’m thrilled to have been chosen. When I first applied I was thinking a great deal about transitioning into this career at the midpoint of my life. I spent the first decade of my career working in house at various ad agencies. I decided to leave the workforce to stay home with our daughter when she was six months old and we moved to the Midwest from San Francisco. A few years later our son was born in Ohio and I continued to be home with our children. I picked up small freelancing jobs — everything from painting murals in nurseries to calligraphy for weddings —but my main focus was raising our children.
Fast forward to 2011 when we moved from Phoenix, AZ back to my hometown of Buffalo, NY. With a 9 year gap on my resume, I had trouble finding work in house at agencies so I began building my own graphic design business. I built up a client list and worked for many local businesses and nonprofits on their collateral materials, websites and logo design.
In 2020, like many of us during Covid, I had a lot more time on my hands. My business changed and I decided I wanted to do something other than graphic design. On a side note, I do have an art background with a degree in illustration and I did get a great introduction in 2014 from Rachael Taylor’s courses. Unfortunately I ended up putting SPD on the back burner as I was still very busy with our kids and growing my graphic design work.
But back to 2020, it was during this point that I started to really focus on pattern work. I took Bonnie Christine’s course, Immersion, in 2021. Even though I had been using Adobe Illustrator for almost 30 years I realized there was a lot I did not know (link to my review on Immersion.) I also received an iPad for Christmas that year and discovered Procreate for the first time. It’s become a game changer for me. I still create a lot of patterns in Procreate, in addition to watercolor paintings, and use Adobe illustrator and Photoshop regularly in my pattern work.
Starting a new career at 50 has been challenging, humbling, thrilling and rewarding all at the same time. In three years time I have learned so much and continue to grow. I’m taking steps each day to improve my skills and I’m super excited for the possibilities in the surface pattern design field.
Thanks again to Shannon and her team at Sketch Design Repeat for the feature!