How I Found Surface Pattern Design: A Journey of Discovery

A doodle a day

The Beginning

When one door closes …

It was April 2020. I was sitting on my sofa, feeling heartbroken. After 20 years of trying to become a children’s book illustrator, I finally called it quits. I had sent five illustrations from my latest children’s book – I had worked on it for two years, mind you – to Bologna to enroll in the competition for the illustrator’s exhibition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (which is the largest children’s book fair worldwide – so taking part in the exhibition is very prestigious), and due to the upheaval caused by Covid, my originals got lost. This was the final straw. I couldn’t do it anymore.

One doodle a day.
One doodle a day. I started this practice before I discovered surface pattern design.

… another one opens.

This was the time of the first lockdown. The weather was glorious, warm, and sunny. There were no places to be. I had been following a spiritual teacher for some years now, and she offered additional content on Instagram. With nothing better to do, I downloaded the app and discovered – drumroll, please! – Surface Pattern Design! Suddenly, surface designers showed up in my feed. Till this day, I don’t know how this happened (I had no idea there was something like an algorithm). I had always been fascinated by ornaments and patterns. I even had a sketchbook dedicated to this “genre”. But never before could I explore so many beautiful patterns so easily! And there were even courses to take!

The first step in becoming a surface pattern designer!

In October, I enrolled in by Rachelle Holowko. I can highly recommend her course. The best thing is, unlike in other courses, she teaches pattern design with Illustrator and Photoshop equally. I tried Illustrator again, but it somehow doesn’t gel with my way of thinking. I’m still using Photoshop to make my patterns.

So yes, the saying is true: when one door closes, another one opens. Have you experienced that too?

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