This week we have Suzanne Washington, surface pattern designer....
Before we start, tell us a little about yourself/how did you get into art/craft/design career and how it all started and where you are now
I studied printed textile design when I was at Loughborough university and since graduating have produced prints, patterns, surface designs and illustrations for a number of product areas which have sold internationally. I have also spent some time working for the high street and have been commissioned by brands such as Ness and Harrods. Last year I completed an online course called the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design and I am now developing my own style in order to gain more commissions and license artwork to more products.
Ooh, I'm intrigued to find out a bit more about the Surface Pattern Design Course, I've read a lot about it, and have quite fancied doing it myself. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Well even though I have been working in the industry for a number of years and have previously studied printed textile design I felt that I had lost a little bit of the passion for design and felt the need to go back to basics and re-ignite my inspiration and open new doors of opportunity. I learnt a lot on the course the main benefits for me were ideas on presentation and how to promote yourself and create a brand identity as well as new avenues that I hadn’t really been aware of prior to the course like understanding licensing.
There was also a strong sense of community through the classroom and flicr forums which I have made a few friends through who provide vital feedback on my work and have encouraged me to have confidence in my work. One of the things that was very lacking in the final year of the university course that I did, was crits and peer group feedback, which helps you develop as a designer and give you confidence in presenting your work to the world! As a result I entered and won some competitions and have also have developed my own wallpaper collections with Art 2 Start and Wallpapered.com. I am now looking to expand my collections and open to receive licensing opportunities and commissions directly rather than solely via agency
How long have you been using sketchbooks?
Since university so about 10 years or so.
How often do you sketch?
I sketch or 'doodle' every day to create my designs, most of it is very rough with a lot of notes and annotations but occasional sit down and draw something really neatly.
How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
I tend to sketch rather small scale so it takes me a while to fill one but I love a fresh sketchbook and feel I don't want to spoil it with my spider scribble!
When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
I sketch from photographs or doodle ideas with notes about designs I am planning.
How would you describe your creative process?
I tend to plan quite a bit with lists of what to drawn and then draw icons which I scan into a computer to trace and colour up for a design.
Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?
I used to fill them with magazine clippings and be more like a scrapbook in a way, but now I research more online and collect things in Pinterest etc. so they are now purely for drawings and notes.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
Black pens! Anything from biros, fine liners to marker pens.
Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
Yes I have one that I have been using for a while that I just keep adding to.
If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
Well a big thank you to Suzanne for taking part in the first Sketchbook Peek of 2013. i'm sure you will all agree it's great to nose into sketchbooks again! If you want to find out a bit more about Suzanne and what she gets up to you can check out her website here and her blog here and if you want to find out a bit more about the Surface Pattern Course Suzanne mentioned you can read all about it here