Monday, 3 June 2013

Sketchbook Peeks - Veronica Galbraith

It's time again for Sketchbook Peeks and this month we are delving into the sketchbooks of talented surface pattern designer Veronica Galbraith, who I first found out about via Twitter.

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 was lucky to be born into a family of artists/designers.

My grandad was an amazingly creative person. He was an architect, painter and even fashion designer! My mum, uncles and aunties are architects and designers. There was no escape! Since I was very small I would sit next to my mum while she was working and I would draw anything from incredibly complicated buildings to colourful fashion collections. From a very young age I dreamt of going to university to study design or architecture. So I did!

I went to university and did a degree in Industrial Design. Those were 5 incredible years where I learnt, among other things, about graphic, jewellery, packaging, fashion and product design. After leaving university I landed a job designing materials for the fashion industry. I spent 3 years, non-stop, designing printed and woven labels, packaging, catalogues and posters mainly for clothing manufacturers. The job was amazing and I learnt a great deal but the time came to find new adventures.

I came to England 13 years ago. I wanted to do an English and a multimedia course, something short, and then go back to Colombia (where I'm from!). All plans went out the window after I met my English teacher. Long story short, I married him and never left!

After my multimedia course I worked for a website design agency in London for about 9 months. I liked it, learnt a lot but found that my creativity was being buried under a pile of code. I left. Me and my husband moved down to Cornwall in 2003, ready to start a family. I became a mum to 2 amazing boys and I decided to stop working and enjoy these lovely presents for as long as I could. I didn't do any major work for about 7 years!

At the end of 2011 my youngest started school and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I knew it was the moment to start creating something. I started dipping my toes into small graphic and web design jobs. One day, the mum of one of my son's friends introduced me to the Print & Pattern blog and I knew at that exact moment that surface pattern design was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had always loved patterns and my house is full of them, but I never thought about being the designer instead of the buyer!

I started researching about how to get in the business, found The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design course and took it. It has been the best decision ever... I learnt loads and became part of a fantastic network of like-minded people that keep me going on a daily basis. Since taking this career turn, loads of lovely things have happened:
  •  I won a pattern design competition ran by the Pattern Observer blog and got a place in The Sellable Sketch course as part of the prize. 
  • I got 5 pages of my designs printed on the latest Texitura trend book. •
  • 11 of my designs are being published in the new Patternbase book. •
  • I've been featured in several design blogs. •
  • I opened a shop in Society6, selling lovely products printed with my designs. •
  • Some of my designs made it to Indigo Paris, a surface pattern design show, as part of a collaboration with Believe Creative Studio from the Netherlands. •
  • Some of my designs are being licensed by Solid Line Products which will be using them for their line of tablet and smartphone covers (

My next steps are to find an agent that would like to represent me and to find some licensing deals with companies I admire. At the moment I'm revamping my website and creating more pieces for my portfolio so I can approach the right kind of people.

How long have you been using sketchbooks?

I've been using sketchbooks since my first year at university (so for more than 20 years, gasp!) But my relationship with sketchbooks is complicated. I have fallen in and out of love with them through the years. Since last year I started using my iPad as a sketchbook as well, which I love!

How often do you sketch?

I try to sketch every week but that doesn't always happen. At the moment I'm more inclined to start designs straight on the computer.

How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?

That has always been the hardest part of using sketchbooks! I like buying them but find very difficult using them... I have a pile of new sketchbooks, with lovely white pages, waiting for me to make my first mark on them.

When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?

I don't get inspiration from anywhere in particular. I firmly believe that inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, e.g. walks, nature, shopping trips, movies and even my children's drawings!

How would you describe your creative process?

My brain whirls with ideas all day long, it's pretty exhausting I have to say... Anything can become the inspiration for a new design. I keep a sketchbook on my desk and the iPad with me at all times. Sometimes I start an idea on the sketchbook, then scan in and finish it off in Illustrator. But now I find it more practical to sketch on my iPad with my Bamboo pen and a vector illustration app such as InkPad. Then I just easily transfer the design to the computer and continue the process there. It's a great way of saving steps and time!

Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?

Oh yes, they have! At university they used to have the development of one design from start to finish and loads of text/notes on the side. They had loads of product design in them which is quite different to what I do now. We didn't have computers readily available then so everything lived in the sketchbook. Now I sketch some ideas but most of the process happens on the computer. So only the seeds live in my sketchbook nowadays!

What is your favourite medium to work with?

I love using just black pen or markers like Pilot or Sharpies.

Do you have a favourite sketchbook?

Not really. I prefer them if they have fabulous covers but in reality any piece of white paper will do!

If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?

Difficult... I did do a sketch about a year ago and it ended up in a frame as I liked it a lot!

Thanks Veronica for this interesting insight into your life and your gorgeous work and sketchbooks!


  1. Lovely post! Veronica is supertalented and a lovely person. Great combination for a fabulous designer!

  2. Beautiful work! It's always a treat to see other artists' sketchbooks and read about their tools and techniques!

    1. Thanks Jennifer, Veronica's work is gorgeous, it's been great to feature her

  3. Wonderful post and lovely work! I LOVE SKETCHBOOKS and sneaking a peek at other designers fabulous sketches is just yummy eye candy!

    1. Thanks holly, me too, I just love being nosey! If you want to take part yourself I'm always looking for new artists to feature


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