Monday, October 21, 2013

teaching // Reign Repeats :: challenge 1 :: winner

Shelly!!! You are the happy winner of a $100 Spoonflower giftcardPlease email me your full name, postal address, phone number, and email :)

Pie Bird Song
FIRST PLACE- pie bird song by Shelly Penko

37 people voted and the blogpost had almost 300 views this past week. (Thank you to everyone who stopped by, voted and/or commented!) I closed the contest yesterday at 9pm (Colombian time) and these were the final results:

results updated at 9pm on October 20th, 2013

PS. I'd also like to congratulate Shelly, Robin and Celia (3 of my Reign Repeats students) for being part of the Pies contest Top 10 designers. I'm really proud of you three. Great designs! 

one more thing…

 don't forget about my current sale and enroll Reign Repeats today! 

SPD RedCarpet // Emma Hawman

Good morning everyone!

Welcome to SPD RedCarpet Mondays, the series dedicated to surface pattern designers and their work. Today's guest is British designer Emma Hawman, the designer behind Emma Frances Designs.

Hi Emma, tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and bred in the North Yorkshire countryside, growing up on a farm I was surrounded by tons of inspiration. My mother has always been creative and loves crafts so encouraged me from an early age to pursue my love for drawing, painting and making things. I studied Art and Design and Textiles throughout school and it came as no surprise to everyone that I went on to study Textile Design at the University of Leeds. Now I am freelancing and building my own brand up whilst working part time and looking for new work experience opportunities, so very busy!
What is it that you like about patterns? Which one is your favorite pattern style?
I am quite an organised person (well…my bedroom may occasionally look like a hurricane blew through) so I think the preciseness of technical repeating patterns appeals to that side of me. I honestly don’t think I could pick a favourite style, I love all sorts of different types of patterns, I do love a delicate floral pattern though!

How would you describe your style?
I’d describe my style as using hand drawn sketchy motifs mixed with delicate colour palettes. I try to make it harder to see the repeat in my patterns so you have to work to see the tile.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you follow trends?
I find inspiration absolutely everywhere, I constantly have a camera on me all the time and am always taking photos to draw from. I can’t wait to get back home for the summer and snap up all of the flowers in my Grandma’s garden! I try to keep up with trends and am interested to see what future trends may come about but I don’t often apply them to my work, I like to work freely and let my creativity flow in whichever direction it feels like at the time.

What color palettes do you prefer?
I love anything from pastels to bright contemporary palettes, often in my own home I like quite crisp and clean colour palettes with the odd dash of colour that stands out. In my pattern designing it depends on the feel of the design and what I am designing it for.
When you design, do you do it thinking of a final product? Which market would you like your designs to be on?
Sometimes it jumps out as soon as I draw the motif and sometimes it take a little longer to see which market the pattern would work best in. I absolutely love interiors and the thought of making my homes (and others) more beautiful by filling them with pretty patterns.

Which Design tool can't you leave without?
It has to be my pencil and paper, which is where it all starts. I love my Wacom tablet but much prefer the control I have when I’m drawing on paper. Oh and fineliners! I love the beautifully crisp lines they give.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My first licensing deal has got to be my biggest achievement, it was such a heart racing feeling seeing the email in my inbox! It is such a huge stepping stone in the right direction and I can’t wait for more to come along. In five years I would love to see myself with plenty more licensing deals under my belt, having built my brand up I would like to be selling my own products, hopefully have exhibited at a show and most of all be making a living from doing what I love.
What's your favourite patterned possession? Why?
I have a weakness for pretty patterned summer dresses so have quite a few in my wardrobe (it’s hard to say no to pretty patterns!). Here is my favourite!

Who is your favorite surface pattern designer? Why?
Ah favourite designer! I honestly cannot possibly choose, there are so many talented designers in this industry with so many different styles, I’m awestruck by so many!
Where can we find more of your work and products?
I can be found on my website and blog, and you can contact me via email.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Emma a bit better. Don't forget to check the other places you can find her (above!) :D to see more of her beautiful work! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

teaching // Reign Repeats :: challenge 1 :: top 6

Nine days ago I was working on my editorial content when I received the worst news ever: my Dad, the man of my life, was suddenly taken from our side. He was the most wonderful man, husband, dad, surgeon, friend, teacher I've ever met. Many came to say goodbye and to tell us how much impact my dad had had in their lives. We feel so proud of him, and knowing he'll no longer be around to make a difference in this world makes this loss more painful and inexplicable. It is so incredibly hard and I can't seem to know where to start or where to find the strength I need, but I know the best way to honour him is to keep going, achieve my goals and dreams and make him the proudest Angel up there. 

I'm taking a minute at a time to be able to get by… everything is so foggy now and planning isn't something I'm able to do right now. However, I set this challenge a while back and gave you all my word today was the day I was going to post my top 10. So here I am, keeping my word (one of the many things my Dad taught me.) 

I challenged my old and new students to create a design to enter Spoonflower's Pies contest, and asked you to follow the project guide and post the link to the design in Spoonflower in the challenge announcement. Not many did; which made my choice easier (although a would have liked a bit more engagement… maybe next challenge will be more inviting?) I originally wanted to post my favourite top 10, but ended up posting the top 6 that followed the guidelines. All 6 designs are great in their own unique way and deserve to win the award. I'm sure you'll agree with me once you look at them and read what I like about them.

* * *
I love Jane's autumnal colour palette and retro flair. The motifs are beautifully detailed and illustrated and overall the repeat is very appealing. It would make beautiful kitchen accessories.
A- unnamed by Jane Sanders

I love that Jenn's design isn't literal. Yes… it includes pies, but its folksy influence makes it very original and beautiful.
Pie Birds
B- pie birds by Jenn Busch

Shelly's design has a lot of beautiful details that make it alluring and interesting. I particularly like the cherry background and the patterns used in the pies. 
Pie Bird Song
C- pie bird song by Shelly Penko

I like that Katie's design is bold and graphic. Very modern and eye-catching.
Easy as Pie
D- easy as pie by Katie Lenius

Celia's is graphic and bold too, but what I like the most about it is its modern colour palette and use of textures. I also love the fact that it makes a great new geo pattern.
Slice of Pie!
E- slice of pie! by Celia Forrester

Luciana's design is whimsical and bright… just yummy!
Pies and Apples Dark Turquoise Blue
F- pies and apples (dark turquoise blue) by Luciana Haddad

Hard to choose just one now, right? Please vote for your favourite design below (only one vote per person allowed) and don't forget to leave a comment if you want to tell the designers something. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to know what you all think. The winner will win a Spoonflower giftcard of $100, and will be announced next Monday here.


Monday, October 7, 2013

SPD RedCarpet // Gill Eggleston

Good morning everyone!

I'm so happy to be back with my SPD RedCarpet, the series dedicated to surface pattern designers and their work. Today's guest is British designer (living in France) Gill Eggleston, the designer behind Pattern Addict.

Hi Gill, tell us a bit about yourself.
I am British and from a large town in the North West just outside Manchester. I studied a BSc in Textile Design and Design Management at U.M.I.S.T, graduating from there in 1993. I was fortunate enough to start work with Dorma CVHF immediately, initially as a drawing board designer (back in the days when we used to get dirty, using ink, paint, pastels etc plus repaint/rework and rehash of designs by hand). 
I had about 10 months of 'just being creative' then was offered an opportunity to take on further responsibility which lead to subsequent promotions within the studio there over a 5.5 year period. 
The following 10 years involved working in and around the textile industry in a variety of product development and sourcing roles dealing within a myriad of product groups.

In 2008, I left the UK to live in France with my partner. We lived on the Riviera for a few years (which was very nice) then due to work commitments moved up to the Paris region at the end of 2012 from where I have been focusing on breaking into the world of freelance surface pattern and textile design (still early days). 
Pattern Addict' Design Garden came about after I decided to take the plunge into the deep waters of SPD and joined module 3 of the ABSPD course in September last year . As I hadn't worked outside of industry before I felt I may be missing a few key bits of information relating to working in a freelance capacity. It was a worthwhile investment in many respects - mostly because a large group of talent has formed on the back of it which is great to be part of. 
As for the name, well as a pattern addict...the name just seemed so appropriate (plus I like gardening)! :)

What is it that you like about patterns? Which one is your favorite pattern style?
For me patterns bring humour, smiles, colour and even a bit of envy into my world (the latter being envious that I wasn't the designer in a particular instance). The world would be a dull place indeed without pattern. 
I do enjoy the crisp simplicity of Scandinavian designs, they are a complete contrast to my own work really and not a style I have ever designed but maybe that is why I admire it.
How would you describe your style?
Quite bold, colourful, a little quirky. I like to try and create a sense of movement in my designs where possible and retain the nuances of my own hand.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you follow trends?
I look all over for ideas - out and about around the fashion stores, art books, nature, also with the web these days there are lots of resources for finding inspiration - I often take my own photos as start points for textures/florals etc but also like looking at the old school designers as to how they put designs together. As for trends, I tend to be more focused on colour trends as essentially people shop by colour the pattern (not always the case).

What color palettes do you prefer?
I like working towards the brighter end of the colour range so any palette that has fabulous contrasting colours and a few colour oddities in there gets me all flustered as I like to see how I can make them work (or not).
When you design, do you do it thinking of a final product? Which market would you like your designs to be on?
I nearly always think 'textiles' -force of habit- soft furnishings mostly -also I photo map designs onto blanks to see if they look any good for scale/motif etc- I suppose I would have to say textiles/textile products.

Which Design tool can't you leave without?
My hands and black marker pens/pens in general… old school stuff plus scanner or camera.

What has been your greatest achievement so far? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Greatest achievement… mmm I think for me it has to be managing to stay up to date in the industry - I came from a non-CAD background and only recently started using it (from beginning of 2010 really properly) so feel pretty pleased with my progress as it was a major sticking point for me. Within the next 5 years I would like to have put together a small range of my own work - be it surface pattern or illustration and be selling it successfully.
What's your favourite patterned possession? Why?
I bought some Chinese silks scarves while I was in Shanghai, one in particular caught my eye and drew me into the little shop - firstly for colour and also it has butterflies on it which I love! I haven't worn it yet but I will...

Who is your favorite surface pattern designer? Why?
I think for visual aesthetic Eugene Alain Seguy - just love his work. I just have to look at the colours and shapes he created to feel inspired!
Where can we find more of your work and products?
On my website (I have a guest book on my website - I would love if anyone who visits left a bit of feedback), my blog, twitter and facebook page

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Gill a bit better. Don't forget to check the other places you can find her (above!) :D to see more of her beautiful work! 

PS. Before I let you go, I would like to thank Gill for creating and curating The Little White Book (a place to find new surface pattern designers) which has just launched its second edition. 

I'm happy to announce, that also this time I'm part of it ;) Here's my profile… I hope you like it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

life // isn't fair... and neither are You!

6 years ago, I lived what I thought was the darkest moment in my life. I got a call from my dad, and with a broken voice he told me my grandpa had died. That was it. One minute he was ok, the next he was gone. I thought that was the worst thing that could have happened to me but I was wrong. My life changed back then forever, and I never went back to being the same... Well, my life have suddenly turned into the worst of my nightmares again. This time it was my mom on the phone... It was her broken voice telling me my dad was gone. That's it... One second she was telling me he was on a biking trip with his friends, the next he was no longer with us.

I'm in shock... I can't believe it. I'm waiting for my plane to depart to what's going to be my longest and most horrible trip ever. I'm going back home not with the joy to spend time with my family, but with the sadness that consumes my heart and soul because I won't see you ever again. I will never again listen to your voice, fight with you, hug you, or feel your beard against my skin when you kiss me. I will never again be able to prove you that I will accomplish my dreams. I will never again see that light in your eyes that you had when you looked at me feeling proud. 

The minute I land in Bogota, this nightmare will turn real and I don't know I have the strength to deal with it. You were too young! You weren't supposed to die! God wasn't supposed to ripped you off our sides. Your life had a meaning! You saved lives! You gave hundreds of elderly people the chance to keep living many more years in dignity. Your hands were blessed. You were our blessing. You took care of yourself. Didn't smoke nor drink. You believed sport would allow you to live many more years. You were totally healthy. I thought we had the rest of our lives to spend together. 

Why... Why did you take him away? We believed in you. We made you part of our lives with pride and happiness. We put our lives and that of our loved ones in your hands! We believed you would keep us safe. And for the second time in my life, you didn't. You took away one of the 3 most important persons in my life. You took away my hero, my life. What am I supposed to do now? Believe that there's a reason why you did this? Keep believing you are the loving god I so believed in? How? How can I when there's no possible explanation to my dad not being here anymore. To me having to rush to the airport to take the next fight back home. To me never again being able to spend one more second with him. How can I see light in this darkness? 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

blogging // new editorial schedule

As you already know, keeping up with my first attempt of an editorial schedule was too difficult so I've decided to make some changes. I will keep all (but one) of the editorials I've already started, but won't be doing it on a weekly basis. Let's break it down to make it easier:

The series I'll keep are:
  • SPD RedCarpet :: dedicated to surface pattern designers and their work
  • Styling Made Easy :: a guide to help you develop and strengthen your own unique style
  • Beauty Breakdown :: my Thursdays column as a guest blogger on Rachael Taylor's blog where I show beautiful and inspiring beauty packaging
  • Design Kit :: websites, apps, and tools that I consider will help most designers get the work done
  • Mani Sundays :: fun and easy nail-art video-tutorials
  • 2013 Designer Calendar :: monthly freebie/printable beautifully designed calendars just for you!

How often will I have them: 
  • All the other series (except for Beauty Breakdown and 2013 Designer Calendar) will be published two per week, every other week :: so basically, a week I'll showcase a great fellow designer and post a design tool, while the week after I'll post a style guide and a nail-art how-to, and then will blog again about another designer and tool, and so on. 

But that's not it...
  • once a month I'll post around + about images on YouBlog :: pictures of things I find inspiring, nice or interesting wherever I am and/or go
  • every now and then I'll blog about my self-care journey 
  • I can't promise not to just blog about random stuff once in a blue moon :P

NEW!!! You choose, I make! :: I kind of want a bit more interaction between you guys and me ;)
  • Every Wednesday I'll ask you to choose between 2 themes. 
  • The winner theme will be used by me to create a new product for my MaJoBV Digitals shop. 
  • I'll add the new product to the shop the following Thursday (accompanied by either a discount code or a freebie for you ;) ) 

Let's start the fun! 

@majobv: would you like me to create a new collection inspired by the Circus or Superheroes?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

how-to // 10 things that will make you a better blogger

The first time I had a blog I had noooooo idea what I was doing. Some very good friends of mine were doing and using it as a creative writing outlet and I just wanted in the fun. The problem was, I didn't have much to write about and it didn't occur to me that it could be more of a design blog (duh!) It then became a dark, side space where I wrote some thoughts after my grandpa died. It was way to sad so I decided to make it private and forget about it. 

Three years passed by, I quit my job at a fashion house and started my job search again. I got a job as an English teacher, but felt the need to be creative. I started to participate in Spoonflower's contest and needed a place to share my work with the world, as well as my inspiration and process.  And so La Pâtisserie des Idées was born: a blog for me to cook ideas and to share those of other bakers ;) I kept it for over 2 years… it became my baby. I spent hours designing and regularly changing its layout and looking for ways to make it better and prettier. But something was missing: I wasn't really engaging many readers. Yes, some people used to stop by and comment (which made me really really happy) but I wasn't able to create a consistent interaction between my readers and I. 

Last December I decided to change blogs and started muyMaJo! after being advised it was better to have a blog under my same brand's name or close to it (for brand's recognition/building purposes). It was hard and sad, but I saw it as an opportunity to start fresh. My old Pâtisserie will always be in my heart. I sometimes look through it and realise how much I grew over 2 years I kept it ;) But again… I keep doing something wrong because I haven't been able to capture many followers nor truly connect with the few I have. 

I want to be a good blogger because I really enjoy it so I've been reading/studying about it. In April I read Melanie Biehle's Blog with Purpose e(work)book and confirmed five things I had been thinking about (but not acting on) over the years: 
  1. Keep a uniform design throughout your blog: stick to a single image size, font, watermark, etc. :: a little after I started this blog I committed to making all my images 500px wide, but have been naughty with the watermark bit (from now on I'll do better).
  2. You need to decide what you want to blog about and commit to it :: my blog is about me (my personal and professional journey as a fashion, textile + pattern textile designer), my work, and everything I find inspiring... I pretty much had this one clear. 
  3. Having an editorial schedule not only makes it easier for you to blog coherently, but also for your readers to know when to pop by :: back in May I decided I was going to write my blog in 3 languages, and blog 5 days a week: SPD RedCarpet on Mondays, Styling Made Easy on Wednesdays, Beauty Breakdown on Thursdays, Design Kit on Fridays, and Mani Sundays on well… Sundays. But that wasn't it: I also decided to commit to the #52collections challenge which not only meant creating a design a day but blogging twice a week about it too. 
  4. Interacting with your readers is essential to build that relationship I so desire :: always reply to their comments, create posts where they can have a saying, and launch contests/giveaways to thank them for being by your side. 
  5. Create valid content :: put something out there that's interesting or relevant to what your readers would like to know, learn, be informed or simply look at.
Now, let's talk about how my mistakes have made me learn some other useful things (and some things I've been doing okay):
  1. Acknowledge when you've made a mistake: your readers will definitely appreciate knowing you are human :: When I decided my editorial schedule I didn't realise I was biting more than I could chew. Blogging almost everyday of the week, plus working on a weekly collection, plus regular designing and my second job is just too much for me to keep up. Not to mention doing all that in 3 languages… I was just nuts to think I was going to pull that off! 
  2. Be consistent :: you don't have to blog everyday, but do it at least once a week. How can you build a community if you are nowhere to be found in a month and then all of a sudden you post about your latest work? It is hard to keep people interested in you, even more if they aren't constantly reminded of you. I've been guilty for this too… sorry!  
  3. Be yourself :: address your readers like you're talking to your friends… you want them to be your friends so this only makes sense, right? Let them know the real you, the person behind your work. It will definitely help them identify with you and hopefully like you more, lol (also… be funny! or at least try to).
  4. Don't be egocentric :: don't just post your work; blog about other things that interest you and your readers too.
  5. Be inclusive :: this one correlates a lot with the previous one; how boring would it be for your blog to be all about you, you, you? Make it also about the people you admire, you share something with, you enjoy reading or looking at. Make your blog a place where everyone feels included :)

So now what?

my first attempt to having an editorial schedule was a total failure, but thanks to it I learnt and now I can work on a better solution that will better suit the time I have available. I've decided I will stick with just writing in English… It breaks my heart 'cause I really wanted to reach people who speak my other two languages, but the truth is: it is way too much work to keep a blog in 3 languages - it is like keeping 3 blogs actually! I rather put all of my energy in posting quality content and blogging regularly. 

I hope these 10 tips will enlighten your blogging journey as they've done with mine. If you've find them useful, pin it! and comment below to let me know your favourite or one of your own :D

Also, don't forget to come back tomorrow to discover my new editorial schedule and how I plan to make it work this time ;)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

freebies // The 2013 Designer Calendar :: October

Fall officially started a week ago, but it was still warm and sunny in Milan so it didn't feel that way at all. This week looks like it really has arrived with its foggy sky and unpredictable rain. Not a problem though, you know why? Because Jookiku's fun, quirky and colourful October calendar is here to lift us up! Won't your day just get better once you write on this beauty? Sure mine will! It just makes me smile :)  

Julianne Hall (the fab designer behind Jookiku) is an happy Aussie with an adorable little boy. I loooove Julianne's work: it is so whimsical and imaginative. She is really great in creating magical and adorable characters and worlds, and I couldn't be happier to have her as part of my 2013 Designer Calendar!


About Julianne:
Julianne Hall is an illustrator/surface pattern designer whose brand goes under the name of Jookiku; a name not meaning anything in particular, but is inspired by the quirkiness of Japanese design and embodies the flavour of her whimsical characters and brightly coloured patterns.

Julianne completed a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) at the University of Technology Sydney. She worked as a textile designer/graphic designer for companies in Sydney, New York and London. Now based back in Australia she is concentrating on her first love: surface pattern design, through her world of Jookiku: brightly coloured patterns filled with winged creatures, kooky castles and quirky animals.

The patterns and illustrations of Jookiku are inspired by children's books (old and new), Japanese design, vintage 'discoveries' such as packaging, clothing and ornaments. Julianne also says that a lot of the time, her little creatures just appear on the page, without too much thought..."these are my most favourite and have the most personality!" she says.

Julianne's passion is designing for textiles and homewares - especially for the children's market. She has signed a new licensing deal with the American based company KekaCase (who produces iphone/kindle and iphone cases) and is looking forward to launching her first range under the Jookiku label towards the end of the year.

Her quirky detail:
"I am obsessed with the colour pink! It makes me really happy. I have splashes of it inside my home everywhere: a cuckoo clock, cat lights, shoes, clothes and even a pink mix-master in the kitchen!"

Her favourite Designer:
"I have 2 favourites: Florence Broadhurst and Lucienne Day.

Florence Broadhurst's work inspired me to want to be a surface pattern designer. When I discovered her and her beautiful patterns, something in me woke up! I am also fascinated by her life story - extremely colourful on so many levels.

I also love Lucienne Day's work for the retro style of it. The gorgeous colours, shapes and linework of her patterns were created in the 1950s/60s, but they are timeless, you would think they were created yesterday!"

You can download October here or clicking on the download link below the image above, and remember, it can be printed as big as an A3 format (42x29.7cm / 16.5x11.7in). Don't forget to visit Julianne's portfolio and blog to keep up to date with her amazing work