Learn Surface Design

How to get started? and why? 

There is no right or wrong answer to this. I decided to start because I love sewing clothes for my girls and I couldn't find the designs I wanted for them, or rather, the designs THEY wanted! 

I had already made the decision that I wanted to be working from home. My family and I move countries every two to three years (due to my husbands' job) and I wanted to start something I could easily take with me no matter where we go. So, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided, becoming a surface pattern designer would be perfect for me. I love sewing and being creative.  Creating my own fabrics will give an excuse to make my hobby, my full time job! Genius, right? I also like drawing, although I am not particularly good at it! A minor problem, I could probably fix with some practice (I am all about the growth mindset). And the best part is that I can do it from home (no matter where home is!) and it doesn't require a lot. All the things that I need are easily packed into my backpack. 

So, before I decided to commit I did a little bit of research since I had two main questions.

What's the cost upfront to get started? 

After a little bit of research I found out that the main things I need are: 

1. A computer

2. An ipad that works with an apple pencil

3. An apple pencil 

4. Yearly subscription to Adobe (You will need Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fresco)

I already had a computer but I needed to update my ipad to one that would work with an apple pencil. So, it's a little bit of money, a few hundred dollars, but it's doable. You could add a lot more expenses to these main four things. But you can always wait until you are making some money for pretty much anything else,  like your website!

I, quickly, want to mention why I chose to pay for the Adobe subscription. First of all, I tried to make a seamless repeat without Illustrator and it took hours just to make sure everything matched perfectly. Illustrator does it effortlessly and you can adjust your elements as you go! There is so much potential (and so much to learn as well). Plus, the subscription comes with other programs that are well worth the money, such as Photoshop. Photoshop will be super useful to generate mockups, among other things! And Fresco is a great tool to draw on your ipad and keep your drawings vectorized (which pretty much means you can scale your design without pixelation). There are so many other advantages, but I thought I would just give you my main reasons. I use those three programs almost every day.  

What if I can't draw to save my life?

No problem! I quickly learned that you don't need to be an artist to get started and that you can pretty much teach yourself anything you want to learn. So, if you are committed you can do it. But, even before you get there with your drawings there are plenty of ways around it. You can create simple designs that don't really require drawing skills or use your own photos to trace the elements of your pattern! 

So, yes, there is a big to do list to get started and it is overwhelming. The good news is that it's doable if you are committed and try to accomplish one task a time.  

I hope I have helped you just a tiny bit. I will be sharing more about what I have learned so far, such as how to create a seamless repeat pattern, which are the best websites to sell your designs, how to set up your own website, and so much more! But, since I am a mother of two very active girls, things go slowly around here. In the meantime, I will be happy to answer any questions you might have! 

Thank you for reading,


Resources to get inspired and motivated: 

1.- Quarterly Planner: Blog post. I created a Quarterly Planner that helps me stay on track and I wanted to share it with you. Let me know if it helps!

2.- TED talk: How not to take things personally by Frederik Imbo
This is a great talk to help you through the rough road ahead. It's not about you. I particularly love his last example using a 20 euro bill.