Thinking ‘Outside’ the Box

Abstract Pattern + Overlapping Boxes. Time to Experiment!

Outside of the Box: A Pattern Experiment


It has been AGES since I’ve shared with you one of my experiments. So today I thought I’d show you how I played around and built out this layered pattern.

I’ve decided to call the method I used to build out the pattern my outside of the box technique. I know, super cheesy, but that’s me.

I started by creating a digital painting using overlapping layers of dots in Adobe Photoshop. I used brushes by Kyle T. Webster. I love them and plan on trying out some of his other brush packs soon. Continue reading “Thinking ‘Outside’ the Box”

Taking on Side Projects while Working Full-Time with Anne Passchier

Work. Side Projects. Life. See how Anne juggles it all.

Taking on Side Projects while Working Full-Time with Anne Passchier


Today I’m excited to share with you the work of Anne Passchier, a surface pattern designer who lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Anne is a gift wrap designer by day and a freelance children’s book illustrator by night. In this interview, they share with us what it has been like juggling a day job with multiple side projects and offer advice to folks who are in the same position.

I hope you enjoy this interview…I know you will love seeing Anne’s whimsical illustrations!


Please tell us a little bit about your background as an artist and how you got into surface pattern design.

I grew up around my mom and grandma constantly quilting and crafting, and the house was always full of the coolest and most colorful fabrics. I found out rather quickly that I was no good at sewing, and instead I took up drawing at a young age.

In art school I discovered the world of surface design, where I could combine my passion for art, color and pattern all into one. I liked the possibility of designing not just fabric but a wide variety of patterned products!  Continue reading “Taking on Side Projects while Working Full-Time with Anne Passchier”

Part I. How Vulnerable Should You be on Social Media?

When you are just starting out…so much anxiety…so many questions

How Vulnerable Should You be on Social Media - Part I


Welcome to Part I of a IV part series on vulnerability. Now, we all know that Brene Brown is the queen of this topic. If you want to dive deep, and really understand what vulnerability means to our lives, and to our growth as human beings, I would highly recommend that you visit her website and watch her Ted Talk.

Here, I’m just hoping to share with you different view points and thoughts on being vulnerable. And to share what vulnerability can mean to us artists as we struggle to define ourselves in the creative space and build small business that, lets be real, are direct reflections of us and our hearts.

Each post in this series will feature the thoughts of a different designer who is actively sharing their work and building a creative business. In the last post I will share my own struggles and embrace vulnerability as I tell you some of the challenges I’ve faced as a creative.

I hope you enjoy. Here’s to being vulnerable!


I’m starting this series with Virginia, AKA The Happy Artisan.

She is a designer and artist who I’ve had many great conversations with on Instagram. I find her to be warm and approachable. And in this interview she is extremely vulnerable, sharing her anxiety about joining Instagram and knowing how much of herself she should share.

I’m excited to start with this interview because I think what Virginia has to say reflects how most of us have felt at some time or another as we’ve embarked on a creative career.



My name is Virginia and for the last couple of years I have been a part of the Instagram community, under the name of my label, The Happy Artisan. I have been working to slowly build the Happy Artisan into a little business…not quite there yet, but trying!

It took me a long time to build up the courage to join Instagram. I was particularly nervous about sharing my art and creative work with virtually the entire world. I have been on Facebook for years, but joining Instagram felt different. With Facebook I felt more in control of who saw my posts and who I interacted with…ultimately how much I shared about myself.

A fellow artist encouraged me to join Instagram as a platform to showcase my work, get known and network with like-minded people. I had no idea how to ‘use’ Instagram to my advantage nor did I think people would be at all interested in what I had to offer.

However, I’ve discovered since joining Instagram that, if used well, it is the perfect social media platform to help promote you in the way you want to be seen by the world. And it is certainly helping me get my art out there in a way that just starting up a website would not have done. Continue reading “Part I. How Vulnerable Should You be on Social Media?”

Why Mood Boards Matter with Elles Rodenburg

 Elles is over the moon for mood boards. Learn why.

 Why Mood Boards Matter with Elles Rodenburg


Today I’d like to introduce you to the work of Elles Rodenburg. She is a Dutch pattern designer who creates beautifully romantic floral patterns, all of which explode with detail and depth.

Elles lives in Delft, a picturesque city in the Netherlands famous for the Delft Blue porcelain. Her design studio, where she creates her patterns, is also based in this city of blue.

When I spoke with Elles she talked about how important mood boards are to her creative process, and how they have helped her establish a signature style. I can’t wait for you to read what she has to say…and to see her breathtaking mood boards. I have a feeling you’ll become a fan of mood boards too!


Hi Elles! Can you tell us a little bit about your background as an artist and how you got into surface pattern design?

My background is in graphic design, and in 2009 I started my own business. I did graphic design and styling for a while, but quickly landed on photography as my main source of income. I really loved it, and had beautiful photography assignments. I took portraits, shot weddings and did lifestyle photography.

Eventually I discovered surface pattern design and started developing my skills in it at the same time I was working on my photography business. But then after my first daughter was born I discovered that I didn’t have enough time to devote to both photography and surface pattern design. I realized that I had to make a choice. I could stay in photography or choose a new path as a surface pattern designer. I decided to follow my heart. I decided to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit and build my dream. Continue reading “Why Mood Boards Matter with Elles Rodenburg”

Building a Simple Pattern using Math

You can make a repeat pattern…and it’s not as hard as you think!

Building a Simple Pattern using Math


I LOVE to jump into the pattern making process…manipulating layers, adding shading, doing all that stuff.

But maybe you are a newbie designer who just wants to make your first basic pattern. Or you are an illustrator who has a kick ass illustration that just needs to be put into a simple, no fuss, repeat to make it shine.

If so, follow me! Today I’m going to show you how to create a simple pattern in Adobe Illustrator using basic math. And I mean basic…don’t worry. You got this.

Step 1. Create or upload a motif to Illustrator and resize it to something simple that you can remember.  Resize by selecting the motif and clicking on ‘transform’ in the top bar menu. When the dialog box opens-up enter a new, nice round number for the width and height.  In this example I’ve resized my motif to 200 x 200 px. Continue reading “Building a Simple Pattern using Math”