We’ve launched into week three of our August SpoonChallenge: A Month of Drawing. If you’re just now joining us, it’s not too late to sign up for the SpoonChallenge to receive daily drawing prompts, creative inspiration, and interviews with amazing illustrators and pattern designers. Share what you’re sketching with the hashtag #spoonchallenge on your social media platform of choice. If you’d like to jump in, follow the link after our artist interview to sign up for the SpoonChallenge!

Meet Leah Goren, a Brooklyn-based illustrator and surface pattern designer whose painted ladies, animals and florals feature in commercial artwork, publications, textiles and other goods.  

Goren painting

What’s your favorite medium for creating art?

Gouache is my favorite to paint with, but depending on the piece I may use ink or watercolor instead. I’ve also been making ceramics for the past couple years and it’s so much fun, but doesn’t really translate to my commercial work.

Goren ceramics and paints
What’s your day job? Do you create art or design full time?
I’m a full-time illustrator and surface pattern designer. I work on freelance projects and my own range of products that I sell in my online shop.
Goren paintings
Describe your creative process. What’s a typical day like for you?
I draw as much as I can, but often entire days will be spent on less glamorous tasks like emailing, putting together contracts and invoices, or managing my shop. Today was spent writing emails, packing orders, finishing up some hand lettering for a project, and then running to the ceramics studio to pick up finished work– a typical mix of everything!
Leah's desk
What’s the coolest thing you could imagine seeing covered in your artwork?
I like making patterns because they repeat endlessly and I don’t feel restricted to containing my drawing within a box. I’m always interested in home interiors, and I’d love to see my patterns on wallpaper or an upholstered chair or couch.
Goren pattern
How many times do you revisit or edit artwork before releasing a final version? 
I usually finish everything from start to finish in one go, though it may take days or weeks to complete a project depending on my work schedule and the complexity. I draw quickly and loosely and I’m used to the quick turnaround times of commercial illustration. Of course, not everything comes out perfectly, and I’ll only pick out my favorite personal work to develop into products for my shop.
What does design mean to you?
The most efficient, beautiful way of solving a problem or telling a story.
Painted ladies scarf
What song would best describe your creative process?
We listen to so much loud pop and rap in the studio, probably Work by A$AP Ferg or Work by Iggy Azalea.
What’s in your toolbox?
Brushes, paper, gouache, ink, watercolor, palettes, cups for paint water, a scanner, and my iMac with Photoshop.
If you could only create art with one tool, what would it be?
A paintbrush.
Big cats
Who influences your work?
I really look up to Niki de Saint Phalle, Sonia Delaunay, Celia Birtwell, and Vera Neumann. They are all strong women who worked in bright colors and patterns.
What is the one place in the world that you would like to visit?
I’m really trying to go to Japan next! I love so much of the illustration I see coming out of there and I’d love to meet all my Japanese internet friends!
What’s a favorite tip you’ve learned for staying inspired to create?
Be a boss! It can be difficult to be taken seriously as a young woman who works in mostly decorative commercial arts. Since I work for myself, I have to call all the shots and have the confidence to stand up for myself and believe in my work. I try to only take on projects I’m excited about with clients who value my style, and this gives me the motivation to keep going.
Get a peek into the artist life through Leah’s blog, on Instagram, shop for goods featuring her artwork.