If you’re someone who when browsing the Spoonflower Marketplace wishes they could hear the stories of the designers behind the patterns, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re chatting with five unique artists, some new to the site and some you’ll surely recognize from our tight-knit creative community.
Meet November’s Featured Designers
Claudia Soria from the Netherlands: I would describe my design style as fun and unique.
Jenica Goertz & Danielle Hartgers from Canada: Our designs have a whimsical, bold, illustrative feel and are perfect for children’s products.
Allison Werberg from Sweden: Lately I’ve been into more layered, textured designs and block print/linocut inspired prints, but I always like trying out new styles and techniques.
Vilmos Varga from Romania: My style is experimental and eclectic because every day something new seems to excite me and I can’t remain in one particular style for too long.
Which color best expresses your personality?
Claudia: Well, I’m a very calm person so I guess minty-blue. It’s also a color I like to use in my work.
Jenica: Yellow would describe me! It’s fun and cheerful.
Danielle: Mine would be pink…sweet and fun-loving.
Allison: Blue or grey. Or bluish-grey! Because it is quiet yet compelling.
Vilmos: I love almost every color but if I have to name one that fits my personality, that would be orange because it’s so bright and cheerful.
What inspires your work?
Claudia: Nature, animals, books, visiting museums and traveling.
Jenica & Danielle: Children’s books and illustrations are definitely a huge inspiration for our creative work. It lets you get into the minds of young ones—you become open to quirky characters, fun patterns and bold colors.
Allison: The outdoors, natural history museums, fossils, maps, my imagination, and just observing and noticing things around me. I once created a design inspired by the shadows cast by the faucet handle of my bathroom sink!
Vilmos: As a designer, I am always observing my surroundings; the posters and ads in stores or public spaces, the shapes, colors, patterns, fonts and so on. I love to travel to new places because it gives me a boost of inspiration and I always get new design ideas while on vacation. But traveling is not the only way to get inspired, even an average day when I’m out buying groceries can be a very good source of inspiration if you’re not just looking but also observing. I believe everyone is influenced by their surroundings but not everyone embraces it consciously.
Share a defining moment that shaped your creative path:
Claudia: When I saw the work of Tsumori Chisato around 2006-7 I was really impressed by her designs and I thought, ‘I want to do that for a living.’
Jenica & Danielle: One day in Starbucks, while discussing work, home life and everything in between, we both had this moment where we were like, ‘DUH! Why aren’t we doing this together?’ This sparked the idea of creating a combined online shop to sell our digital products on Etsy. Fineapple Pair was created and has now expanded into other platforms like Spoonflower, Creative Market and even our own website.
Allison: I come from a scientific academic background (BS in Zoology, MS in Museum & Field Studies), and have always been into art as a hobby—specifically scientific illustration. I had to quit my job when my family moved to Sweden to follow my husband’s job, which freed up more time for me to devote to creative endeavors, and I got hooked on creating repeating seamless patterns. While my inclination is always to try to draw things as realistically as possible, I’ve been using my time on Spoonflower to fight against that impulse and use a freer hand to come up with looser interpretations. It has been therapeutic!
Vilmos: I started out as a hobby photographer more than a decade ago and when I bought my first DSLR, I thought, ‘this is a great tool that I might be able to capture some great content with.’ I thought it might be a waste to leave the photos on my computer in a directory, so I started to seek ways to sell my photos which is how I discovered vector graphics. This led me in a whole new direction designing graphics and from this point, creating patterns became much more than just a hobby for me.
How do you get out of a design rut?
Claudia: I just stop trying and take a break to find more inspiration.
Jenica: Going for a run or doing yoga clears my mind. My kids also provide new creative ideas through their funny stories and imaginative play.
Danielle: Retail therapy! I love looking at what’s out there in fashion and home goods, as well as wandering the stationery isles at Indigo.
Allison: I go for a run. Usually, if I am stuck on something, getting the fresh air and movement somehow triggers solutions in my head.
Vilmos: It happens rarely to me but there are several ways I handle a situation like this. In some cases, I give it some time, and while I tend to relax and not force working, I try to avoid getting burned out. By letting things happen naturally and looking at life from a distance as an observer, I tend to come up with new ideas and a boost of motivation very easily. Some say creativity is like a muscle, but I prefer looking at creativity the way love is—the more you give the more you got back.
What are three surprising facts about yourself?
Claudia: I used to live in Bolivia, triangles are my favourite shape and I love to shop for clothing for my 4-year-old daughter (I sometimes wish I could dress like her!).
Jenica & Danielle: We both illustrated our first children’s books this year, our first jobs were both at printers (ironically M&T and T&M) and there’s exactly a foot between us; Jenica is 5′ and Danielle is 5’10”.
Allison: I’m an American currently living in Sweden, my first and last jobs were a fossil preparator and a cartographer, respectively, and I can mimic a howler monkey’s howl fairly realistically.
Vilmos: I was never considered skillful at drawing, I’ve never even tried to use a sewing machine before in my life and lastly, I’m a manly guy who doesn’t like beer.
What’s on your studio playlist?
Claudia: At the moment I listen to Jamie xx, but I like a lot of different styles of music.
Jenica: Any Top 40 and most of the time I love the silence (especially after my chaotic morning routine with my kids).
Danielle: Podcasts I love are The Honest Designers Show and the Creative Rebellion. If its music, right now I am into The Lumineers, Yukon Blonde and the Arkells.
Allison: Usually podcasts.
Vilmos: The kind of music that I listen to always depends on the mood or situation that I am in. I prefer thematic online radios, where I can easily switch styles without spending too much time searching for the right music.
What are your favorite design tools?
Claudia: My Wacom tablet to draw.
Jenica & Danielle: Procreate and the Apple pencil are a must! Combined with Photoshop and Illustrator, the possibilities are endless in creating fun patterns and finalizing our design bundles.
Allison: Definitely Illustrator. I learned my way around Illustrator as a cartographer, but have learned soooo much more while exploring repeat pattern making. But I usually start out with ink drawings first, digitize them, and then manipulate them into a final design in Illustrator.
Vilmos: I usually create in vector format that requires only a computer and editing software. I don’t need a lot of tools and after some time I realized that the right idea and creative approach is far more valuable than any fancy tool.
What are your design goals for the year to come?
Claudia: My goals are to just enjoy my work and if I can make people happy with my designs that’s even better!
Jenica & Danielle: We have just started our journey on Spoonflower, we would love to become more prominent in the community and even offer more fabric-based products in our Etsy Shop. We hand draw all of our patterns and see the potential in this market. By improving our themes and following the fabric trends (especially the weekly challenges), we hope this can help us become more successful.
Allison: Maybe dive deeper into Photoshop, and I’d like to try some watercolor designs.
Vilmos: I work from home and my son is just 7 months old, so my goal is to be able to work enough and yet spend enough quality time with him. Finding the right balance between work and family would be great to achieve not just the coming year but for good.
Lastly, what’s your best advice for new designers on Spoonflower?
Claudia: Be yourself and create your own style.
Jenica & Danielle: Entering the Weekly Design Challenges has been crucial to getting our name out there and it helps in knowing what sells based on what is in demand.
The Spoonflower Fans community on Facebook is also very helpful. Designers (and buyers) are eager to offer advice and constructive criticism helping your design to become the best it could be.
Allison: Keep learning and trying new things, and be persistent. There is always room to improve and grow.
Vilmos: Keep working and submitting! Try out the Weekly Design Challenges; besides being a good source of inspiration, they’re a really fun way to come up with new designs.