Sareka Unique sits at her desk, illustrating on her iPad, in the center of her colorful studio. The white desk is filled with books, a large flower arrangement, pink laptop and additional computer monitor. The white walls are filled with colorful paintings and a white bookshelf contains more books, journals, and supplies.
Photo courtesy of keynote speaker, Sareka Unique

Are you ready to take your surface pattern design business to the next level? You won’t want to miss our second annual Surface Design Symposium, presented in partnership with Craft Industry Alliance

Whether you’re just thinking about breaking into this creative field or you’re a seasoned pro, this year’s lineup of accomplished speakers and valuable topics is sure to inspire you to take the next step. 

This virtual event took place on November 4, 2022. In case you missed it, you can catch every recording from the event below! Attendees of the live event were very generous in sharing their favorite tools and resources, which we have also compiled for you here

Explore Each Session

Keynote Speaker

Sareka Unique
Sareka Unique Is an Artist, Illustrator, Designer and Creator of bright, fun colorful things.  She is also a Freelance Marketing Manager and Founder of Black Girls Illustrate. Sareka Grew up in Detroit Michigan and studied Visual Communication Technology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Later, Sareka fell in love with Illustration and Surface Pattern Design and eventually gave into her calling to paint. Since then, she has been using her love of color to transform products and create artwork that evokes a sense of vibrancy and joy while collaborating with brands that align with her passions. Spoonflower shop: sarekaunique.

Artist Panels

How to Create a Surface Design Portfolio that Showcases Your Work

Moderated by Abby Glassenberg, Co-founder and President, Craft Industry Alliance 

Do you dream of seeing your artwork on fabric, wallpaper, home goods, clothing and more? In order to make this dream a reality, you’ll need to assemble a surface design portfolio. In this panel discussion, you’ll hear from three working artists who will describe how they put their portfolios together and marketed them successfully. 

You’ll learn: 
• The purpose of a surface design portfolio and the different ways it can be used 
• The categories of designs that make up a strong portfolio and how many you need of each one 
• How to identify gaps in your portfolio and fill them in 
• How to package your designs to share them with art directors  

Now is the time to take the first step toward becoming a surface pattern designer. 


Lilla Rogers headshot

Lilla is one of the world’s top art agents. Her love for art led her to a successful illustration career in New York in the 1980s, but the entrepreneurial gene from her parents led her into the agency business. Her agency, Lilla Rogers Studio, has sold art for products worth over $300 million.

Shannon McNab headshot

Shannon is an American artist and educator living in Dublin, Ireland. She left her corporate job in 2013 to pursue surface design full-time, working with brands like Papyrus, Cloud9 Fabrics and Pyrex. She teaches aspiring surface designers at Sketch Design Repeat, a site she founded in 2020. Spoonflower shop: shannonmcnab.

Elisabeth Silver headshot

Elizabeth is a surface pattern designer with 20 years in the industry. Her work is regularly featured in major retailers like Party City, Target and Michael’s and is licensed with over 30 partners. She uses her experience to teach surface pattern designers how to move past overwhelm to create a profitable business. 

How to Stay Motivated, Create a Workflow, and Manage Your Time as an Artist 

Moderated by Abby Glassenberg, Co-founder and President, Craft Industry Alliance 

Creativity ebbs and flows. Sometimes we’re in the zone, and other times it’s so difficult to get started. In this one hour panel discussion, you’ll learn how four successful working artists and creatives stay productive.  They’ll describe rituals they use to get their creative juices flowing, and motivation techniques that help them see projects through to completion (even when they’re feeling uninspired).  

You’ll learn: 
• Creativity warmups to help you get started 
• How to organize your space for optimal productivity 
• Time management techniques that really work 
• How to break down large projects so that you can see them through to completion 

Get valuable insights you can implement right away. 


Danielle Krysa headshot

Danielle has a BFA in Visual Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design. She is the writer behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator. She’s curated art shows all over North America, authored several books and spoken at events.

Jeanetta Gonzales headshot

Jeanetta is a designer, illustrator and artist mentor. She uses bold colors, patterns and textures to create her uplifting artwork found in many major retailers. She enjoys creating art for her own products, speaking at events and mentoring artists. Spoonflower shop: jeanetta_gonzales

Kate is a professional accountant, turned eye-candy-maker extraordinaire. With a desire to cover the whole world in joy, she constantly creates colorful, happy, whimsical patterns from her studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. Spoonflower shop: katerhees.

Terrance is a small business owner, self-taught sewer, makeup and skincare enthusiast, content creator and sustainability and human rights advocate. He believes in love, light and positivity and strives to create a place of happiness and acceptance.  

How to Make Video Part of Your Marketing Strategy 

Moderated by Nicole Kligerman, Spoonflower’s Social Media Manager 

Sharing video content on social media helps your audience to better understand who you are and what you have to offer. In this panel discussion you’ll hear from four artists who film and share videos as part of their marketing strategies. 

They’ll discuss: 
• Tips for creating a video strategy you can stick with 
• Ideas for repurposing videos across multiple platforms  
• The benefits of live vs. pre-recorded videos 
• How to use a video to drive traffic and sales 

Creating memorable videos doesn’t have to be hard! 


Mindy Young headshot

Mindy is a self-taught Artist who started Indy Bloom Design after creating her own Spoonflower wallpaper for her daughter’s room! She fell in LOVE with pattern design and now runs a thriving company. She’s proud to teach others how they can achieve their designer dreams! Spoonflower shop: indybloomdesign.

Kathy Cano-Murillo headshot

Kathy, The Crafty Chica, is a syndicated newspaper columnist turned full-time creativepreneur. She’s authored several books and has product lines with Makers Movement for HSN, Riley Blake Fabrics + more. Features include Forbes, The New York Times, Buzzfeed + more. 

Mable Tan headshot

Mable is a surface pattern designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her work is inspired by nature and birds, joy and colours. Her work has been seen in Target Australia, Spotlight, RICE, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. She has been featured on Oh Joy! blog, Mantra mag + more. Spoonflower shop: mabletandesigns

Kate Talcott headshot

Kate is a watercolor artist, educator and her goal is to inspire people to be bold and try new things (especially if it’s watercolor)! She is also the owner of Splatter & Bloom, a watercolor stationery shop where she creates bold, vivacious designs to help you live more colorfully. 

Design Classes

Design Class: How to Elevate Your Designs for Wallpaper and Home Decor

Hosted by Jessie Katz Greenberg, Spoonflower’s Artist Community Manager  

Do you dream of your designs bringing joy to others in their homes and on their walls? In this technical design class, you’ll learn how to use Adobe® Photoshop® to elevate your designs and break into the wallpaper and home decor market. 

Our expert instructor will show you how to: 
• Create seamless textures and apply them to your designs 
• Identify the best scale for your designs 
• Repurpose existing artwork to create something new for wallpaper and home decor 

Interior designer, artist and Spoonflower Ambassador, Danika Herrick, will share her expertise with you in this valuable session! 

Instructor: Danika Herrick
Danika’s background is in Art, Interior Design and Decorative Painting. She attended college for Art and worked for several years as a Decorative Artist. She quickly fell in love with interiors and wanted to do more than just paint the walls and furniture so she went back to school for Interior Design. Over the course of two decades in the Trade she also ran a design blog, started a fretwork company called O’verlays and started designing fabric. It was there she found her niche! Spoonflower shop: danika_herrick.

Design Class: How to Create a Seamless Repeat Pattern in Gimp 

Hosted by Jessie Katz Greenberg, Spoonflower’s Artist Community Manager  

Learning how to make seamless patterns is a vital step in creating surface pattern designs. A seamless pattern repeats both horizontally and vertically, edge to edge. The good news is you don’t need expensive software to get started. In this technical design class, we’ll be using Gimp, a free open-source software available to everyone. 

You’ll get specific instructions on how to: 
• Create a pattern using Gimp 
• Draw digitally with a tablet 
• Apply textures to your drawings 

Our expert instructor, Gaia Marfurt, will guide you through each step! 

Instructor: Gaia Marfurt
Gaia was born in Rome in 1974 and has always enjoyed drawing since childhood. In 1997 she graduated to the Europen Design Institute as an illustrator and started working in comics and illustration. She began her adventure as a pattern designer when she found Spoonflower. It started for fun and has now become her main job! She loves to create whimsical drawings full of details. Gaia has enjoyed working with free software like Gimp for several years and has many Skillshare classes on the topic. Spoonflower shop: gaiamarfurt.

Surface Design Symposium 2021

Watch recordings from the first Surface Design Symposium now!