Hi! My name is Jere Brooks and I’m a pattern designer living in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Pattern and colour influence the way I view the world. I have always seen patterns everywhere! I look for order in chaos and find emotion in the colours of daily life. I love to learn and I’m curious about how things are created and how they function. I have a versatile and evolving style and my inspiration comes from diverse sources – visiting a new place, the angles of a building or colours in reflected water.
I trained as a classical archaeologist and later studied art and design at NSCAD University. Otherwise I’m largely self taught and have always worked in a creative capacity. I’ve been a digital media teacher and producer, a freelance graphic and web designer/programmer, a fashion designer with my own line and a corporate digital media product developer. For the last year I have focused my learning and practice on the textile and surface pattern design world. Being a member of the Textile Design Lab has been a huge part of my journey!
I sometimes use traditional media like acrylics, watercolour, ink and pencil, but my true love is the digital medium. I’ve been using a Mac to make art all of my adult life and it’s truly where I feel most creative and comfortable. Generative Design is my new geeky passion and I’m exploring the possibilities for exciting textile patterns from the coding process. The Encoded and Ice Princess collections shown here are examples.
Generally I start with a mood board that I keep visible as I work. This can be as simple as an inspiring word and a colour I’m loving along with a geometric shape, or sometimes more complex imagery drawn from fashion and design trends. I keep scans of my hand done motifs and digital sketches as I create them and I often go to this “vault” of prior ideas when I start a new design. It’s amazing the body of unfinished work that is just waiting for the right spark! I then define my colour palettes for easy import into Photoshop and Illustrator. I really love to have all my pieces together before I start – colour, mood, motifs, and even generative code I might use. Inevitably, I end up creating more as I go along, but having a solid, organized process allows me to jump into design easily. My best tip is to use the window tiling functions in AI & PS to see all of my designs in a collection on one screen as I work. This allows me to to create cohesiveness and balance in scale and colour.
My goals are to have my own product line of home decor and personal accessories and to find an agent to sell my designs. My other interests are knitwear textiles (I have 2 knitting machines!) and 3D product design. I’m exploring how these interests might intersect with pattern design. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll follow me at the links below!
We are excited to announce that Jere has a new video tutorial available in the Textile Design Lab as part of our Summer of Creativity. The tutorial covers MadPattern templates and how to use them to create repeating tiles to use in Illustrator and Photoshop. Join us in the Lab to check it out!
Susanne Kasielke exhibited for the first time at Licensing Expo this past June and was kind enough to write up this informative post to tell us all about her experience…take it away Susanne!
What is Licensing Expo actually?
Licensing Expo is the world’s largest and most influential annual trade show dedicated to licensing and brand extension. The show takes place in Las Vegas and is the world’s premier brand, character and art marketplace with around 450 exhibitors (e.g. Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Hasbro, CareBears, etc). More than 16,000 retailers, licensees, manufacturers, distributors and licensing agents attend from more than 90 countries.
Why Licensing Expo?
After making my trade show debut at Surtex 2015 with a collective of artists, I was ready to exhibit by myself. Since trade shows are a big financial investment I was only able to afford one show this year and preferably with a discount or special offer for first-timers. To me there were 2 options: Surtex or Licensing Expo. I decided on LE, because of the reasonably priced 6×4 feet first-timer booth. To be honest I would have preferred Surtex, but their ‘Design District’ option wasn’t what I was looking for.
Even after being in the surface design community for a while, taking classes and researching, I still didn’t know enough about Licensing Expo, but Anne Bollman’s very detailed and honest post about her experience in 2015, was the final push that made me sign up.
My feedback after the show
Yes, the main focus at Licensing Expo is on the big players, who had booths the size of my apartment, and yes, it’s mainly about brands and character design, but that doesn’t mean the show isn’t for you. The ‘Art & Design’ section is relatively small, so a great opportunity to stand out. It is up to you to define your goals going into the show and what success looks like for you. I’m absolutely glad I exhibited. The last couple of months I felt frustrated and didn’t know where to go with my creative business, I felt stuck. At the show I realized how narrow my focus has been so far and how many opportunities are out there for every one of us. I left Licensing Expo with interesting conversations, exciting leads, and came home with lots of new ideas. One big take-away for me is, that a lot of people from Asia stopped by my booth and really loved my work. A market I have never considered before.
Would I do it again? Definitely! BUT I don’t think a regular booth for the regular high price would be worth it for me. That being said, I have a lot of follow-up work to do and depending on what will happen in the next months, I might change my mind. So please ask me again!
6 things to consider as a textile designer
1. Are you exclusively a textile designer?
If you’re looking to sell prints and patterns outright or even license – like at a ‘classic’ textile trade show (Printsource, Premiere Vision, Heimtextil) – Licensing Expo might not be the right fit. I didn’t see any tables with sheets of patterns to look through. Every booth was different, there was no consistency, which of course doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to sell, but I personally didn’t sell anything right at the show.
2. Think outside the (textile) box
I consider myself a textile designer for a couple of reasons, but one is that the patterns I create work well on textiles (at least I think so). But that doesn’t mean my art couldn’t be used for something completely different that I just haven’t thought of yet. Or that there aren’t other opportunities as a (textile) designer to collaborate on.
I was really surprised how versatile and international the leads were (stationery, apps, publishers, agents, home decor…). One reason I chose to exhibit at Licensing Expo was that I found myself only looking to go in one direction with my business and that wasn’t working, but there are so many possibilities out there!
3. See it as a test run
We all know it: trade shows are very expensive, especially for a single-person creative business at the beginning of your career. There are only few special offers for first-time exhibitors. But Licensing Expo has a fairly reasonably priced one: the 6×4 feet booth. If you’re only a little bit unsure where to go with your surface design business or how to find different opportunities and ideas to grow and change direction, Licensing Expo could be worth it.
4. Mix and match
There are lots of opportunities to network at Licensing Expo, from happy hours for exhibitors to the ‘Matchmaking Service’. The ‘Matchmaking Service’ is a wonderful tool that the show offers to connect and find people and companies to collaborate with even before the show starts. I set up only a few meetings, but my booth neighbor was way more active and scheduled tons of appointments with potential clients, so her booth was constantly busy, which attracted a lot more people to stop by.
5. Thinking of producing your own products?
Licensing Expo is not a wholesale show, but I had quiet a few people ask where they could buy the samples in my booth and that they’d love to sell them in their stores. There are a couple of exhibitors, who manufacture (on-demand) products. It was great to see their assortment and quality in person. Now I’m looking into producing a small line of textiles.
6. Don’t underestimate the power of actual human conversations
Exhibiting at a trade show is a fantastic chance for feedback. I think many of us work mostly by ourselves. It’s very isolating at times (at least for me). Especially when I get stuck or I can’t move forward, I quickly become frustrated. At Licensing Expo I had wonderful conversations with other designers, exhibitors, manufacturers, and retailers. We exchanged frustrations, tactics, ideas, and possible projects. I experienced a variety of interesting views, that made me realize how important it is to always consider different angles. At the show I never felt we’re competing against each other, because there is a niche for all of us. I’ve only received kindness and positivity.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about Licensing Expo, just send me an email: email@example.com.
About Susanne Kasielke
It’s your journey. Remember. Dream. Live. And Laugh!
German artist, illustrator and surface designer Susanne Kasielke creates vintage-inspired digital collages, which combine multiple mediums and techniques. She specializes in dramatic flower portraits, ethnic inspired art, elegant geometrics, modern abstracts, and delicate illustrations.
Susanne targets the modern, self-confident woman, who pursues her dreams to live life to its fullest. Remember yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live today. And don’t forget to laugh! Because a day without laughter is a day wasted (Charlie Chaplin).
Visit susannekasielke.com to learn more.
Noa Ambar-Regev is a textile and surface pattern designer who designs for children’s apparel and home décor, as well as for the stationery and quilting markets.
Noa founded her studio in 2011 after completing a degree in Fashion Design with excellence. She named it PINEAPPLE, after the vibrant and uniquely-shaped fruit.
“With the birth of my first child, I became fascinated with the world of children’s apparel and home décor. My designs have since been inspired by the imaginative world of children. I create whimsical and quirky child-like motifs by hand. I like to use sharpie markers, pens, pencils and pastels for drawing black and white images. I then scan and color them digitally in vibrant colors.
When creating patterns, I am inspired by the growth process in nature and the way that small repeating details (a cell, a leaf, a feather…) create something greater and beautiful. I see pattern design the same way, as laying out small images, sketches and motifs creates a beautiful and eye catching surface.”
Noa’s surface pattern designs are available for licensing and purchasing and she is also available for freelance and custom design work.
Visit Noa at http://www.worldofpineapple.com/ or check her out on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.
Noa has put together a wonderful tutorial for our Textile Design Lab Summer of Creativity course, in which she shares her process or creating interesting textures using lace. You can join the Lab here to have access to the post when it is released tomorrow!
This is the third and final installment in a series of guest posts by Four Corners Art Collective. You can read part one HERE and part two HERE.
Last week we explained how the seven members of our collective ended up exhibiting at Premiere Vision Paris, Blue Print and Surtex in 2016.
This week we’ll describe our experiences at each show, how they compared, and what’s been happening since.
Some of Jane’s fabric swatches for Premiere Vision
Premiere Vision Paris
Jane: “Premiere Vision is a fashion textile show so all the exhibitors show their work on fabric samples and swatches, or as actual garments. It’s a huge show divided into sections, including an area dedicated to design.
“The Collect team represented me at the stand, so I didn’t actually have to attend, although I did walk the show with Julie and Pippa.
“Buyers are very focused. We watched how people looked at the work, flicking through swatches and rails of samples so fast, it’s clear they know exactly what they’re looking for.
“The downside of selling outright at Premiere Vision as part of a studio is that you don’t make a direct relationship with the companies who buy your work. It made me realize that I’d like to get to know clients and design specifically for them. That’s worth bearing in mind when you choose your show and whether you choose to sell outright or license.
“Despite that, for me this was still a low-cost and low-risk way to make my trade show debut and I’ll be showing at Premiere Vision with Collect again in September.”
Top: Julie’s flyer for Blue Print; Bottom: Pippa was one of the winners of the Young Designer competition.
Julie: “It was a dream come true to exhibit in New York so early in my surface pattern career. It was exciting to see my work on the Cinnamon Joe stand and I learned a lot just by comparing how my work looked alongside all the other work.
“People have huge stacks of sell sheets on show, so it’s no wonder that buyers are focused about what they look at. It was really clear that they’re there to make buying decisions and take work away there and then, so they might spend a lot of time at a stand, really looking through stacks of sheets, but they didn’t always browse around other stands afterwards.
“Cinnamon Joe will be representing me again at Blue Print in August and I’m busy working on designs aimed more squarely at stationery and greetings cards companies, because it felt like that was what buyers were really looking for.”
Pippa: “I was at my Blue Print booth all day for all five days of the show, which was amazing but also exhausting! By the end of day one I felt a lot more at ease and knew what questions to ask. It was a great feeling when I sold my first design and to such a lovely client too.
“I made sure to collect as much information as possible from visitors to my stand, so I’d be able to follow up afterwards, but it wasn’t always easy to do because many of the art directors were in a rush and had a lot to see.
“Getting focused feedback from the people that make the decisions has been so helpful. I feel like I have a much better grasp of what art directors are looking for.”
The Four Corners booth made a strong, colourful statement at Surtex
Jocelyn: “One thing that really stood out to me was that the atmosphere at Surtex was really friendly. Other exhibitors were open and generous with their knowledge, and the attendees were happy to stop and chat, look at our work and give feedback.”
Kevin: “We were busy non-stop for all three days of the show but Monday was definitely the busiest day. We didn’t even get a chance to stop and grab lunch!
“Meeting people face-to-face means you get a lot of valuable information and insights. Make the most of the opportunity and really engage with what they like and what they’re looking for. And take good notes because it goes by in a blur and it’s amazing what you forget!”
Emma: “Kevin was absolutely brilliant at catching people as they walked by and engaging them in easy, friendly conversation. It’s a real art and he definitely increased footfall to our booth.
“When you invest so much money and time into a show like Surtex, you really need to keep your energy up through the whole three days from start to finish. You never know who’s going to pass by and you don’t want to miss any opportunities.”
Beth: “Our styles are sufficiently different that it felt easy and natural to help clients towards the work that was best suited to their needs, regardless of whose work it was. Which was lucky because we didn’t really plan it that way! It could have been awkward if we’d felt like we were competing with each other, so I’d say think about that before you exhibit with other artists.”
Kevin: “We spent the morning after the show going through all our contact sheets, prioritizing them into piles, which we then split between the four of us and made a plan for how we would follow up.”
Since the shows, we’ve made outright sales, been commissioned for a variety of projects, had our work presented at sales meetings, signed licensing deals and been taken on by selling agents in Korea and Japan. We have a fantastic mailing list of art directors, buyers and agents and are now sending out a monthly new work newsletter.
In the next few months we’ll be sitting down (on Skype) to plan which shows we’ll be doing in 2017!
About Four Corners Art Collective
Four Corners is an international collective of seven surface pattern designers creating fresh, modern patterns for products and publications. Our work is available to license or buy outright and can be applied across markets – bolt fabrics, apparel, home décor, gift, stationery, quilting, and more. Clients include: Hallmark, The Guardian Newspaper, Dashwood Studio, Workman Publishing, Michael O’Mara Books, Proctor & Gamble, American Flat, and Leap Year Publishing.