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Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Lesson 25 of 31

Getting Noticed: Portfolios & Trade Shows

Bonnie Christine

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Bonnie Christine

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Lesson Info

25. Getting Noticed: Portfolios & Trade Shows

Lesson Info

Getting Noticed: Portfolios & Trade Shows

In this segment, we're gonna be discussing, by now, you have all the skills it takes to work from your sketches and your photographs, illustrate motifs, and make repeating patterns, so you have, probably are starting to work on a pattern collection, and we're gonna be dipping back into repeating patterns and what we can do with them all day today. I wanna take this segment to talk about what your next steps can be, if you have a pattern collection, and when you're done with your pattern collection, what is your next step. It depends a little bit on your end goal, whether you are gonna be pursuing this as a professional career, or if you're gonna be doing this as a hobbyist for fun on the side, and we're gonna cover all areas of that today. So the first thing that you have to do, if you are wanting to pursue a career in this, is show someone what you've made. And sometimes this is absolutely the hardest part, because it can feel really vulnerable, to put your work out in the world. And ...

rightfully so, because if you're like me, we have poured our heart and our soul into our work. I like to say that everything I do is a reflection of me, and so, when it gets not accepted, it feels like I haven't been accepted. So it's common for artists to be really joined in at their work, but I want you to know that it's okay if something, you know, doesn't go as planned. But the most important thing is that you have to show your work to someone in order to move forward in this career, and I promise you, good things are gonna happen from it. So the first thing you need to do is think about building a portfolio. When you have a large pattern collection, we're doing six in this course, and six is for the pattern challenge, I would recommend that you have at least two collections of at least six patterns, in order to start building a portfolio. You can also think about showing both of those pattern collections in two different color options. So that would give you four collections to show in a portfolio, even though it's just two different design elements. So build a portfolio. This is, we're gonna dip into my portfolio a little bit more, but this is the portfolio that I made several years ago, maybe three years ago, and it's what landed me my first contract, so I'm gonna open the pages later on in this segment, and let you see what it is, and how I built it. But what I wanna encourage you to do is when you build a portfolio, make it special. Somebody told me, before I had any work, I was in that before you show any of your work stage, it was like six months of making patterns, I made hundreds of patterns. I was talking with somebody who was well advanced in their career as a surface pattern designer, and telling them that I really wanted to start building a portfolio, and she said, "Make it the most special thing "that whoever's gonna look at it "has ever held in their whole life." And I'm not sure, I'm not saying that this is, but that was my mission. When I made my portfolio, I tried to pour every ounce of my being into it, and just make it something that felt really, really, really special, so I decided to bind my own book, so I went to a book bindery, and learned how to bind my own book, and printed my own pages, and we'll go into that a little bit more in detail. The next thing you have to do after you build a portfolio, show it to someone. So that is when you decide who you want to approach with your work. If it's somebody local, like a local boutique or something, or if it's a big company, you have to maybe ship it in the mail or get in contact with them first, and we'll go over the steps on how to do that first. The next thing that I want to discuss is another book, which is perfect for this segment, called "Show Your Work!" by Austin Kleon. And it's a new book from him, he's also the same fellow who wrote "Steal Like An Artist", that we discussed in session one, and I am just in awe of his advice for all of us. So all you have to do is show your work, and big things are definitely gonna happen. One of his main points in the book is that you have to be findable. A lot of times, artists want to kind of, I don't know if it's because maybe we're inverts or something, but we kinda want to sit on our work and keep it to ourselves, and it's really hard to put it out in the world. This is really obvious, but I have to remind myself all the time, if I'm not showing somebody something that I've made, then they don't know it exists, and it's not gonna be picked up by anybody. So you have to be findable, and in this day and age, that means you have to be online. If you are not online, you really don't exist in the world of professional surface pattern design. Okay, that means you have to have a website, you have to engage in some sort of social media, the more, the better. I also hesitate to tell you to do something that you hate, so if you hate Facebook, don't make yourself. Don't make yourself do it, but find some kind of social media outlet that you really can engage in, and that you enjoy, and this is where you're gonna be building your tribe. This is where you're gonna build followers, this is where potential clients are gonna come be able to see a glimpse into your life. And so, for social media too, you also have to be, you know, are you gonna be sharing your personal life, or just your business life, or are you gonna kinda marry the two? And I'm not gonna give you strict advice on that, because I think it's personal to what your mission is. I kinda marry the two because I like to be transparent, so if you go to my Instagram account, it's @goinghometoroost, you're gonna see pictures of my baby and you're gonna see pictures of my artwork, and I like to build a community, I don't like to hide behind my business or anything. I am Going Home To Roost, I am Bonnie Christine, I am these patterns, so I don't tend to hide anything, but I do try to have a mission with what I share, so I'm not sharing things that aren't important, but things that are meaningful to me, and can be meaningful to you is mostly what I'm trying to share on social media. So if you are inclined to blog, I highly suggest blogging, whether it be only for your personal work, or if you wanna turn it into a career and blog about lots of different topics, but at least have a website, an online portfolio, and some social media. This is gonna be key to getting you into a company, because the more audience that you create around yourself that you can bring into a company, the more appealing you're gonna be to them, because if they pick you up, they pick your work up, they have just introduced themselves to all of your audience. So the bigger it is, the more appealing you are. We harped on this on session one. My biggest piece of advice is do one thing every single day in the direction of following your dreams. So I did this, this is absolutely the number one thing that got me to where I am today, I still do it today, I have big dreams in the future, and I am constantly reminding myself that I have to work in order to get there, because things just don't fall in your lap, okay? They might, and if they do, then it's really good, but sometimes there are overnight successes that we've all heard, but usually, if there's an overnight success, if you get to digging, there's a decade or more of really hard work that goes in behind it. So do one thing every single day, and share one thing every single day. So if you do one thing every single day, that can be, depending on where you are in your mission, it could be researching what you wanna do, it could be emailing one person, it could be asking one question. It can be learning one thing, it can be contacting one company. It can be building one page in your portfolio, but do one thing, and you will sleep better at night and realize that you're making your dream come true, no matter how long it takes. So alongside that, as you're working, share something every single day. Used to, I believe, artists really liked to kind of hide their work, because before the internet and social media existed, then really the only time to show your work, Austin talks about this in "Show Your Work!" is at an art show or in a museum. And so you didn't want people to see your process, because process is messy, and you didn't want them to think that was your finished product, you wanted them to only see the beautiful finished product. Now, with social media, and now websites and online, people are interested in the person behind the artwork. They're interested in you and in your life, and in your process, so show your messy process. Like, show your fingers covered in paint. Show your messy sketches, or maybe some sketches that are crumpled up in the trash can, or show your process, and let people be involved in the process of your artwork. They are gonna connect deeply with you through that process, and its gonna really pay off in the end. This is the same, kind of the same topic, so think process, not product. I'm gonna encourage you to think both. Share your finished products, but share your process as well. So things like Instagram and blogs really give us a really unique opportunity to share the process we get to the finished product. The other thing that Austin Kleon really encourages us to do is share what you know, and this is so funny, because I finished reading this last week, and I'm like, ooh, I gotta add this slide into my presentation, because it's exactly what I wanted to be clear on this week, and it really helped me, because he's telling us, share what you know, share what you know, share what you know, and that's what I'm doing with you today. I'm sharing with you everything that I know, I'm trying to share with you everything I know, I only know about three days' worth of stuff, though. (laughter) So share what you know, which also means that if you stop learning, you're gonna stop having things to share, so the cycle should go learn, share, learn, share, learn, share, learn, share. The other thing he says is that if you are not embarrassed by the things you were doing a year ago, you haven't learned enough. So I'm a little embarrassed of my portfolio. I made it three years ago, but I'm going to open its pages and let you see all of it, and I'm happy to do that, because this is how we grow, and if I watch this segment in a year from now, I will probably be embarrassed by it as well. So we just keep learning, keep learning, and it gives us this ever-evolving curve of learning which is essential to being a professional creative. His last piece of advice that I wanna touch on is see if you can fill a void. It's really easy to look around at what other people are doing and just kinda fall right into it, and start doing the same thing, and that will, there's nothing wrong with that, in terms of how you share social media, or what your idea is for a blog post, like somebody showing pictures from Instagram every week. I jumped on that bandwagon, and I do the same thing now. There's nothing wrong with that, but something really unique happens when you stop looking around and have an original idea, even though we learned nothing's really original, but something that you don't see anybody doing right now, fill that void, and that will give you a unique voice to bring to the crowd, a unique voice to bring to social media and to your blog, and to your work. So just keep that in mind, as you're going through your creative process, and see if you can apply it anywhere along the way. So build a portfolio, this is, I have built a couple of portfolios, this is a picture of another one that I don't have with me today, but I have built three, and I built them all in the same way. So this is a glimpse of what it looked like, and I'm gonna go into detail about how I put that together shortly, but on the right hand side of the screen, you can see how I packaged it. So I have a couple of tips on how to package your portfolio if you're shipping it somewhere. First of all, make it look as special as you can in the moment. So I had this tissue paper I wrapped, I made a sticker with my logo on it, I made a little bunting banner with bakers' twine and brown craft sticker paper, just whatever you can. And then I stuck a little handwritten card in a slot that I had made in the tissue paper. Definitely not saying do this, but whatever that looks like in terms for yourself, just pour some extra love on top of your portfolio. Make it beautiful. Include something that the person who is receiving it can keep as an added bonus, so if you make something a little handmade, if you have a smaller version of your portfolio that you would be okay with them keeping indefinitely, include that, and just make sure that they know the difference of what they can keep and what they can't keep, either by phone, email or a card in your portfolio. So the other thing that I have in this box that you can't see is on the bottom, I have a prepaid self addressed envelope on the bottom. I measured the weight of the portfolio, prepaid for postage, and included that in there, so it would be super easy for them to just slide it back into the envelope when they were done with it, and ship it back to me. This does two things: It ensures that they know that you want it back, unless you're making portfolios that you're happy for someone to keep, I poured a lot of time and energy into mine, so I wanted to make sure to have them back at some point, so that's why I included that envelope. And the other thing is, it makes sure that, you know, these art directors are busy, busy, busy people, and I didn't want them to have to go to any extra effort to go to the post office or figure out my address or pay for postage, I didn't wanna put any of that on them so I wanted to do it all myself. So it was prepaid, you can do that on the website, you can put in the return address and your address and pre-pay for it there, and it's worked great every time I've done it. Hey Bonnie, we have a question now, do you ever create a new portfolio for every pitch, or do you do specific things for a pitch to your portfolio, or is this kinda the same one each time? That's a great question. So that is why I've made three. I started with the first one, a particular company I was working with then, it was before I was signed with anybody, wanted to see a few different things. So I made a whole other one. And these, the way I've made these are really labor-intensive. And so the third one I made is, I don't have a picture of it but it looks almost identical to this, but I put a binder in it, so I can take one page out at a time, and I will kind of talk you through that process later. But they are all a little different, and I haven't made a new one in about three years, because my hope is that once you get your foot in the door, you might not need to keep making portfolios. Word of mouth and your work gets out in the world, and then you're not gonna have to keep doing this. Though I am gearing up to go home and make a new portfolio because I do have some people that I wanna send it to, and like I said earlier, I've been really transparent and I hope that I'm really early in my career, so there are some big people out there that I really would love to work with. I'm gonna be going home and building a new portfolio just like you guys probably are, and maybe that will be my last one, but I'm not sure. So my work has developed a ton over the last three years, and these portfolios aren't really showing how I have grown as an artist, so I'll be building a new one as well. So they're all a little different. But the binder style is a great way to be able to interchange pages and let your portfolio grow with you. So the next thing you have to do after you build a portfolio is pick up the phone. And I just got nervous when I said that, okay? This is the most nerve-wracking thing I have, well, I don't know. This is pretty nerve-wracking, too. (laughter) This is one of the most nerve-wracking things I have ever done in my life, is to pick up the phone and call a company. It's so nerve-wracking. So I wrote down on a piece of paper what this is gonna look like. All you have to do is dial the number of a company, you can find their number right on their website, and say, "Hello, may I speak to your art director?" Okay, that's all you have to say, I don't know why that's so nerve-wracking, but "Hello, may I speak to your art director?" And then I wrote this down, too: "Hello, my name is Bonnie and I'm a designer. "I would love to submit my work for you to review, "and was wondering if you had any submission guidelines?" So most companies will have submission guidelines. These are things that they are looking for, a particular way they want you to prepare your work for them to review. I cannot tell you how much this meant to most people that I spoke to, because I think we live in an email day of age. We email, email, email, and these art directors are getting emails and emails and emails. I mean, these art directors may be getting 100 portfolios a week, okay? So what I want to express to you today is try to stand out from the crowd. Do something to really stand out from the crowd. And so I, that wasn't really my mission in picking up the phone, I think I didn't know what else to do, I was like, I gotta call. So I called. But what I learned through the process is that most all of them said, "You know what, nobody calls. "Thank you so much for calling me and asking for me, "I love to put a voice with a name online, "this is the address I would like "you to send your portfolio to, "do you want me to return your portfolio?" After you get that first sentence out of your mouth, the conversation is gonna flow just really naturally, okay? The other really interesting thing is that art directors are usually very available, and they would just transfer me right over to the person. I didn't know what I was gonna get when I asked for the art director, and they said, "Oh yeah, sure, hold on." And the art director was on the other line of the phone, so these people are accessible. The other thing is that they need you. They need work, they need artwork. So if they pick you up, yes, they're doing you a huge favor, but you're doing them a huge favor, because without artwork, whatever they're doing, whether it be wallpaper, stationery, whatever, they can't do it without your artwork. And you can't get the exposure that you want without a company picking you up like that. So this is hugely important, and I hope that you can pick up the phone. So I touched on this a little bit in session one, but this is what I went through. Maybe I'm the only person who gets nervous, although sometimes I get nervous when I call to order a pizza. I don't know, something, like, we just don't talk on the phone anymore. We don't talk on the phone. I would rather text the art director, but not gonna do that. So I constantly am reminding myself, it only takes 10 seconds of courage. Did we discuss this on session one? No, this is new, okay. So actually, this was during a sermon that I was listening to one time, and the guy was talking about how most things in his whole life only took 10 seconds of courage. Proposing to his wife, you know, applying to blah, blah, blah. And it stuck with me so much. All I needed was 10 seconds to pick up the phone and dial the number, and then it was gonna be okay, but it was that part that was so hard. So many times through developing your creative career, you're gonna need these bursts of courage, and they're there if you look for them. Just kinda turn your brain off, and do what's the task at hand. Whether it be calling somebody, or showing your work to somebody, or walking up to a meeting for the first time or something like that. It's just 10 seconds. The next thing I wanna touch on are trade shows, so I touched a little bit of this in session one as well. My story is that I sent my portfolio around. I didn't get picked up like I wanted, so I didn't let that destroy my dreams. I packed my bags and bought a flight to Quilt Market in Houston, in 2012, and I attended the trade show as an observer, or as a potential pattern designer. So what I did was contact several companies that I was interested in working with months in advance, and asked them for an appointment at the trade show. So most industries have giant trade shows that happen once or twice a year. This is an incredibly unique opportunity for someone who's interested in getting into the field, because every art director for every company that you're potentially interested in working with is under one roof at the same time. And they're in person. So you only have to fly to one destination, or drive to one destination, to get access to all of these people. You probably don't wanna show up without any appointments, because they are booked back to back the entire show most likely. I did walk in to a couple of booths that I wasn't able to hear back from, and was able to sit down with a couple of art directors that I hadn't previously gotten in touch with, but most of them, that couldn't happen with. So attend as an observer, make appointments with companies that you wanna sit down with, and this was an incredibly educational experience for me. I did get picked up by Art Gallery Fabrics, which is, I consider, a family, a family now. I was brought into their family, but through the other meetings that I had with other fabric companies, I learned so much sitting down with the art directors. They just spoke wisdom into my work, and gave me some really excellent feedback, so it's an invaluable learning experience to be able to get in front of these people, if you're ever able to. The other option is to attend as an exhibitor, and this is most likely after you have been picked up by a company, you can exhibit at a trade show, but there are a couple of unique opportunities like Surtex, our print source, have you heard of these? They are big industry trade shows where you can buy a booth at your own expense, and they are, like, Surtex is specifically for the surface pattern design industry. So you can go as a fresh new artist, you don't have to have any, I don't believe that you have to have any standing contracts with anybody, you can just go with your work, and at your booth. The whole reason for this trade show is that companies come there to find work for their products. So they are walking the aisles, looking for something that stands out to them that they want to put on their surfaces. So rugs, wallpaper, fabric, stationery, cards, that kind of thing. So this is a huge opportunity for an artist to be able to go and get in front of that many people at one place, at one time. So I already said, it's an incredibly unique opportunity. The next thing I wanna talk about is, we've been playing with this idea of themes and collections and names, so I haven't really shown you what that looks like for me, and so I wanna run through some of my past collections. The logo, the idea behind the collection, and how I named the collection pieces, and the only reason I'm doing this is kinda to help you think in that holistic point of view for your pattern collection, because you should kind of have an idea for a name, a theme, maybe a little paragraph or story for it, and then it goes all the way down to what you name each piece, and even what you name the color of those pieces, because usually you might have two different color stories of one design, so you'll name, they'll both have the same name, and then they'll be differentiated by the color name, so you can even go down to the color name. So this first one is called Sweet As Honey, it was my second fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, and its story is "Sweet As Honey is a collection with a story. "It's about exploring nature and growing a garden "that generously allows for freshly picked flowers. "It is here that the air smells as sweet as honey "and a sense of wonderment sets in "as you gaze upon a deer nestled among the dandelions. "This is a most lovely place, "where the birds fly free and the honey is extra sweet." This is a really personal story for me. I designed this collection when I lived in southern California, and I am telling you, the honey was extra sweet, I've never had honey this sweet. And so I had a flower garden, and there were deer, it just, the whole collection told a story. So this is the collection, and you can see really how I brought in my story to the pieces, but sometimes they're really literal, and sometimes they're kind of loosely based on my story, but it goes all the way down to how I name them. So Orchid Blossom, Honey House, Bee Sweet is the bee print, Rooted, Fly By Day are birds that would be flying over my home or yard, Garden Gate, entry to the garden, Cherished Deer, Bed of Daisies, Beekeeper, Honeycomb. So all the names of the collection fits the story and the name of the collection. My last collection that just came out is called Winged, and it's all about things that are winged, so butterflies and birds. I had a really sweet guy tell me one time that he was so excited for my next collection, because he loved airplanes. I'm like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, it's not about airplanes." He was a pilot in, I think, the war, but anyways. Winged is: "Capture the first sightings of a butterfly each spring, "and wake up to the birds chirping outside your window. "Winged represents a season's fresh beginnings "and the dawn of a new day to spread your wings "and let your imagination fly free." So this collection, I'll go ahead and let you see it. This collection is, yes, about literal butterflies and birds and wings, but it is also, in the back of my mind while I designed this I also had that overriding feeling of all things are possible. I, since I was a kid, have always noticed the first butterfly that comes out in spring, and it just gives me this sense of new beginnings and a new season, and things are gonna be blooming soon, and all things are possible. So this is the collection that came out from it. This one is a little less literal in some cases, Plumage down here is kind of my geometric take on a feather. Metamorphosis is kind of my whimsical take on a cocoon. Mimicry up in the right top hand corner is kind of all the bits and pieces that make up a butterfly wing, that turns into Mimicry. Trilly Flutters is another kind of feathery print. So some of them are literal, like Wingspan and Bird's Peck and Aves Chatter, and then florals are my happy place, so they're in there, too. Next, I'm gonna be showing you two collections that I'm debuting today, right now. I haven't shared them anywhere yet, so I can't show you the whole thing, but I'm gonna show you a little bit of it. I am coming out with a special edition children's line this fall called Hello, Bear. So Hello, Bear means something really deep to me. "With a much greater meaning "than one might realize at first glance, "Hello, Bear tells a meaningful story "of adventure and wonder named after my son, Bear. "It was inspired by seeing the wilderness "through a new set of eyes, which are his. "So, wander for a bit and explore a world "where dreams become reality." So I had to show you a picture of Bear, this is him. This is my baby, Bear. And this is a glimpse at the pattern collection. This is not the full thing, and it's only one color, but it's got little woodland animals, and antlers, and wood grain. The other color story is a little more feminine, so it could go for a little girl, but this one is probably telling the biggest story of any collection that I have made to date. The other collection I'm coming out with is called Cultivate, and it is about flower gardening. I planted my flower garden this year for the first time since I moved back to North Carolina, so "Cultivate was inspired by working in the garden, "smelling of dirt and reaping the harvest. "It's about the often overlooked importance "of a simple flower garden, where blossoms grow, "birds sing and freshly cut blooms "awaken your home with happy hues." So I'll go ahead and show that to you, too. This is one colorway, and just a couple of prints, but it is based on growing flowers. These stripes are kind of like the plots that you grow gardens in. These little things down here are my take on a seed packet, opened a seed envelope. Of course, this one is like a flower kind of plot, and then there are lots of florals in it, because I love flowers so much. So that is just to kind of give you some inspiration on how to evolve your pattern collections and attach a theme and story to them, and I don't think, you definitely don't have to do this, everybody doesn't do this, but I think that it really brings a really nice essence to your collection, to be able to tell a story with it. So I'm gonna wrap this session up with letting you know that it always seems impossible until it's done, so I definitely don't want any of that to make you feel overwhelmed. All you have to do is get started, and big things are gonna happen. Bonnie, we had a number of questions come in on a couple of the topics that you were just touching on. And one related to themes. Someone in the chat room wants to know, "Should my themes be the same as everyone else's, "because those are the ones that are popular for a reason, "or should I try to stand out a lot, "with very unique themes "that may be too unusual to be commercial?" So they're unsure of where to fall on that spectrum. If you can, I would suggest getting somewhere in the middle. People have asked me before, do I follow trends, do I follow trends in colors, Pantone system comes out with a color of the year, do I use it? I'll use it if it's a color that I absolutely love already. If it's a color that I don't really love, I don't use it. This is just my personal perspective on this. You might definitely use it, because you want to be on trend. You can see that I used antlers and foxes and arrows in my Hello, Bear print collection, and that is very on trend right now. But it's also what I wanted to do, and it's something that I love already. Bear really does have a tent, a teepee, in his nursery. He really does, you know, I made little onesies for him with arrows on them months ago, so something that I was already deeply involved in. So I didn't do it just because it was trendy. So when you start doing things just because it's trendy, you start losing your identity. So if there's a trend that's trending, that you're like, I love that, I love chevron or whatever, I've been using that forever, it's something that really speaks to me, then absolutely put it in your work, but maintain some authenticity and don't just follow the whim of every trend that comes along, because then you might start to get known as just a trendy designer, and you want to be a signature designer. You want your work to be recognizable today, and in 15 years from now. Now we had some people who were curious about your portfolio. This question says, "You mentioned that you send your physical portfolio "to potential clients, "but I was taught that you shouldn't part with it, "due to companies possibly making photocopies, et cetera. "Do you include a form of letter which they have to sign, "which states that they acknowledge that when you share, "it's confidential, and they understand "that you own all the rights "to the work that you're pitching them?" Should people be concerned about that? You know, companies know that. Companies know this is your work, and it is a really sad day if a company rips off your work. I know that it happens, it has not happened to me, and I have not included a folder, letter. I have, I don't send it just to everyone, I only send it to a small amount of companies that I am really interested in cultivating a close relationship with, so I have talked to them on the phone, we've emailed, I don't feel at risk for being copied in that way. If you do, include a letter. I think that's a great way to be really upfront with where you are. I'm not playing games here, this is my work, and you need to respect that. It's just professional, and so if you wanna do that, I don't think it's a bad idea. Okay, and I think we have a, oh, we have a question here, go ahead. It's a little follow-up. Do you also have an online portfolio, or does that open yourself up to being ripped off? I don't have, like, a definitive online portfolio. I do have my work all over online, so I have a Bonnie Christine Pinterest board, I pin everything that I do on. I have a Society6 shop that we're gonna look at a little bit later today, that is pretty much like an online portfolio. And then of course, I share my images on my blog, and that kind of thing. So I don't currently use one, but I have been thinking about putting one together, and to do that, I would suggest using Issuu, that's I-s-s-u-u, and you can publish your own PDF magazines, really, and you can either make them public or private via a link, and they are really high quality. As you click, it looks like the pages are flipping. You can make the links interactive, so if you are putting your blog on there or whatever, then you can make them interactive to where somebody only has to click on it to go to your blog or your website. So I think having something like that is a great idea, like I said, I am already in the works of doing my own, and that way, when you send your physical portfolio, you can also send this link with them, to let them-- I think it's still important to send something physical, because these people are getting inundated with online portfolios already, but it's nice to leave them with something that they can refer back to. One other thing I'll say about Issuu is that you can also get a print version of your Issuu publication right on Issuu, and I believe it's Peecho, I believe it's like a third party called Peecho, I believe, that does that, and so I have done that before, and made miniature copies of my big portfolio, and will send both copies. So my physical one that I want back, and then the smaller, I think they're like five bucks apiece. So a smaller one that is less quality, I wouldn't want somebody thinking it was my main portfolio, but it is something they can keep and refer back to, so I think that's a great idea, too. Great, now Bonnie, we have one more quick question before we move on. Now, this is a question that's a little bit personal, but they'd like to know, what was some of the criticism that you heard from the art directors that didn't like your work, and how do you handle hearing criticism like that? It's hard to hear criticism, but what you have to remember is that hopefully it's constructive criticism, and even if it's mean criticism, you should be able to make it constructive. So the company I was working with primarily was just slow, they were really slow. Six weeks went by, I'd call, I can't get somebody, call, call, call, finally ended up calling, this was six months in, and I was done waiting, and I wanted my book back and I wanted to move on, so I decided I would call every single day until I got somebody on the phone, and leave a voicemail, I was really annoying I'm sure. So it was like 12 days in a row, then I got my book back. I did send two portfolios in to them because they were interested, but they wanted to see some different work, a different color story, so I redid that, and resubmitted it. When I was at Quilt Market and met with companies, some of the feedback I got was, like, I had taken some new work that I hadn't turned into a collection yet, so they wanted me to take this one piece of artwork and build a whole collection around it, and submit it to them a little later. Change the scale of some things, try to do like a more vintage colorway, or something like that. So I think I mentioned this already, but I was feeling like I was gonna head home with a bunch of homework from the Market, the trade show that I went to, but also lots of really good connections made. Then I did end up getting a contract before I left, so I didn't have to follow up on much of that homework, but start right in designing for the company that I did get picked up with. So just little things like that you can be prepared for. Somebody will probably want to see things a little differently.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Did you know that you can turn your sketches, drawings, and doodles into patterns? Join Bonnie Christine for an introduction to creating patterns to use in your very own fabric prints, stationery designs, website backgrounds, cell phone covers, and much, much more.

This course will take you through the process of working with Adobe Illustrator to create digital versions of your artwork. You’ll learn tips and tricks for working in Illustrator and how you can use the software to create repeating patterns of your very own drawings. Bonnie will guide you step-by-step through the process of transforming sketches and tracings into vector art which can be used for an endless array of printable and online projects from customized stationery to computer wallpaper. You’ll also learn how to assemble your collection of designs into a portfolio you can use to impress potential collectors and buyers.

This course will lay a solid foundation for those new to Illustrator and open up exciting new possibilities for people already familiar with the program. If you are ready to bring your drawings to life in new ways this class is for you.


Adobe Illustrator CS6

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Desktop and Smartphone Backgrounds

Grow Your Blog eBook

Jouney to Becoming a Surface Pattern Designer

Design Printables

Color Palettes and Pattern Mockups

Keynote Session 1

Keynote Session 2

Keynote Session 3

Math Made Easy with Rotate Tool

Industry Resources and Supplies

Keyboard Shortcuts

My Creative Story


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Emily Leggett

I am so glad I took the time to sit through all 3 days of this course. I have been to hour long classes that I can't wait to get out of and this one I sat in for 3 days and I am wishing it wasn't over. I take a lot of continuing education classes and am always trying to learn new things and I have to say this is by far the absolute most informative, educational, inspiring, and motivating classes I have ever taken. Bonnie Christine was an amazing teacher. She took the time to take us through all aspects of the process and even beyond showing us so many things that can be done with everything she taught us in this class. I think she did a great job with the class, was easy to follow and is someone I would love to learn from again. Great job on everything. I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn about surface pattern design and Illustrator. Great job to everyone involved in putting this course together!

a Creativelive Student

I'm about halfway through my first viewing of the course and I have to say, its been electrifying! There is so much quality information here, its an excellent starting point, and I do think I can start working towards a career in design now. It also makes me want to find more information and courses in the art and design area. Bonnie is such a joyful, honest and enthusiastic instructor and really, it feels like she';s hosting an amazing party for her friends. Thank you Bonnie for doing this course and thank you CreativeLive for pricing it so affordably

a Creativelive Student

Awesome awesome awesome course! Thank you Bonnie! Thank you Creative Live! I have learned so much... so much great information packed together in one class. I am so glad I bought the course so I can rewatch it any time I need to.