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Surface Pattern Design :: How and Where do I get started?

Journal

Surface Pattern Design :: How and Where do I get started?

elena wilken

Over the last couple of weeks I received a handful of messages on Instagram from fellow designers, asking questions on the same subject:

“How/where do I get started in surface pattern design?”


So I thought I would write a blog post and tell you all about it! :) Well, all I know about it :)
And the timing is perfect!

It can be a vast question and I am no authority on it, but I can share where I started, and point you to the experts I turned to get here. I hope you find this helpful!

Surface pattern designs are part of many of the products I already create with Mpix, and the EW Couture templates for photographers. I fell in love with creating seamless surface designs and can hardly wait to see Elena Wilken patterns on fabrics, wall coverings and more stationary!

I stumbled upon the concept of surface pattern design on Skillshare when I found a couple of classes taught by Bonnie Christine and Elizabeth Olwen ...I knew nothing of surface pattern design or that it was even ‘a thing' at the time. Watched all the classes and soaked it all in, and then dug for even more information.

Over time I kept up with and learned all I could from Bonnie Christine’s Skillshare classes. They shaped and grew my business. 

When she launched her Surface Design Immersion course last year, I signed up knowing full well that it would be a life changing experience for me. 
And it was. This past year has been my first to break through the six figure mark.

Also, this is the year I’ve had my first surface pattern printed larger than life. Miller’s Professional Imaging, a professional photo lab, used it to wrap their trade show booth in NYC at one of the largest trade shows for professional photographers. I am beyond thankful and thrilled! Seeing something that was created on an iPad screen printed so large, is breathtaking.

Thanks to Bonnie, it feels like it’s just the beginning!


She keeps alive and re-ignites my love for creating, and her words have inspired and helped me push through imaginary or very real boundaries, failures and fears, time and time again. …Let’s be real! When you are self employed and your income covers a family of 5, the pressure can get to you at times and it’s not too hard to lose your perspective :)

She has a teacher’s heart, and her words of encouragement and inspiration have been just as valuable to me, as the technical and business knowledge she is sharing.

If you are serious about becoming a surface pattern designer, I can’t recommend the program enough! Wholeheartedly. 

I am thankful beyond words for a course like this, thankful for all the research time it saves, and for a teacher that shares her knowledge and the tools to succeed so freely. It has been a game changer.

The sign-up for the immersion course happens only once a year, for a week. It opened this morning and it will be open Feb 19th-26th, 2019. << You can find all the details here.

Enroll through the link included in this blog post, and I will send you a free $75 Amazon gift card, the day after the sign-ups for the course close. …Art supplies, anyone? ;)

To give you a super quick overview, the program is incredibly comprehensive.
It’s a 8 week course that contains over 120 lessons, 90 videos and audio versions of all of the text based lessons. It is truly worth every penny!

…I am familiar with a lot of courses (MATS included) and this is the best and most comprehensive course I’ve come across yet.
It’s the road map on how to became a surface pattern designer.
Starting from the technical side of things - sketches, all about Adobe Illustrator beginner and advanced levels, signature style, building every type of complex seamless repeat patterns, creating collections, building a portfolio - to promoting your work, choosing an industry, how to make a list of contacts, best practices to communicate with companies etc, and further to the behind the scenes and the business of surface design with contracts, licenses, copyrights, keeping track of accounting and finances etc.

I’ll go ahead and repeat myself :) It is truly worth every penny.
...See you in the Immersion Course? :)


I thought this might make you smile, and also encourage and inspire you, if you happen to be at the beginning of your journey - my first surface pattern and two of my last ones.

my first seamless surface pattern design

my first seamless surface pattern design

Wildflower fields at night - Elena Wilken surface pattern design

Wildflower fields at night - Elena Wilken surface pattern design

Tropical - Elena Wilken surface pattern design

Tropical - Elena Wilken surface pattern design

The chances are that some will read this post outside of the sign up window. If so, save the link, and sign up to be notified when enrollment for Immersion 2020 opens.

If you’re reading this during sign-up time and you’re on the fence and have questions, I’m happy to answer them. A lot of the information and knowledge I now have, is because other people took the time to answer my questions and help me, as I was learning. I believe in paying it forward and helping as much as possible.

Start today.

Start today.

The sign-ups are open Feb 19th-26th, 2019. << Find all the details about the Surface Pattern Design Immersion Course here.

Is becoming a surface pattern designer your goal, but the Surface Design Immersion course is just out of reach right now? Start taking Bonnie’s Skillshare classes today. Don’t wait on your dream!

...These classes are gold, really. Like I said, I started with Bonnie and Elizabeth’s classes. I’ll list them below.

Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator / with Bonnie Christine
Surface Pattern Design 2.0: Design a Collection | Start a Career /with Bonnie Christine
Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator / with Elizabeth Olwen
Pattern Design II: A Creative Look at a Full Pattern Collection / with Elizabeth Olwen
Pattern Design: Bring Your Artwork to Life on Products / with Elizabeth Olwen

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I'm an affiliate for Bonnie Christine’s Surface Pattern Design Immersion Course, so I will earn a portion of every registration that results because of my testimonials and promotional efforts. I applied to be an affiliate because her classes had such a tremendously positive effect on my business and I absolutely value what I've learned. She is committed to excellence and empowering and changing lives through her teaching. I am one of those students with a changed life.