Tuesday, 14 April 2015

How to turn your art work into fabric or fabric designs.

(How to become a textile designer)

(How to become a surface pattern designer)

(Learn to design prints for fabric)

I have some friends who are painters and fine artists who would like to create some textile design too. While going to university and getting a four year degree in Textile Design is clearly the ideal, if you have already studied art but want to transfer your work to fabric, or you feel you are too busy to start at the beginning, this is the article to help you.

 If you did attend university you would study Weaving and Knitting too, but this article is just about printed fabric and print design.

First here is an over view video.

The steps are;

Create art. Turn it into design.  Sell it.




Create art.
I am assuming you are an artist, and you have drawings or paintings, or can generate them, so you need to get them scanned or photographed to a high resolution and into a design program such as Adobe Photoshop.

 Suggested resolution 300dpi.
Suggested file size: 27 inches square.

Never copy: you are creating work which may be sold so you must only use life, imagination and your own photos for drawing reference, any photos even faintly recognisable, used as a source, that does not belong to you, lead you into legal danger.





Turn it into design.

Once you have scanned your art you need to make it into a continuous repeating pattern for sale or printing.

I have made three movies to show you how this is done.

Movie 1
Movie 2
Movie 3


Also there are some great easy step by step instructions in these books.





It does take a bit of learning but it can be done by even a not very computer literate person if you persist.

The Fashion and Textiles Museum (London) also have one and two day courses regularly if you prefer a teacher.



Turning art into design.






Selling it.

In my experience this is the scariest bit for most artists. I know I have to make myself find the courage EVERY time I’m going to meet with someone and try to get art out there. You do have the courage, and when you do sell something you will feel a million times better than you ever did getting paid for the job in the bank or the cafe!

 Selling things made with the fabric, crafts.

If you want to get a bit of your design printed on fabric and then make something such as handbags to sell.

You can get some fabric printed at:

Spoonflower.com (simply upload and print)


Forest digital. (More of a service aimed at professionals, much better if you want larger amounts.)



When you come to sell your craft objects you might try “Not on the High Street”.

Also if you are going to do craft fairs and markets you should read this article and save yourself a lot of time and money spent on mistakes, (I made all these mistakes and spent that money!)

Successful ways to sell at a fair.


Selling it.

Selling the design through a studio or agent.

If you want to sell the design you need to decide how: sign with a design studio, sign with an agent or sell it yourself.



Pattern observer have an excellent free course on the market.

If you want to sign with design studio you can leave the selling to them but you won’t have much control over how much gets sold.

Have a look at some at the London Textile Fair. Chat to them and make an appointment to view your portfolio.

Send some samples to the exhibitor list from Premier Vision (a big trade fair in Paris).

The same applies to an agent, get a list and contact them or go to an event and chat to them.




Selling it yourself.

Traditionally printed textile design is sold at big trade fairs like Premier Vision and through agents with suitcases full of samples, but more and more is being sold online too.
You can sign up with a web site and sell your art online.

Some are:
Patternbank

Spoonflower also offer a selling platform.

You can also research and contact companies directly and see if they can use your print design. Here are some products with my designs printed on them.





Some other resources I have created include:

Colour wheel




Inspiration, where from.


Finally be organised, no “to do” list basically means no day in terms of getting work done. Track your progress and study management as well as art.

I hope this is helpful and that you can have wonderful fun designing fabrics. Don’t let people discourage you, don’t bother with too much self criticism, I find life gives you plenty of that. Just keep creating art and exchanging it with others.

There are some brilliant groups on facebook and linked in to join and not feel so alone as an artist.

Feel free to contact me if I can help.
Best, Kirsteen

Kirsteen Lyons BA (Hons)
kirsteenann@gmail.com




2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the brilliant post! It will be a big help and will be keeping this info on my desktop to refer to when I need help.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it's usefull to you. Writing it was useful to me as it helped my work out what I do and how I do it. Sort of self clarfying

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