UK-based artist Chynna Brown shares her delightful portfolio and talks art licensing and business planning.
ABI: How would you explain surface design and how did you learn to do it?
CB: I would explain surface pattern design as being the art of taking a motif or design and manipulating it to create a repeatable pattern tile, which can then be used to print onto fabrics, wallpaper, stationery and any other surface you can imagine! Traditionally surface patterns were printed using screen prints, but due to more modern technology they are able to print digitally onto a wide range of fabrics and products.
I studied Fine Art at University but changed direction as soon as I gained my degree and took the online courses run by the Make it in Design Team – The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design.
These courses along with researching traditional methods of block printing helped me to create my first patterns and understand the process of turning a sketch into a repeatable design, thus helping me to gain the confidence to go on and create patterns in my own style. There are also some really helpful design books out there which I bought and keep by my side constantly to refer back to!
ABI: What are your business goals?
CB: I would love to get into the licensing side of the business and I am currently working on building up my portfolio so that I could possibly attend and show my work at a trade show in the near future. To design and collaborate with companies that I admire and aspire to would be a dream come true.
I am working on building my own brand and product line which at the moment consists of cushions and greetings cards ,but I would like to expand this to a wider range of products and to branch out to further markets possibly in the wholesale market. I have now invested in some new products including magnets, badges and art prints which I am hoping is a step in the right direction. I try to source all of my materials in the UK, which I believe is important and this is something I would like to continue.
ABI: What new projects do you have coming up?
CB: Everything has come full circle and I have returned to painting recently for the first time since leaving University three years ago!
I have focused mainly on building up my Surface Pattern portfolio and learning to use Photoshop for the past few years which had turned the majority of my work (except for the sketches which are always hand drawn) into a fully digital portfolio. Recently I had a lightbulb moment and the desire to get back to my painting roots gave me an idea to enlarge my surface patterns to a large scale and then paint them.
At the moment I am having a lot of fun working with different types of varnish and glitter finishes and working hard to develop these further and to refine them fully. I am hoping to add these to my shop as original bespoke paintings and to add a commission service to my website.