How to Become a Fabric Designer

November 25, 2022

A follower reached out to me with a question, which prompted me to share with you today- How to Become a Fabric Designer. In this episode, I answer followers questions on this very topic, according to my experience and what I have learned becoming a fabric designer myself for Art Gallery Fabrics. 

If you haven’t yet listened to the episode where I talk about becoming a fabric designer and  share my story and personal journey, please find that episode to listen to HERE

How to Become a Fabric Designer

In THIS episode, I share the tangible, nitty gritty, check-list type information with you. Really, I share the things you need to know logistically to design fabric. 

In Episode 84, I talk about and answer the following questions:

  • Getting into the hands of more people- Art Gallery Fabrics is starting to have fabric sold in JoAnn’s Fabric stores. Some people may have fears about this. I share why this is a huge thing for Art Gallery Fabrics and how it could be helpful for the smaller industry.

Here are the questions from my followers that I would like to address in this episode, in no particular order.

  • What is the time line for making a collection? I share what the process was like for me in releasing my first fabric collection. 
  • What are the steps to becoming aFabric Designer? How did you sign with a fabric company? Here are 5 Steps: 
    1. Have the desire.
    2. Quilt! Take note of the fabrics you are drawn to use. Become familiar with what you like and why.
    3. Start creating designs you’d like to see on fabric.
    4. Make multiple collections- prove you have substance.
    5. Get familiar with what companies would be a good “fit” for you and your look. Reach out and send your work to different companies. 
  • Is Fabric Designing a saturated industry? There is always room for good, quality designers. 
  • What programs do you use for drawing and making repeats?
  • When you make a collection, what is the ratio of florals vs geometric vs novelty prints? 
  • Where do you look for color trends? Examples; Trend Bible, your design company, what you’re liking. Be careful to stay in your brand. Stuck on branding? I recommend a book called Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One by Emily Heyward 
  • What exercises can I do now to become a fabric designer? Draw, practice, quilt!
  • How do you learn to draw? 
  • How long did it take to become a Fabric Designer? Everyone is different, but it tool me 4 years. 
  • How do you know when your collection is complete? LOVING what you submit. 
  • How do you get picked up by a fabric line? 
  • What is the typical income that a Fabric Designer earns?
  • Do you draw every day?
  • How do you develop your own style? 
  • My drawing style doesn’t match what I want to do? What do I do? I recommend the bool Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
  • Do I need to use watercolor? Nope.
  • How many collections in a year does a designer put out. Usually two.
  • Can you explain licensing to me?… I can bring on a specialist on this in the future if there is interest. 
  • Is self publishing a good idea?  
  • Interested in knowing what a shop owner sells the most of?
I hope this episode is one that you find helpful. I can’t recommend enough to just quilt if you want to be a fabric designer. Also, try and create your own patterns. These two things really can help open the door for fabric designing in the quilting industry. 



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[Music] welcome to the craft to Career podcast with Elizabeth Chappell or every week we

dive into how you can turn your craft into a successful career get ready to have the career you’ve always dreamed of

[Music] hello and welcome to episode 84 of the

crafty career podcast I’m Elizabeth Chapel of Quilter’s candy and the host of the show and today November 25th is

actually my birthday I am recording this ahead of time but I’m already excited for this to release on my birthday

and if you’re in America it’s Black Friday I am curious if other countries

do this and call it Black Friday as well but basically Thursday every third what

is it third Thursday no fourth Thursday I should know this every fourth Thursday

of November is Thanksgiving in America so we take that day to celebrate

count our blessings then the day after Mark’s like okay it’s time to go

shopping for the holidays and so stores do a bunch of shopping specials

I’m actually not doing any for my company I’m curious if you’re doing some for yours it’s a great way to get sales

so I do recommend it if you’re interested I’m just not interested in doing it myself we’ll see maybe down the

road I will but yes today is my birthday and I have

an episode topic for you that came about because one of my listeners

I reached out and well I have asked if you’re interested in something let me know and so do like DM me or send an

email let me know if there’s a topic that you want covered and she reached out and said I would

love for you to share how to become a fabric designer so I actually put some questions out on

Instagram and asked my followers what you want to know about becoming a fabric designer and I got a lot of questions

from a lot of you so I’m going to go through those questions today and answer them with the

caveat that this is from my experience it is not the same with every company

in fact it’ll look pretty different depending on which company you work for but I’ll share all the things that I do

know and with all the questions that I’ve gotten and before we go any further if you are

loving the craft to Career podcast it would mean so much to me and for the

longevity of the podcast if you could leave a review for the podcast it’s

actually not possible to write a review on Spotify but you can leave like a a

star review one to five star hopefully five but you can leave a review with the

star system on Spotify on Apple podcast that’s the one that

really can make a difference with the podcast and getting seen and getting great guests to come onto the show so if

you go to Apple podcasts and go to the crafted career podcast you can go and

leave your own review and you know share things that you are enjoying about the podcast or that you’d want to hear and I

love to start the show by reading those so I’d love to have you be highlighted as one of your reviews on the podcast

so now let me jump in and I’m going to pull up my list of questions that I have on becoming a fabric

designer so just for you listeners if you haven’t gone back and listened to or if you haven’t listened to already my

episode on becoming a fabric designer I go through my personal Journey it’s

more of my story the emotions the history of how I became a fabric designer this episode is much

more of the tangible Nitty Gritty checklist here are the things that you need to know logistically to design

fabric so I designed fabric for art gallery Fabrics it’s a company that I love

they are I’m super excited about this they are starting to have their Fabrics carried in Joanne Fabrics it’s very

interesting to see some of the comments in the quilting Community about this where people are frustrated that oh no

this is the death of the small business the small shop owners um but as a company for art gallery this

is huge like to get into more homes to get seen by more people

and to hear from art gallery they have known and they have seen that

the more you’re let’s say for me for example the more my fabric is seen by

the average person first of all the more Quilters we can bring into this community get interested

in Fabric and learn who’s this designer what oh a quilting hmm second of all the more that this

quilting fabric is seen Again by the average person not just the people who are in the niche and know where the

local quilt shops are online quilt shops but are seen by an average person walking into Joanne’s

the more or less people it’s going to be on the radar and they’ll be like hmm what is this fabric from Art Gallery

Fabrics that’s so cool where where else can I find it do they have more and then they’re going to go

online and search for more and then they find those small online shops the

boutique shops so I do believe a rise in tide lifts all boats and so this is a

net positive I’m very excited to be teaming up with a company that is going to be carried in Joanne Fabrics

mine isn’t yet they only have a few collections that are being carried in Joanne’s so my dream and my hope is that

mine will be eventually carried in Joanne’s and they don’t change the quality at the exact same quality fabric

that you would order from anywhere else art gallery’s very particular about their quality they will not lower it or

change that so it’s really just awesome to be getting into the hands of

more people who wouldn’t have otherwise known about it and then to also have those people be like wait a minute what

is this where can I find more of it and to go and buy more so Art Gallery Fabrics that’s who I

designed for and part of the questions here are give more I’ll give more background

to how I got into this if you will again the Nitty Gritty not so much the

emotional story side of it so I’ll just jump into the questions and it’s not in

a chronological order I literally just wrote I mean it’s not like well here’s a natural progression I just wrote down

the questions in the order that they came in so if we hop around a little bit that’s why

but number one the question is what is the timeline for making a collection

so again remember this is my experience I know I’ve talked to

um other fabric designers and it’s different for everyone so I’ll speak to

myself and know that if you spoke to a different fabric designer they might have a different answer for you

but for me a timeline for making a collection first of all my first collection took

years oh gosh 2018 is when I took my first

course on how to design fabric I had been dabbling I learned how to do Adobe

but it left me in tears because I saw what I was progressing I’m like a square I

learned how to make a square how am I going to be able to design this amazing fabric with my drawings when all I can

do in Adobe is make a square and so yeah 2018 I took my first course

where I really was like aha this is how we do this 2018 to 2022 that’s when my first fabric

collection came out like into the public so 18 19 20 24 years so timeline for my first collection was

four years now there’s a lot that goes into that and some more of these questions go over that so your first collection is going

to take longer because you have so much to figure out you’re probably figuring out your style

your all of the things that we’re going to go into so that that’s that my second collection

probably um two months and that’s all I’ve done so far but I

can see that the more that I’m creating the more I’m really like oh yeah okay

this is me this is my look the easier it becomes but it still takes work so it’s not like

oh I can whip that out in a day you know uh and I do all this kind of think not

always but as I’m going throughout my day if something comes up where oh that’d make a really cool fabric collection theme

then I’ll start to think about that and I’m jump ahead of myself but yes okay so

timeline for a collection it varies it varies on so many things but that very

first collection is probably going to take the longest because you’re new and you’re figuring

everything out number two what is the timeline or steps to becoming a fabric designer again this

is so all over the place in fact I had a friend who

wanted to become a fabric designer and she is now she has her first line coming out soon I don’t know if it’s public so

I’m not going to announce that but when it does I’ll be sure to share it with you guys because she’s a friend and I’m really excited about it for her

but she asked me this what how did you sign with art gallery Fabrics what was

your story like and it’s so untraditional it’s I had a relationship with them first and then I

you know started designing fabric I showed it to Pat the owner of art

gallery and she said yeah I’m interested and then but you got to work on your style you gotta have a look it was a

year later that she returned and was like how’s it coming we’d love to see your stuff

so it was not traditional it was not me like reaching out to some unknown company and pitching myself to someone

that I didn’t know you know it was very different and she was like well this is so frustrating because

everyone I’ve talked to it’s been that way it’s been very untraditional so I

guess I could say it’s a traditional which leads to other things I’ve mentioned before if you get a chance to

be in the room with someone like the owner of a fabric company or the art

director of a fabric company do it get to know them like those personal

connections are so big and if they know you and like you and

you have a good following you’ve built a good brand that’s very attractive but it’s to speak to what the timeline

or steps becoming a fabric designer timeline I I just can’t even give one

because but I’ll speak to the steps so steps first of all

have the desire which if you’re listening to this that’s clearly there the intrigue

second of all there are so many different ways that you could design Fabric and things you could design it

for so I clearly designed fabric for Quilters so that I can speak to

as to designing Fabrics in other Industries I’m just not familiar so I don’t know but so let’s go down the road

of being a fabric designer in the quilting industry so have an interest

second I would definitely say quilt use Fabrics as you are quilting and you’re

making things you will naturally see okay or if you don’t take note

what kind of fabrics do I use as far as colors what kind of contrast do I have

do I have darks lights low volumes what do I like to use and

get very familiar with it if you make a quilt and you’re like I did not love these colors like take note of that why

why didn’t you like those colors what do you do you like to use geometric what what just get really familiar and

comfortable with what you like and then if there’s something that you’re like man there’s a void and I

cannot find this kind of fabric perfect that could be something that you design and you create so that’s my

second step is use fabric get familiar with what looks good in a quilt because

sometimes people are really good at Art and they’re like I’d love to design fabric just have one more thing on my

resume so I’d like to do it for the quilting world but they have no idea the

scale that works you know like really large or really small they just don’t get what works for a quilt so make

quilts use quilting fabric and get really familiar with what you like and what you wish you had more of

then start creating and we’ll talk about like how to do that in just a minute but

start creating designs that you would like to see on fabric then make a collection it’d be ideal if

you could make multiple collections so that when you do reach out to a company you can show them multiple collections

so they can get a feel for okay this person has a look rather than oh they

made one a one hit wonder and the rests are going to be want you know you want

to prove that you actually have substance it’s not just surface level what you’ve done and created

and then I guess that’s kind of the next step is to reach out and send your work to different companies

and before that I would look at those companies and really see does my look fit here

what other designers do they have am I competing with other designers at this company

um so get familiar with where a good fit for you would be and then question number three

is fabric is is it a saturated industry is it oversaturated is it hard to get into

so this is just like anything else in the business world there are there’s a lot of people who

want to do it and is it saturated I mean there’s so

much that goes into this I know some people who like love the idea of Designing fabric but they don’t want to because

environmentally they don’t feel good about producing more Fabric in the world and creating uh excess you know and then

there are people who think I just can’t do this there’s too many people out there already doing it

if you don’t know how I feel about this already let me introduce you to my school of

that there is always room for good quality work so I liken it to someone who finds

a great new restaurant that they like let’s say you live in an area where there’s a lot of restaurants and a new

restaurant opens and it’s amazing do you hear anybody complaining like

unbelievable another restaurant oh no they’re like oh my gosh this restaurant’s amazing you’ve got to go

same with a good author is it saturated the writing World ABS

absolutely there’s a lot of writers however when you find a brand new writer that’s written a book that you

absolutely love are you like oh my gosh no another good book you share with everyone you’re like oh

my gosh I love this you’ve got to check this book out so it’s the same with anything I mean

fabric designer quilt pattern designer if you’re good if you’re good there’s

room for you so then that becomes how do I do this well how how am I good at this

um so is it saturated I mean it’s as saturated as anything else you know saturated as

workout clothing company is as whatever anything dog food companies I mean you name it there are people coming out with

new things more so now with social media the barrier of Entry is low people can you

know self-publish their own fabric um so yeah so it comes to the whole

branding creating a name for yourself and being good standing out so there’s room for

you yes there is room for good quality work just like anything else

so number four the question is what programs do you use when drawing and making repeats

absolutely Adobe Illustrator for making repeats so that is just hands down the industry standard if you are going to

make fabric you have to know how to use Adobe Illustrator as for drawing you can do that you can

do that on paper and pencil and scan it in you can paint you can use a Wacom

tablet I think some people say Wacom I say Wacom I have that I have not used it very

often but that’s a that you can and then an iPad Pro I do use the iPad Pro

um so those are the ways that I know they’re they’re I’m sure there are others those are just the ones that I’m

familiar with and then question number five when you make a collection what is the ratio of

florals versus geometric versus novelty prints so

it depends I mean there are some lines that come out that it’s like a basic where it’s just let’s say polka dots all

of the lines are polka dots you generally don’t do that until you kind of are established like you wouldn’t come out the door as a brand new

designer with a line of Basics because that’s it doesn’t really

you haven’t built a name for yourself people are like wow who cares you know like you have to kind of prove that you

can make this cool line with a bunch of variety and Florals

floral cell the best they just do and so I’ve talked to I mean

I’ve gone into fabric shops whenever I travel and if there’s a quilt shop in the area I pop in and they’re

probably like who are you what are you doing because I’m asking the weirdest questions I’m like so which Fabrics sell

the best here uh why did you decide to order these Fabrics or why did you decide to carry these quilt patterns have you heard of

so-and-so would you ever carry them I mean I’m like Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out what’s what they’re buying

why they’re buying it what’s selling well and hands down floor and I ask fabric

companies that manufacture fabric florals just sell well so and people are

like oh not another floral well they sell well so yeah another floral um as far as in a collection the ratio I

mean whoever you design for the company that you work for design fabric for they’re going to work with you on your

collection and say we need some more geometrics or we need some more blenders

um or we need floor you need a big novelty print they’ll work with you on that

um but I mean as far as ratio gosh this is me off the top of my head just thinking a couple of florals a main

novelty print and that’s something that’s like unique the main print it’s got a bigger print generally

um I might have like a background scene or I don’t know something it might be Floral uh but something that’s like the

main print and then geometrics I say geometrics and blenders geometrics are it’s geometric

blenders it’s just like a low volume something that that can easily be like a background

Fabric or kind of be in the background a little bit so it’s nice to have a good balance of all of them

and then as far as I’m gonna just throw this in there even though it’s not officially a question on the list

because I’m a quilter and I’ve made quilts I know that it’s helpful to have

different volumes of color is that the right term I’m not like a color specialist but

it’s good to have some dark Fabrics that really pop a punch and then some lighter fabrics and some I like to say low

volume but like blender so that you could make an entire quilt out of your collection and if you look at a quilt

if there’s nothing that really pops or like the color saturation is all the

same it can be a little bit boring and so it’s good to have a variety of I

think color saturation you know some that are lighter some that are darker um

which does bring me to the next question number six where do you look for color trends

so there is the trend Bible and it’s a very fascinating thing I don’t know how

they come up with what they come up with but they do they look at trends that are going to happen like two or three years

from now and they kind of tell you here’s what’s going to be trending in 2024

so you can look there and see what colors are trending you also work with the company that you

are designing for and they’ll they’ll help you with colors at least art gallery does

and then I also just like to look at what I’m liking you know what what what am I liking I guess there’s no

better way to say it what colors am I digging right now I really want to use this this and this so kind of go with

what you like and what you use but the color Bible or not color Bible the trend Bible is a really great way to

get inspiration for both what to put on your fabric things that will be trending

you know in a couple of years and colors that will be trending but also I mean I

say that you want to stay in your brand so for me I’m very earthy muted if I see

oh man neon colors are trending in 2024 I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon because that’s not on brand for me

and so you don’t want to sell out to like what’s on Trend really you want to be true to your brand

brand over Trends any day so build a strong brand and if you’re wondering

what does that even mean there is a book I’m reading right now called obsessed and it’s by Emily Hayward and she talks

a lot about branding and what that means that it’s not just like your logo and the colors that you use she goes into a

deep dive on what branding is so if you’re like stuck on that I recommend that book

so number seven what exercises can you do now to become a fabric designer so

really learning Adobe Illustrator learning how to make repeat patterns how to scan your photos in or Draw on an

iPad and really figuring out what your look

is which takes practice so just drawing and I’m not going to say draw every day because I know that’s probably it’s not

realistic for me but I’ll go in spurts where I’m like okay I’m gonna draw

so draw and practice taking and it’s one thing to draw it is another to put that

into a repeating pattern and like so gather Fabrics that you like and once

you do drawing that you like try and make a repeat pattern and look at that fabric that you’ve collected that you

like and look what size are the images how are they spaced apart how let’s see

if I can imitate that with my own drawings if I can side scale it to the same size rotate it like this and just

kind of mess around with it and if it doesn’t look good maybe grab another fabric that’s a little bit different and

take your drawing and try and rotate and resize it and until you find the look that you like that you feel good about

so it’s great to just practice with that and then as I mentioned so use fabric

see you know because you might have something that looks really good but it’s not going to be good for quilting

fabric so get familiar with what you like to use when you’re sewing so that you can actually use it like make a

pattern and use that when you are sewing because it is super helpful for fabric

companies quilting fabric companies to take you on if you quilt if you can make

a pattern a quilt pattern with your fabric it definitely helps to promote your fabric if you are able to do that

and then I love this question how do I learn to draw so you don’t have to be like

Michelangelo or Picasso although I would say I’m more like Picasso because

it’s very whatever abstract um you don’t have to be an amazing

drawer to create fabric I mean some Fabrics out there are very

I don’t know I don’t even want to say names because someone would be like oh that’s not that’s rude and I mean it in the best way but just

abstract maybe not typical artistic not like wow look at that drawing that’s

amazing it’s a much more of like a geometric thing or very simple so I mean

learning to draw is just practice so I have all of these drawing books draw one image a day and I’ll sit

down and draw something I’ll turn to a page and just practice drawing it and at first it is imitation I’m like okay I’m

copying exactly how that looks in the drawing book and then I’m like okay now let’s close the book and try it on my

own let’s try like croissants I’m doing a bicycle oh gosh that was a tough one um vases I’ll if I get like a magazine

in the mail and I love this look on this page of an actual photo I’ll sit down

and try and draw it and so just practice you know pencil

paper iPad whatever that is and then yeah how long did it take for me to become a fabric designer I kind of

shared that already um what four years four years of drawing

and dreaming and finally it came to be which maybe for some people they’re like

that’s nothing up and trying for 20. so who knows for me four years

okay I do love this question how do you know when your collection is complete

so when I first submitted a collection it was with a different company that I’m

not working with right now and I just was so excited to have a collection done

I took the colors and the ideas from Joanna Gaines like

literally the colors that she had that year for I don’t know Sherwin-Williams

or something and then I just did a bunch of like wreaths and things that were very Joanna

gains because I was like well I like it and it’s super on Trend right now so it’s gotta work and the comp and I didn’t love it it

just felt like well it should be popular but I didn’t love each design

in fact I wish I could pull that up I wonder if I still have it I don’t know that I loved any there were

maybe a couple that I was like that one’s really good but some that I was like well it’s just done because I needed to have so many designs

and I submitted it and they were like I mean we’re interested in having you but this it’s got to look different and that

was all the direction I got I was like hmm it’s got a little different what do I do with that

and I asked a friend who was a fabric designer very successful fabric designer do you love every one of your prints

that you submit and she said yeah I do I’m really proud of it and I’m excited for it to come out

and I knew at that moment that I hadn’t arrived because I did not love every print that I had submitted I

was submitting it more because I want to hurry and become a designer and have that you know and so that’s when I kind

of stepped away and was like I don’t know if this is for me and it got to a

point where it was really not as fun where I was just like

so focused on I have to create because I want this and I don’t know it

was coming from the wrong place and I lost that like fun factor and I

was like well I guess this isn’t for me I don’t enjoy it the way I thought I would it’s not rewarding

uh and this person said you need to be able to recognize your fabric from a

mile away and that freaked me out I was like what how because here I was like trying to

like Joanna Gaines and it’s hard to create your own look when you’re copying not copying because I want I don’t well

I don’t know when I’m trying to like imitate I guess it is trying to imitate Joanna gains and take her colors you

know not that she has like a trademark on the colors or anything but like I was trying to piggyback on her look and not

my own and it just wasn’t truly me it wasn’t sustainable uh all

the things I was like and it wasn’t until I talked to Pat at Art Gallery fabrics and I told her I

don’t know that it’s for me and I told her why and she was like what kind of fabrics would you like to create

if you could and I said well honestly I’d love to do all small print and which I haven’t even done all of

that like but Point let me share the point I’d like to do this I’d like to do this this is what I want and she was

like what if I told you that you could design that that you could design all the tiny little floral prints that you

want low volume you don’t have to have a big novelty print just what if I was like really is

that a thing like I thought there had to be a main print and you know this formula that you had to follow and she’s

like um you can do what you want and that’s when my fire lit up again and I

was like wait a minute I can do what I want and the creative juices started flowing and I got excited about it

and I had been quilting long enough and making my own quilt patterns long enough

that I really am at a place now where I feel like I understand my brand and my

look for now I’m sure it will continue to morph over time but at least I feel

like I know who I am I’m no longer like I need to be Joanna Gaines because she’s popular and I know that that’s going to

do well that’s never how you want to approach it and I even hear my students right now

like but what’s the most popular thing like what patterns are selling the best and all make that I’m like oh no no no

no you want to approach it way differently you want to approach it with what you love

and you don’t want to care at all if someone’s not gonna like it because the

people who do like it are are your people like you want to create what you love regardless of how popular it is how many

people like it because it will be successful and you will find your people and and it’s uniquely you and so it’s

the same with fabric design you want to like really get comfortable with your

look what you love and create that and so that was just like very liberating

for me and now all of a sudden I love it and now I’ve got ideas like oh it’d be fun to do this oh I want to do this and

so that was like giving me permission to do what I wanted to do which I’ll be forever grateful for

so the next question how do you get picked up by a fair Book Company I kind of talked about that it’s I mean again

all I can do is speak to what I have known and what I’ve seen for myself and for others It Is by being in the room

with someone like actually talking face to face them seeing you and knowing you

I don’t I’m not saying that that has to be but that is what I have seen foreign

so I guarantee there’s someone out there who did not know anyone at a company that they applied to or submitted their

work to and they got picked up but with that said

it is very attractive if you can stand on your own two feet

and like you’re not trying to get picked up by this company so they can grow your audience

that they will grow Their audience because of you and so if you have a good

following you’ve built a brand you’re recognized you’re liked that is that

brings a lot of value to you as a fabric designer companies want to sell that

what their you know their products so if they bring someone on who can help sell that’s attractive

they also it’s very valuable if you are a quilter if you know how to write quilt

patterns and you can have a pattern come out every time your fabric line comes out that’s also going to help sales it

will help get more fabric sold it’s also nice if you know how to take good photos and just have some good marketing skills

under your belt if you have a Blog that gets good traffic that will be very valuable

because you can go in and write a blog about your Fabric and you know what the

story behind it and why you designed this so just all of these things I mean it really helps to have kind of a good

business underneath you you know and so it’s a piece of the pie creating fabric

is a piece of the pie and then one of the questions is what what’s a typical income that a fabric

designer earns so to be honest I have no idea I have

not gotten paid yet um and I so I can’t really even speak to

that and I don’t know what’s typical it’s like so many other things in this industry well in any industry I’d

venture to say we don’t talk about it a whole time I did just recently put out a survey what

does a typical quilt pattern designer earn and I actually was going to release that on the podcast this week but I’m

trying to do a little bit more number analysis to share with you but it’s all over the place I mean it’s

going to depend on the size of audience you have how well your sales are so I guess I can get back to you on that

down the road when I actually get a paycheck for the fabric that I’ve designed but from what I’ve heard it’s

less than what you think it’s going to be so it’s probably not something where like this is going to be my bread and

butter this is how I’m going to support my family it’s going to be a piece of the pie it’s going to be part you know you want to

diversify your income it’s going to be just a piece of the pie but it definitely builds credibility it

definitely opens up doors to earn money in other ways that you wouldn’t have been able to without it

so let’s do the exact number TBD to be determined okay question do I still draw

every day and do I draw something random every day like prompt books or do I mostly draw flowers because those sell

well so no I don’t draw every day I usually draw as I’m getting into collection mode

like okay I have a collection that’s coming up in two months so let me start drawing and I usually think I have an

idea of what I want my collection to be and by usually come on I’ve done this two or three times now so we’ll see I’ll

Circle back down the road and see if it changes because it probably will but I have an idea for a collection oh

I’d like it to be this so what makes sense to go in this collection oh drawing so this and this

and I start to draw them and then I’ll start to feel out like I don’t have

enough here or no I’m not feeling it this is not looking right or sometimes I’ll draw something and it leads to oh

this would be so cool if I tweaked it and instead of doing a theme about this I did a theme about this

and so no I don’t draw every day yes I do use sketchbooks like I have

um quite a few sketchbooks that I use that are just like how to draw this how to draw this

and so I go to those I also do especially with flowers I like to buy my

own flowers and take photos of them and then draw from my photos so that I know that that drawing is uniquely mine and

I’m not like copying it from a drawing book but the drawing book I use as a springboard to get ideas of like let’s

try drawing this like I wanted to have a bicycle with a little flower thing in one of my collections it looks so bad I

was using a little Sketchbook to draw a bike I couldn’t I don’t know we’ll see if down the road you see a bike you know

I will have arrived like oh she figured it out but no that one had to had to be

scratched because I was like no I can’t even follow the book here and like go

and take a picture of like a vintage bike that I’d want to use because I can’t even get down this basic like

bicycle so no but um yeah so there we are with how much I

draw and then how do you develop your own style again I kind of spoke to this and

for me for me my own style developed out of Designing quilt patterns so I I’ve I’ve made some

quilts where I’m like that is not my fabric like for Quilter’s candy for Elizabeth Chapel

that’s hideous fabric but I used it because it looked so good in someone else’s you know design world

it worked for their brand it didn’t work for mine and so just hit and miss try let’s get this fabric

let’s try that I’ve really narrowed down what I like and what my brand is about

and so when I design fabric it was very easy for me to be like oh it’s going to look feminine it’s gonna

look soft it’s going to have a hint of vintage but like

um I hate to say modern Farmhouse because it’s like so overused but um anyhow I I

know what it’s what my look is because I’ve quilted so long and so I’m very familiar with the fabrics and the colors

that I like so yeah they’re I feel like that’s how I’ve developed my own style now the next question ma is this person

saying my drawing style does not match what I want to do any suggestions

absolutely just keep practicing and it’s like you know like the bike thing I

haven’t gotten that bike down yet but honestly I threw in the towel because I was like let’s move on to something else because it took too long but

be a little determined be a little bit like it’s not there yet it’s like any little

kid who starts to learn how to draw they get frustrated because in their mind they know what they want to draw but

their little hands don’t have the muscle memory and the capability to execute

that so they draw and then they get frustrated because this drawing does not look like the

thing in their mind well that’s just like us you know we have this thing that we know we want to create but our hands

can’t get it out and that that is honestly if you can even just do like I

know there’s the 100 day thing but even just do 30 days 30 days in a row where you do one drawing a day I started to do

that and I came up with a whole collection from that so there is power in those little small things every day

so I would suggest and I would suggest with this so doing those 30 days just one drawing a day

find photos of things that you want it to look like and start by copying and

imitating and I am not saying that once you undraw and copy and imitate someone else’s work

that that’s what you submit I am saying that you start there and you learn how to make your hand make this

look you know how do I create this thing to look like that imitate and even

there’s a book called uh what is a steal like an artist by Austin Cleon

he talks about that that every artist starts off by copying I mean they you

consume you want to become obsessed with like gather the things that you want to have your fabric look like and study it

and copy it and then once that happens where you’re like okay I got this then go out and

find things in nature or out on your own take photos of that and you can start to

draw from that and then you can just after that you’ll have the skill set too you don’t need to

be copying you know you can come up with your own and you can mix and match things nothing Under the Sun is new

it’s just a combination of all these things to make it unique Uniquely Yours so practice copy yes start off by

copying no don’t submit copying work for as your own but use that as a learning

tool use that as a starting point and then the question is do I need to

use watercolors no you don’t you can use pencil pen

you can use watercolor it is a little bit hard when you go into Adobe Illustrator to make watercolor have that

same look because watercolor has so many I mean when you do submit a fabric

design I mean it’s like 18 colors Max that you want to have when you bring in

a watercolor into Adobe Illustrator it has like 18 000 colors and so you’re not going to

keep that same watercolor look when you put it on fabric unless it’s digitally printed

um so no you don’t need these watercolors um in fact it presents a little bit of a

artistic problem when you try to bring watercolors into fabric design

so there we are how many collections in a year does the designer put out so that depends it

depends what is in your contract you can totally negotiate you could I mean typically it’s two two per year

but some put out one a year uh once you’ve been in it long enough I mean you could probably negotiate to one every

two years but you don’t want to start off with that so typically two a year

and then this next question I’m just going to say I don’t feel confident going into this if there is an interest

to dive deeper from the listeners I can bring on a specialist but this question is explain licensing

is there a difference between licensing and signing with a fabric company is one more beneficial

I cannot speak to that it seems like I get scared like oh that’s legal terms and I don’t want someone to be like but

Elizabeth said um so I am not going to speak to licensing

I will say generally speaking like when I signed with art gallery

Fabrics they have the right to those drawings to print on their fabric however I can take

those same drawings and print them on other kinds of surfaces like wallpaper

notebooks greeting cards pencils stickers washi tape t-shirts socks pants

bags blah blah blah book covers I mean it could be anything I can do that that is okay

so I just cannot print it on other fabric that’s going to compete with art gallery Fabrics in fact

um Stacy of gingerbread is very good at speaking on how to take those designs

that you’ve created and earn more money with it and I know that I’m going to tackle that down the road I’m not right

now because I have a lot going on with like the crafted career club and The Mastermind and all the things but

eventually I know that I have money sitting on the table because I have these designs and I know that I can

repurpose them and put them on other things and so that’s kind of like I said a piece of the pie

once you’ve created these designs you have a following people like your designs and your fabric then they

usually are like oh it would be fun to see it on this or that so you can totally make money in other ways so

again Stacy of gingerbread is a great teacher and guide on how to do that

and then the question is on like the self-publishing you know there’s spoonflower I want to say paintbrush

Studios we’ll also print fabric on demand and spoonflower and I believe Hawthorne

do digital printing where like you can have that watercolor look and keep all of those colors that

are true um most other Fabrics are not that way like I said it’s like 18 colors that you

want to have um but the question is is this a good idea like should people go that route

so I can’t speak to this totally because I don’t know a ton about it but things that I would consider I mean yes there’s

a market for it it’s there’s a lot of people if you go to

spoonflower and you search up I don’t know boho floral fabric there’s a lot

so how one shows up at the top of the search I have no idea it seems like it

would be a good idea if you have a good following and they’re loyal buyers then they would

want your fabric but if you’re just doing this because you have an itch and you want to scratch it you know you just

want to design fabric you can totally do it especially if you’re doing it for yourself like I just

want to create this quilt and I want this Fabric and it’s not out there awesome go for it but if you want to go

that route to like earn good money unless you have a really loyal audience

I just don’t see it being super lucrative but if you’re doing it just for the money

um yeah I don’t know that I’d recommend it but again I cannot totally speak to that because I’ve not gone that route but I

just as far as marketing goes it’s really nice to have a company who has a large following like art gallery

fabrics and they are going to help promote and market for you or other companies who have reps who are going to

go around to different stores and say hey here’s this new fabric line you should check it out no one’s going to be doing that for spoonflower you know

um so it’s going to be a lot of self-promotion versus someone else helping promote for you

so yeah and then this last question they’d be interested to hear from shop owners what sells the most

and again I am not a shop owner but I can speak to

having gone to different shops and asking and different fabric companies and you know because people are like

well what if there’s not a lot of boy Fabrics what if I created a whole thing like just for boys

very cool not saying that it’s not going to work it’s just that most people who

quilt are I don’t know if this is why but most people who quilt are are female and they tend to buy a lot of the floral

feminine stuff so I would love to see someone really just come out swinging coming out with

all male fabric line that just does really well like I would love to see that because it just

hasn’t totally happened yet which means there’s a void there and it can be filled but

but it’s hard sometimes to fight this uphill battle where like well this is just kind of what sells so I don’t I

don’t know that I have the answer of that that’s more of a marketing I’m very very intrigued by it and one thing to

help make success is to find a niche or a void and so

so there is part of me that’s like maybe go for that Niche I don’t know I just don’t know but historically what sells

well is Florals um and feminine so you know when people are like oh

there’s just so many florals yeah there are because they just keep on selling and so there’s nothing wrong with

creating something that sells well you know it’s smart business but also if

someone can really come out with something unique that hasn’t been out there before where there’s a void there is potential there to be really

awesome so those are the questions that I had on becoming a fabric designer I hope that

this was helpful and that those of you who are out there listening and thinking I really want to design fabric how do I

do this especially if you want to be a fabric designer in the quilting world

quilt make some quilts and if you can write some quilt patterns like start to

grow your audience and let them know that you create quilt patterns and get your look out there so that people

when you do design fabric it’s like oh this is perfect this fabric goes perfectly with her look and her brand

and you can just it it goes hand in hand those go very well together designing

Fabric and making quilt patterns and then it opens up the door for many more opportunities you know once you’re

a successful pattern writer and a fabric designer all of a sudden people are

intrigued and you can be a guest at guilds you can teach you can write a book you can you know it opens the door

for many more pieces of the pie to earn more uh income

so that is my episode this week on The Crafty career podcast again if you are

enjoying the podcast and finding it helpful go ahead and leave a review and let me know

and thank you so much for being here on my birthday I hope it’s a wonderful day for you and I will see you back here

next Friday on the craft career podcast have a wonderful week [Music]


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