How did you get started doing what you do?
I studied illustration at Camberwell College of Arts London but my final year was particularly focused on making digital patterns. I had always loved print design, particularly for wallpapers and interiors, so I decided to specialise in this area. I took a short course in pattern design and my passion developed from there. For my end of year show, I created an array of patterns across a variety of products, such as silk tops, shorts, scarves cushions, wallpaper and other interiors. I really enjoyed creating these digital patterns, and seeing them be used for actual products really pushed me to want to pursue a career in print design. From here, I then started working as a freelance print designer and now myself and my sister, Kate, have started our own company called ‘Charlotte Jade’, selling our own wallpaper, cushions and textiles along with creating bespoke wallpaper, textiles and wedding stationery.
How would you describe your creative style?
I hand draw all my designs, which creates quite a personal feel to my designs. I then apply colour (which is generally quite bold) and edit these hand drawn images digitally using photoshop. I like combining hand drawings with digital design, and digital programmes such as photoshop are brilliant for creating repeat patterns. My work is quite detailed and I generally use pencil to create my patterns, however I do enjoy combining pencil and paint, as I feel these two mediums create quite unique pattern designs.
What’s your inspiration?
My designs are predominantly inspired by the beauty in nature; plants, foliage, flowers, animals but I also love to create geometric prints and also designs which are inspired by natural textures. Fashion is another huge inspiration, as I love keeping up to date with styles from the runway and current fashion trends. I love spending the day visiting art exhibitions or wondering ’round the V&A Museum looking at vintage prints. I also find experiencing new cultures and exploring new countries very inspirational within my design work.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
The amount of time it takes for me to create a print really varies depending on the level of detail within the design. For example a geometric pattern may take a day, whereas one of my designs with highly shaded animals or plants for example, ‘Wild Garden’ may take 2 or 3 days, so the amount of time really varies on the project/pattern.
How do you keep motivated?
I am always looking out for new ideas and inspirations for my designs. I visit art exhibitions and galleries and keep up to date with the latest key trends within fashion and interiors. I like to plan my daily routine and make sure I have variety of different tasks to do each day so I am always busy and always doing different things.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I live in a small village just outside London and my workspace is positioned with a beautiful view of the countryside, which I find really inspirational for my designs as its full of different flowers, plants and animals. I travelled around South East Asia for 6 months after finishing university, which I found extremely inspirational – experiencing such vibrant and exotic cultures really influenced my colour choices and combinations within my patterns.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope that our brand ‘Charlotte Jade’ really takes off within the next few years and we continue to grow our business and move onto selling more products. The absolute dream would be to have our products stocked in Liberties, as it’s our favourite department store and we’ve always found their beautiful textiles an inspiration.
How have others reacted to your work?
It seems to have got quite a positive reaction, I hope so anyways… I think people really like the hand drawn element to our designs, as this is quite unusual and creates unique patterns. Our bright patterns do work really well for modern, stand out interiors and feature walls, and as I hand draw all our designs, we can offer a bespoke service for clients which is proving very popular as people can essentially work with us to design exactly what they have in mind.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
I would say always stay true to and believe in your personal style and natural way of working, as then you will really enjoy what you’re creating! You’ll set yourself aside from others by letting yourself naturally develop as an artist/designer.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
It’s really daunting going into an industry which is full of so many amazingly talented surface designers, but I think if you are passionate about it you’ve got to do whatever you can to fulfil your dreams and not be put off by anything and as my dad always tells me, ‘stay positive!!’
What are your thoughts on art school?
Going to university and being able to solely focus on my illustration and drawing was fantastic. It was amazing being able to study something I’m so passionate about. Studying a creative subject allows you time to experiment and try different avenues of design which maybe you never knew existed. Universities have fantastic facilities available, which enable you to do the experiments necessary to actually figure out what you love doing. Along with these factors, you are guided by tutors with a huge wealth of knowledge and are surrounded by other creative people, which is so inspiring and exciting.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
We want to expand our business and move onto selling a wider range of homeware products such as bedspreads, curtains and crockery. We have also recently started printing onto ceramic tiles so this is a new and exciting venture for the business. We would love to do some collaborations with brands who support emerging designers along with getting our products stocked in large department stores.
What’s your process like?
When I have been inspired to create a pattern, I begin by studying the subject that has inspired me; be it a leaf shape, flowers or animals… I then map out the idea for the pattern and begin to hand draw its structure. From there I scan the drawing to my computer and edit it digitally, playing around with colours and so on, before finally making it a repeating pattern. I then have UK based manufacturers who produce our wallpapers and textiles.