We had the pleasure of chatting with Ali Brookes, illustrator & surface pattern extradonaire, asking her a few questions on what inspires her and how she comes to create gorgeous prints, for us fellow crafters to enjoy.
1. WHAT IS IT ABOUT BEING A SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER & ILLUSTRATOR THAT YOU LOVE SO MUCH?
I love the design process and using my creativity to make the ideas in my head a reality. When I’m designing, I feel alive, and at peace with the world, so it’s definitely not an option not to be creative in some way as I would be so miserable! Also, seeing my designs in the world is pretty awesome too!
2. WHERE DID YOUR LOVE FOR BEING CREATIVE COME FROM?
I come from a long line of sewers, knitters, and crafters, and I always had a crafty project on the go as a child. Weekends and holidays were spent rummaging around various relatives fabric scrap bags, looking for treasure for future projects. I've still got a lot of fabric and threads from my childhood and all my granny's quilting templates.
3. WHERE DID THE INSPRATION FOR THE NEW HORIZON COLLECTION COME FROM?
The inspiration for New Horizons came from a holiday to Portugal combined with my love of maps. I'm fascinated by how the earth looks from above and how different everything looks. It was during the flight that I started to think of how I could draw what I saw and how I could put these shapes and lines together in an interesting way.
4. WHERE DO YOU GENERALLY LOOK FOR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
Everywhere, my eyes never stop looking - inspiration can strike at any time and often in the least expected places! The downside of this is that being a designer can be exhausting at times, as your brain never switches off!
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS WHEN DESIGNING A COLLECTION OF PRINTS, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DRAW?
I always start with making a list of ideas, have a good look on Pinterest, rummage through my vast collection of photos, magazines and books, and then I start drawing with pens and Indian ink and cutting up paper to make shapes. I’m somebody who thinks with their hands, so it’s important that I spend time playing with ideas at this stage. I draw everything in black pen and Indian ink, as it's easier to scan into the computer to manipulate and colour later. Once everything is scanned in, I develop the ideas further and start thinking about colours and how I'm going to put everything together. Making a collection is like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle and things like scale, complexity, and colour balance are carefully thought out. Sometimes it's easy, and other times it's head-scratchingly hard!
I like drawing most things, I’m up for most challenges, but I do love a quirky geo above anything else!
6. WHAT CRAFT OTHER THAN DRAWING DO YOU LIKE TO ENJOY AND WHY?
I love knitting, socks! They are small and easy to complete, especially with all the fabulous self-striping yarns available now. I knit purely to relax, so I don't get involved with complicated knitting patterns that require lots of concentration. Knitting and watching telly is my idea of relaxation, and if you throw in a bar of chocolate, well that's even better!
Check out the collection of cotton fabrics from Dashwood Studios, which are available to buy here: