On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about surface pattern design with my guest Elizabeth Silver.

Elizabeth is a professional surface pattern designer with 20 years in the industry. Her colorful patterns and illustrations are regularly featured in major retailers like Target, Michaels, and Walmart and she licenses with over 30 partners. She uses her experience in numerous product categories to teach beginner surface pattern designers how to move past overwhelm and obstacles to create a profitable creative business through courses, YouTube, and blog content.

This episode is sponsored by The Academy for Virtual Teaching.

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We begin this conversation with Elizabeth talking about being creative as a child and then attending Syracuse where she learned about surface design and decided to major in it. Elizabeth was right on the cusp of the digital revolution, spending the first portion of her time in college learning how to create repeat patterns manually using tracing paper, and the second portion using software to create them.

Next, we talk about the years Elizabeth spent working as an in-house designer at various bedding and home companies. She talks about learning about various aspects of the industry as well as really learning to use Adobe Illustrator while on the job.

We discuss what prompted Elizabeth to decide to become a freelancer and how she made it work financially when she first started out. We also discuss whether you need an agent (this is Elizabeth’s agent) and learning about licensing from Lilla Rogers’ course Make Art that Sells. If you’re interested in surface design, Elizabeth has so many practical tips to share! Don’t miss this interview.

And, of course, I ask Elizabeth to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Elizabeth recommends:

Keep up with Elizabeth on her website and on YouTube.

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