Sunday, 17 August 2014

My studio essentials

Since leaving University I have been living with my boyfriend's incredibly kind family... and have even been able to create my own little studio space in their spare room. It has been great, because I can work on all my plans and work without any distractions. I got a simple white table from IKEA and I am finding my motivation and determination to create more designs has just been reignited! It's just become a great space where I can apply for jobs and get on with creating lots of lovely new work.

This post is going to be about the absolute essentials which I currently have in my Studio, and as a graduate of Textile Design- these are things I can say, with experience, that I could not be without. Maybe this post can be helpful to all you fresh faces about to leave the nest and begin your creative studies?

The essentials 
To begin, a lovely clean desk- as big as you can get! You need space to spread out and be creative or you will just end up cross and in a big mess. You should try to avoid distractions and treat it like an office (which means no checking facebook, twitter or looking at cute dog vines in my case!).
Here is my studio, and how it looks!


You can't understand the pain of losing everything on your laptop when it crashes until it happens to you. Heed this warning and back up all of your design work on an external hard drive or USB. I had to switch to a hard drive when I couldn't fit any more on my USB, but I wish I had got one sooner because you can pick them up at a reasonable price and they are sooo much harder to lose than those tiny USB's!


You'll need ideally a scanner, but if not a digital camera so that you can quickly and easily get your artwork onto the computer and ready for you to transform!

I really find that listening to music makes my designs so much better.. sometimes I will try to listen to a song that tunes into the theme of the design I am doing (this works particularly well for greetings designs!). I just feel like it gets me in the zone and kind of occupies that part of my mind that wants to get distracted and watch television or a film. 

Pens/ pencils/ paints - the more the better! Having everything you could ever possibly use right there with you will encourage you to try new things and stop you from getting set in your ways. I have sooo much ranging from pastels to watercolour inks to gouache paint and printing inks. I love to just messy and creative and feel that this is when my real 'handwriting' as a designer can be seen. As a recommendation if I were to suggest a list of basic items to get when starting out: 2B, 4B AND 6B pencils, thin graphic pen, thick graphic pen, Windsor and Newton watercolour inks, watercolour paint brushes and some good quality paper. I will do another post showing the tools of my trade in more detail as I'm sure some people would find it useful!



Double sided tape is essential for quickly sticking things down without the horrible mess and grubby marks that glue can create.

A laptop is also essential, assuming that you are going to be manipulating your designs. It really depends how far your going with the work once its on the computer.. if you are going to be creating repeating patterns you will need Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It can be expensive and I was able to purchase mine whilst I was a student- but there is now Adobe Creative Cloud, which is a monthly affordable subscription. Download a free months trial to see what you think!

I also think it's really important to have an inspiration wall, and have lots of things stuck up everywhere from your own work to other little creative bits that are making you excited- as well as collecting lots of interesting books!

Finally- a few things I would like in my studio...

I really really would love a Wacom tablet as it makes designing so much faster and I know would especially be of use to me when I am drawing in my graphic style.

I would also love to have some space to store my past work in an orderly way so that I could easily refer back to it. I literally have a mountain of work that I never took any further than sketches which needs to be explored and developed, and having it all put away means it is just a nightmare to keep rifling through and getting it out.

 Finally, I would love to have lots of snacks and an endless supply of ice cold vimto to keep me going throughout the day!

I hope this has been helpful, and I'd love to hear what your own studio essentials are.

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Seashells inspiration

I just wanted to share some beautiful inspirational visuals which have been inspiring some painterly work that I have been doing. I picked these up recently for a couple of quid and I just think they are beautiful! Maybe someone out there is looking for some shell imagery for a project just like me? .. nature is incredible! 











Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

You are welcome to use these images, please credit me if you do!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Make it in Design Summer School first project

I signed up for the Make it in design Summer School and was really excited when the brief finally hit my inbox last week! I signed up to the advanced track and the theme was impulse/ water rays. I found it really challenging to capture the idea of movement and flow within water and so I layered a textured paint background into the design which gives it more of a 'flowing' feel. Although I can't wait for the next brief, the best thing about the whole thing has been the facebook group which has been set up with all of the participants, which has been amazing to be amongst so many different designers at different levels and get their feedback and tips! Just a really positive experience so far! 



I am going to share a few of my favourites so far when I get the chance to properly look through the galleries but until then you can check out the rest of the gallery here

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Friday, 8 August 2014

Greetings samples

I have recently had some samples printed onto greetings cards to get a feel for what kind of stock I would like to use and how my designs are looking at the moment. I have found a brilliant company and am will certainly be working with them once I have the funds in place to put in an order. Having recently graduated I have been having days where I have felt really depressed about how difficult it is to find a full time job in the design industry and so having my own card design business is something which is financially viable and I know will keep me designing all the time. I'm really excited to get it all going and hope to have this up and running by autumn as I have some great ideas for christmas cards!

Here is what I have so far...I can see where I need to improve but I'm happy with the quality of the stock as I want to offer products which are worth paying a little bit extra for. When I look on Etsy and Not on the high street I always look for quirky products which I know I wouldn't find in a shop or items with the option to personalised, so I am going to create these kinds of products in the hope of achieving the same success of some of my most admired Etsy stores.

I'm really excited to think of some lovely packaging ideas and thinking of creative ways to brand my cards.





Thanks for reading, Stephanie X
All images belong to Stephanie Campbell ©

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Fabric design for the kitchen

I have been working on some bright illustrative floral prints recently, and have just bought a sample length of digitally printed fabric from Spoonflower. I love the design and envisage it being used for kitchen accessories, but feel it is a very multi-functional piece. 

So here are a few visuals of the kind of ideas I have!






Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Greetings cards- officially started!

Exciting news! I have sold my first handmade greeting card to one of my very supportive friends. I just did this doodle whilst on the train the other day and happened to share it online, which lead to a little commission for my friend... just shows how important it is to market yourself online!

I don't currently have the money to send off for cards to be printed off in the most professional manner, but I think I did a pretty good job of creating something professional looking using a simple printer, double sided tape and some card blanks which I bought from a craft shop. I also added some tiny gemstones and a cellophane wrapping for extra professionalism and I love how it turned out. 

I must have hundreds of doodles which are just sitting in sketchbooks doing nothing and I think that greetings cards could be a really great way to start using them to make a little bit of money here and there.


If anybody would like me to use one of my drawings or an element of one of my fabric designs to make them a customised greetings card, or whether you have a specific idea or theme you would like me to draw for, then please let me know as I would love to do it!

Also, if anyone has any tips for where to get smaller runs of cards printed wholesale then that would be great!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Friday, 25 July 2014

What makes a great business card

So I recently had to design my own business cards to hand out at both my graduation show and at the New Designers exhibition. I didn't love my business card and in the midst of hand ins I just used my logo and kept it very simple. Business cards are so important as they give someone that tiny memory of your work, and so it really needs to sum up your hand writing as a designer. 

When I was at my degree show and down in London I watched out for any fantastic business cards to give me a little inspiration to develop my own and make it more interesting. I collected the ones I liked the most and wanted to share them in the hope they might help others who are thinking about creating their cards.
 (this is really appropriate for any business related card!)

I have linked to portfolios of those featured, as they are all brilliant upcoming designers!

 Hannah Cumming's Portfolio
Hannah Cumming's business card is my absolute favourite. I love the simplicity of the design and the use of a gorgeous photograph. She has managed to fit in so much visual information on one tiny card! I just love how it says everything it needs to say without using over the top graphics or font.

The use of light lines and colour and use of transparency just make the graphics look beautiful and its obvious she took a lot of time to design something new for her card. She has also managed to fit in visual research, a photograph and her logo all onto this tiny card but it just works and doesn't seem too much!

 Sophie Brabbins' website
I absolutely loved the hand painted florals featured within Sophie Brabbins' work and if you check out her portfolio you will see that the card really represents the style of work in a simple way which displays exactly what her style is. I just love the subtle movement and life within the flowers.. it's just so pretty I want it up on my wall for inspiration!

 Munaza Tasneem's website
I didn't see any other cards like Munaza's and thought the use of a smaller card to be a great tool to just draw people in have a nosy at the card. The design was small but simple and still managed to fit on all the information needed.

 Amy Deane's portfolio
I loved the rounded shape of this card and the vibrance of the colour really stands out and draws you in to want to take a closer look. It sets a very bold statement which is brave and really successful.

 Isla Muir's portfolio
I love the simple use of a resolved piece of fabric design. It's so much more interesting and shows more of the fabric weight and fluidity. Simple yet effective!

Holly Davie's website
I love the use of a work in progress on this card, and it creates a point of interest to discuss her way of creating such colourful designs. The image says a lot about her use of vibrant colour mixed with florals and geometric shapes. A very unique idea!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X