INTERVIEW WITH A PATTERN CAMPER: TAYLOR SHANNON

Today I’m excited to share an interview with Pattern Camp student Taylor Shannon, who won a recent contest in the partnership that Pattern Camp currently has going with Zazzle.

The challenge? Holiday gift wrap. (Christmas in July? That’s how it works in the surface design and illustration industry!) Taylor’s winning design? Here’s the beauty:

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Taylor is oh so talented. Everything she posts in our private Facebook group makes me swoon! Check these out:

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Gorgeous, right?

Here’s my interview with Taylor:

1. Hi Taylor! Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do? Do you have a background in art?

I currently work as a Freelance graphic designer, surface pattern designer, and illustrator. I took the leap from the “business-y” side of advertising to pattern design last year and haven’t looked back. I feel like creating fun designs is what I was always meant to do. Sometimes it takes a few years after college to figure out your true passion!

I have a bit of a background in art. I was very creative as a kid, always drawing, writing, painting, doing pretty much any crafty thing I could get my hands on. By the time I was in college, however, I thought that I needed a more “serious” career path (ha) and chose to major in advertising and psychology. I took a few courses in Photoshop and Illustrator and became hooked, thinking I’d like to become some big-shot art director after graduating. However, I didn’t have a big portfolio after graduation, so I ended up in a media planning assistant job. I worked in media for a couple of years, before taking (the life-changing) Pattern Camp in the spring of 2015. That was when I finally decided to go after my dream of becoming a designer.

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2. We met through Pattern Camp in Portland when I taught an in-person session in 2015. At the time I know you were not in a creative job, working in advertising, but you’ve since struck out on your own. Yay! Can you tell us what prompted you to make that decision, how you prepared and found the courage, and what life looks like for you now? (That’s a few questions in one, oops!)

Yay! I honestly always tell people that Pattern Camp was the springboard for my decision to go out on my own and make a career in design. I was working in advertising at the time, very stressed, anxious, basically miserable with my day-to-day work life. I wanted to do something in the field of creativity, but had no clue where to start. I happened to see the Pattern Camp information one day, thought it seemed interesting, and once I found out Jessica was holding an in-person session in Portland (where I had recently moved to!) I decided it was destiny. I HAD to go to that class!

During Pattern Camp, I met several other creative, pattern-loving ladies and fell in love with designing patterns. After Pattern Camp, I continued creating patterns and illustrations, and ended up quitting my advertising job in August of 2015 to focus on becoming a designer. I know that’s not an option for everyone; my husband made enough money to support both of us, and he fully supported me (emotionally as well as financially) starting this new career path. Had I not been in this situation, I would have probably started freelancing slowly while still working my “day job,” but I would definitely have still pursued surface design as a career. Sometimes I feel guilty for being able to take time off of a “real job” to do this, but I know that I’m doing my future-self a favor by pursuing a career where I can hopefully work from home and create for a living.

For now, I’m working on figuring out my signature style, creating new collections for my portfolio, and selling my patterns on merchandise through Society 6, Zazzle, and Spoonflower (and Redbubble soon!) I’m hoping to break into the world of licensing eventually, but I’m trying to take this day-by-day and not get too ahead of myself!

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3. What was your happiest moment in the past week?

Going on a hike with my dog. I feel so incredibly inspired when I get out in nature and can “escape” for a little while. Something about the plants and flowers, fresh air, and carefree attitude really inspires and motivates me.

4. What’s your favorite color combination?

OMG Color combinations are my favorite thing ever. I could spend literally hours on Illustrator creating color palettes from different photos! My favorite color combination at the moment contains colors that I love to decorate my living room with: teal, mustard yellow, coral, and white.

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5. What is your favorite piece of your early art / writing / etc? (Share a photo, if possible!)

I don’t have access to any of my art from my childhood since it’s all in storage at my parents’ house, but I can describe this one project I created when I was in middle school. It was awesome, but also terrifying. We created paper mache masks and molded and painted them to look like whatever we wanted. I created a cat mask with green eyes and orange and brown fur. It ended up looking just like the cat I had at the time, but it terrified my whole family when I brought it home! I still laugh thinking about that mask; I really wish I could find it one day.

6. If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would you choose, and why?

I’m in love with anything from Anthropologie, so I would LOVE to have a home decor collection of some sort with them one day. Maybe some fun dinnerware or stationary! One of my big dreams is also to collaborate with Land of Nod. I love creating collections geared towards kids, so I would love to have a collection featured in Land of Nod someday!

7. What “rule” about art, business, or creativity do you think must always be broken?

Creativity can’t be put into a box. There’s really no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to art. I think the best rule to break is the idea that there is one correct specific way to create art or run your business…different things work for different people!

I love seeing other people’s beautiful artwork or admiring their business, but I have to be careful not to grow jealous of others and their work. I think we all have something unique to bring to the table, and the world would be so extremely boring if we were all the same!

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8. What part of your work day do you most look forward to?

My favorite part of the day is during the morning when I sit down with a big cup of coffee and work on some sketches or start putting together a new pattern or illustration. I’m always so excited and energized to begin working in the morning! I typically sketch new ideas in the evening, so I always have some new stuff to work on in the mornings!

9. What’s your BIG DREAM?

I know that everything doesn’t always go to plan, but, if I could have it my way, I would work from home and be there with my (future ;)) kids. I would have some licensing deals with several different companies, as well as sell products with my designs on them. I could go into extreme detail and say that I want to live out in the country in a farmhouse and have a crazy studio where I can paint, draw, create, and have fun with my future kiddos (can you tell that I really want kids one day?) but I’ll just leave it at that for now! :)

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10. What’s next for you? Any exciting plans or projects in the works that you want to tell us about?

I’m trying to decide if next year should be my year for Surtex or another licensing show! It’s stressful to even begin to start planning that, but I’m trying to figure that out for now! I’m also going to be taking the Make it in Design Module 3 in September, where I’ll hopefully learn more in depth about how to get out there in the design world, market myself, and start making millions! ;)

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Taylor! Your designs are gorgeous and I’m so happy to know you. :)

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TaylorShannon-headshotABOUT TAYLOR:

Taylor Shannon is a Southern girl (ROLL TIDE!) currently living in Portland, OR. She spends her days sketching (usually flowers), creating fun patterns and illustrations, and spending time with her husband and goldendoodle. Her love of color, fun and quirky design elements, and balance helps her to create cohesive pattern and illustration collections that she wants to share with the world!

WHERE TO FIND TAYLOR:

Website

Instagram

Society 6 

 

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Pattern-Camp-Promo-Registration-Sept-15th

Come join me October 15-16 and learn to make your own repeat patterns!

Registration opens September 15. Get on the Pattern Camp email list to be notified when registration opens and to receive a special earlybird discount code.

Pattern Camp is for both beginners and those who already have some experience using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Before class begins you’ll have a chance to watch primers videos about how both programs work, so you can get acquainted and practice a little bit before class starts.

You don’t have to consider yourself an artist, or someone who’s good at drawing, and you don’t have to be in a creative career in order to take Pattern Camp. We have students from all walks of life – retired teachers, stay-at-home-moms, freelance illustrators, web developers, therapists, ad agency folks, shop owners, and of course lots of artists. You name it, there’s probably a Pattern Camper who fits it! This course is for anyone and everyone with a love for pattern and color and a desire to learn some new creative skills. You don’t have to be an artist (though aspiring + working + professional artists and surface designers are obviously most welcome). If the course speaks to you, come join us! It’s a wonderful place to hang out. Just ask the Pattern Campers. :)