Make it In Design Winner: Jacqui Mulvagh
Updated: May 17, 2018
Our final winner of the Make It In Design Wraptious brief was Jacqui Mulvagh. The designer, based on the Isle of Man, gets inspiration for her patterns whenever and wherever she can - even if it's on the school run or the way to work.
How long have you been designing for?
I've always love to draw. I love doodling, and my drawings and doodles are often fairly quick - that's all I have time for with four children! I have only recently 'discovered' surface pattern design, having had a light bulb moment about 18 months ago. I realised that there was an avenue I hadn't even considered was a possibility for me, even though I love patterned fabrics, and wallpaper, and patterned clothes, and kids-wear, and everything! Seems so obvious to me now! In a previous life, I was a graphic designer, and even though I enjoyed it, I always had the desire to do more drawing. I had a long period of not doing anything creative (having kids and general life taking over) that it then felt like sunshine when I started seeing what I could doodle in five minutes here and there!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything! I see shapes in shadows, and love the details in plants, or the shapes that a silhouette of something can make. My kids might say something that triggers a thought in my mind too. Sometimes I think I lose so many patterns because i can't get them out and down quick enough!
Which artists or designers have influenced your style?
I can't say who has influenced me particularly, because I don't think I have paid a lot of attention to other designers - they are all so intimidatingly good! I love Amy Butler and Khristian Howell's use of colour. And as my teacher I love Rachael Taylor's complex simplicity in her designs.
What was your process for coming up with you entry?
It was great to have parameters to work with - limited palette and natural world - as my designs are often full of clashy colours. I love flowers and often photograph them on my school run, but rarely draw them realistically. I don't often have long to draw, or doodle, but I drew sheets and sheets of stylised flowers. I picked a few and played with them in Illustrator until I came up with patterns I was happy with. I also love trees and wanted to include some, again stylising my doodles of birch trees. I like to try to keep some of the hand drawn feel in my designs and I think I achieve that with the line work. I have found that I am drawn to patterns which have teal/turquoise in them so at the moment I am including it in my own designs! I was totally shocked to be one of the winning three. Thank you for the great experience!
What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?
Don't panic! Be YOU. It's really hard when you see so many other people getting their fantastic designs out there, but none of them are you. None of them design like you, or put colours together like you. You have your own unique voice. I have to keep telling myself this too!
In an ideal world, what would you be designing?
When I had my light bulb moment, it was realising that I could get my designs (patterns or characters) onto children's lunch boxes. I would still love that to happen! But also in the process of learning about surface pattern design I have become interested in so much more, and now have dreams of wallpaper, fabrics - for home decor and children's wear, children's books, and everyone knowing my name as one of the great surface pattern designers - in my dream world!