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  • Writer's pictureWraptious

Make it in Design winner: Sue Gibbins

Our third winner of our Make It In Design brief this year was Sue Gibbins! We love Sue's fun parrot cushion designs, which will be available on our website for the next six months. We asked her how she came up with the design...

1) How long have you been designing for?

I think I have always created art, and I especially like trying out new techniques. At college and afterwards I took every possible extra arty class, so I've done screen printing, ceramics, stained glass, film photography and later I jumped into the digital design side too. Although I've been involved with graphic design for about 15 years as part of other career roles in various industries, it is only in the last couple of years that I found surface pattern design. I just fell in love with designing patterns and soon signed up for the Make It In Design courses. This last year they have helped me to get ready to launch my designs into the world. 2) What artist or movement has inspired your work?

I often find myself admiring bold Scandinavian pattern. I'm also influenced by the flowing pattern layouts of the Arts & Crafts movement. Inspiration comes from many sources. Colourfully illustrated nature is probably the imagery I am most drawn to; for example I adore the artwork of Eugène Séguy.

3) What was your process when designing for the brief?

Playful prints was a really fun brief. I always think parrots talking are hilarious and I was looking for a way to illustrate that, then I thought of the phones idea. And I love the shape of the old rotary phones, which I grew up with, so I just had to use those. Once I have the concept, my process is to sketch the main shapes in pencil, then add in inky details before scanning. I use Adobe Illustrator to make the main shapes and use my hand-drawn details on top, adding colour as I go. For colour palettes I usually let myself be inspired by nature. There are some parrots that have pink or blue feathers and I really liked those colours for this project. For this particular brief I was working alongside my lovely classmates. Bouncing ideas around with them was a really wonderful part.

4) What advice could you give to an emerging artist, based on your experience?

Connect with other artists and support one another. Also keep learning and developing your abilities. Classes often provide both of these things, and there are loads of amazing online classes out there. I really believe in these online learning communities and I'm in the process of launching (this week!) my own class via Skillshare to help emerging artists.

5) Where can we find your work?

Please visit for my public design portfolio and follow me on Instagram @rocketandindigo for the latest news and sneak peeks. You can also find my technical Illustrator training on Skillshare.

You can find Sue's work on our Make it in Design page


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