Today the weekend starts here with jessica nielsen, an illustrator and pattern designer based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her happy and fresh designs are starting to get the recognition they deserve and patternbooth was thrilled to catch up with jessica for a chat.
patternbooth: for those of us who don't know your work yet, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into designing?
jessica: I'm an illustrator and pattern designer living and working in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
I studied graphic design at the Willem de Kooning Academy. After I graduated I didn't really know where or how to start as a designer. I worked in completely different fields for some years but I still designed a little in my spare time. It wasn't until three years ago that I decided to take the plunge and start my own business. Not as a graphic designer but as a more or less 'self-taught' illustrator / pattern designer, which fits me much better (eureka!).
patternbooth: can you tell us about your design process?
jessica: My design process isn't really structured, there aren't certain steps I follow, I just start somewhere and find my way naturally. Sometimes when I'm 'stuck' I leaf through books or an old sketchbook for inspiration.
patternbooth: your style is very bold, fresh and clean. Who would you say are your main influences?
jessica: Amongst others: Olle Eksel, Hervé Morvan... Their designs really radiate fun. I love vintage (children's) books, brochures, stamps etc. For me they have a great appeal, the limitations they used to have in terms of techniques, colors etc. make the designs really powerfull and interesting.
patternbooth: how do you balance your two 'hats' as both an illustrator and a pattern designer?
jessica: I don't really need to balance them, sometimes I'm focused on the illustrations and other times on the patterns, but I actually don't really think of or see them as two separate things.
patternbooth: lots of new designers tell me they struggle to find manufacturers and stockists for their products. What would be your advice to them?
jessica: it takes quite some time to find the right manufacturers especially if you want to make your products in a eco friendly way. Invest time in the research of materials, try different manufacturers, and also ask designers around you how they work. Learn from others. And don't forget to keep an eye on your budget!
patternbooth: can you describe your workspace?
jessica: I share a studio with the two nice guys of Jade Architecten. It's a cosy studio in a lively street near the new central station, we have restaurants around the corner and in the summer we love to have a drink after work on one of the terraces.
patternbooth: what is the best bit and the worst bit of working for yourself?
jessica: Best: you get to decide everything... worst: you have to decide everything by yourself!
patternbooth: what are your plans jessica?
jessica: Keep on having fun doing what I love, there are so many designs in my head I still want to explore... And I would like to design patterns for interior design related companies so next year I'm going to focus on making that happen :-)