Over the next few months we will be going over the tasks you need to cover to become a surface pattern designer. If this is something that you have stumbled upon after years of sketching, doodling, and pattern making from your own designs, and feel that this could be what you have been searching for your whole life, then your in the right place.

sketching edition one by surface pattern marketplace


I myself am a self taught surface pattern designer. I caught the design bug when I was a child and remember sketching and doodling away at home with my mum, when I was little, then when I started school, and found art and design and I was hooked. Being a surface pattern designer takes real time and dedication.

sketching edition two by surface pattern marketplace


To Start: You will need a sketch book, pencils, markers, paints (anything that you can get your hands on), plus a computer.

This is the self taught method of becoming a surface pattern designer. If you are lucky enough to enrol in a college, and progress onto university to study surface pattern and textile design, then great, you will learn an abundance of ways of turning simple sketching and doodles into surface and textile design patterns.


For some of you that have taken a different path and then decide later in life to learn how to do surface pattern and textile design, or stumble upon it, as I said earlier,  there are plenty of online design companies that you can enrol on for a small monthly fee, such as Textile design lab, (which is where I learnt everything I needed to know about surface design), or there is Make It in Design, another company that you can participate in short courses throughout the year to learn the basics of surface design. There is also You Tube where you can view a multitude of surface pattern and textile design techniques, from beginner sketching and doodling to brushing up techniques on various aspects in surface design.

sketching edition three by surface pattern marketplace

SKETCH BOOK- Attach it to your hip!

Set your self 30 minutes a day to doodle, sketch or what ever you want to call it, capture these down in your sketch book. Then at the end of the week you will have quite a collection of doodles.

sketching edition four by surface pattern marketplace


On your PC, you will need to subscribe to Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. It may seem daunting, and I know myself when I first downloaded it, I was in shock at how many sections it had in it. You can purchase adobe by paying a monthly subscription, or if you are lucky enough to get a disc of the programme CS5 or CS6, this will be more than adequate for you.


I was a complete beginner to surface design like you. I had spent years designing and making crafts and it’s only in the last 10 years that after designing fabric for my own hand made gifts that I found surface design, and knew this is the field I wanted to be in!

After sketching - final pattern by surface pattern marketplace


1: The easiest design platform to start with is Adobe Illustrator –

I know it seems daunting, but you can do this, its will seem unbelievably hard to understand what to do, where, and what does what, and why, yes very confusing, but take your time, you will get the hang of it, just be patient.

Lets start by having a look at Adobe Illustrator and what it can do to bring your sketching and doodles to life.

Open Adobe Illustrator, click create new, and a new banner will pop up with preferences to select.

sketching image one - adobe illustrator by surface pattern marketplace

Along the top you will see:

Mobile – Web – Print – Film & Video – Art & Illustration

Choose Art & Illustration: – A new box will pop up, for your preset details –

Here you can write: Name of design – Width and Height – Start by setting it to 32 x 32 Centimetres.

Don’t worry about the Bleed – Then colour mode add – RGB. – Raster Effects – High 300PPI.

Preview mode – Default. Click O.K.

Your white box will appear in the centre of your screen.

To Be Continued:

To view what our surface pattern marketplace emerging designers and experienced designers have produced so far.

Above sketches supplied by Cat Murphy for Surface Pattern Marketplace.

Finished Pattern: Autumn Leaves

For the next instalment – please view our next blog.