Category: design inspiration

A surface pattern designers sketchbook – Sketchbook Peek 20

It’s week 20 of Sketchbook Sunday, a crazy amount of blog posts! I’ve shared all sorts of creative things on Sketchbook Sundays. You can take a look at the archive here.

This week I’ve actually been working in my sketchbook, creating paintings to work in to digital patterns. Today I filmed and edited my very first sketchbook video! So now you can feel like you’re having a real flick through my sketchbook.

Have you been doing arty things? Share them with #SketchbookSunday



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How To Be Inspired By Other Artists

I’m sharing some of my favourite well-known artists, I come back to these artists for inspiration all the time and study how they artists manipulate shapes, texture and colour. All though it doesn’t sound it, it’s a very inspiring process. Sometimes I even attempt to create work in the same style like an old school apprentice would.

Gustav Klimt

Probably the most well-known on my list. Klimt is the first artist I remember being aware of as a child and I always seem to come back to his work. He used shapes and pattern brilliantly, combining them in interesting ways which is also IMHO the pinnacle of good surface design.

Raoul Duffy

My natural illustration style is similar Duffy’s. I like using rough shapes and overlaying line work create detail and interest within the illustration.

Günther Förg

A new addition to my influencers I’ve recently been creating more art  inspired by Förg. I’m playing around with colour combinations, texture and white space. Förg’s composition is spot on and has a lot of balance

Bruce Gray

Gray’s work is a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes. I’m inspired by his bold colour combinations. Colour palettes are something I’m always working on.

Want To Be Inspired? Heres How!

  • Find your fave pieces of art either on the internet, in galleries, books, postcards.
  • To find more artists similar to your style google something like “Famous artists that use _____ in their work” or “Art movements with ________”
  • Really look at the pieces you’ve chosen, zoom in on the details. Make notes, sketches, copy their work (but obviously don’t claim it as your own)
  • What did you notice? Apply this to your own work.
  • Use this process periodically


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Chat With Carolyn Gavin Eco-Friendly Surface Designer

Recently I’ve been inspired by other surface designers and their businesses. I came across Carolyn Gavin’s patterns and her family business in the last issue of Uppercase Magazine (you can read more about the issue here if you like)

Carolyn designs patterns for her brand of eco-friendly stationery and paper goods, Ecojot.

The brand has an obvious deep philanthropy. Ecojot use 100% recycled materials and their products support the GIVE programme for children in need. Values like this aren’t celebrated enough with the independent design community, take a look at their dedicated philanthropic effort.

Carolyn’s designs give these feel good products a quirky, unique edge and I wanted to know more about how she works.

Where and what did you study at university?

I studied 3 years of graphic design at Witwatersrand Technikon which is in Johannesburg (Gauteng) South Africa

Carolyn Gavin - Alphabet soup

© Carolyn Gavin

What inspires you?

I love animals and nature and this inspires a lot of my work – birds, butterflies, flowers etc. I also get excited by color and cool combinations that make the work sing!

Carolyn Gavin - Lovebirds

© Carolyn Gavin

What’s your surface design recipe for success?

Work long and hard and practice to hone your technique and in the process develop your own style. Think about what you’re doing, and little nuances will make it special and stand out. Try to be original and true to yourself.

What’s next for Ecojot?

We’re designing a super cool app that works with our stationery product. I think designers, students, artists and architects with love it.
We come out with new designs fairly regularly so we’ll be introducing some of those at our next show, which is The National Stationery Show in New York in May.

Carolyn Gavin  - Dream Big

© Carolyn Gavin

Where can I buy your art or products?

Barnes and Noble in the US, Indigo in Canada, Paperchase in the UK, Sweden, Finland, France etc. Check out our website for more retailers and online –

Do you have a blog, can I read more about you?

I do have a blog –
I’m also on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Carolyn Gavin

© Carolyn Gavin



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Surface Design Guide Favourites

About a month or so ago I found out that I got featured in the 2014 Uppercase Surface Pattern Design Guide. I wrote an entire post about it, which has a sneaky little discount code for Uppercase Subscriptions so click on through!

Anyway the issue has hit shelves worldwide (I picked mine up from Tate Liverpool). I’m so happy with the patterns that Uppercase picked from my 8 submissions, they showcase my style perfectly.


Patterns Featured in Uppercsae #21 – Click through to visit my portfolio

In the Surface Pattern Design Guide there are 100 designers featured, of course surface design being a niche industry, there are a lot of names I recognised. I’m already guilty of drooling over their portfolios.

I came across a  few  new-to-me designers so I thought I’d put together a  little roundup of  some of my favorites from the guide. Click the images to see each designer’s portfolio.


Dinara Mirtalipova

Agnes Schugardt

Agnes Schugardt


Iza Pearl


Macrina Busato

Fabric Drawer

Fabric Drawer


Ellie Fidler

If you want more surface deign inspiration goodness you can check out my roundup of the Tropical Bloghop from January 2014. Oh, and I also made a pinterest board of  the designers featured in the issue, cause I’m nice like that. Check it out and have a look at some more tasty patterns!

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Design Heroes: Laura-Kate Draws

It’s Design Hero time!  Click to see the first post on Surface pattern powerhouse Collier Campbell. This month I’m staying local  with Liverpool based whimsical illustrator extraordinaire Laura-Kate Draws.


Jazz Cakes ©Laura-Kate-Draws

One cold December evening after volunteering at The Bluecoat I fumbled through a rack of prints and came across a print I loved. I was skint so I fumbled some more and found another print I loved! Drawn with a familiar hand turns out both prints happened to be created by Laura Kate Draws.

Laura has created a quirky world consisting of  Dalmatians on unicycles and spaced out Owls. I have a total crush on her style, imagination and I’m so inspired to start creating moreerm illustrative illustrations. Laura sells a load of products through Etsy and Folksy, I love her patterned mugs and greeting cards which are totally adorable.

Laura-Kate Draws Products

Super cute products ©Laura-Kate Draws

In my last Design Hero post I created a print in the style of Collier Campbell. I thought that was a fun exercise and a nice addition to the post so here is a little self(ie) portrait and a sneaky fox I’ve created inspired by Laura’s work


Up to no good fox & a selfie portrait

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Design Heroes: Collier Campbell

Founded in the sixties by the late Susan Collier and her sister Sarah Campbell. Collier Campbell created iconic prints for Liberty’s and many others. The brand lives producing products using  prints from their archive.

Collier Campbell

Collier Campbell

2012 marked Collier Campbell’s  50th year anniversary, in celebration a retrospective of their work was published in what looks like a tomb of a design book! The Collier Campbell Archive: 50 Years of Passion in Pattern (Collier Campbell Collection) **

Collier Campbell are old school, their designs are all hand painted and I assume repeated by hand. I’ve got so much appreciation for the old textile print design techniques, I think I would be very unhappy  if CAD wasn’t around. Take a look at this lovely video of the surviving half of the Collier Campbell duo, Sarah Campbell, reminiscing about  the Collier Campbell journey.

Weirdly whilst scrolling through twitter yesterday I discovered that  Sarah Campbell, has a display on at The Fashion and Textile Museum, London. Great timing as I’m off on a rare London Jaunt tomorrow!


At the moment I’m taking The Sellable Sketch E-course over at Pattern observer,  apparently I can’t get enough of E-course’s and communities.

One of the exercises during the first week of  Sellable Sketch was to copy your fave designer’s style. Obviously this was just for technique experimentation and to develop your own style, discovering what you like through the process.

Inspired by Collier Campbell brush strokes for the exercise I  attempted to recreate a couple of their signature prints. I realised half way through that I dislike waiting for paint to dry! I can’t promise such a treat every time I write about designers, but  in a Blue Peter style “Here’s one I did earlier!”

Hayley Holden inspired by Collier Campbell

Inspired by Collier Campbell’s hand painted designs

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Print & Pattern Guide: Artwork

I’ve put together a print & pattern walk-through mini -series so you can see how I start making a pattern, I’ll show you how I put things into repeat in the next part! If you love this print you can get it on phone cases, cushions, mugs, tote bags and other stuff through my Society6 shop


From A to B

Inspiration & concept

I was inspired by a butterfly print I ‘d done as part of my Keka range, which has also been my home screen wallpaper for ages. I really like the concept of using butterfly wings and wanted to play around with it some more.

Originally the design had been sparked from randomly deciding to buy and photograph a bunch of butterfly wings and then putting them into a simple repeat. I wanted to develop the photo collage element from these prints and add a bit more sass, texture and photo manipulation.


First experiment with butterfly wings and one of my Keka phone cases

Getting Started

I started with my favourite mono print from last month’s print workshop. Did you miss that post? Get the lowdown here. I got a load of butterfly wings and started moving them about the page to form some ideas.


Doing it the traditional way first

Scanning made the wings look really weird and grainy so I took some hi-res macro photographs of the collection and started digitally placing and collaging them around my Photoshop canvas on top of the monoprint, which I’d scanned. The next thing I do when I’m creating a pattern is mess about with effects, scales and all sorts of other things I usually ended up with five to ten slightly different images to choose from. It probably took me about 3/4hours to get to my final image, a lot longer than this blog post makes it sound!


A few developmental patterns

Sometimes I want to be able to whack out an artwork in an hour, but I’m experimental and I often create ten or so different versions before I even put an artwork into repeat.

Maybe I will do a screencast creating a repeat to show you guys my process? Would that be something you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments.

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Pantone Radiant Orchid pattern goodness from Tropical Fushion blog hop

Last week I found out about the “Tropical Fusion” blog hop for Surface Pattern Designers,  It ran over the weekend and I was seriously bummed that I missed out. I am always too late to be part of these things so I’m keeping my eyes peeled in future!

The blog hop was hosted by Mary Tanana (head over to her blog  she has a mighty list of the designers involved in the blog hop.) As the name suggests the theme was Tropical and  colour stories were based on Pantone’s  2014 colour of the year: Radiant Orchid.

I put together a little mood board for Radiant Orchid,  the background is one of my pattern designs which I’ve coloured up in said colour of the year


Images sourced from Pantone & Pinterest: Source//Source//Source
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A lot of the bloggers  are new to me so I’ve had lots of fun reading though their blogs this week! below are some of my favourite designs from the blog hop.

fyllayta  -tropical fusion blog hop

I could stare at this for hours. It’s so intricate it reminds me of African tribal batik fabrics – Jaguarana by Tina Olsson/FYLLAYTA.

onneke- tropical fusion blog hop

Pineapples are so playful and cute I totally want a tote with this on –  Onneke van Waardenburg

Surface Hug Tropical fusion 3-02

These floral drawings are so intricate, I need to learn how to draw like that in Illustrator. The depth created by using both Photoshop & Illustrator reminds me of camouflage. Trina has also written a detailed blog post that I enjoyed reading through – Trina Esquivelzeta/Surface Hug


Nika’s design feels very current and I could totally see this on the British High Street at the  moment, feels like something you’d see on Mindy Kaling in an episode of  The Mindy Project –  Tropika by Nika Martinez

dark dreams - sherry london -tropical fusion blog hop

Parts of Sherry Londons design look totally hand painted but they are all digital produced.

Congrats to all the designers involved there was such variety to choose from and I noticed a lot of  Keka Designers in the mix.  Go Team KEKA!

What do you think about colour of the year? Will you be influenced to buy anything Purple?  Is it just clever marketing from Pantone?


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On “just doing it” & creating a sidebar widget for Society6

This week I’ve flitted around the internet, looking at amazing surface design blogs and thinking about my own surface design brand “HayJayOh”

Whilst being inspired (and slightly depressed) at the empires that other designers have created I realised that I’m not really putting my current work out there.

So I decided on Sunday in much haste, to grab the Bull by the horns and just upload a design to Society6. I know it’s not gunna make me a millionaire but it’s a step in the right direction and it’s fun to have your prints visualised for you.

Not really thinking about it I uploaded a tribal print from my archive and I figured it could be a test run and you know I would upload some other “better” designs when I got round to creating them. But a few people started “promoting” (liking) the design It hit me that this was exactly the kind of attitude that I should be avoiding and most of all why aren’t I taking advantage of the archive of prints which I’ve created over the last 4 years? Even selling one product is better than none at all

Whats the worst that could happen right?! this harks back to a time almost a year ago when I started really thinking and writing about just doing things instead of over-thinking them. you can read this post here


After sharing the link and pinning my new products I found the code for a widget, yippee another widget!

Alas it did not work for JavaScript is a forbidden language here on free WordPress. After searching high and low on the internet I haven’t found a solution or a single HTML widget. I kind of wanted something that was like the Instagram widget so if anyone knows of any give me a comment?!

In the mean time I’ve come up with a fun little .gif  of  products and a tasty little “shop hayjayoh” image.  Oh I also made one for my Keka range!

let me know what you think, check them out and maybe buy my stuff :)

shop-hayjayoh-keka-hayley-holden shop-hayjayoh-society6-hayley-holden

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30 day celebration!

I’ve hit the first milestone in my 365sketch challenge I am quite excited about this I’ve never gotten very far with a 365 challenge. So far I’ve kept this challenge separate from my main online presence as it is more of a learning and practice experience. I have been updating a devoted blog which by default has been feed into my Masterblog (the point of my Masterblog after all)


What do you think?
Do you prefer keeping projects separate or uploading everything you do into one blog?
As you might have noticed it is something I ponder about a lot.

At the beginning of this challenge I wanted to practice drawing realistic faces. I have found I am still drawing in the same style as I was before but I am more comfortable with drawing faces now even though my drawings aren’t as life like or as pretty as I would like them to be.


Initially I thought about drawing faces for the whole of the 365challenge but now I am thinking about changing my subject after 30 days to keep the challenge fresh?

I guess it is about weighing up how much my drawing would develop just drawing one subject for 365 days and how much it would develop drawing a range of things? I don’t think my faces have developed that much over the past 30 days so I am going to carry with them for the next 30 days or until I am happy.  Decisions, decisions!

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lino printing workshop bonanza.

This weekend I did a thing.
I engaged with textiles and the creative community in my small hometown.
Creative communities exist everywhere, who knew!

My degree and training is officially textiles but I am most comfortable using digital mediums I think this is because it is so easy to hit CMD+Z. I wish that existed in real life, le sigh. Also it is just so darn inconvenient and expensive to get fabric digitally printed to manipulate and work with, double whammy! So I label myself as a “digital print and surface designer” and I’m starting to dabble with research and “art”. see my writings on Practice based research.

Anyway I want to experiment with traditional printing methods more. I do actually find it really fun when I am focused and I love learning new art skills. So I attended a lino print workshop at Hazlehurst Studios on Saturday and boy was it fun! I found myself in complete silence carving away at my little piece of blue soft lino. We never actually had a taught lino workshop at uni but I had dabbled in it rather unsuccessfully a couple of times so it was useful to have a guiding hand.

The studio was really pretty and decked out for a Halloween studio opening; they even have a rentable printing press and boast the only highstreet wet plate photography studio in the UK, impressive.

I’ll probably go to some more print workshops, they are running a monthly series. I had a really fun day and it was good to do something messy and hands on rather than drawing on screen. But I will most probably state true to my vices and manipulate the pieces I created in Photoshop.

Lino prints on cartridge paper and fabric, October 2013


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My thoughts on AHS Coven; Bitch craft.

I watched the premiere episode of season 3 of American Horror story this week it brought up some old ideas and themes I looked at during my design degree.


I have been very interested in the Connection I personally make between Witches and my childhood, mostly due to my love of Harry Potter.  popular culture  has the same fixation with the supernatural if you browse through TV channels today you’ll be met with an abundance of magical wonderment.


Just like in the 90’s when witches in particular where popular shows such as The worst witch (1998-2001), Sabrina the teenage witch (1996-2003) and Charmed (1998-2006)  graced our screens. It is apparent that this is a pattern that keeps appearing throughout history. But it goes back much further than my own childhood. Author of The other world states every age in human history has felt the lure of the occult” (Oppenheim, Pg 3) which explains why the  supernatural appears in pop culture so much.

this has apparently been going on forever! Rachleff tells us  in The occult in Art  that it was a sense of magic that inspired the earliest artistic expressions of prehistoric man”  (1990, Pg 3)

I am really excited to watch the next episode of American Horror story!

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