Where do you take your inspiration from?
I find beauty in the everyday and am lucky enough to live surrounded by nature. I love wandering out in the bush to study patterns and flowers, flowers fill me with wonder, even flicking through books about flowers inspires me, there is something hopeful and enchanting about them. The idea that something exists in our everyday life that is so marvellous and intricate never fails to lift me up. I get the same feeling when I see a piece of art that catches my eye, a particular colourway on a dress, or even a sardine tin.
When I was at Uni, I would visit the local gourmet food shop, just to look at the packaging. If a can of sardines was beautifully packaged, I would buy it! When I am designing, I am looking for that magic combination of form and colour that captures the eye. In the same way flowers do, or the packaging on a can of sardines!
What are your trend predictions for fashion prints for Autumn/Winter ’22?
As a pattern designer I love anything with strong or intricate colour and shape. I think the current trend toward clashing prints, animal motifs (especially cheetah’s), plaid, and geometric harlequin prints, will continue in a variety of colours from bold and bright, to monochrome. These playful designs work well with equally playful styles. Things like, oversize dresses and matching pants and jackets, teamed with blissed-out lines and gorgeous paisley on repeat.
As an artist and graphic designer, how do you combine the two?
I tend to paint mainly for myself and that gives me freedom to explore ideas and techniques in a fluid way. However, in my print making, I am drawn to watercolour and gouaches. They are amazing for colour blending and have a beautiful transparent quality. This often leads me to use refined versions of these ideas and techniques in my graphic work, hand-painting my designs and then digitally editing them also combines the two. It is a beautiful way to retain hand drawn elements in graphic work and create unique, one-of-a-kind prints. I think in many ways my art and design are constantly informing each other through the cross pollination of skill and inspiration.
In your opinion, how do you think Covid has changed the creative industry?
I love the silver lining in Covid, with the world being shut down it has allowed local businesses to boom. People want locally made original pieces and are moving away from fast fashion into unique pieces that are meaningful and one-of-a-kind. I think it has allowed people the time to slow down and re-evaluate their life, they have the time to become more creative, and pursue things that make them feel happy. I noticed during the lockdowns I was producing more creative work because I was not bogged down with the day to day.
What has been your most favourite experience as a print designer & artist so far?
Last year, I was asked to create an exclusive print for a female owned American swimwear company. The brief was to design a floral print inspired by an Italian summer. Sounds good already!
I hand drew and coloured all the motifs before scanning them into my software for editing. The process was engaging and fulfilling, it turned out beautifully, and is by far the most intricate print I’ve designed. The development was so rewarding, seeing it on the finished product and well received is always a thrill.
What inspired you for the prints you designed in collaboration with. MoveActive?
Colour, shape, and my obsession with flowers were all involved! There were numerous mood boards created where I trialled lines, spots, flowers, stripes, and colour combos. In total I experimented with over 40 prints and colourways. During the design process my friend bought me some beautiful flowers in amazing pastel tones, which I subsequently sketched. At the same time, I’d been working on a fluoro blue Cheetah print, in a sketched hand drawn style, when I saw the two side by side, I loved the contrast and depth they created. It was a challenge interweaving the two prints together seamlessly, but that was part of the reward. The result was something I thought amalgamated with MoveActive’s dedication to luxe, on trend design and my own voice as a designer.
What excites you about the MoveActive X Jess Dodd collaboration?
I can’t wait to see this range launch! Seeing a collection I have designed come to life, and have people respond to it is a dream. I am a huge Pilates and MoveActive fan and wear their socks every day, it is always fun choosing which ones to wear to class and helps motivate me to keep things upbeat and active. The prints I’ve designed are a mixture of florals, summer retro, animal print, funky spots, and palms. They are a perfect transition into the next season. I love the prospect they might help keep Pilate’s lovers feeling bright, colourful, and motivated.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you being doing instead?
I have always been in love with the creative industries, and second to art and design, I have loved dance my whole life. I danced as a child, and teenager, and have even taught it as an adult. When I finished school, my dream was to pursue it professionally, and I took myself off to Sydney for a year to study dance. In an alternate universe I would love to be a part of a theatrical dance company and travel the world.
What do you wish you knew 5 years ago, and why? Any regrets?
I wish I had discovered surface pattern design earlier! It was so great to find something I am passionate about, that combines my design background with my love of art. I also wish I’d had the know-how and confidence to put my designs out into the world sooner and share them on platforms like Instagram. It taught me a valuable lesson; that you are never too late to begin something new and share your work with the world. I am aware now at where the journey can take you, you just have to start it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in taking the same career path as you?
Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. I find this vital whether you are an established designer or starting out. Any spare moment I have, I am drawing, painting, reading, and researching. All of it builds skill, knowledge, and inspiration to keep me engaged and excited by my craft. Also, if you are just beginning there are some great online courses available, on platforms like Skillshare, which is where I first started. Well established designers such as, Bonnie Christine, Mable Tan and Erin Kendell also have online resources to help you begin.
Find Jess @littleflowerpatterns