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Designer of the Month: Erin Kroukamp

 Introducing our Designer of the Month, Erin Kroukamp. Erin is a surface designer based in sunny Australia. 

She was recently awarded first prize Beginner Track in the Make It In Design Winter School 2020 (awarded by Make It In Design and Fashion Formula). 

Erin K prints x 12

 Erin Kroukamp designs are available to shop on the Fashion Formula website.

Shop Erin K designs now




Read on to find out about Erins design processes, inspirations and aspirations for the future.



Close up hand drawing_3



How would you describe your design style in 5 words?

Fun, floral, whimsical, eclectic and colourful



Describe your design process.

I like to spend time brainstorming pattern themes and ideas, and usually have a colour palette in mind to start with. From there I collect reference photos, which I usually take myself. If I'm working on a floral design I'll buy flowers, or visit a botanical garden. I normally start my drawing process by sketching and refining motifs using pencil, and then transfer to Illustrator to clean up and colour. More recently I've been experimenting with watercolours and will paint first before transferring to Photoshop to convert to a repeating pattern. All of this gets done in the evenings or weekends because of my other day job, so my design process happens whenever I can get some spare time.


Hands at work2_2



 What first sparked your interest in print design?

I've always been interested in colours and patterns. I remember hand-painting t-shirts with mum when I was younger, and I loved studying design and making colourful (albeit wonky) ceramics in high school. Lately I've been driven to create my own patterns so that I can see them printed on fabrics to create my own clothing, cushions and bedding. I’ve had an office job for many years and I think I have secretly wanted a creative career for a long time. 


What is your favourite part of the design process?

I'm most excited when I've finished creating all the motifs and have started to put the patterns together. There's something about seeing the design in my head come together in real life. I also love experimenting with colourways and could spend hours using the recolour tool in Illustrator!




Who do you design for/who is your target market?

I previously designed mainly for the homewares market, however I have shifted towards the babies and kids-wear market - probably because I'm most interested in designing patterns for my own baby at the moment!


Winning print + cot


What is your favourite medium to work in and why?

I like to start my design development with pencil or micron pens, and then further develop the designs into vector patterns. I love the crispness of the patterns and lines, so creating digital patterns in Illustrator is one of my favourite things. However, lately I love the look of hand-painted watercolour patterns because of the softness and uniqueness they offer; watercolours might soon overtake my love of digital pattern creation!

  Erin Desk 

What/who inspires you?

I'm inspired by Orla Kiely, Cath Kidston, Liberty London, and love collecting vintage teapots and ceramics because of the patterns. 


What have been the best/most inspirational exhibitions/museums/trips/places for you?

When I lived in London the V&A museum was my favourite place to visit, especially the textile and ceramic collections. There's so much inspiration available in one place! Other than that, my favourite place in Australia to visit is the Blue Mountains. In Spring there is such an array of beautiful flowers to use for pattern inspiration. 


Elephant rainbow print_1


Did you study design? If so, where did you study?

I completed a Certificate in Design and a Diploma in Surface Design with the International School of Colour and Design in Australia. Lately I've been a big fan of online courses (such as Skillshare) because I can pick and choose what skills I want to learn. A lot of my recent watercolour work has been self-taught. 


What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a designer?

My biggest challenge has probably been working out what my style is as a designer, as well as trying to figure out what other people like. I've discovered that some of my more successful designs are not necessarily my favourite ones, so it's been an interesting experience working out what makes a successful pattern. My next challenge will probably be trying to find time to design while on maternity leave.


Lemon print_2


What are your aspirations for the future?

I want to be able to dedicate more time to design, and perhaps make a full-time career out of it. I'd also love to see my patterns in fabric stores one day.


What advice would you give to new designers?

My advice is to trust your own instinct and develop your own style, and not to compare yourself to other designers. Everyone is at a different stage of his or her journey, so just enjoy the process!


Multi print 


 Erin Kroukamp designs are available to shop on the Fashion Formula website.


Shop Erin K designs now



Tags: Designer, Print, Print design, designer of the month, paint, painting, Erin K, detailed, painterly, fun, floral, whimsical, eclectic, colourful


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