I took a little time over the holidays to read Kim Kight’s book “A Field Guide to Fabric Design.” Many of you may be familiar with Kim through her blog True Up. While I was expecting to find a book geared to the beginning fabric hobbyist, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had something to offer the beginner and expert alike.
“A Field Guid to Fabric Design” is easy to read and understand. Plus it’s full of great eye candy! Some of what makes the reading so interesting is that there are conversations throughout the book with a variety of fabric designers, each with a unique perspective. So when Kim poses a question, for instance, “Do you follow trends?” it is amazing that all of these successful designers have completely different answers.
The first section, Design and Color, makes up the bulk of the book. Kim goes into detail about different categories of designs as well as how to create repeats, both by hand and with a computer. There is a great discussion about trends and whether or not to follow them. Kim takes you step-by-step through basic color theory and then helps you understand the various digital color models (e.g., RGB, CMYK). She offers tutorials for working with color in both Illustrator and Photoshop. My favorite part this section, however, is the discussion of Colorways and Collections. Kim offers samples of collections for several markets: Quilting, Home Decor, and Fashion, and discusses why they work.
Finally, the last section of the book looks at what it takes to make money in the world of fabric design. Here you will find discussions on self-production of fabric, outsourcing production, and licensing designs. While always positive, Kim makes it clear that careers in fabric design are not always easy to get off the ground.
Here are some highlights worth noting:
- the best way to scan designs into Photoshop and Illustrator
- proofing repeats
- a copyright primer
- successful fabric collections
- a listing of commonly printed fabrics (and images too!)
- a detailed discussion of hand-printing methods
- a comparison of water-based pigment inks, reactive or acid dyes, and dye sublimation printing for digital printing
- printing method costs
- how to submit designs for licensing
- a resource section that lists books, supplies, software, digital textile print bureaus, trade shows, textile design degree programs, and websites — fantastic!