Featured Member ‒ May/June 2013
Featured Member ‒ May/June 2013
Wendy and her identical twin sister Michelle own Lulet, a surface pattern design studio.
SPDG: What got you started in Surface Pattern Design?
WA: I have been creating fine art for many years, mostly photography and mixed media sculpture. For several years Michelle and I had a jewelry design business too. I have finally found my calling and am having a blast doodling, brainstorming, playing with color, getting inspired everywhere I go. I can honestly say that I love what I do.
SPDG: Do you have a particular style or are you a jack/jill-of-all-trades?
WA: I have been classically trained in all surface and textile pattern design techniques (vintage Hawaiian drybrush, elaborate 1700’s toiles, ethnic ikats) but I naturally gravitate toward my own whimsical, colorful style, often featuring smiling animals! Everything I draw is naturally friendly and cartoonish. I am drawn towards bright colors and happy/light images. I want my customers of all ages to smile.
SPDG: What markets do you prefer to design for the most? (e.g. home dec, apparel, paper, tech)
WA: I am just getting started and have already sold a design to Old Navy that will be featured on toddler girls’ clothing in the fall, and I am over the moon about it! My dream future markets are stickers, medical scrubs, suitcases, pet products, partyware, kitchenware, rain gear, and garden accessories, but I believe that my designs would look great on everything!
SPDG: Tell us about your workspace.
WA: I am inspired by the view (I can see the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz!) and various seabirds outside. At my desk I keep inspirational objects like finger puppets I picked up in Ecuador and a perfect sand dollar from Ocean Beach. Tiny lights, glittery garlands, a wind chime and two Native American paintings my friend bought me in New Mexico add to the creative and colorful space.
SPDG: Do you design on the computer or by hand, or both?
WA: Both! Mostly these days I design on my computer in Photoshop and Illustrator, but I just completed a hand-painted gouache design of jungle animals. Sometimes I will paint a design and scan it onto the computer where I can further explore layouts and colors. I’ve also been playing with special crayons and paper…It is good to mix things up to keep the process fun and the designs fresh and unexpected. But I love the idea that all I need is my laptop and Bamboo tablet, and I’m in business!
SPDG: Who are your favorite surface pattern designers?
WA: Many of my favorite designs are vintage, so unfortunately I don’t know who designed them. My style is eclectic — I adore chic-yet-whimsical French Victorian through Art Deco gouache designs but also appreciate a really “far out” psychedelic print. Vera Neumann’s floral scarves blow me away with their loose, wild style and bold colors! They are vintage yet timeless, and with real personality.
As for modern designers, I really admire Kate Spain’s design and impressive partner list, and I have been incredibly fortunate to intern with Lise and Cyrille at Sisters Gulassa — not only are their patterns fantastic, but they have the best attitudes and are a pleasure to work with!
SPDG: Do you have any advice for those who are interested in a surface pattern design career?
WA: 1) Learn to paint and draw. Many people out there are just designing by computer, but their work is cold and stiff. If you have the basics of how to work by hand it will translate even in your computer work.
2) Be true to your own style! I believe that the most successful designers and artists (and musicians) are ones whose signature style is so strong that their design (or sound) is instantly recognizable.
3) Believe in yourself…Know that some designs will work, some won’t, but keep going!!! One of my favorite quotes is by the musician Mika, and I have it on my inspiration board: Dare to Suck.
Visit Wendy's website to learn more about Lulet's designs.