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Sketch Colour Design Repeat

Sketch Colour Design Repeat….not always in that order but in a basic way that sums up my process.


sketch michelle manolov


These are usually combined…often I have a couple of colours in mind and add or adapt depending on the brief.  Design could also be composition, this is my favourite part connecting all the piece and almost always this work is fleshed out in Illustrator and Photoshop.

Tip: if drawing animals look for flowers and leaves from their natural habitat it can help bring the design together.

colour design michelle manolov

and hopefully something good comes at the end…

heron boho pattern michelle manolo1f

boho heron michelle manolov2

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Time flies when you are having fun.

Time flies when you are having fun is so true….As well as baby growing (and crawling into every nook and cranny!) I had my first glimpse of the new fabric line and have been working behind the scenes on new projects. Work is fun, not always easy to balance the time between work and family and the one area that suffers the most when times get busy is the blog!


Sneak peek at Flutter By Butterflies a new range of girl interior products (copyright 2014 Michelle Manolov)

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Sunday Good News

It’s Sunday, the sun is shining and I’m checking out the UPPERCASE video before I head out.  Here Janine (publisher/editor/designer) of UPPERCASE magazine gives up her top ten tips for how to stand out in a crowd.

Did you check out tip 4, original motifs – you’ll find my dandelions!

uppercase magazine michelle manolov


Janine also talks about their Spring issue which has a very special feature: the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide and it is even more special because there is a little bit of me in it!! 😉

Seriously take a peek, besides me you’ll find some fantastically talented folk in the magazine and you can pick up a copy using the special little discount code ‘USPDG2014‘ – $15 off a subscription just for my lovelies!

*Happy dancing out of the studio today as a few of my designs are on there way to surtex!*



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happy lets eat cake day

They say good things come in threes!  Firstly it’s my birthday and a good reason to celebrate right?  Secondly the wee one woke me with cuddles after a whole 6 hours uninterrupted sleep!  YAY! So now I actually feel alive enough to celebrate!

The third announcement – Impossible as it sounds I have something that tops them all (yes even better than baby sleeping which I thought would be the best news ever) I can now announce I shall be designing exclusively brand new spanking patterntastic fabrics for Modern Yardage.


Modern Yardage is a great company, for me having a good working relationship is sooo important and the team behind the scenes are super communicative and keen to work with designers!  And what a set of designers they already work with – you can find all of our profiles over on the Meet the Designers page and read a bit about little me!

I hope you can join me on this journey.   I already have some designs taking shape and want to whip out the sewing machine but my skills are basic so I am gonna learn as I go and share the experience here on the blog as well as featuring lots of talented sewers and crafty bods that adore beautiful patterned fabric just like we do!

I  will be shouting out when my first line of fabric comes out, please join me on facebook or if you prefer instagram for a peek at the design life of a ex pat!


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Be my valentine

Stepped away from the computer this week and loving a bit of pattern and texture making with some new watercolour inspired pieces.

This one was especially created for the Team at Believe Creative Studio and all the guest designers that have been working hard these last few months preparing for Indigo and as part of our valentine blog hop.

Hopefully you jumped over from the fabulous designer Jan Shepherd at Patternmuse (have you seen her portfolio – loving the tropical flowers) and as I end our little hop I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s day and wish Rosie and her team that are gearing up to go to Indigo with a fabulous booth display and gorgeous designs the best of times (visit Believe Creative Studio blog to read more about it and restart the hop) ..I know it will be a huge success!!

If you are going be sure to visit booth 5U51 in  Hall H5.  With love from the Believe Creative Studio design team.

hearts textures


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Babies and business

On 16, Oct 2013 | No Comments | In Business Talk | By patternandco


Baby Bump is 10 weeks old!  10 weeks of gurgles, cuddles, nappy changes, smiles, sleepless nights and new discoveries for all of us!

Caring for a baby is a bit like caring for a new business, you nurture it, want to make the right decisions and worry over the details and you are constantly learning new things which I believe is the key, for me anyway when I design, to always learn, progress and adapt.

For instance, before Bump I had time, I didn’t realise how much time until the amount you can work is squeezed – now I doodle and learn new things whilst nursing (skillshare is great for this as the courses are video based) so far I am brushing up on my illustrator skills and reading business books (I am even attempting to study more German!)

When we are out and about I love to show Bump around, a simple walk through the park inspires me to draw as we look at the leaves and point out shapes, taking photos and gathering inspiration and when sleep time comes I get to throw some ideas around in photoshop and illustrator.

Things may take longer to complete and so they should I don’t want to rush away Baby Bumps years I want to enjoy every moment but I am more efficient and selective than before. I know how lucky I am that I have a job I love that allows me time to spend with my family and how in turn my family can inspire my work!

Here’s a few ways I have found working from home with Baby Bump:

– Nursing is great, almost hands free and allows time to read, watch, learn new things.

-Walking is another great passion of mine, I get some fresh air and Baby Bump gets to go out too, we can walk and talk and discover new ideas or just de-stress.

-Grab a camera if you have one and snap some photos whilst walking or if it’s warm enough and I have the chance I’ll sit down with my notepad and doodle!

-Drop some things – do you really need to flick through Facebook twenty times a day, or catch every tweet?

-The obvious one, when Bump sleeps, I take time to design!  Some days it may only be a couple of hours but I have to say they are much more productive and fruitful than before as I am focused and energized to work.

-The last thing I am putting into practice is to be flexible and adaptable, I was a planner before but now we go with the flow!  I have a very short list of things I need to do, compared to before (lists and lists of things that rarely if ever got done) and life is much more manageable and balanced.  Having a baby has made me much more focused, if there is a person or company I am interested in working with I contact them rather than wait until tomorrow….it’s all about using my time.

I’d love to connect to other working from home mums and if you have any hints and tips that you want to share please leave a comment, it would be great to hear from you

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Why a break from the internet can be a good thing!

On 24, Jul 2013 | No Comments | In Business Talk | By patternandco

It’s been just over a year since I started this adventure into patterns and blogging.  I’ve learned a lot, met new friends and forged new licensing deals.  But the last month things all started to come together all at once, both personal and in my working life,  so much so that blogging had to wait till I could find the time between whirlwinds to stop and reflect on all the things that have taken place!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is my journey from the last few weeks.

We travelled through Germany, France, Belgium and England, up to Scotland.


Got married!

I also had the most fun hand making all the bouquets and button holes and of course the thank you cards! (You can see some of the designs here)


Celebrated with family and friends, from the oldest to the youngest!


The day we returned to Germany, we travelled a further 300 miles and moved across country down to the amazing Munich!

From the centre of town we have everything at our fingertips, from the famous landmarks and sights to the shopping and eating!  One of my favourite places is the Viktualienmarkt, a minutes walk and I am in plant heaven, not mention the food and beer and wonderful Bavarian folk!


Take a drive for 30 minutes and there are a world of mountains and lakes to explore and amazing castles!

füssen Hopfen am See 8

I have more photos to share with lots of doodles from the sketch book and ideas on how to create patterns and colour boards from photos!

Which leads me back to work.  When I decided to take a break from working such long hours, I was very unsure if it was the right thing to do or not, the timing didn’t feel right as I believed I had to keep up the momentum I had established.  I also enjoy my work and wondered how I would feel not creating everyday!  But other things needed my attention so I pressed pause for a while!

During this time I still took photos, as I find it relaxing and drew a little in between but stopped all internet and blogging for a while, only checking emails was allowed.  It was during this period that people started to approach me, a couple of offers from agencies, one I followed up with as it was more a mutually beneficial design company that suited us both and a couple of licensing deals that made me want to sing, it’s early days yet but as soon as the contracts are signed and designs are completed you can be sure I will be shouting it from the hill tops (or mountains round here!)

One I am happy to talk about is, as well as signing over more designs with Kess InHouse I am also  a Kekacase designer (and I get to use my new married name!)


So if you are ever thinking should I take a break for a while I highly recommend it, perhaps not to fit in so many things but to recharge the batteries, think without thought and relax a while!

Protecting your work – watermaking and sharing images on the web

On 04, Dec 2012 | One Comment | In Business Talk | By patternandco

I received a couple of emails in my inbox the other day with a similar topic… do you protect your work online?  It’s a hot subject and after a bit of research I thought it would be a great idea to start the discussion with using  watermarks and a few best practices when sharing your images online!

Watermarking is all about protecting your work, adding a stamp to your designs so they are traceable.  It’s still a compromise between  getting your work out there and seen and having a level of security with what your are comfortable with sharing.  I use the word “security” with a bit of hesitation, watermarking is not fool proof but along with a few more tips below it can at least help towards protecting your work online.

Start with naming your images, include your name or business name as well.  Hover over the image below and you can see what it is called…….

This is also good for when your images are pinned as that name is what is included in the text along with the link.

After saving your original file, resize to a smaller dimension (mine are saved at 550 px wide for the web) and  at 72dpi as this helps to prevent direct printing.  I will also crop the image slightly before resizing especially if it’s a repeat pattern.  Use the save for web option  in photoshop.

The things to look at are what format, in this case jpeg, the quality and the image size (if you want your image to be scaled correctly when resizing make sure the width and height are locked)

If you click on the 4-up tab at the top you can view the different options. The first is the original image, next at a high quality,then gradually going down to a low quality.

The way I mark my designs is with a small line of text (this could be your name or in my case I use my website)  I know from the conversations I have had with other artists and illustrators that some feel much more comfortable with a bigger more visible logo.  It’s a compromise between showing your designs with a small mark or offering a bit more protection with a larger mark but not seeing the design so clearly.

Place the watermark across any part of the pattern. I have a saved file with my watermarks, logos and signatures, which I simply open and drag onto my image I wish to mark.  Sometimes the text is not so clear against a patterned background as I use a handwritten font so I’ll  add a white label underneath.

This is where you can try out different fonts and symbols that you feel comfortable with and that suit your style .  Try  a bolder font, change the colour, reduce the opacity, adding your logo is also a great idea and when you find something you like and are happy with, save the file as your watermark and then you can reuse it again and again!

Notice I also add a very discreet signature within the design.

Here I  use the copyright symbol, this can be found in Photoshop in the custom shape tool.

Adding the © is not necessary but it sends a certain message.

Another way to protect your patterns and to really show them off  is to showcase your work on products, it can be as simple as printing them out and then taking a photo and again watermark in the same way, such as in my arrows print.


Or create mock ups, fabrics, pillows, get creative!

I’ll be back soon testing out some online watermarking sites as well as a a great showcase of creative watermarking and I would of course love to here your comments and thoughts on the subject.  Do you watermark?  Are you worried about your images on the internet?

In the meantime here is a list of a few great resources that you might like to check out:

Great Q&A from Vector tuts “Should you watermark your Art”

A discussion from Kim Bruce on Anyone Can Snip: Protect Your Art with Watermarks.  I love where she writes “My reason for watermarking is not to stop people from accessing my images, but rather, to allow these good people a trail back to me and my website.”

If you only have time to check out one thing then definitely take a look at the wonderful Monica Lee over at Smart Creative Women talking to Attorney Kiffanie Stahle on copyrights and protecting your work online






ways to find your stuff online tineye, pinterest

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