Sketchbook Stories :: Jessica Swift


Jess is a multi-talented, full-time, self-taught illustrator, pattern designer, painter and entrepreneur. Boy, that’s a mouthful, but  essential in describing what she does and who she is. This girl wears a ton of hats and does it quite well!! I’m totally inspired by the sheer amount of work she produces and all the “extra” projects she works on all the while making it look so polished and effortless. Just take a peek around her site, you’ll be amazed. Jess’ quirky designs are super fun and playful. It’s obvious that she has a passion for color and a innate knack for pulling together unique color combinations and palettes. I’m super excited to be rooming with her and Khristian during this year’s Surtex Show, and I’m looking forward to getting to know her much better.

Here is Jessica’s Sketchbook Story ::

JS: I generally don’t use a lot of reference material for my pattern work…. I just work from my imagination most of the time. Sorry I don’t have a lot of extra images to share! I’m very inspired by color, and sites like and are surefire ways for me to get inspired in some direction for color.


JS: I love creating patterns because it’s like a puzzle. I always create them in repeat, because that’s half the fun of it for me. I tend to start with a lot of separate pieces and shapes (like you can see from the sketchbook page), and then I fit them together and move them around until I get to a design that pleases my eye. For this group of patterns, I challenged myself by using a dark background to start, which was very unusual for me. I also rarely use dark blue and purple, so that was an extra challenge!


JS: I created these patterns to take with me to Surtex this year — hopefully they’ll be licensed for an amazing product!

JS: I didn’t go to school for surface design or illustration (I got a BFA in painting, and I never took an illustration or surface design class). I’m completely self-taught in those areas. I’ve been obsessed with color for my whole life, and I can remember collecting every Crayola marker that existed when I was a kid. My favorite was called “Lizard Green” and it was in the Jungle Colors set — that’s still one of my favorite colors today!

Here’s where you can find Jessica ::

   website ::
        blog ::
     twitter ::
        etsy ::
 facebook ::

  1. Allie

    I love this post!! I always enjoy seeing how other designers think and work! And Jessica is oh-so talented!!

  2. bethany

    I'm sure Jessica's study of color when painting is why she is so good at developing wonderful color palettes for her fabric design! You can tell by looking at them that she loves what she does! Beautiful and fun!

  3. I love.. love… love this blog! will be back tonight to read more :)

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