Sketchbook Story :: Phyllis Dobbs

I met Phyllis for the first time in person at this year’s Surtex show and I was delighted when she agreed to do a Sketchbook Story. Phyllis has been in the business for years, 24 to be exact. She started out by designing counted cross stitch based on her sketches and art. Since then Phyllis has moved on to designing quilts and quilting fabric as well. It was a natural transition and married her love of art, textiles and family ancestry.

Throughout her career Phyllis has designed over 2000 designs and patterns for the likes of just about everything –books, magazines, kits, fabric, gift and garden products, home decor, table runners, place mats, pillows, aprons, you name it. In 2003, Phyllis was awarded the prestigious Plaid New Horizons Award, which in case you didn’t know is a really BIG Deal! And recently she just finished up a new quilt book that will be due out early next year.

Here is Phyllis’ Sketchbook Story ::

PD: My sister-in-law Lyn rescues animals she finds in distress. She found KittyKat coming out of some woods when he was small. I met him a couple months later and it was pure adoration, so I took him home with me. Just watching his antics and haughty moods, inspired me to create an art collection all about these attitudes, resulting in “Meow Meow” a collection of 10 cats. Just drawing these kept me in stitches, the laughing kind.

PD: My art is inspired by everyday things in my life from florals and garden, pets and animals, inspiration and holidays. Everything I sketch and paint has a touch of whimsy. That’s just me! I love humor and am frequently told by people I meet that my art makes them smile. That, to me, is the best compliment I can receive.  


PD: I start with a mental image of what I want to create, then work with a sketch to get get the personality or flavor I want to give the image. When I’m satisfied, I go over it with a marker, scan it into my computer and use Adobe Illustrator to redraw the lines to add detail and give me a smooth vector line.  

PD: I used to paint everything by hand, then scan it to create the outline in Illustrator. But because so many companies want the art in digital format and on layers, I now paint my sketches in Photoshop. When I wet paint, I love to use gouache, acrylic and markers. I worked it into a fabric collection for the fabric company I license to, Quilting Treasures. (Just to let you know, to be fair, I later created another art and fabric collection “Its a Dog’s Life”.) When my fabrics come out, I like to create patterns to go with them. With “Meow Meow” I created an apron and tote bag with the free patterns available on my blog. The Chick Power garden flag for Evergreen was painted by hand starting with a pencil sketch. 


PD: I wasn’t born with a needle or paintbrush in my hand, but that came soon after. I swallowed a needle when I was a toddler, so I must have been attempting needlework at a very early age. And I remember my first grade teacher scolding me for drawing on my assignment after I had finished. I didn’t let all that discourage me and continued stitching and drawing from then on, just not on school work. 

PD: I love to experiment and am working in some mixed media techniques, combining both textiles and paint and anything else that fits in. My studio is filled with all sorts of things I have saved and collected. I’m looking forward to some exciting results. I have new fabrics being launched next year as well as several collections of kitchen textiles and stationery. My garden flags are with Evergreen.


Here’s where you can find Phyllis ::

   website ::

        blog ::

 facebook :: 

 LinkedIn ::

    twitter ::!/phyllisdobbs

    zazzale ::

product mockup templates for artists ::

  1. This was a really fun article Cindy & Phyllis. Phyllis I love how you developed your adorable cat collection. Gosh YIKES about the needle. Much continued success !!!!

  2. These are really cute illustrations and designs. I am currently looking for design ideas for my scrapbooking project featuring my favorite pet. I guess this is the perfect resource I've found. Thank you for this!

Share your thoughts