Tools & Tips
Fresh graduate from a textile print course? Maybe an graphic designer oogling Creative Market's promise of millions? Or perhaps an illustrator with so much artwork and no idea what to do with it? Either way, I've compiled some advice on how to navigate this complex world of selling digital products and your artwork. Good luck!

We all probably already own all the same books, but I think there has to be some gems out there a lot of people don't know about. This is the reason why I've been compiling a long, long list of the books I use the most - and have finally managed to cut it down to a readable list. My best advice to any surface or pattern designer is to amass as many books as possible - whilst this might sound a tinge financially reckless, I guarantee you it is the best investment you will make. These resources will be the ones you will always go back to - trust me.

So without further ado and waffling, here is the list of books I use on a daily basis for my work:

Textiles, The Art of Mankind (Hardcover)

By Mary Schoeser

This is an incredible (super heavy) book with tons of historical references. It's always been my go to book for not just pattern inspiration, but surface in general; it includes a multitude of embroidery, screen printed, hand woven textures, etc. If you can, get it second hand as it does tend to be a bit pricey! I've found a quick link for you here.

The Book of Flowers

By Redoute

Well, I can't really call this pattern inspo, but my God, does this book deliver when you desperately need some floral references. With super detailed, colorful and botanically correct drawings, this book by far out ranks any other botanical references (and trust me, I have them all, even the garden books). I also prefer it to others as it has a slight tinge of romance in the colors and the way it's been drawn as opposed to dry, black and white botanical sections.

You can find it on the publisher's page here.

Liberty: The History

By Marie-Therese Rieber

If you're like me and you love anything post 1930s, this will be your favorite book. Liberty in itself is an institution, but the textiles they developed hold a history of their own as well. From classy to funky, they've done it all - I mostly use these references for color palettes as they are super refreshing and fun. I've found you a link to it here.

Grammar of Ornament

By Owen Jones

You know when you're supposed to draw a super detailed, geometric print - or something with a tinge of ethnic and your mind is just blank? This is where Grammar of Ornament comes in handy. A sort of dictionary on historic tiles, ornaments and patterns, it is a wealth of information that will be your companion for years to come. Here's a quick link.

Patterns: Inside The Design Library

By Peter Koepke

The Design Library, which has 2 spaces, one in New York and one here, in London, UK has published a wonderful book, chock full of vintage textiles. This is an absolute inspiration as a lot of these are quirky, never seen before prints. If you're local, you can also go visit them - you'll find info here and the book here!

The Pattern Sourcebook: A Century Of Surface Design

By Drusilla Cole

This is more or less constantly on my desk - whenever I need a quick reference or a new idea for a pattern set, this is where I usually start. It's got 342 illustrations with detailed descriptions, so I usually find a reference in here and then Google my way onwards. You can find it on the publisher's website here.

The Aloha Shirt: Spirit Of The Islands

By Dale Hope

This is sort of my secret weapon - in addition to our vintage archive of course. An incredible and breathtaking book by Patagonia (printed on recycled paper, ofc), this is a complete guide to the intricate world of Hawaiian shirts. From bark cloth to American tourists, this lovely book is an amazing reference for conversational prints. Yo can find it here on Patagonia's page.

One of the best ways to find cool reference books is by going through second hand shops - you'll find amazing resources in unexpected places, such as magazines or even garden tending books. So don't just stick to Amazon; trawl through treasures on Ebay or go and have a look in a second hand book shop yourself. Is there a book you swear by? Something you can't live without? Send me a DM on instagram (@angelainthefields) and let me know about it!

As always, if you want more helpful posts on how to make $$$ doodling and drawing, subscribe to my email list below! I aim to routinely send out tips, tools, trends and other helpful bits!

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Do color palettes evade you as much as they do me? I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trawling Pinterest, Google Trends, WGSN, Tumblr, etc. On top of this, different products demand different seasons - currently my digital products follow an early 2021 color palette; my home prints are always in the present (so currently fall/winter 2020) and my fashion print is waaaay ahead - doing print for spring/summer 2022.

I mostly follow color palettes of the 'experts' and proper trend forecasting, but I'm particularly good at sussing out digital product color palettes on my own. It's always a combination of digging through Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest as well as checking some trends on Marmalead (Etsy).

P.s. if you're looking for more retro 2021/2022 color trends, see my other post on this here!

Here's what I've managed to dig out for 2021 digital products:

70s Groove

Predictably, the whole retro feel is continuing into the new year. Having said that, the whole earthy feel that we recognise from the past year is transforming into more punchy graphics with deep yellows, terracotta oranges and skin shades. To really use this trend in a different, new way, go for a more geo look, maybe abstract - as opposed to the overused organic foliage we keep seeing in this color palette these days.


I know, I know - people have talked about this trend to its death - but in reality, it hasn't even hit its peak yet. Think light blues, gentle botanicals, even toile prints - all made into more of an adult setting, less fairy tale. This will be especially prevalent in stationery and packaging come spring 2021, infused with dreamy inspirational quotes.

Phantasmagoria I might be calling this one too early, but I'm already seeing products on marketplaces that follow this aesthetic. It's the mystic trend that we already see, but going more adult, serious - almost horror. Colors are deep, dark, with some proper warm injections. There will be a massive resurgence of grunge-y textures, glitch actions and similar.

Acid, Acid, Acid

Again, back on track with the retro theme, this one is a familiar sight - tie dye has already been making the rounds for some time, but this time we're pulling out the color palette and not the theme; think acidy yellows, washed out blues, hints of pink.

Fauvism Rules

As expected, this Matisse trend is still dragging onwards and upwards, with designers exploring more of the famed artist's repertoire. The colors are particularly refreshing, if you dive into the oil paintings and not so much into his decoupage; brilliant shades of blue, red, orange, mint green. There is a also color palette for this in my Matisse Studio Procreate pack!

As always, if you want more helpful posts on how to make $$$ doodling and drawing, subscribe to my email list below! I aim to routinely send out tips, tools, trends and other helpful bits!

This was the first item I ever made when I decided I wasn’t going to be like anyone else. I wasn’t going to go through books to find ‘references’ (poor Margiela really if you think how much university professors tout him as Jesus to fashion), I wasn’t going to make just ‘concepts’ - I wasn’t going to be likeable.

Whilst I was being encouraged to 'build a good mood board and concept' and go through same old boring archives of Margiela and Helmut Lang, I decided to binge watch The Nanny and build a textile collection solely inspired by the eventual Mrs Sheffield. Simply because it was loud and crass enough - and because I could. Luckily, this experiment served me a life lesson in creativity which opened doors, instilled confidence, defied the expected. And I revelled in it. For a short time.

Fast forward to right now; where my loud, brash imagination has been sculpted into a neat box. My confidence dialled down to a respectable volume and imagination to the tune of a commercial value. Life is such - it inevitably shows you the naivety of what you thought was ‘your way’.​​

You see, everyone forgets that following the path you choose doesn’t inherently mean eventual success. This is not the American Dream, where we all blindly follow our ‘vision’ and we end up making millions. No. Choosing your own way means navigating between loving what you do and ultimately surviving. There was hardship along my own road; but I don’t call it as such anymore - it was just another format of a life lesson.

My first blingy job in London - fired abruptly as I simply wasn’t (good) enough. It took me years to pick myself up from that mental hole. Another job where I boldly took on more and more - only for it to eat away at my health like a hungry lion.

A third job where I refused to look at abuse and call it as such. Quiet, because I should be untouchable in this industry, right? No words should hurt me if I want to build a career. And then finally - a breather. Where my body had to crash in order to recover.

And after all this - the inability to find work for months on end which was almost my undoing. Hilariously, I remember people telling me that London eats you and spits you out - but I never imagined it was meant this literally.

And here we are, quite some time later - life is finally sorting itself into a semblance of normalcy, settling down. And I find myself staring at the prospect of safety - not truly believing my life is capable of it. Is nothing going to go wrong? Will I blink and it will all be gone? Maybe jinx it? Who knows? Who can predict predictability?

But this isn’t a sad story. Now if I’m damned, it’s not. I foolishly remain persistent in the face of fear and in the words of a good friend, I keep keeping on. More failures are bound to be in my way; and I shall fall over them merrily if it means I can go my own way.

So if anyone out there is wondering which path to take, how to decide - here’s a piece of advice. Find your way and carve it out with the dents of your failures. Forget what people say; burn the bridges. You won’t need them.