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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!
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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.

Cottagecore

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.


So how many Procreate brushes do you have? Not enough, right? That's every designer's peril - having literally thousands of brushes, which we excitedly use on purchase - and then promptly forget about the lot of them within the next 2 hours.


That's my Procreate life in a nutshell anyway - but there is a list of brush packs that I actually consistently use. My tip is to not go for massive packs of everything imaginable, but cheaper, smaller packs that you will instantly be able to use without scrolling forever.


Another quick tip is to make your own folder of favorite brushes so you can pop back into it whenever you need - just duplicate the brush and move into your favs folder.


Before I go into all of this, I have to link you to the website where I buy everything - which is Creative Market. I also sell on there and obviously profit from this website, but in all honesty it will always be my number one go to website for all my resources and needs.

So without further ado:


FeminiBrush by Nurmiftah Lucky for me, I got this one as one of the Free Goods on CM - and surprisingly it ended up being one of the most used brushes on my Procreate. There is just something so easy and flexible about them. P.s.: I maxed out the streamline option on all of them to really get that slick sketches line. I use these dudes on any fashion sketches for clients or flat mock ups. Fantastic.



Inkers by Idle Letters This is my go to set of brushes for a couple of things; specifically, for any shapes I want to be 'slightly' wonky when I vectorise them as it gives me a good closed shape - as well as for fiddly little paisleys as it includes an incredibly useful dotted brush for going around your elements!



Texture Town by seamlessteam This is a pretty straightforward texture set which I use when I am doing raster graphics (although, they live trace pretty nicely as well if need be). Mostly, I use the grains to blend out shadows with a bit of texture. Tip: to get good shadows, use it in the same color as your base layer, but put the shadow layer to 50% opacity and to multiply. Easy shadowing!)




Realistic Procreate Watercolor Kit by Katsia Jazwinska This is pretty much an all in one watercolor studio for Procreate - if you get this, you won't need anything else, trust me. Anyone that spends a lot of time on Procreate can tell you painting watercolor isn't so much painting as much as recreating. This set makes that task much easier & not to mention, it even includes video tutorials. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it's incredibly rewarding once you do!




Stipple Studio for Procreate by True Grit Texture Supply I use a lot of shadowing that I end up live tracing in Illustrator and because I don't like that cold, dry vector shadow look that everyone uses, I go for a more wonky, graphic shadows sort of a thing. This set is perfect for that - stippling your shadows or details adds almost a 3D layer to your artwork and honestly, it's super gratifying with the least amount of work.



Procreate Grain Brushes by MiksKS Another grain set! I just realised I apparently only use wonky pencil brushes and grains. This set is different from all of the above in a way that it has much more small detailing; it's the sort of brush I'll use if I want the flower to look less glossy and add a bit of dirt to it. It's also great if you're drawing in a really graphic style as it will elevate any simple drawing with just a layer or two of grain.


Scrolling through all my brushes, I realise I truly use only a couple of brushes from these packs (as well as the basic monoline which is perfect for drawing directly in color separated files for fashion print). Having said that, it doesn't stop me from buying packs of brushes very often and I encourage that - even if you don't use them all, they will inspire some level of imagination and inevitably become a start to something!


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


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