We’re thrilled to welcome Rachael King to the Next State Artwork Library. We first met the lovely Rachael about three years ago and have closely followed her development as a textile designer. Rachael brings textural watercolour paintings to life on textiles perfectly suited for interiors and accessories.
What inspired you to start creating textile prints?
Some of my strongest childhood memories revolve around how territorial I was at the kindergarten craft table!! Constantly, making, painting, creating. Growing up with parents who ‘do’ set me up for my ‘have a go’ attitude as an adult as well as my borderline unhealthy obsession with pattern and print. My mother was a crafter, seamstress and owned a fabric shop for 10 years, all I could think about was how I would like to design the pretty pattern for the bolts of fabric. That is how I have come to this point in my life. After finally accepting that I could embrace my creativity and have an income after the children all went to school, I enrolled in a Graphic Design course. This allowed me to get the much needed skills to turn my art into repeat patterns and also gave me an income stream. Then I finished Modules 2 and 3 of the Art and Business of Surface Design, and felt I was ready to make my mark in the surface design world.
Tell us about your journey with watercolour painting, are you self-taught or have you done professional development in painting?
I have no professional training, self-taught with a lot of help from online courses by Yao Cheng and some fabulous books by Esther Peck. My grandmother was a watercolour and oils painter. I have one of her landscape paintings in my room- I guess I have always been artistic and have come from an artistic background.
Your designs are largely watercolour, did you mean it to be a signature of your print and surface designs?
Absolutely. I feel very comfortable using Watercolour as a medium that defines my style. I am keen to have a unique, handmade look to my work and usually stick to the designs that come naturally to me and therefore look like I have done it. I am mostly drawn to bright saturated colour, and get the best intense colour results when I use Ecoline watercolour inks when painting. They are so lush!
What other mediums do you like designing in?
Fineliner ink pens, alcohol inks (so very beautiful and satisfying), gouche, and the odd bit of acrylic.
What does a day involve in the Rachael King Studio?
I like to start the day with 45 mins of painting, doodling, sketching (an idea that came from Kikki K’s book) so that I have something to show for my day and it puts me in a great place mentally. After that it is client work (logos, websites, branding- my bread and butter). If I get to the afternoon and I feel on top of things, I will scan and clean up the painting from the morning, then start to build a repeat in Photoshop. This is my happy place and gives me the most satisfaction in the work that I do. By 4pm the girls are arriving home and it is family time. I also love to get a wine , turn up the tunes and play around on the computer if time permits on weekend evenings.
What has been your favourite textile project to date?
I loved working on the Tropical collection that was licenced to Spotlight. It all came together for me as a cohesive collection of prints. Bright, vibrant , full of foliage and a few birds – I really loved how it turned out.
You embarked on textile design four years ago after a career in graphic design. We often see this transition made in our industry. What advice do you have for designers wanting to get involved in textiles.
If you are designer wanting to get into textiles, you will have some great skills that make the journey easier. Stick to what you love, if you are always drawing or painting flowers, then stick to flowers. You can always use different styles such as geos, stripes, diamonds and damasks as your complimentaries. Just stick to what makes you happy and comes easily. Build up your portfolio, set yourself a challenge to make 10 per month. In a year you will have a huge amount of work that you can show the world. Don’t be afraid of colour- things can always be recoloured. Wanting technical knowledge for the textile industry? then check out classes by Bonnie Christine who can show you how to convert your paintings into vector and reduce colours ready for screenprinting. The Textile Lab also has industry standard classes so that give you the required knowledge base when someone comes knocking. When you are having a bad day, just remember that there is room for all of us in the industry, you just need to find your market and be the best at what you do for that market – not all the markets!