Alumni Success Series: Bonnie Christine


We are so proud of all of our alumni, many have sold work, been licensed and started their own labels which are known all over the world. Today we are featuring Bonnie Forkner, a surface pattern design who talks about the impact of taking “The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design

A video from Bonnie

Bonnie was kind enough to record this short video for us, giving us a little sneak peek into her studio too!


What was your motivation for taking ABSPD?

ABSPD came at the perfect time in my career. I had decided I wanted to be a surface pattern designer and had started learning Adobe Illustrator but was just looking for that extra bit of info to round out my skill set. I was determined to take steps each day in the direction of my dreams and I can still remember the morning I woke up with a newsletter about ABSPD in my inbox. I squealed with joy- it was exactly what I had been looking for!

Think back to where you were before taking ABSPD. How far do you feel you have come on your surface pattern design journey since then?

Oh, I’ve come so far! Though I had already gained some working knowledge about design and Illustrator before the course, I really needed some info that was specific to the surface pattern design industry. ABSPD gave me that, and so much more!


What was the most important thing you learnt in the course?

I think the most important thing I learned was all the industry specifics about how to develop a style, build a portfolio and reach out to the companies who I was interested in working with. Learning the ‘behind the scenes bits’ about showing at trade shows and marketing have been incredibly helpful as well.

How important was the community aspect of the course? What kind of people did you ‘meet’ through it?

I met the most lovely people through the course, each inspiring in their own way! Being a part of the community has been wonderful. I’ve been happy to connect with several fellow classmates over the years through my blog, Going Home to Roost and other outlets. It’s always fun to keep up with everyone’s success!


How has your work changed since before the course?

I think my work is just a bit more polished and cohesive looking since I took the course. ABSPD really helped encourage me to develop a brand look and signature style, which was one of the things I had been most concerned about in the beginning of my career.

How would you describe your brand look, and how did the course help you develop that?

The course definitely helped me further develop my style (see comment above). No matter what I’m working on, I would describe my style as ‘sweet’. I always strive to create work that is organic and natural, joyful and lovely.


Since taking the course what kind of work have you secured?

A lot has happened since I took the course! I’m so excited to be a fabric designer for Art Gallery Fabrics. I have two lines currently out right now, Reminisce and Sweet as Honey  and will be debuting my next line with them in May, 2014.

I’m also thrilled to have a line of wall stencils with Royal Design Studio. The line is full of whimsical stencil patterns that range from allover floral stencils and blooming floral motifs, to lovely allover geometric designs, trellis stencil patterns, and soaring bird stencils.

What challenges have you faced in launching/growing your business and how have you tackled them?

My biggest challenge is usually time management. I had my first baby in September of last year and am incredibly happy to now be a momma! I’ve figured out a pretty good work/life balance, but it’s always something I have to stay on top of.


What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m currently working on another fabric collection, something super exciting with Royal Design Studio and a few other fun things in the works (secrets for now!). :)

Who are your dream clients?

Oo, great question! I think my dream clients for now would be Demdaco, Chronicle Books and Land of Nod.

What is next for you?

I really just hope to continue doing what I’m doing and expand in the areas that I can. I love working with pattern so much! I hope to further develop my brand, the companies that I work with and possibly show at Surtex as well.


bioBonnie is a surface pattern design and author of Going Home to Roost – the blog dedicated to everything handmade and anything homegrown. She loves to cook and garden and is mother hen of the Roost Tribe, an inspirational community for creatives.

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