Today our interview is with Gil Lees. Gil combines her love of drawing, colour and textiles to create beautiful designs, which can be used on a variety of products.
When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?
My interest in design first started when I was very young. I have always had a passion and interest in drawing and creating beautiful things with my own designs. I studied BA (Hons) Textile Crafts at the University of Huddersfield and went on to work for a wedding stationery and craft shop, before getting married in Northern Ireland and moving to London with my husband in 2011. I found out about The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design and I have just completed the course.
What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?
I am just starting out in my career as a designer. I am learning how to sell and license my designs and I have also made my black and white Modern Classics pattern into a beautiful scarf, with my design digitally printed onto soft Silk Jersey fabric. These are now available through my etsy.com shop.
How would you describe your style?
My style is quirky, organic and bold. I love drawing the traditional way with pencil and paper and using strong, vibrant colours.
What kind of designer do you want to be known as?
I’d like to be known for quirky and characterful designs like the name of my label suggests – ‘Gillian Lees Booteek’ – I chose to use the phonetic spelling for ‘boutique’ to portray the quirky and uniqueness of my brand and the designs I produce.
What are you working on currently?
Currently I am building up and putting my portfolio together and designing a collection to hopefully sell as part of my label Gillian Lees Booteek.
What advice would you give emerging designers wanting to build their portfolios?
My advice would be to get outside with your sketchbook to whatever inspires you and let your drawings develop naturally, and try not to force your designs. I have also found doing the ABSPD modules back-to-back really valuable, and has provided me with a clearer direction of where I want to be.
What would be your dream design gig?
My dream design gig is to have my own branded collection of products as well as getting into shops such as Oliver Bonas and John Lewis.
Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?
I’d love to see my designs on stationery and home furnishings. Eventually somewhere down the line I’d really like to be able to show at Top Drawer or Home.
If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?
I’d definitely be a hand drawn pattern because there’s more character and it would mostly be purple – it’s my favorite colour!
I’m Gil, owner and designer behind Gillian Lees Booteek. I combine my love of drawing, colour and textiles to create beautiful designs, which can be used on a variety of products. Born and raised in the beautiful countryside of N. Ireland, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Textile Crafts form the University of Huddersfield in 2009. I moved back to N. Ireland and worked in a wedding stationery company and craft shop, then moved to London with my husband in the summer of 2011. Since relocating, I decided to take the opportunity to start the design studio that I always dreamed of!
Would you like to be featured? We would love to showcase your work, so please do take a look out our submissions page here.