1,000 Words

Gift bag with original watercolor by Jenny Bova

Gift bag with original watercolor by Jenny Bova

I love your art, but what can we make with it?

I’ve been a designer for most of my life, I just didn’t always know it. When I was a kid I would walk around homes under construction with my Dad who would ask me “what room do you think this is?” and when I would answer, he would ask “why?” At an early age I started to visualize things I could not see and use my creative brain to imagine them being even better.

I got a degree in art, a masters in industrial design, and worked for a few great design firms. No matter what I did, people kept coming back to me for interior design. I love to see a room come together, I’ll admit. Even the commercial spaces we work on are satisfying to see come to life. The creative in me wanted more— I’ve been specifying other designer’s textiles for 25 years now. It’s time I start creating some of my own. So that’s how this adventure started… with textiles.

As I got my feet wet and learned about the industry, I learned so much more about surface pattern design in general— and the always related field of illustration. It’s fascinating to me to see companies embrace the power of design and the emotional hold it has on customers. Art, when properly used and adjusted for production, can give products an amazing amount of appeal. Licensing art can be beneficial to both artists and manufacturers.

Think about Godiva. In recent years they have had seasonal offerings packaged in beautifully illustrated packaging. They collaborate with artists all over to create stunning packaging that makes their chocolates stand out. Yes, you will always know the deliciousness inside the gold box, but imagine the flash of delight when you realize that stunning package is filled with some of the world’s best chocolate? Of course you’re buying it. And you’ll probably keep the box when the chocolates are gone!

When I think about collaborations, I’m working to be the best partner a manufacturer can have. I want to create art that is infinitely useful and, whenever possible, I like to show the creative director my vision. Of course it’s unusual that a pitch would be picked up “as is”, but if you don’t plant the seeds and help them visualize your work on their products, you’re missing an opportunity. Sometimes your contact is with a marketing department or someone in production who may not have the ability to visualize. I’m a collaborator and sometimes the idea I start can be made better in the hands of another creative. You never know.

As an artist and a designer, it’s my job to visualize. (And, of course, to create work that is production appropriate for the process, in perfect repeat, or even scaled and adjusted to one single package.) I’ve been visualizing since I was a little girl. Now that I’ve got scads of artwork and patterns I’ve created, I’m putting them to good use imagining what I could make for companies like Godiva, Anthropologie, and Pottery Barn. My goal is their goal: get customers to buy products, love them, and keep them.

What can you make with my art? Just about anything. A picture is worth 1,000 words. See the inspiration gallery here.

A Thousand Little Things

watercolors with stamp.jpg

I have a thing for details. I love love love detail and I will buy products when their details sing to me. Need is not a factor; it’s all based on the darling factor.. I tried to think carefully about what it was the made something precious to me. It was never the cost- I can have something very expensive right next to a sweet little piece of classroom art. It really comes down to something having that extra little spark that sets it apart. I want to evoke that feeling with my products and my art. The above card is one of the many pieces that will go into making our gift packaging feel precious, detailed, and of course, handmade. These cards will make it into and onto packages this fall. All one-of-a-kind. Which one will you get?

Updated: Textile Design Lab Review


Chances are that you read my first review of the Textile Design Lab over on the Bova Creative site, here. I’m back again with a popular post update. Lots of people want to know what the Textile Design Lab is really all about and, more importantly, is it worth the money?

I’ve tried a lot of online illustrating and surface pattern design classes, groups, clubs… you name it. If you ask me, I can probably give you a run down of how the TDL stacks up against most of the other very popular design and illustration memberships and classes. I’m only reviewing the TDL and there is a reason for that. It’s the best of the best for anyone interested in surface pattern design- and that’s my thing. I would rather have my teeth pulled than do editorial illustration.

I have been a member of the Textile Design Lab for almost 5 years now. When I started 5 years ago I didn’t know the first thing about the technical side of pattern design. I knew what I liked, but I had no idea how to make it happen. I soaked in a ton of information in the first year even though I didn’t participate much. I practiced quietly in the background until I felt like I had a handle on how to make the technology do what I wanted it to do. The Photoshop for Designers class in the TDL, both levels 1 & 2, helped me bring my work leaps and bounds ahead. The Ultimate Guide to Repeats class is a lifesaver. Whenever I’m stuck with a technical repeat I pull out my notes and go back to the class to watch the video that explains what I need.

It took me over a year to be comfortable sharing on the art critique and forums. When I look back on it now I think about how silly it was to wait so long to jump in. The professional input and feedback is top notch and it is the best way to learn how to make your work better. The weekly art critique is typically moderated by Michelle Fifis, the founder of the TDL. She’s not tucked away deciding who is worthy of critique and then posting a video with her thoughts. This is interactive. You share your work and can discuss it with feedback from other lab members as well. It’s hard to find this type of open forum, especially one that is so positive and welcoming.

I usually take the Surface Pattern Design Mastery class whenever it is offered. Each year I seem to find a new level of knowledge and success. I never skip the Summer of Creativity. It’s one of my favorite classes in the lab. You can count on creating lots of work in a short period of time. Last year we designed collections for a different geographic location each week. This year it was all about branding, which was timely since i was already in the midst of working on my branding.

Is it worth it? Yes, if you want to be a surface pattern designer. The level of guest experts and feedback is exceptional. It doesn’t matter what kind of surface pattern design you want to do- there is an expert and likely numerous tutorials available. Michelle has been great about filling out her team of experts with a wide array of specialties. Lastly, if you are a member of the lab you have the opportunity to participate in the Pattern Observer Studio design briefs. If selected, your work could be represented at one of the major industry trade shows.

If you want to learn about surface pattern design, the Textile Design Lab is the place to do it. Jump in and join the conversation. Hope to see you there!

** Note: I have not been compensated or asked to write this review. I genuinely value my connection with others through the TDL and feel strongly that I share my experience with anyone who might benefit from my thoughts.

In the works.....

Our 2019 Calendar. 2020 is in the works!

Our 2019 Calendar. 2020 is in the works!

It’s August which can only mean that it’s time to start thinking about next year! Wait, what happened to back-to-school? Well, that too. We have just one back-to-schooler this year and one home schooler, which means we have to be extra organized. I noticed when I flipped my Bova Creative calendar to August that there are only a few months left in 2019! It’s time for a new version! We are exploring other calendar formats as well. Have any ideas? If so drop me a line on the Connect page. Happy planning! We will let you know when the new calendar hits the shop.

A Fresh New Vision

logo standard blue 2 smaller still.png

Many of you know that I’m the voice behind the surface pattern design at Bova Creative. While I am still quite proudly a partner in Bova Creative and our graphics & interiors work there continues, I decided it was time to step out from the Bova Creative moniker with my own artwork and pattern design. Thus, the launch of Jenny Bova. The work that’s happening in the surface pattern side of the business is mostly driven by me and is a reflection of my vision. Having my own brand will give me a chance to infuse all that I do with my own style and sensibility. I’ve high-jacked the Bova Creative Instagram as my own and will start a new one for followers of our joint efforts in the business.

Follow along as we continue to pursue our creative journeys. You can find me here, our collaborative work in interiors and graphics on Bova Creative, and you can find Clint over here, on his site.

Thanks for being here!