Updated: Textile Design Lab Review

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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.