Today we’re talking with Artist, Illustrator and Surface Pattern Designer Mandy Ford. She’s an illustrator and mom from Indiana who recently rediscovered her love for drawing! Take a look + a read!
Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, where can we find you online?
Hi everyone! I’m Mandy Ford, and I’m an illustrator and hand-letterer from Indiana. By day I work in higher education, but my true passion is my art. I’m also mom to twin 8-year-old boys who just started 3rd grade (crazy!), and I’ve been married for almost 13 years to my husband Dan who keeps me laughing and full of really awesome home-cooked food.
I grew up drawing and was always labeled the “creative” one, but around the time I began college, I basically stopped drawing. It wasn’t until a creative writing class that included a doodling exercise three years ago that I rediscovered my love for drawing. And it has been an almost daily practice since! I’ve been blown away by the opportunities and support that have come my way, both online and in my hometown, since I began this new journey as a professional artist.
I share all of my illustrations on Instagram – it is my absolute favorite place in social media land. You can find me there at @mandyfordart. My website is mandyford.co and includes more about me and my portfolio of work.
Why did you decide to sign up for Pattern Camp? What were you hoping to learn and accomplish through the course?
I have had a serious love for patterns and surface design since I can remember, so the idea of having my artwork turned into this thing I obsess over was an exciting prospect! My hope for the class was to learn how to take my art and turn it into patterns that could be used on fabric, scrapbook paper, journals, and other licensed products.
How are you using your new Pattern skills in your life/work today? (Tell us about your amazing recent window project!!)
I didn’t expect to learn skills in Pattern Camp that would help me in my other design work but boy was I wrong! I used to edit all of my illustrations in Photoshop, and would find myself getting super frustrated trying to make changes to them with my limited knowledge. Learning the image trace and live paint functions in Illustrator has literally been a game changer for me! It has transformed the quality of my final pieces and made the process of creating art a lot more fun too!
One recent example of how I’ve used these new skills is in my #100daysofyourtruth project. I joined the 100 Day Project movement and created 100 hand-lettered quotes, and edited many of them in Illustrator. You can see all of them on my Instagram @mandyfordart under the above hashtag.
Thanks for asking about my window project Jessica! So back in the spring, a local clothing boutique owner asked me to doodle on her shop windows. She sent me some inspiration photos and then I went to work! It was the first time I had done a project that large and SO public, which was a bit scary. I used chalk markers and freehanded the design. This has been one of my most favorite projects to date and I’m currently working with another local business to do something similar. It really is amazing what projects can come your way when you put your art out into the world!
What was your favorite part of Pattern Camp?
As far as the technical aspects go, there were two major highlights for me. The first was learning how to use image trace and live paint, and the second was the first time I created a repeat pattern. Both were such exhilarating moments! Seeing something you drew transformed in that way feels like a miracle. And on a personal level, the care and attention Jessica provided was so wonderful and unexpected. She is not only a great teacher, but cares about her students and gets excited right along with our successes!
What surprised you about Pattern Camp?
The community! I signed up for the course purely to learn new skills, and have been blown away by the friendships and support that still continue from this group. I’ve made friends that I keep in touch with almost daily through social media and that is priceless.
What advice do you have for someone considering registering for the course?
The best thing about Pattern Camp is that it isn’t only about learning how to make patterns. Yes, that is a fabulous skill and one that you’ll enjoy using, but the other tricks you learn in Illustrator and Photoshop are invaluable too (at least they are to me!). The community you become a part of is awesome as well. It can be scary to put your art out into the world, especially on social media, and this group has offered nothing but positive feedback and encouragement. Thank you Jessica for bringing us all together!
Thanks, Mandy for your words of love for Pattern Camp! Your work is so elegant and full of fun!
Where to find Mandy: