Friday, 19 October 2012


It's Follow Friday!

Jennie-Louise Whitham is the name behind JLWIllustration.  JLWIllustration creates surface pattern designs which are inspired by geometric shapes and florals combined together.  Jennie graduated with a degree in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design from Leeds College of Art in 2010.  She recently enrolled on 'The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design' featuring Rachael Taylor, where she expanded and improved her portfolio with further developed CAD skills.  JLWIllustration is currently seeking freelance and licensing opportunities.

You can find out more about JLWIllustration with regular updates on Facebook and twitter @JLWIllustration

Have you always wanted to design?

Actually, I haven't. Up until I began Leeds Art College aged 16, I had no interest in design whatsoever. I happened to stumble upon the Printed Textiles course while studying for my A Levels, and it just sort of clicked. From then on I focused on gaining grades t get on to the course, I took on a night class at the college in Printmaking, and even attempted to skip their recommended 'Foundation' Level before applying. The risk was worth it and I was accepted.

How have you got to where you are now?

Through sheer determination. My children are my inspiration and I am happy where I am in life at the moment, I have just begun working with an Agency, hopefully something positive will come of that in the near future, I am about to graduate Module 3 of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which has been an unbelievable learning curve for me. I thought, graduating from university gave me everything I needed to become a Freelance Surface Pattern Designer/Illustrator, but that was just one stepping stone. The course has helped me the rest of the way, building up my confidence to get my name, my brand and my designs out there.

What inspires you?

Is is awful to say I don't have much source for Inspiration?  I love nature and all its beauty, and it is almost always my starting point. I love a good geometric pattern and often find unique patterns in my every day life, I often capture a picture and save it for inspiration at a later date.

What motivates you?

My Children do to no end, they keep me going, I always think 'would my children like it', and usually they do. I have a family that supports me consistently and that is the best form of motivation anyone can ask for. my husband is my rock, he smiles and nods at all the right places, has helped me through university and I cannot thank him enough. My children are the most honest people I have ever met, such innocence and they tell me if something isn't quite right, and my sister and parents have always supported what I do, even if it isn't a conventional way to make a living (to them).

What is your typical day like?

First thing, before I get out of bed, I check emails, Tweets, Facebook, BBM and Texts and respond to those that require it. Then once my two eldest are at school, I do a little social networking/Pinterest while my youngest is occupied with morning TV. After Lunch Alice goes to sleep for up to 2 hours so I spend that time Designing, Printing or promoting my Facebook pages. After my Children are home from school, I begin 'mothermode' until 7pm when they go to sleep. From then onwards I focus solely on Design, Networking and currently the ABSPD course. Bedtime us usually around Midnight.

Do you have a favourite design?

I do, my favourite design an old design, which was a 2011 entry for Spoonflower's 'Rain' Competition. It is a simple design, but I think it was the very first design, that I created and felt was truly me.

Have you got any new products lines up for your designs?

I am just about to release a range of mini-notebooks, and hoping to expand my Etsy shop (Currently closed for updating) with badges, buttons and magnets, all produced from home. I also intend on buying an A3 printer, so I can expand my range of Limited Edition Prints.

Do you get a lot of support from family and friends?

I really do, I'm lucky. I have a close group of friends who know nothing about Surface Pattern and they often send me pictures of designs and say they look like something I would create. They are really beginning to appreciate and understand what I do for a living. 

I also have a group of 'virtual friends' who are like-minded, and really understand where I'm coming from when I need to talk about something pattern related. I'm so thankful for them too.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I don't really have a plan so far, I take each day as I come. It seems to have worked so far. Ideally, I would love to have my own brand recognised and have enough freelance work to be able to receive a good income and support my family.

Do you have a favourite designer?

I love the work of Ian Dutton, I came across him in April 2012 while researching for the ABSPD course, and I've followed him on Twitter ever since, and check his website regularly. His work is refreshing and very playful. I also Love Rachael Taylor's work, such a fun an loose style. 

Favourite blog?

Print and Pattern

Favourite design book?

Print and Pattern 1 and 2   

Thank you so much Jennie for your time, I really appreciate it :)

If you'd like a blog post or interview written on this blog, please don't hesitate to contact me at:


  1. Really great read Jen, your working day sounds a lot like mine. Keep up all the great work x Sinead

  2. Great interview, Hannah. Lovely to see Jennie-Louise patterns here. Her patterns are awesome.

  3. Very good! Always nice to get a behind scene look into others lives. Jen is the most prolific designer I know- I am always impressed! Julie


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