If you have a question about The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design featuring Rachael Taylor please check these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for a response.  If you do not find an answer to your question here please feel free to contact us at pattern [at] dowhatyouloveforlife [dot] com


I’ve never taken an online class before.  How does it work?  Do I need to be at my computer at a certain time?

The course is delivered in a password-protected private classroom.  There is a separate classroom for each module.  During each module lessons will go up daily Monday-Saturday each week.  The beauty of an online course is that you can check in whenever you like and do not need to be online at a specific time as the content will be available 24/7.  You can also choose when to spend time on the exercises.  You can log on every day if you choose, or set aside some time once or twice a week to work through it.   There will also be a private community space where you can connect with others and share images of your work.


What format is the class taught in?

The class is taught using audio (with transcripts provided), plus written posts and a huge amount of imagery.  Each module also comes with a set of Bonus Technical Workshops (provided in pdf format) for you to download and keep.  These provide valuable step-by-step technical guidance for using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for a variety of topics key for surface pattern design success.


How much time will the class take?

You will get out what you put in!  You could work through everything in about 30-60 minutes per day, or you could choose to make the most of this opportunity and spend 10-12 hours a week on it.  It really is up to you.  There is a huge amount of information and inspiration packed into this course.  Please be prepared for an intensive learning experience, especially in the later modules! Class content is posted around 0900GMT daily Monday to Saturday during the course.

You can also print out the class lessons and spend time on it after class has finished.  Many of the exercises can be repeated over and over in your own time to generate new pattern ideas etc. Besides the class exercises there are a series of Bonus Technical Workshops on different technical aspects of pattern design.  These are all downloadable PDFs so you can keep them and work on them at any time, even after the course has finished.


I will be away for some of the time the class is running.  Does this matter?

It is fairly full-on and fast paced, but you should be able to catch up if you are away for two weeks or less at a time.   The Bonus Technical Workshops are provided as downloadable PDFs so you can keep them to try in your own time, even after the course has ended.  The course classroom will available to you 24/7 for four weeks after the end of class so you can log in whenever you like.  If you sign up for more than one module from the same Round of courses (i.e. from M1 in August 2013, M2 in November 2013 and M3 in 2014) you will have extended classroom access beyond this (extension dates will be confirmed in class).


Do I need any special materials?

You can use any materials you like, but during the course you will be encouraged to keep a sketchbook (which can be made or bought), and sketch using a variety of materials including black ink, pencils and paint.  It is helpful but not necessary to have access to a sewing machine.  You would also benefit from access to a simple digital camera, and will need access to a computer, scanner and basic Adobe software for some elements of the course (see below).


Do I need any special software?

For Module 1: You can do all of the lessons and exercises for Module 1 without having any special software.  However, the Bonus Technical Workshops include useful step-by-step guides to using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator for basic pattern design.  Don’t worry if you don’t have this software yet – the Bonus Technical Workshops are available for you to download and keep so you can always work through them at a later date.  You will also need a scanner for the Bonus Technical Workshops.

For Module 2 and 3: You will need access to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, and a working knowledge of the programmes to make the most of these modules. If you take Module 1 and work through all the Bonus Technical Workshops you will have sufficient knowledge to proceed to the Workshops in Module 2 and then 3.

Bonus Technical Workshops are demonstrated in a variety of different Adobe Creative Suite versions. It does not matter which one you have.

Photoshop Elements is not sufficient for all exercises. If you want to work professionally as a surface pattern designer, it is worth investing in a more sophisticated version of the software (such as the Adobe Creative Suite).  Please note we do not offer technical guidance for any other software programmes (including free software and Photoshop Elements).

If you have time it is worth familiarizing yourself with the software before the course, but if you can’t do that do not panic!  You will be given step-by-step guidance for all the key things you need to know.

You will also need a scanner and would find it useful to have access to a printer.


Will the class material be available after the class has ended?

The Bonus Technical Workshops (offered in PDF format) will be yours to download and keep forever.  The course classroom will available to you 24/7 for four weeks after the end of class so you can log in whenever you like. If you sign up for more than one module from the same Round of courses (i.e. from M1 in April 2013, M2 in August 2013 and M3 in November 2013) you will have extended classroom access beyond this (extension dates will be confirmed in class).   The private online community will remain open indefinitely (and is a fantastic source of inspiration – each module usually has an average of over 2000 images posted by class participants!)


Can I ask questions to Rachael during the course?

Yes, you will be invited to ask Rachael any questions relevant to the module you are studying during that module.  These will be collated and fed back each week during class (with similar questions responded to jointly).  Please note that Rachael will only be able to respond to questions related to the Module you are taking, so for example if you want to ask a question about manufacturing you will need to participate in Module 3, where that topic is covered.  See here for a full list of what is covered in each module.


Are there any other industry experts involved in the course?

Yes, we are honoured and grateful to have a stellar line up of contributors!  See here for more details.


Will I be able to communicate with others in the class?

Yes, you will be able to communicate via comments in the classroom and in the private class space provided (where you can also share images of your work). We have participants joining us from all corners of the world so it will be an exciting opportunity to make new connections, get different perspectives and share your work.


Is the course marked?

No, there is no marking of work in this course.  Our intention is to encourage new designers, and build confidence in a supportive atmosphere.


Can I get feedback from Rachael on my work?

We do not offer individual feedback or critique, and your work will not be marked. However Rachael will visit the community space regularly and leave general supportive comments on some of the work shared there, and class participants are encouraged to leave supportive comments on one another’s work.


How do I know which modules to take?

The modules have been designed to build on each other but you can take them individually if that suits you better.  See here for a full list of what is covered in each module.


I want to take Modules 2 and 3 but didn’t take Module 1. Have I missed out on too much?

You can choose to take the modules can independently as singles but they are designed to flow as complementary modules which build on the previous ones. We do encourage all three modules to give you a rounded view, but it is not compulsory. In Modules 2 and 3 will provide a brief summary of the key points covered in the previous module and touch on some of the same content to make sure you don’t get lost, but you will miss content.  Whether this matters in your case really depends on your level of experience and confidence.  Please see here for the full list of what is included in each module, and tailor your choices to work for you and your particular circumstances and experience level.  If you have never used Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator before it is highly recommended that you take Module 1 first.


Can I take Modules 2 and 3 now and then Module 1 later?

We would strongly encourage you to wait and take the modules in order. They are designed to build on previous modules, and if you are not an experienced designer you may find the later modules overwhelming if you have not completed Module 1 first. For this reason we only offer the multi-course discount and extended classroom access when you take the courses in immediate succession.


Can I pay in installments?

Although we do not currently offer an installment option, you can register and pay for each module anytime until that module begins.


Do you have a scholarship available?

In April 2012 we launched the first ‘Print & Pattern Scholarship’ and were delighted to announce that Simi Gauba (Sweden) and Emily Truong (US) as the winners. They won free access to all three modules of the course, beginning April 2012.

The second Print & Pattern Scholarship was awarded to Gavin Rutherford and Genine Delahaye who won free access to all three modules of the course beginning April 2013. This was announced in the February 2013 issue of MOYO Magazine.

There is no scholarship available for Round 6 (starting with M1 in August) but we will offer another scholarship in 2014.


I don’t live in the UK.  Is this course relevant for me?

You don’t need to live in the UK to take this course – it is open to anyone anywhere, which is why the community will be so rich and valuable.  In terms of the content, although Rachael is a UK-based designer, she has numerous licensing deals with companies across the US, Europe and Australia (see here for details) so will be sharing valuable information and insight if you are interested in selling your work internationally.


Can I visit Rachael in her studio?
Due to a high volume of requests Rachael is currently only accepting studio visits during organised Open Studio events.  Priority for access to the next one will be given to e-course participants.  Keep an eye out on Rachael’s blog for more information.


Are gift vouchers available for the course?

Yes!  Please email pattern [at] dowhatyouloveforlife [dot] com.


Is the course just for women?

Not at all!  Everyone is welcome.  Join us!


When is the class and how much is it?

Please see this page for upcoming course dates, and any of these pages for pricing and registration information: Module 1 / Module 2 / Module 3


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