How I Got My Start in Surface Design

This is going to be a much more personal blog post than usual. I hope you’re okay with that. I want to share more details about how I got my start in surface pattern design and what this journey has meant to me.

After I got laid off from my fancy (and high paying!) corporate job, I was lost. My entire identity was wrapped up in my job. I loved the work I did. I loved learning from the team I managed who always knew a whole lot more than I did. I enjoyed the perks of the job including travel, health care coverage, stock options and annual bonuses. I didn’t realize at the time how very special my job was, and how fragile.

Losing my job so unexpectedly at the age of 55 was a huge shock. I had every expectation of retiring from the Gap with the proverbial “gold watch”. I’d grown up in a family keen on success as defined by financial success and independence as a result of that financial success. Frankly, 55 didn’t seem very old to me at the time but “refreshing” my resume after 15 years at the same company was only the first interesting step in finding a new path.

I’m a very determined person. I’m used to focusing on a task, figuring it out and achieving my goals. I don’t, as a general rule, depend on others to provide the answers. I embrace the hard work required to achieve something. Maybe that’s my Irish heritage that taught me to “dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and keep moving forward”. Or perhaps it’s the “keep your nose to the grindstone” ethic that surrounded me as a child.

Enough already! I did figure it out. And very happily with the help of someone who I really view as an angel who brought joy, redemption and a clear mission back into my life.  Her name is Bonnie Christine and I want to dedicate the rest of this blog to her, her brilliance and the magic that she shared with me and continues to shares with so many others.

Bonnie Christine is an internationally renowned surface pattern designer. She is in her early 30s, married, with two adorable young children. Bonnie struggled herself to figure out her mission and place in this world. After business school, she realized that a creative career was much more important for her well being and she began her study of surface design. This was when free content on YouTube and other free online resources were few and far between. She persevered, made big sacrifices, stayed true to her passion for design and finding her special place in the world. After 10 years of hard work, she has truly “arrived” and is not only a sought after surface designer but is also a formidable business woman running her own online business with much, very well deserved, success.

I found Bonnie on Skillshare where she teaches four seminal courses on surface pattern design. I’d never heard of this industry but was hooked immediately after following her step by step instruction and creating my first seamlessly repeating pattern. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment, because challenging and complex technology (Adobe Illustrator) is involved, and very specific steps are required for everything to actually work! I follow everything Bonnie does and am blessed to call her my friend and my biggest supporter and ever encouraging mentor.

Discovering surface pattern design changed my life. Through it I uncovered a passion for teaching and I now run my own business training and coaching others. It’s more than a career because, although I attract women of all ages, women over 50 who are struggling to recover from a massive challenge or change in their lives find me and my story resonates with them. I know what they’re going through and I also know how diving into a creative practice can change things for the better. We are in the prime of our lives with so much to offer the world.

Bonnie is offering a free mini-course right now called: The Business of Surface Pattern Design. It’s perfect because the question I get asked most often is: can you make any money doing this? Yes, you can! In a myriad of ways. The choice is yours. You just have to get started. 

Sign up for her mini-course. It’s only available for a limited time. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her just like I have. And you’ll learn a TON about surface design with one of the most kind-hearted, generous teachers you’ll ever meet.

Thank you, Bonnie for guiding me and helping me find my own path in this industry. As someone said to you, and you shared with me: “There’s room for you!”


It’s Never Too Late to Create

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Hi…I’m Anne!
My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.


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