Please note: This article was originally posted on one of my former blogs; it was transitioned to this website on March 5, 2017. Graphics may still reflect the name of the former website.

Are you still searching for a great gift idea for the surface pattern designer on your list? For those who exchange gifts, this time of year may feel stressful at times.

But I think that gift giving should be a stress-free process. I also believe that gifts are meant to be useful and/or delightful specifically for the gift recipient.

There’s a look you get when it’s confirmed that you’ve given the perfect gift. Not much is more precious than seeing that look on your gift recipient’s face.

So I compiled a list of gift ideas for those new to surface pattern design.

Learning how to design patterns doesn’t have to require many supplies, but there are lots of options. Some surface pattern designers draw or paint designs or illustrations, and then incorporate them into patterns. Others create their patterns digitally from start to finish.

You may want to learn a bit more about the process your gift recipient prefers. But all of the gift ideas below would work for anyone who’s new to surface pattern design.

Without further ado, here’s my list of five gift ideas for the budding surface pattern designer in your life:


Gift Ideas for New Surface Pattern Designers

1. Dick Blick

Find lettering, drawing, and painting gift supplies from

A new designer can’t make progress without much practice. And hours of practice require lots of art supplies.

Dick Blick offers a wide array of art supplies. Whether you visit the brick and mortar store to pick up a gift or shop online – you’ll find something for your future gift recipient.

For instance, if the person you have in mind is interested in incorporating lettering into their designs, you can find many of the most popular brush pens used by letterers.

They also stock watercolor paints at various price points. And of course you’ll find paintbrushes, watercolor paper, and practically any other art supply you think your special person may need.

Additional places to find great art supplies:

  • Hobby Lobby,
  • Michael’s,
  • Jo-Ann’s, and

Many if not all of these supply stores offer gift cards if you’re unsure of which supplies to get.

2. Creative Market

Creative Market Gift Ideas

Creative Market Gift Ideas: Graphic resources, fonts, textures, and more.

If you’ve never heard of Creative Market, it’s an online design resource and all of their product offerings are made by independent creators. So if you make a Creative Market purchase, you’ll help support artists more directly.

If you or your gift recipient signs up for a free account, you’ll receive their famous “Free Goods of the Week.” Every Monday Creative Market sends an email to everyone on their list with links to six free goods from the independent creators on their website.

Many of the design elements, like their clip art, fonts, and textures, can be incorporated into pattern designs. It’s important to consider the licensing agreement. But when starting out, a surface pattern designer can get a lot of practice and inspiration out of incorporating others’ design elements into their designs. And when practicing lettering, it’s helpful to reference existing fonts in order to grasp letter formation and connections.

Creative Market requires you to create an account in order to purchase a gift card. Here’s a short overview of the process, here.

3. Skillshare

Bonnie Christine's course - Introduction to Surface Pattern Design

Bonnie Christine’s course – Introduction to Surface Pattern Design on

When it comes to pattern design skills building, Skillshare is one of the best online resources. Skillshare is an online creative community where a person can enroll in classes of various lengths. A student can learn at her own pace and post projects to demonstrate new skills and engage with other students.

There are a number of really great pattern design classes on Skillshare, here are my top three favorites:

I invite you to take a look at these class introductions and read their descriptions for more details. All three classes are taught by experienced and established surface pattern designers.

The great thing about Skillshare, though, is that you don’t have to choose one class over the other. Premium membership includes access to all courses on their website. And it’s pretty inexpensive. For instance, they have a promotion going where new premium memberships cost $0.99 cents for three full months. That includes access to over 10,000 classes. (This might be the perfect present for you to give yourself 😉 ) Monthly membership is about $9.95 a month thereafter.

Find out more about their gift card options, here. They offer three, six, and twelve month options. 

4. Creative Bug

Creative Bug's How to Design Fabric Series

Creative Bug’s How to Design Fabric Series (


Creative Bug is gift idea number four. It’s another creative community that offers craft and design classes and workshops.

This is the perfect gift idea for the new pattern designer who uses her own drawings, paintings, and illustrations in her designs. For instance, there are:

Class structure on Creative Bug is different from Skillshare. They’re still project-based, but you aren’t encouraged to upload final projects for each class as you are on Skillshare. Also, there’s less direct interaction with instructors, but there is a discussion section below each class.

Overall, many of the Creative Bug classes offer more hands-on projects, which aids in creating pattern designs with a handmade feel to them.

Like Skillshare, Creative Bug also offers three, six, and twelve-month gift subscriptions for unlimited access to their classes.

5. Make It In Design Winter School

winter school gift vouchers

Winter School gift voucher deadline is December 19, 2016 at midnight. (

The fifth and last budding pattern designer gift idea is a Make it in Design school voucher.

If you know someone who’s serious about building a surface pattern design career, winter school might just be the perfect gift. Many established pattern designers like Bonnie Christine and Sandra Bowers are Make it in Design alums.

Taken directly from the Make it in Design website:

Winter School is an exciting global online design event that gives you experience working to A/W 17/18 trend briefs, helps build your portfolio, connect with other designers and gives you the opportunity to get your work published!

Typical Design School courses are well over $100 U.S. Dollars (USD). But if you’re looking for a similar, but less expensive alternative, Winter School might be the answer. It’s four weeks long, beginning January 9, 2017. There are three tracks, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, and courses are about $25 USD each. They also offer generous discounts when you purchase more than one track.

Scroll to the bottom of this page BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON December 19, 2016 to read instructions on purchasing a gift voucher.

Was This List Helpful?

Are you still looking for that perfect gift? I hope this list of gift ideas has helped you settle on the best present for the surface  pattern designer in your life. The ideas on this list will help her develop and hone her design skills, building confidence while likely deriving joy from the process.

If you are giving or have given any of these ideas as a gift, let me know how it worked out. And If you have gift ideas that I didn’t mention, feel free to add them in the comments section below. 


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