Australian designer Jocelyn Proust on how she found her design niche
Welcome to The Creative Files, where we speak to some of the biggest crafters, makers and designers, gaining insights into their creative processes, inspiration and their advice for newcomers. This week, we spoke with Australian designer Jocelyn Proust Designs, who is well known for her colourful design prints inspired by native flora and fauna.
Who is Jocelyn Proust and what is it that you create?
I am Jocelyn Proust and I create designs and patterns for use on products including textiles, homewares, fashion, bedding, stationery and greeting cards.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I never considered that I would do anything other than study art and work creatively. I studied art with a major in graphic design and worked in advertising and graphic design studios for a number of years. After taking time out to raise my two young children, I began to experiment with many different art mediums including ceramics, fabric painting, printmaking and jewelry making. Once I discovered pattern design, I knew I had found my niche!
How did you cultivate your distinct style?
Lots and lots of practice and drawing and trying different forms of art. I often think I would like to change the look of my work, but my distinctive style seems to always come through.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I usually start with researching a topic that I think might be interesting to work on. Much of my work incorporates Australian native plants and birds, so I might find information and images online. I also like to take my own photographs as reference, so I will spend time out doing that. I often start a new project with a mood board that might have colour ideas and images of subject matter along with a list of important things that need to be considered for the project. I then do lots and lots of drawings before adding colour in Adobe Illustrator.
My favourite part of the creative process is seeing a series or collection of designs come together as a group. Mixing and matching colours, playing with shape and scale of motifs to create a cohesive body of work is immensely satisfying.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Every day for me starts with an hour or more of walking early in the morning. This is the best time for brainstorming and thinking about new ideas for collections and individual designs.
I don't have a rigid routine as I need to be flexible, depending on what I am working on. I need to respond to emails and attend to social media and other administrative tasks, usually in the morning. Later, I might spend time on drawing and mood or colour boards, or I might do some research on particular topics I am working on.
What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
I guess my proudest achievement is seeing all the amazing things out in the world with my designs on them. There are many, many individual makers using my fabrics in their own small businesses and I love seeing their successes.
Who are your biggest artistic inspirations and why?
I have a large collection of art and design books and I love to refer to them when I need some inspiration. Some of my favourite designers include William Morris, Alexander Girard and Florence Broadhurst. I also love collecting books on birds and wildflowers and a quick look at those is always inspiring!
Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
You are the only one that can make your life and career what you want it to be. There will be setbacks and rejections, use them for good. Keep going, find your own voice and be unique. Make a lot of work, some will not be used, but it will all be leading you to something better. Be adventurous, aim high!
Discover the exclusive range of Jocelyn Proust fabrics and homewares at Spotlight.
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