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A day in the life of a textile print and surface designer!

Updated: May 15

A day in the life of a textile print and surface designer

As a freelance artist, my day may vary depending on the stage of the design process and the specific projects I’m working on.

I do have a part-time job to supplement my income, so am only able to freelance two days a week.

In those two days, I try to get a lot done! Here is an example of what a typical day may look like for me:

8:00am - 9:00am: I start my day by checking emails and responding to any urgent messages from clients or colleagues. I also send off any cold email pitches I have saved up. I try to contact one or two new brands per week.

9:00am - 10:30am: Time to research! While my mind is fresh, I like to quickly gather inspiration and ideas for any current or future projects. I look at current fashion trends, and colour inspiration and use Pinterest to collate my findings.

Gathering inspiration for fashion projects

10:30am - 12:30pm: After an hour of researching - I tend to feel a bit more inspired! This is when I start sketching and brainstorming ideas for new textile print designs. Depending on the art theme, I may use a combination of traditional hand-drawing techniques and digital design software such as Procreate or Photoshop.

Hand drawn artwork by Carolyn Quan

12:30pm - 1:30pm: Break time! I either heat up last night’s dinner and hang out with the dogs in the backyard. Some days I make an effort to grab a bite to eat with my mum. She lives down the road from me and I've been really enjoying our little lunch dates recently!

1:30pm - 3:30pm: Back to the computer - I continue to work on illustrations or textile print designs. These can be custom prints for clients or print consignment work for studios. 

Carolyn Quan Illustration and Design Work

3:30pm - 4:30pm: Knowing that the day is coming to a close, I stop any creative work and may have a meeting with a client or colleague to discuss their project needs. I use online scheduling apps to book all my appointments. If no meetings are scheduled, I do a bit of admin work like tidying up folders on the computer and making sure my invoices and expenses are up to date.

4:30pm - 5:00pm: The dogs are barking - which means my partner has just come home from work! This is my cue to stop everything I’m doing and make a list of things to do for the next day. That way I spend some quality time with the fam.

So there you have it! Overall, a day in the life of a freelance artist involves a mix of creativity, research, and collaboration. Textile print and surface pattern designers need to be skilled at using both traditional hand-drawing techniques and digital design software to create unique and innovative designs that meet their clients' needs. They must also have excellent time management skills to ensure that they meet deadlines and stay organized throughout the design process.

What does your day look like? Do you have a question about my workflow or processes?

Feel free to email me at or DM me on Instagram! I’d be happy to chat.

Thanks for following,




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