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Meet August's Featured Designer: Marusha Belle

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a surface pattern designer and illustrator.

Thank you for having me! I’m grateful for this opportunity!

While studying Fashion Design in University, I realised that I’m only interested in the decoration part of creating clothes. I always loved working with color and patterns and I was fascinated how one can change the perception of the whole image by playing with the scale of different designs.

Are there a lot of licensing opportunities in Portugal?

It’s a very good question! So far, living in Portugal for over 7 years, I’ve never been commissioned by any local brand. Meanwhile, lots of brands from all over the world produce their items in Portugal up North. I believe there are items for my patterns, however I haven’t been fortunate to work with any local brands yet.

What mediums do you use to create your art?

I started my art journey working with traditional media and I love the feeling and the texture of real paper and pencil. And, even though my art is 100% digital, I love working in Adobe Illustrator for my patterns and Procreate for my children’s books illustration. I always start from playing with ideas in my sketchbook.

Who or what influences your art?

I can find inspiration everywhere. But of course, traveling is my biggest source of inspiration! Living in Portugal itself inspires me a lot. Portugal is a small, but a very diverse country, which reminds me of a beautiful pattern where you can find palm trees, mountains, gorgeous old buildings, flowers and even snow! I love the bold colors I’m surrounded by; the ocean, the Portuguese nature, and traditional ornamental tiles!

Tell us a little about your experiences with licensing your artwork.

I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for over 12 years, starting out with Shutterstock and Creative Market, which helped me to develop my style and quality in my work and understand how the licensing market works. My work got noticed and I was fortunate to work with clients from all over the globe. Right now I’m enjoying creating patterns for Patternbank, which also helps me to attract clients. Showing up and keeping up good work always helps me get noticed.

I see you have a MA in fashion design. Do you use your fashion design knowledge in your illustration work?

Of course. I can’t divide my fashion design experience from the whole picture, and the best thing that helps me to be up to date with my illustration work is following trends. Fashion trends are not that different than trends in children’s books. I love analyzing trends and looking at them from different angles, not to mention that I use patterns in my children’s book illustration a lot!

Who is your dream client to work with?

In Fashion BIMBA Y LOLA and Hermes! Love love love those brands and their patterns!

I also have big goals for children’s books, but it’s a different story :

Do you have any advice about licensing or building a career in illustration that you would like to share with our readers?

My advice would be simple. Believe in yourself, keep the picture in your head of what you want, be patient, be consistent, and never give up! Everything is possible! I really mean it!

What is next for you and your art? I’m very excited about developing my career as a children’s book illustrator, along with growing as an author, especially because it gives me an opportunity to marry my patterns with my illustration work! And over the years, I discovered that somehow my fashion background always shows itself, so I believe one day I’ll create my own sportswear brand for fun in which happy colors and bold patterns will make women all over the world happy!


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