Pattern Camp is coming around again next weekend, April 16-17.

I’ve been interviewing a variety of Pattern Campers about their experiences in class, and I wanted to share one with you today. If you can believe it based on these gorgeous patterns, Alison Kolesar was brand new to Adobe Illustrator before the course. She’d never used it!

Does this sound like you? Read on for Alison’s advice about how to push through the fear of learning the program, signing up for Pattern Camp if you’re thinking about it, and more.



Hi Alison! Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, where can we find you online?

I’ve been working as an illustrator for many years, mostly doing how-to drawings for craft and gardening books. At this point I’ve probably done more knitting illustrations than anything else! I also do my own paintings and collages. You can see my work on my website at, I’m on Facebook as Alison Kolesar Illustrator, I started on Instagram fairly recently and I have both an Etsy store and one at society6.

You were a total newbie to Illustrator when you signed up for Pattern Camp. Were you nervous? Tell us about your experience!

Although I knew a little about Photoshop before taking Pattern Camp because I use it to clean up my hand drawn illustrations, I knew nothing about Illustrator. I wasn’t exactly nervous about it, but it did feel like quite a steep learning curve. The videos explained everything beautifully, but there were a few times when I’d watch the video, feel sure I understood and rush off to try—only to realize that I’d missed some all-important detail. I ended up watching most of the videos more than once. I also think that sometimes you just have to make mistakes in order to really learn things. At one time I worked as a picture framer and I swear I made every mistake possible, but usually only once because that was how things got stuck in my head!


What did you love most about Pattern Camp?

I enjoy learning new things and being stretched, I loved watching the patterns evolve on the videos, and I really like seeing what others have made in the weekly challenges since.
What surprised you about Pattern Camp?

I think I’ve been surprised by what varied things you can turn into patterns! Also by how color combinations I wouldn’t have tried in other things can be really great in the right pattern. And in terms of the course itself, I was surprised by how very involved Jessica was in helping to resolve problems people were having, both during the weekend and also long after those intense couple of days were over. It has to be a huge time commitment on her part, which also means that in terms of bang for your buck, it’s a very good deal for participants!


Can you share some words of wisdom with those who may be in your shoes – totally new to Illustrator and/or Photoshop – who are considering signing up but are afraid?

I’d say to anyone thinking of signing up, don’t be put off by what can feel like a lot to master in a short time. The information you need is all there, but allow yourself to learn at your own pace. Unless you know a lot of the content already, you probably won’t have every last thing down after the weekend. You may need to watch the videos more than once. Having said that, I think Jessica is absolutely right in putting an end time on the availability of the videos—you’re far more likely to keep working on them if you know they’re going to disappear at some point.

Thanks so much for sharing a bit about your experience, Alison!



Here are the details:

WHAT: Pattern Camp is a virtual, online 2-day, weekend-long pattern design workshop taught by full-time artist and surface pattern designer, Jessica Swift. Participants will leave the workshop with the confidence and skills to create their own beautiful repeat patterns using both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

WHEN: Saturday + Sunday April 16-17, 2016.

WHERE: in a private classroom area of the Pattern Camp website



ALSO! This time around Pattern Camp is partnering up with Zazzle to help you take your new pattern design skills and turn them into gorgeous patterned products to sell to an audience of millions. There will be fun competitions, chances to be featured on the Zazzle homepage, and more! You won’t want to miss this.



If you have any questions about the course, just send me an email.

Hope to see you in class!