1. Artists should know how to use Adobe Photoshop to either remove backgrounds from scanned art or use it to create icons/motifs for patterns. The software is also used to create the patterns by moving the icons/motifs into pleasing pattern designs.
Note: Some artists prefer to create icons and patterns in Adobe Illustrator because they can be enlarge no matter their size without losing the resolution of the design. Also it is easier to change the colors in Illustrator than in Photoshop which is often needed when manufacturers ask for additional colorways of the patterns.
2. Artists should know how to do repeat patterns (simple, toss, half-drop) or at least know what repeat patterns look like so that they can create them. Using a combination of simple, toss, and half-drop repeats in a fabric collection gives it interest. Also an artist may be required to do repeats if the collection is licensed. Tara Reed has written two e-books on creating repeat patterns if you do not know how to create them.
Note: Some artists that license their designs to fabric manufacturers recommend that artists new to the industry do not spend too much time in creating patterns that repeat precisely because each manufacturer uses different repeat sizes (every 12 inch, 16 inch, 18 inch etc) and may even have their in house illustrators create the repeats from the artist's designs. To save time an artist can create patterns that gives an illusion of repeats with balanced icons that are not exactly measured. The exact repeat can be done by the artist or the manufacturer's in house illustrator once the designs have been licensed.
3. Artists should create and submit collections of patterns that complement each other. See examples of fabric collections by looking at fabric manufacturer websites listed at the end of this article.
4. Each manufacturer usually have exclusive licenses with featured designers that supply designs for their product lines. Many of these designers are well known in the quilting world because they have published books and/or taught quilting. However, not all must be well known in order to be a featured designer so it is possible for an artist to become one if she/he has a unique art style and themes. Some manufacturers also license designs from artists that they do not have exclusive arrangement. They use that art for clients that want unique designs for their company such as retail chain stores and scrub style clothing. Note: The only way to find out each manufacturer's requirements and submission guidelines is to call and ask.
5. Artists need to learn about the manufacturers they are submitting their designs. Check out the websites and make sure the designs fit the manufacturers line but are not too close to their existing designer collections. If the designs are too similar, than the likelyhood of the designs being licensed is slim.
Quilt fabric manufacturers normally want designs that:
1. are in repeat patterns.
2. have themes that are popular with consumers.
3. are in collections of patterns that go together including generic icons, theme icons, and backgrounds.
4. are in collections of five or more patterns that can be adapted to additional colorways so that 12 or more fabrics for the collection can be produced.
5. the style and themes are different than they already have but still fits their fabric lines.
6. the artist is willing to edit to their specifications.
Craft and home sewing fabric manufacturers normally want art that have one or more central images and several repeating patterns that compliment the central image for craft projects (bags/totes, aprons, pillows, throws, wall hangings, organizers, place mats, coasters / hot pads, etc.).
Below is a list of fabric manufacturers for mostly quilting but some also include fabrics for craft, and home sewing projects.
David Textiles, Inc.
Free Spirit Fabrics
Front Porch Fabric
Marcus Brothers Textiles
Moda (by United Notions)
Quilting Treasurers (by Cranston Print Works)
Red Rooster Fabrics
Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Links to more fabric manufacturers:
Artist Jennifer Addotta has shared this link to additional fabric manufacturers.
Illustrator Sarah Summers has shared this link for more manufacturers.
Comments and suggestions about this article are greatly appreciated. Click on the comment section below to write your comments.