Author Archives: beckyobriendesigns

About beckyobriendesigns

I'm a little mad and eternally optimistic, curious, creative, ridiculously disorganised, and a lover of beauty. I paint and sew, sing and laugh alot! I'm a mummy, teacher, wife, and a mischief maker... Im now on my journey into becoming a Successful Surface designer.

Making Collections… Why Im persevering with Photoshop.

I find photoshop an absolute nightmare, but I believe that you need to spend more time on your weaknesses than your strengths, and so, (while I’d rather be painting, collaging and water-colouring) I’ve been literally spending days at a time practicing on photoshop. It can take me a  whole day just to edit one motif that I don’t even love that much! Why? Because I have amazing creations and ideas in my portfolio, that I’m not game to touch in photoshop until I have the skills to create in digital form what my imagination creates in full glorious perfectly edited colour. This process, instead of being daunting, therefore is becoming inspiring as I learn each new skill in my personal technological nightmare that is CS5. 

So here it is… a “Collection” in the loosest, lamest form of the word. I don’t love it, I don’t even like it, (well, I do love the butterflies a little bit.. ok, maybe a lot…) but I’m sharing because in a year from now I want to be able to look back on this post.. and these creations… and not just wince, but glow with pride in how far I’ve come. … In a year I hope to be posting photoshopped embroidered surface artistry that has been made into AMAZING textile collections. It’s a brave dream, but I am committed! Tomorrow The Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Top 50 will be announced… you never know… she might have seen something in my art and I might be sharing success with you even sooner! 


Introducing …”In flight in the Flower Garden”




This would look adorable as a retro little girls dress with an "in flight" sash

This would look adorable as a retro little girls dress with an “in flight” sash

If you've ever seen butterflies swarming a field.. ...

If you’ve ever seen butterflies swarming a field.. …

Wrapping paper? These colours were bright, happy and fun to work with...

Wrapping paper? These colours were bright, happy and fun to work with…


Bec x

Transferring handrawn art into embroidery.

When I was little my Grandmother would draw the flowers she wanted to embroider onto non-greasy baking paper with a tailors chalk pencil and then, (i think), she ironed it onto the linen… though maybe she just rubbed.. I’m not 100% sure. But Ido remember the images were inconsistent and hard to see. 

When I began embroidering I was sure there was a better way, and there is!

Here is my process for creating my own unique hand embroidered artworks.

First I draw my design in lead pencil and then trace it with a “Uni Pin 0.1 fine line permanent marker”. I usually put the lead pencil drawing on the light box and create a new artwork with the fine line marker. This is so that if I want to scan the artwork to be manipulated in photoshop, it won’t have any eraser smudges. This artwork is a flower design I’m hoping to transfer into a repeat for quilting fabric….


Then I place the traced artwork on the light-box beneath either white or cream 100% quilting cotton and trace the artwork onto the fabric with a black ink “Pilot Ball Frixion” pen. This pen is amazing and rubs out with the rubber “friction” end, and more importantly for me.. IRONS out when my embroidery art is complete. 


Embroiderers best friend!

Embroiderers best friend!

Tracing the artwork onto the fabric is a little time consuming, and requires patience but it is 100% worth the effort. I always ensure the fabric has been ironed and I use “invisible tape” to attach the paper copy to the light box and the fabric to the paper. Invisible tape peels off paper without tearing and holds the artworks in place within reason to avoid slipping. 

tracing on the lightbox

Have a go… it’s so much nicer than embroidering other peoples line art! 😉

I will post a picture of the embroidery when it is complete.

Bec x


Wordless Wednesday : patterns in nature.

I forgot to do ‘Wordless Wednesday’ on Wednesday… but here it is… from now on it will be just a picture but this time i’ll explain 😉

When finding inspiration it is so nice to look for patterns in this amazing world around us. Everywhere I go i see amazing shapes, colour palettes and patterns… I am forever wondering how I can use the beauty of creation as inspiration for amazing unique art! 


Ripples in the sand tinged with a blue hue.. Bowen Qld.


Tiny sand crabs make magnificent little balled sand patterns like fireworks exploding – Airlie Beach Qld.


Unique marine life, similar to land fungi , shimmer just below the waters edge – Bowen, Qld


Coral found washed up often has tiny complex patterns that look amazing under a zoom lens!


Bec x

Having fun with Terrariums.

The first brief for Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search arrived in my inbox… and to my utter delight it was TERRARIUMS!!!!

Ok soooo I may have a slight obsession with terrariums going back a couple of years. I even have recently produced my version of terrariums in watercolours…. before the brief was given…

I have created a beautiful water coloured and embroidered piece that I will share.. along with a couple of other artworks in this theme after the deadline is done, but in the meantime I thought id share two artworks that I made for fun. They are just quick sketches… I’m not really impressed with my word art, but i am really proud of the ideas. I think they are fun. 

This one is a bright take on an air plant…. hence the “just breathe” …. it makes me chuckle. Im such a dork! 

just breathe

And this one is going to be re-worked by me at some stage. Then I think I’ll send it to Red Bubble! The typography and art is a first rough draft and bit ordinary, but the idea is really fun. I’m thinking i’ll probably add some mens legs dangling out of her mouth, and revisit the colours… it’d make a super cute t-shirt! Well… I think so… again, I’m a bit of a dork 😉 

She's a maneater!


I’m looking forward to sharing my actual entry. It is reflective of my natural style. Romantic, dreamy and delicate. But these were bold, and fun and out of my comfort zone. It is so important to me to keep playing with a variety of ideas. 

Bec x 


Lillarogers Rogers: 2014 Global Talent search……



I’m IN!… are you??

Who is Lilla Rogers … And what is this global talent search all about??

Well… Lilla Rogers is one of the top international art and illustration agents.  She has collectively sold over $100 million worth of products and is always on the lookout for new talent. Hence the creation of the Global Talent search…. what a perfect way to find emerging talent and fresh ideas!

This is where I jump up and down and say PICK ME!! Pick Me!

Am I ready? Hmmm.. Probably not. Will I ever be ready? Probably not. So, this is where we, as artist have to learn to take risks and believe in ourselves!

Sooo… I’ve been madly trying to get myself organised for the challenge ahead. I’m living in outback Queensland for the duration of the competition.  So,  I’ve stocked up on all that I hope I will need to respond to the amazing opportunity to create art for a real design brief that will not only be placed before Lilla Rogers herself.. (Blush and swoon) but before a panel of distinguished and successful industry professionals! (Insert more blushing, sweating and swooning).

Here is a sneak peek for you into the tools of the trade I am hoarding for the challenge.  I prefer to work with my hands and I believe that mixed media brings a depth and texture to my art. I also always return to embroidery because I believe that in this modern day we are losing these age old arts, and people are craving the sense of nostalgia and wholesomeness that is found in working with your hands. Embroidery to me evokes memories of morning teas with my Grandmother and great Aunts, of fine bone china, warm milky tea and delicate hand embroidered and lace edged tablecloths handed down from generation to generation. Memories of iced vo-vo’s, honey jumbles and cucumber sandwiches,lemon butter and fresh cream on scones….. My love affair with hand made definitely began a long time ago!

Soo.. Here is a jumbled mess of materials I’ve gathered in preparation for creating something amazing for Lilla! (I hope)

Everything I will need for print making, painting and embroidery.

Everything I will need for print making, painting and embroidery.

Moo Carve can be purchased on Amazon or in select art stores. It is soft and carves like butter.

Moo Carve can be purchased on Amazon or in select art stores. It is soft and carves like butter.

Embroidery supplies

One really can never have enough embroidery floss. It is one of my true loves!

I gather collections of inspiring images and keep them close at hand for colour inspiration.

I gather collections of inspiring images and keep them close at hand for colour inspiration.


Water colours are delicate, and pair beautifully with embroidered art.

Soo… You have one more day to register for Lilla Rogers Global talent search “here”… If not, perhaps this year just follow the competition, and be inspired… There’s always next year. What have you got to lose?

Bec x

Swarm the World – butterflies downunder……

I have the honour of participating in an art installation of cloth butterflies that,  with the help of over 200 participants,  are migrating in a swarm around the world! This project is the brain child of Indianapolis artist Tasha Lewis who has selected artists around the globe to  host a swarm of 400 butterflies for a month during October 2014 – September 2015…. we will then install the butterflies in a variety of locations and photograph them, with select images being displayed in Capstone Art Gallery. 

Photo By Tasha Lewis

Photo By Tasha Lewis

Tasha uses a complex process involving cyanotype on fabric to create her butterflies, allowing them to mimic the wings of butterflies. You can read more about Tasha and her artistic processes ‘here’

Im excited to be part of such a global project and look forward to sharing the dates with you so that you can track and perhaps visit locations where the swarm will make an appearance ;). 

Photo by Tasha Lewis

Photo by Tasha Lewis

If you wish to follow along on Facebook you can find the Swarm: World Migration page “here”.

Stay tuned for dates and swarm locations 

Bec x