Surface Designer Spotlight: Aline Monda

Please join us in celebrating this month’s spotlight surface designer, Aline Monda. We know you’ll find her story inspiring!

Please introduce yourself.

I’m an illustrator and surface pattern designer who loves creating playful art for kids (and those young at heart). I am from Brazil, but I now live in Lisbon, Portugal. Before moving here, I lived 10 years in Denmark where I got married and had two children.

I grew up seeking creativity in different forms. My mother taught me how to sew, and throughout my teen years, I took art classes in everything from fabric painting to doll making.

Surface designer Aline Monda

To this day, I love learning new ways to express myself artistically and curiosity remains a core driver in my creative output.

Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

After graduating in fashion design, I was really fascinated by patternmaking and wanted to explore this field further. I subsequently completed an MA in Visual Culture with a focus on textile history, which also gave me a historical insight into traditional ways of fabric printing. For me, moving from the study of vintage textiles to actually creating my own designs was a process that took several years.

In 2019 I began pursuing a career as a freelance pattern designer and quickly realized I had a lot to grow and learn. After three years of daily practice, our family moved from Denmark to Portugal, which allowed me to pursue a creative career full-time.

The combination of countless hours of experimentation and the newly won time allowed me to begin finding my own voice and experiencing my first successes.

Surface design by Aline Monda
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?

One of my favorite designs is “Happy Flowers and Bees” which was featured in the Uppercase Magazine 5th Surface Pattern Design Guide and later used by them as a patterned paper that was gifted to their subscribers.

What or who are you inspired by?

I am deeply inspired by the magnificence of our planet’s incredible biodiversity. This is why plants, flowers, and animals are a constant in my work.

Stylistically, I am inspired by Scandinavian design, Brazilian folk art, and the evocative genres of mid-century illustration. Add into this mix an array of good stories and iconic characters, as for example my deep affection for Charlie Brown, which is reflected on my collection of Charles Schulz vintage books and Peanuts figurines. 

Surface design by Aline Monda
Do you have resources you’d like to recommend?

Skillshare is an excellent platform for beginners. The range of courses available is extensive, and most of them are designed with beginners in mind.

Once you have developed a portfolio, I highly recommend enrolling in Sketch Design Repeat’s Pitch Your Portfolio course. This course is rich in valuable information and provides essential tools to guide you in taking the next steps toward pitching your work and pursuing licensing opportunities.

What do you like to do outside of surface design?

I love crafting. For as long as I can remember, I have always had lots of side projects, often as a way of exploring new techniques and forms of expression. Some of the crafts I really enjoy are origami, crochet, paper-cutting, collage, carving, and block-printing.

Outside the creative fields, I love traveling with my family and spending time in nature.

Surface design by Aline Monda
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of not giving up. My journey towards a professional career as an illustrator and pattern designer has not only included setbacks but also emotional and financial pressures that sometimes would have made it a lot easier to just quit.

There were discouragements along the way and periods where I lacked the time or energy I needed to create. In the end, I pushed through these challenges, and I am happy I did.

Surface design by Aline Monda
Surface design by Aline Monda
If you could offer advice to other designers who are struggling, what would that be?

Don’t compare your work with that of other designers. Instead, compare your recent art with older work, in order to experience your own evolution. Be patient and dedicated, trust the process, and remember that just as you shape the journey, so too the journey shapes you.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @alinemonda

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