Surface Designer Spotlight: Tracy Beagen

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

Please introduce yourself.

Originally from NJ, but currently living in CA. As a military spouse, we have moved a lot, even to another country. I’ve learned to really love where you are, enjoy the environment changes and that family/friends are everything. This is coming from the girl who hated change and never saw herself moving and thought she would work in NYC for the rest of her life!

Surface designer Tracy Beagen

I have 3 beautiful little girls who are my everything. They do make working a little harder, but I also appreciate that this time won’t last forever. Before we know it they will all be in school and then I am going to wish they were home again 🙂

I have a lot of creative and artistic people in my life. I grew up being artistic and did oil paintings when I was younger. I was always coloring, drawing, or doing some kind of craft when I was kid, and then continued as I got older.

Once I was in high school, I decided I wanted this to be my career. Initially thinking I wanted to do interior design, I applied and got into my #1 school, but once there, decided interior design was not for me and stumbled upon surface pattern design. It encompassed everything I loved: coloring/painting, drawing, and patterns. I’m so glad I changed my mind!

Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

I graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 with a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Surface Pattern Design. I was hired as an assistant bedding designer in NYC right out of school.

For a few years, I worked for a company that was a licensor to many different brands. After a year I was promoted to designer and worked on brands like Laura Ashley, Tommy Bahama, and Nautica. I learned so much about the textile industry and manufacturing. I loved working with the factories overseas as well.

During my time here I met my now husband. Due to him being in the military, once we got engaged/married, I moved to be with him, which brought me to CA. After a few years and some odd-end jobs, I decided to get back to designing my own patterns. I had not really done that since college (when I was a bedding designer we bought all the artwork!).

I took some online courses, and designed, designed, designed. It has taken me a few years but I have finally found my style and I am so proud of how far I have come. I’m currently doing a trial run with an agent, who has sold many of my designs to big companies. It’s been a great thing for me as my time is extremely limited with a 5, 3, and 1-year-old and a husband who has a very inconsistent schedule (and is often away!).

Surface design by Tracy Beagen
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?

I created this folk-like floral pattern years ago. I re-did it in the past 2 years or so, and my agent sold it last year to TJX! I used to design for a design studio that primarily sold artwork in the home industry. It ended up not being the best fit for me, so they gave me back the right to any designs that had not sold. I ended up completely re-doing this one particular design and I am so glad I did!

What or who are you inspired by?

I am inspired by my 3 daughters and the ever-changing environments we live in. We have lived in a few different states, and another country, all different. My artwork typically feels very feminine, sweet, and nature-inspired.

Do you have resources you’d like to recommend?

I LOVE my iPad. I have the air and it was an absolute game changer for me. Getting to draw and add details, just never flowed as well for me with my Wacom tablet and the desktop. I love the feel of a pencil in my hand and getting to really zoom in and create/color. It changed the way I worked and in a very good way. I also love how portable it is, much nicer than a laptop! I still do all my design creating and finishing on my desktop. Illustrator is my jam 🙂

I love Uppercase Magazine. So much inspiration. I am also now inspired by all the embroidery designers out there!

I’ve taken so many courses… Make it In Design, your Pitch Your Portfolio and Artful Pricing classes — PYP changed everything for me as I never felt more organized and focused since taking that class!

Also, InDesign your Portfolio with Genna Blackburn (I no longer feel foreign to InDesign), and currently a member of Stacie Bloomfield’s Creative Powerhouse Community. Victoria Johnson also has great courses! I have taken two of hers….Explore Florals and Create Christmas. Your 3×3 challenges are my absolute favorite!

Surface design by Tracy Beagen
What do you like to do outside of surface design?

At the end of 2021, my husband bought me an embroidery kit for Christmas. It was always something I wanted to take up but never felt like I had the time. I had just had our third baby girl, and man did that embroidery fill my creative heart up!

It gave me something creative to do when I did not want to look at a screen. I took some time off after I had our baby but I was still able to be creative doing the embroidery and I have been doing them ever since! I have grown in the art of embroidery too! I’d love to create and make my own designs some day. For now, I enjoy buying other people’s beautiful patterns and then embroidering them 🙂

In addition to that I am a full-time stay-at-home mom. I wake up early to get some work in and every once in a while I get some work done in the afternoon too.

I love staying and being active as well! It is a huge part of my life. I grew up playing sports, even playing at the D1 level in college and so it is essential for me.

I started attending barre classes about 7 or 8 years ago and was hooked. Before I had kids, I actually became a barre instructor! I loved it and it was my saving grace during one of my husband’s deployments. While I no longer teach, I do still attend classes. Best workout!

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

My growth. I felt very lost after I left everything in NYC, and moved to a state I had never been to and where there was no direct career path. It has been a slow journey, and while I used to get upset when I did not get time to create, I have learned to lean into where I am now.

We’ve created a family since I left my corporate job, and it is not going to be perfect.

I am proud that I never gave up. That I kept learning, exploring, and growing. I have a lot of ideas and goals ahead, and I hope/plan to get there one day. But taking it one step at a time, and just soaking in where I currently am in life now.

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

Just keep going. This is not something that happens overnight.

Get off social media. It can make you feel so defeated and it can seem like everyone is having success but you. Nothing wrong with cheering people on/congratulating them, but it can feel very defeating.

Remember, we all start somewhere, and everyone is in a different stage of life as you. Focus on you, and just keep going.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @tracylucy_designs
LinkedIn: Tracy Beagen

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