Mable Tan


Why 100-Patterns-100-Days is So Powerful

Hey movers and shakers!⁣⁣⁣⁣

⁣Something stuck in my head from one of my Facebook group discussions, and it was about making one pattern a day for 100 days. I honestly LOVE this exercise and I really want to talk more about it. ⁣⁣⁣

Build Your SPD Muscles

If you haven’t done it before, I would invite you to play with the idea. I did this on my own two years ago when I was refining my skills in Illustrator. But what I got back was WAY more than I’d expected.⁣⁣⁣⁣

Somewhere around the 40th mark, I noticed I was getting faster at coming up with patterns. It would take me around two – three hours to start with but as I progressed, it would only take me around 30 minutes to an hour to whip up a pattern. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

Working fast is an important skill as a surface pattern designer because when you close a contract with a client, they will want you to prepare the files fairly quickly. And it’s your job to know your way around the software. Sometimes a client may want to replace a motif or change the colorway, you’d need to sort that out pretty fast too. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

Find Your Signature Style

You would have heard Bonnie Christine talk about ‘signature style’. It is what sets you apart from other designers. When you see a particular design, you know straight away who made that. I’d always know if it’s Lisa Congdon’s work on Instagram before I even see the handle. Elizabeth Olwen has her own signature style and it is apparent when you see her fabrics in store.⁣⁣⁣⁣

Doing the one pattern a day challenge is a great way to explore your style, if you don’t already have one. 

Is it necessary to have your own signature style? To be honest, there are mix reviews on that. Some agents may prefer you to be flexible so that you can adapt to a client’s brief. I think it depends on what you want as a designer. Personally, I dislike working around a brief. If I wanted to do that, I would have worked in an ad agency and that is NOT what I want. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

Crush That Artist Block

Something else about the exercise was that it helped me come up with collections really quick. I did not have artist blocks because of all the practice I had. I would finish a collection within a week, and wrap up a portfolio in a month. It’s pretty insane! I don’t do this anymore because I want to be more intentional with my work. But if you are planning to work with agents, this level of mastery is a huge benefit. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

Bite Size Challenge

If you think 100 patterns in 100 days seem a little daunting, then try breaking it down to something more manageable, like 30 patterns in 30 days. When you make it bite size, it’s not really not that overwhelming. And who knows, once you finish 30 days, you might be inspired to keep creating and before you know it, you might go far beyond your own expectations. Surprise yourself 😉

Interested to do it as a community? Join our Facebook Group to join the Dreamers & Doers 30 patterns in 30 days challenge.

comments +

  1. […] Read about why Mable thinks it’s important to keep making patterns here.   […]

  2. Melanie says:

    Hi Mable,

    firstly, I LOVE your stuff. I’m a surface pattern designer (aspiring) living in Auckland, NZ.
    I’d love to do this challenge with you, but I can’t seem to follow the link. Maybe a private group?

    I’m just wondering if this is still available and if I’m able to join.

    Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey Friend, Let's keep in touch!

Want to know about the latest and the hottest? Hit subscribe to know what I've been up to.

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.


Hi, I'm Mable! I'm a surface pattern designer. I'm passionate about creating designs that adds prettiness to every day life.

oh hey!

get my free download


Download My Swipe File

what to say to art directors & get licensed!

Check me out on instagram ...







useful links


contact me

© mabletandesigns 2021

mable tan designs