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Mr Paisley: designing intricate patterns for high-end brands

Under the name Mr Paisley, French Textile Designer Florent Terracol creates detailed designs for high-end brands. Here he tells us more about his work and how he utilises the flexible workflow of Affinity Photo on desktop and iPad.
Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a French designer from Lyon specialising in Textile Design–my particular expertise is in Paisley, Jacobean, Toile de Juoy, flowers and chintz. I love drawing, painting, sport, and spending time with my family. I design under the name Mr Paisley.

How did you find yourself where you are now? When did you begin to take an interest in textile design?

I studied art at Emile Cohl in Lyon where I learned to work with traditional media at first but soon moved on to working with graphics tablets. After art school, I worked for a small company which is where I really started learning textile design thanks to my former boss who taught me everything I know–I owe him a lot for his mentoring. At the time I used traditional techniques by sketching on paper.

However, I have since moved on to freelancing, working for fashion and home design companies. I also work with architects from time to time when clients are looking for tailor-made designs for their homes.

How long have you been working with Affinity Photo?

I’ve worked with Affinity Photo for well over a year now on both desktop and iPad.

Talk us through how Affinity fits into your workflow.

I always start sketching designs directly on the screen with Affinity Photo for iPad as personally, I find the brushes included in Affinity Photo really great. Due to the brushes being so easily customisable I find I can sketch to the exact standard that I can on paper.

For me I love the way you can change the size of the brushes with your finger, it’s really fast yet so accurate and seeing the number of pixels for the size is especially important to my work. I use a lot of layers and I’ve found that Affinity Photo allows me to use countless layers which can be managed well with the use of folders.

When my designs near completion I tend to open them on the desktop app. I find this allows me to take a look at my designs on a larger screen to better envisage the final result. Also, when my client sends me .PSD files it’s of great advantage to be able to open it with the Affinity apps whilst also being able to export my Affinity files into .PSD files to send to clients.

"Mata-Hari" designed for Le Presse Papier
Where do you start when planning a new design?

I always start with a sketch, sometimes I’m looking at reference for the inspiration too. After that I finish a small part of the design with colour to allow me to see if I’m moving in the right direction with the design.

Do you sketch designs on paper still or exclusively on iPad?

I sketch exclusively on iPad Pro 12 without any scan.

What’s your favourite or most celebrated project to date?

My favourite project has to be my long-time collaboration with the luxury Italian brand Etro. They are really involved with their designs, so it’s a real honour to work for them. I never saw a brand who takes so much care and compassion about textile design. And it’s so rewarding to see the designs I made for them on the catwalk. That said, my Mata-Hari design for Le Presse Papier was more recently listed in the ten most beautiful wallpapers of the moment by the Architectural Digest which is pretty remarkable too.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m working on the spring/summer 2020 collection for a luxury fashion brand.

What inspires your textile designs?

Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere–museums, movies, books the list could go on. As I can start a design from anywhere with my iPad it means I can sketch on demand and as inspiration hits–I love working outside of my studio, in a coffee shop, a museum or a park, the flexibility Affinity Photo for iPad gives me is fantastic.

“As I can start a design from anywhere with my iPad it means I can sketch on demand and as inspiration hits--I love working outside of my studio, in a coffee shop, a museum or a park, the flexibility Affinity Photo for iPad gives me is fantastic.”

What were your early influences in design?

I love the work of Anthony Berrus a Parisian designer from the XIXth century. Alphonse Mucha, Gustave Klimt and Moebius who made some drawings which are curiously not predominantly textile design related. Most of them are at the frontier between painting and decorative art.

When you’re lacking inspiration, how do you motivate yourself?

Motivation, when you’re not feeling so inspired, is not as easy as you’d think. Often when you are actively looking for inspiration you can easily lose yourself. You can spend a whole day on Pinterest or something similar and at the end, you still don’t know which way to go, because there are so many good routes to explore.

Generally, it’s something external, something that I wasn’t necessarily looking for which inspires me. I need the element of surprise because we never know what we are looking for until we’ve found it.

What would be a dream project to work on?

This summer my kids started surfing and watching them take up this new hobby gave me the envy of designing for surfboards.

Creating designs on a large scale for street-art is also something that I think would certainly please me.

How do you like to spend your time out of work?

I love running with friends, doing archery, taking photography, going to museums–there are a few good ones in my city. And of course, drinking good coffee is also a major past-time, but I also do that whilst working too!

What advice would you give to other textile designers wanting to convert to Affinity?

For people looking to convert to Affinity, I would say first of all you can do everything and more than you can with the other standard, pricier software. I find it a more user-friendly interface, and without monthly subscription you are free.

Each time I told myself that Affinity couldn’t possibly have this functionality for an iPad I’ve always found it surprisingly can. Over the years I’ve tested a lot of alternatives for Photoshop on iPad and PC and I’ve never found a contender until I found Affinity Photo. And that’s not just as an alternative, it’s quite simply better.

You can check out more of Florent’s decorative designs on his Instagram @mister_paisley.