Surtex: Helen Dardik

UPPERCASE correspondent sat down with illustrator Helen Dardik at Surtex.

Helen in the Lilla Rogers booth.Alanna: Helen you seem to be an incredibly prolific illustrator and surface designer. From your blog it appears that you produce at least 1 new (and very dense) pattern a week. What's the secret to your productivity + focus?
Helen: Well...I've always been an overachiever so I am used to working very hard. As far as focus I work very late at night after my three kids are in bed and all is quiet. That's when I can really delve into my work and concentrate. I make a cup of tea at 10pm and normally work till 4am in the morning.

A: You were an early adopter to the blog world. What do you like about blogging?

H: I don't have a lot of people in my immediate circle in Ottawa who are as crazy passionate about design as I am. Blogging gave me a way to join a community of like minded and very supportive artists. Through it I've met incredible surface designers like Heather Moore in South Africa and Carolyn Gavin in Toronto-both of whom have become good friends.

A:  Do you have any advice for those new to blogging?
H: Yes do it for yourself. Use it as a vehicle to create new work, experiment with your style and push yourself forward. The minute you realize you're doing the blog for the benefit of readers you should STOP!

A: You have been present in Lilla Rogers booth for all 3 days of Surtex. What do you like about coming to the show?

H: Illustration can be a very solitary profession so it's a great experience to meet some of my clients in person and finally put a face to an email address.

A: What has been one of your favourite surface design assignments?

A I have loved working with Blue Q. The art director is tremendously supportive. He tells me to do what I do best and gives me a lot of freedom with my design. I have worked on bags, towels, and water bottles for them.

A: Your work has appeared on so many surfaces already. Do you have a dream assignment?

H: Yes. One day I'd love to have my work printed on lining for the inside of a fabulous coat!