I’m Skye McNeill, a textile and surface pattern designer, artist and daydreamer based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest US. I create fresh, whimsical work inspired by nature, travel and storytelling. I want to help bring more joy, curiosity and compassion to your daily life through the items you choose to wear and have around you.
For the Curious and Kind
Surface pattern design has given me a unique venue to celebrate the beauty of the natural world and be part of a rising tide of change in an industry that historically has done a lot of environmental damage. While I love making bright and fun prints that are full of whimsy, my underlying message is about honoring and protecting the amazing animals, plants and waters of this earth.
By staying curious and open to the wonder around us, and by treating each other and the world with more kindness, we may still have hope of protecting what we have.
Prior to starting my studio I followed my loves for fashion, books and fabric through in-house jobs as a Product Graphic Designer for Nike, Senior Book Designer at Timber Press and Catalog Director at Connecting Threads, as well as numerous and varied freelance opportunities. I now work across multiple mediums, especially gouache and acrylic painting, block printing, digital illustration, and any random thing that will make a good texture!
I want to bring more lightness and joy to your daily experience through my artwork. I want to help you bridge confidence in yourself and compassion for the earth and its inhabitants.
As a child I always knew I would be an artist. While I flirted with several other paths, including veterinarian, marine biologist or botanist, I always came back to creating things with my hands. At school I took classes in everything from experimental music to archaeology but painting and printmaking were always at the heart of it and I received a degree in Fine Art from Bard College. A decade later I added an MFA in Graphic Design from MICA (The Maryland Institute College of Art) with a thesis in surface design and small business.
Beautiful things that make you happy to see or hold in your hands, and that have been made with care, even if it takes a while. Respect for all.
Fast fashion and cheap, disposable things, usually made at the expense of others. Ego and rudeness, especially in working relationships. Judgment.
Beachcombing for interesting shells and stones, learning to knit a sweater, digging in the garden, daydreaming, looking for fireflies and frog ponds.
Morning cuddles with my tiny cat, yoga, making all the lists, flipping through books and magazines, neighborhood walks, dinner with the fam.
house story by jasmine roth
tropical greens smoothie
Things I Love to Paint & Draw
(Though there's so much cool stuff in the world I wish I had time to capture it all!)
okay, so all the things!
Motivators & Inspirations
The sea, ocean, lakes and other waterways of the world light me up in an indescribable way. I feel calmed, excited, awed and inspired by them. They are the life source to so many and the pollution, destruction and misuse of them breaks my heart. Protecting our waterways is so important to our future and when we are in harmony with the seas it's a beautiful, nurturing thing.
Motivators & Inspirations
The prairie heartland I grew up in! Iowa has a deep place in my heart and inspires a lot of pattern collection stories. There is nothing quite like a summer evening outside my dad's house, listening to the frogs and crickets, watching the fireflies, smelling the sweetgrass. Okay yeah, there are also a lot of mosquitoes and the winters are reeeeaaally cold, but I will always love my hometown.
Motivators & Inspirations
Family! I adore all of my big, beautiful family and wish I could see them all more often. I get so much inspiration from their kindness, generosity, humor, humility, creativity, gentle spirits, and love. I'm also so inspired by all of the cultures of my heritage - Mexican, Scottish, Irish, Norwegian and French!
This book from Uppercase, part of the Encyclopedia of Inspiration series, profiles of designers, artists and craftspeople who use printmaking and print technology to make things for themselves and others. This book includes in-depth interviews with printers, stationers, publishers, zine-makers, homeware and clothing designers through studio pictures, portfolios and sound advice from print/makers from around the world.
I’m so excited to be a part of this beautiful collection of interviews and work from my fellow print makers and artists. Find my profile on pages 210-215.
Ryan Castillo from Redfin reached out to me to be a contributor to his blog article for the Redfin Blog on autumn design trends. Of course I obliged!! The article featured 18 contributors from various parts of the interior design sphere weighing in with some tips and bits of wisdom for seasonal decorating.
Redfin’s blog article “18 Autumn Design Trends for Your Home, Straight From the Pros” by Ryan Castillo debuted October 14th, 2021. Read the full article here!
I was honored to have my scarves mentioned in an article on bandanas, scarves, and head wraps in this issue of Uppercase. The article was written by Liz Logan and covers historical and cultural practices of the scarf in its various forms. It showcases the work of 8 different scarf designers, including me!
Uppercase Magazine: Issue 49 Patterns of Beauty. Find my mention on page 101. Buy the issue here. It’s a gorgeous issue full of so much beautiful work from many artists!
I was honored to be interviewed by Stacie Dale for her monthly online journal, the Surface Design News. The extensive interview was for the Designer Spotlight section of issue #4. We covered many topics including my story of how I came to surface design, my style and inspirations for my art, having a product business, being an educator, the struggles of overwhelm and more!
Surface Design News is a paid subscription newsletter. My feature was part of issue #4 from September 2021. Order the back issue of #4 here.
In May of 2020 I had the pleasure of being a guest on my friend Jess Kovic's podcast, Confessions of the Creative Kind, along with Megan Stringfellow. The three of us had a creative accountability group throughout 2020 and into 2021 and on the podcast we discussed following your passions, the surface design industry, our various experiences, and potential trends.
Listen to our conversation on Confessions of the Creative Kind episode #57, "Following your Passion with Skye McNeill and Megan Stringfellow" here!
Prior to exhibiting at Surtex 2017 (a surface design trade show at New York City’s Javits Center), Pattern Observer showcased my work and had some very nice things to say. Pattern Observer covers the textile design and surface pattern design industry and is an amazing resource for designers and inspiration site for anyone. It was such an honor to be featured.
So awesome to be written up by Pattern Observer! My feature was on May 9, 2017. You can read it here.
Uppercase Magazine issue 38 has a collection of illustrators' renditions of their favorite packaging. My illustration of a sardine can that I love was chosen to be a part of this curation. I think sardine can art is so varied and cool! Even more exciting was my dear friend Emily Irelan had her illustration chosen as well so we were in print together!
This gorgeous issue of Uppercase can be purchased here. My illustration appears on page 57, among an incredible selection of other artists.
Back when I worked as a book designer, I had the occasional delight of seeing my work in print via a book feature in a magazine. The most exciting was to see this cover I designed for Caitlin Atkinson's "Plant Craft" book in Martha Stewart Living as part of their "On Our Bookshelf: Fresh Inspiration" section. This is one of the my favorite books I worked on (isn't that copper foil title lettering nice!?) so this was a proud moment!
"Plant Craft" was chosen for the "Fresh Inspiration" section on page 10 of the January/February 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Living. You can view it online here.
When I worked at Nike, I was interviewed for the design department's internal employee blog. Their series "20 Questions With..." asked all kinds of questions, both personal and professional, and had a fun photoshoot too. The employee blog helps foster community among the employees and get to know co-workers you might not otherwise interact with from other teams.
While this blog isn't public facing, you can catch a glimpse of some of my answers in the image. The feature was released in early 2015.
A home decor pillow from my former studio, Hammer & Fox, was featured twice on the Mama Mandolin blog, once in a home feature and once in a product giveaway. Mandy's home, design and mothering blog ran for 8 years from 2009 to 2017 and highlighted many artists, products and designers.
My feature in the Mama Mandolin blog appeared in April 2013 and you can read them here!
Formerly a member of ADX Portland’s Gang of Ten collective, (ten graphic designers of various fields of work) I was interviewed and featured on their blog. ADX (Art Design Xchange) is a design and prototyping facility featuring tools and workspaces for woodworking, metalworking, laser cutting, industrial sewing, and more. Over the years ADX has supported numerous makers and businesses in the Portland community.
My feature was in the fall of 2012. ADX no longer has their blog live, but they are an amazing maker space and resource in the Portland community. Check them out here!
A poster I designed with Lindsay Kaiser while interning at Firebelly Design in Chicago was showcased in the 2012 HOW Poster Design Awards with HOW Design Magazine. The poster, for an event titled Biking Beyond Bigotry, was made for an organization called Center for New Community and was printed on letterpress. We were so proud of this poster and the organization we designed it for!
HOW magazine is no longer in print, but they have maintained an online organization now under How Design Live, an event and digital resource. Visit their site here.
In 2011 I participated in an internship via summer design intensive called Camp Firebelly, run by do-good design studio Firebelly Design. It was an amazing collaborative experience with my fellow designers and we were written up in Uppercase Magazine for our social justice-forward projects partnering with Chicago area non-profits. Our feature was in issue 12.
The Camp Firebelly feature appears on page 72 of issue 12. This early issue of Uppercase is now out of print, but other back issues may be purchased here.
For many years I created an illustrated series unofficially called "Bunny & Skelly" featuring vignettes of a relationship between a rabbit and a skeleton. In summer of 2011 Bunny & Skelly were showcased in a double page article in the Boston-based design studio and newspaper Ink. The article was called "When you're the best of friends" and highlighted 8 pieces and an essay.
"When you're the best of friends" appeared in Ink newspaper, Issue 3, Summer 2011. Currently out of print. Scan available upon request.