Designer Tidbits: Moon Shine by Tula Pink - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Moon Shine by Tula Pink

Hi everyone! Tula Pink is in the building! And she’s here to talk about her Moon Shine collection for Free Spirit Fabrics. This collection was inspired by camping, Tula style! Her whimsical prints are always a favorite of ours, and yours too! We can spend hours pouring over all the gems she hides in her illustrations. But we’ll save that for later, right now it’s time for a tale around the campfire, Tula-style! 

Q: Tell us a little about the Moon Shine collection. What were you inspired by?

A: As with every fabric collection I do I am always trying to set a scene and tell a story in that scene. In the case of Moon Shine I am telling a camping story in my own slightly off kilter way. The main print is a sort of camping styled toile. There are tons of things going on in that print when you take the time to look. There is a bear that has stolen a bunch of food from the tent and is secretly snacking, someone was cutting firewood while listening to music but must must have become distracted and walked away. Some mice have commandeered the tree house, it goes on and on. I loved working on that print. The companion prints continue the story in a broader way. 

Another of my favorites is the Camo deluxe print. I mean, what’s more outdoorsy than camouflage? I did it in my own excessive way though because I am incapable of leaving anything alone. Of course the star of the show is the deer portrait made up of a plethora of tiny shapes and paisley elements. This is my most favorite way to think about form and design. I love taking one thing and molding it into something else. Even though I have been drawing this way for a while it still totally surprises me when it works out.

Q: What is your design process when beginning a new collection?

A: My design process is always concept first. I start with a simple idea like “I am going to talk about a camping trip.” I usually write out every single print I am going to accomplish. If 20% of those original ideas end up in the final collection it’s a miracle. Once I start drawing all good intentions go out the window. It’s like going down the rabbit hole, the whole process takes on a life of its own. When I start drawing the ideas come a hundred miles per minute. That theme or concept that I started with is what keeps me focused on the task at hand. I will often write down the other ideas, then come up with a quick sketch and put them aside for future collections. I go back to those a lot. It will take my entire life to get through them all, although some of them are pretty terrible ideas. I have to get through the bad ideas to get to the good ideas. 
While I am drawing I will start to think about color in a general way. I start thinking about whether the color should be bold or soft or feminine. In the case of Moon Shine I knew I wanted to keep it primary, strong reds and blues and oranges but I also wanted one color way to be soft and somewhat feminine just to push against the convention of camping being more manly. It is my version of what outdoorsy looks like.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: My style has evolved over the years but there are a few things that are constant. I have a hard time with open space. If there is space I want to draw in it so my fabrics tend to be jam packed with shapes and colors and ideas. 

I value imagination above all things. I have designed some really pretty prints that never made it into production because when I put them up on the wall they were just pretty. They didn’t say anything or tell a story. I need that second look in my work. I want you to be able to go back to it again and again and see something new every time. When I design a new collection it is pretty much all I will be working with for up to six months, so it better be enough to hold my attention, and if it isn’t then how can I expect it to hold anyone else’s? 

Color is the third factor to the Tula Pink style. I LOVE color! I love arranging color, choosing colors, putting them together and moving them around. I spend as much time on color as I do on the drawing of the prints. I prefer a bold clear color. Some like jewel tones or neutrals I tend to be really interested in tertiary colors. Those are the colors that are created when two other colors are mixed together. I will always opt for aqua or a true blue, or a yellowish  green over a grass green, a magenta over a bright red. I am addicted to rainbows. Everything I make can be arranged into a rainbow. It just happens, it’s not intentional, I just love all of the colors.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a designer?

A: My favorite part of being a designer is when I am drawing. Sitting down to a fresh sheet of paper with a pencil full of new lead. At that moment the possibilities are infinite and I have no idea where it will go. That moment is both exciting and terrifying. It’s exciting because absolutely anything is possible, I will get lost in it and from nothing I will create something, hopefully great! It is also the most terrifying moment because all of that possibility is a lot to live up to. I always have that fleeting doubt that says, what if I can’t live up to it. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away and it’s what drives me forward and pushes me to constantly do better. I don’t put a collection into production until I think it’s my very best work to date so I am always coming off of what I thought was the pinnacle of my abilities. To push past that a little bit every time is what drives me to keep doing it. I love that feeling! It’s like an addiction, I live for it.

Q: What projects do you hope to see made with Moon Shine?

A: I hope that people make all kinds of things with Moon Shine! It’s such a fun, happy collection. I hope they make quilts and pillows and dresses and bags. I would pretty much like to see the world covered in it. I think a picnic set would be nice and very appropriate. Dang! I totally should have done that arrrg!


  1. I really enjoy the hidden treasures in Tula's prints. Right now I'm really diggin the adorable little skunk in the main print 😉

  2. Just when I thought I had all the fabric my heart beats for…Tula's gone and made my heart race. Wow, such great colour combos and prints…yikes.