We sat down with Nisha Abey (Print Designer extraordinaire) and delved into all things illustration and design. Come with us as we get to know Nisha - a woman paving the way in a little known industry within Australia. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Name – Nisha Abey
Current Location –  Brisbane, Australia
How did you get into print design?
In a very weird round about way actually. I loved fine art and textiles from a young age, I remember obsessing over a Marc Jacobs Summer collection featuring brightly coloured florals spread in Vogue as a teen and knew that’s what I wanted to do - I just didn’t know that Print Design was a thing. I studied Fashion Design at Uni and then went into fashion design and production roles straight out of uni trying to find my place. Working across London, Bryon Bay and Melbourne - I was fortunate to try many paths and meet many talented people that have allowed me to gain a wealth of knowledge in the Fashion Industry. 10 years later, I decided to start from scratch and focus on Textile Print Design as my future career.
Since then, I have worked for a number of brands and Print Agencies in Australia, London and Europe, gaining as much experience and knowledge across print design for fashion and interiors.
Whats your process? (illustration to digital)
I like to talk through the concept and brief and make sure I understand when an idea is coming from. I find words really express emotion and thoughts to create a story in mind for the print. I then start painting a page of motifs to fit the design, I prefer hand painting or drawing over digital mediums. I love the organic nature of paint, pencil and ink, the softness and also happy mistakes that come from painting on paper as well as a creative flow that develops an idea further. I then scan these in and work out the best repeat or placement for the garment or product and recolour if needed to fit a season. 

Print designer workspace
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, I need to see newness everyday otherwise creative block really happens. I walk daily and take photos of florals, textures, colour combination and things I find interesting. I love finding new places (homes, cafes, restaurants) and get inspired by their interiors and details and I also love art exhibitions - new artist as well as old masters. These snippets of inspiration usually make their way into a print that week or make me see a brief in a different and interesting way.
Whats your workspace setup like?
I work from home and have a messy little studio set up with art materials and previous artwork on the walls to keep me inspired. When I start a project I like to have everything I need for the print out (books, art materials, reference print outs) so I can see everything as I draw and design. Saying this, I like changing my work environment depending on my mood, whether that’s different spaces around the home or at a local cafe. I have a little kit of painting and drawing materials, paper and my trusty Mac that are always in my bag on the go so I can pick up anywhere I am.
designer illustrating at home

How did you start working with Oli & Kubo?
I met Linda as a co-worker in Melbourne whilst we both worked together for a short time at Forever New. We instantly connected through our shared birthdates! (24th April!) After both leaving, we stayed in touch and I helped with textile prints as she launched her first collection for Oli & Kubo a few years back.
I think our style and vision align and we work closely to produce the best print for the collection possible. 
What do you like most about Oli & Kubo as a brand?
I love that Oli & Kubo is feminine but vibrant and bold and the small thoughtful details that bring a  style to life but makes it unique and new. Linda is not afraid to innovate and create something beautiful that hasn’t been seen before.
I also love that the brand is conscious about the environment and sustainability - this is so relevant today and so important to try creating products that are producing negative environment impact.
Dream holiday location?
Italy! I would love to spend a month exploring the different regions of Italy. The food, art, culture and beauty makes it my next dream travel destination.
Describe your style / aesthetic -
Hmm that’s a hard one! Lazy designer! I love fashion and style and get so inspired by the latest seasonal collections but don’t seem to have time to particularly style myself right now. Day to day, I wear comfy shirt dresses, jeans and the main colour of my wardrobe - black!
Favourite piece from the latest collection?
The Samara Shirt dress is everything. I love the style, print and the colour! Divine!

collage of print designer process
Whats your typical Saturday look like?
My week in general revolves around work and Saturday is an extension of my working week just more relaxed with time to think and play around with new ideas. I usually get up early, have a lemon water and journal before walking to pilates or the gym. I get a coffee from a new cafe spot on the way home and run around doing any small errands I need to tick of my to do list ( I like change for inspiration!) Then get home, have a smoothie or yoghurt bowl and get on with freelance briefs or painting motifs of the next week of prints. Before I finish for the day, I jot down what I need to do the next day in my Saint Belford diary. Saturday evenings are usually chilled either meeting up with friends in the city or around for dinner. 
What has been your favourite brand/project to work on so far?
Lnda and myself as we start creating an artwork. We have a big inspirational chat about a print or collection to find out what we are thinking about colour, motifs, style and ideas before I get to work on painting the motifs and putting into repeat.
I have also found a love for homewares prints and interior, working across bedding, napery and Wall Art for Pillow Talk.

watercolour paint illustration
Whats your favourite thing about doing what you do?
I sometimes just think ‘what am I even doing - this is ridiculous’ when i’m painting flowers or silly motifs like sausage dogs or fruit for a conversational print.
It’s taken a long time to get where I am, but I am so grateful to be able to paint and draw most days and push myself to keep getting better.
What are your plans/goals for 2023?
Lots of plans and goals for 2023 and beyond. I have just completed a week long Art Residency at the Nobby’s Lighthouse in Newcastle, which gave me the quiet time and space to think and as a result I have started a series of Canvas paintings in acrylic. The goal is to play around with my style and create an art series to exhibit in galleries and art prizes on canvas as well as interpreted into textile prints. Watch this space to see how it’ll turn out!  

Nish Abey smiling at her desk

Want to see more of Nisha's work? Head to her website -

Photos by @Craigjlmphoto
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