Paint the world with colour with Erin Summer

Meet your Mentor Erin Summer

Erin from @erinsummer_ is no stranger to colour, and she’s certainly not afraid to show it! Even her name invokes colourful connotations. Erin’s colourful captures and edits always brighten my day and she doesn’t shy away from bringing the colour. From turning oranges and avocados rainbow coloured to colouring her world with rainbows and bold nailpolish, Erin is such a vibrant inspiration to us all to just let go and have fun with colour. We were lucky enough to catch up with Erin and find out what inspires her vibrant world.

Q&A with Erin

Hey Erin! Thanks for joining us again for a Creatively Squared challenge, this time as a mentor for our conceptual month. We are absolutely thrilled to have you mentor the community. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be creating such colourful imagery?

II’s a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me on board this week as a mentor! I am a self-taught graphic designer/content creator from Toronto Ontario. I started getting into mixed-media art and graphic design after a fibromyalgia diagnosis forced me to give up on my previous design business @erinlightfeather (which involved a lot of uncomfortable physical labour like cutting, dying, sewing etc.) I wanted to keep the vibrant, colourful aesthetic of my previous feather work and apply it to my new experimental design and photography. In 2017 I launched my own content creation business Erin Summer Creative Design and the rest is history!

You certainly seem to live a colourful life through your Instagram. Can you tell us about your creative process, how do you come up with ideas for what to share next on your Instagram account?

I love to spend time fostering my imagination. I like to sit down every now and again with a notebook and just brainstorm. Brainstorming for me is my favourite part of the creative process. I keep a notebook with a list. If any idea pops into my head, I will write it down. I’d say about half of my ideas make it past the notebook phase.

Who or what inspires you the most to create your vibrant images?

Oh goodness, I am inspired by so many things! My current favourite inspiration is taking something simple, mundane even- like a door or a bowl of fruit- and changing the colours or adding pattern to make it special. We can’t always pick up and go on a fabulous vacation or splurge on props and supplies, but we can all find joy in everyday items with just a little imagination and creativity!

This challenge is all about imagining colour in a whole different way. What are your three top tips for others wanting to play with colour and bring their imagination to life in their images?

Photoshop Layers! Learning how to add layers in Photoshop gives you so many options to experiment without having to commit. This comes in really handy if I want to change colours, increase saturation, apply pattern etc.

See the potential - spot a dull building with a great shape? Make it your canvas by adding colour! See an amazing vintage pattern on a dress? Take a photo of the pattern and keep it in your files. See a great car parked on the street? Snap a pic! There is so much potential just outside your front door.

CHANGE the colour! See something that could be great if ONLY it weren’t (insert ugly hue here.) Don’t let a bad colour ruin a good photo or project! It only takes a little time and practice :)

Do you have any hacks, tricks or tools which help you play with colour in your images?

I love the Selective Colour tool in Photoshop. Learning how to change the intensity and tone of  specific colours has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I encourage anyone who is interested in experimenting with colour to try out the selective colour tool and the hue and saturation tools!

What equipment do you use?

I keep it simple. If you are interested in experimenting with photography you don’t need to spend a fortune! I have been using the same Nikon camera for the past 7-8 years. I also take photos on my iPhone XR (the quality of smartphone pictures these days is amazing!) for smaller objects, I shoot them on a simple white board by the window in natural light. For larger subjects and travel I will use a tripod. I do have lights and a backdrop setup but I almost always shoot against a white wall in natural light.

What is your favourite image that you have created? Can you tell us why it is special to you?

My favourite images are the ones that resonate most with my audience. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face or inspire them in anyway, there is nothing more satisfying. My current two favourites are the colour wheel citrus slices, and rainbow envelopes flatlay. They are perfect examples of simplicity elevated with a pattern and/or colour.

We can all relate to falling in and out of love with Instagram, how has your account evolved over time?

Yes absolutely! In fact, my entire @erinsummer_ account really showcases where I started from-just watching basic Photoshop tutorials on YouTube and applying them to simply concepts, to where I am now- still learning, but with a much stronger aesthetic and point of view. I totally relate to falling in and out of love with Instagram and the burnout that happens from being connected 24/7. I absolutely believe in taking time off every now and again not only to disconnect, but also to recharge your creativity and get back in touch with your imagination!


Erin is the guest mentor for our August 12-18 creative challenge ‘Colour My World’ and will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Erin at @erinsummer_ on Instagram. We invite you to join Erin and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to have fun with colour. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.