Look inside the Design Milk founder’s colorful toolkit

Jaime Derringer wears many creative hats—take a look at the tools she uses to keep up with them all.

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I’m driven by the feeling of making connections, helping people get noticed for the amazing things they’re doing, and sharing beautiful things with the world.

  1. My crazy huge Copic Marker bag full of markers of all kinds, pencils and pens
  2. Ruler
  3. Eraser
  4. My current sketchbook
  5. A bin full of acrylic paint pens
  6. A huge toolbox of Gelly Roll pens, my new favorite thing
  7. Color charts for my markers
  8. Headphones, of course!

Who are you and what do you make?

My name is Jaime Derringer and I run an online design magazine called Design Milk, along with its sister sites Dog Milk and Adorn Milk, by day, and I’m an artist by night.

I’m from New Jersey, but I live in San Diego, CA where I eat a tremendous amount of burritos and spend a lot of time outside. I love reading, taking walks and exploring California, and I’m currently learning how to make digital music. I’m married and I have a young daughter, which is so much fun.

Design Milk originally started as a hobby and grew into a business in an unexpected way. I love what I do every day and it’s the longest job I’ve ever had.

My personal artwork is inspired by so much stuff—from undersea creatures and sci-fi monsters, to electronic music and geology.

What can you absolutely never leave home without—what’s the essential (or most surprising) tool in your creative toolkit?

Markers—they’re my go-to tool. I love the control they give me. They’re unsophisticated, and I like that they have a child-like quality.


Not only do you make art yourself, but you created Design Milk—what came first, the art, or the appreciation of it?

The art and the appreciation were both always inside me! As a child, I would draw, paint, make things, make music, dance, sing, etc. I was always creative, but somewhere along the way I lost my drive. Design Milk certainly ignited it again, so I’d say it’s both the chicken and the egg.

It’s so important to shine the light on artists and designers: that’s what we do every day on Design Milk and it’s what I am most passionate about. I’m driven by the feeling of making connections, helping people get noticed for the amazing things they’re doing, and sharing beautiful things with the world.

Your illustrations often start, seemingly, with a simple line and then take on a life entirely their own. Can you walk us through an illustration, and the process behind it?

Well, all of my pieces start the same way: making a mark. I don’t plan anything. Every mark is made in response to the previous one and so on. In my Asian Studies series, which is inspired by my study of Japanese language and culture, it’s a minimalist response to a bold, calligraphic line. In my Abstract series (yet untitled!) I explore layering color, shapes and mediums. It’s also evident in every sketchbook piece I’ve done. I’ve kept a sketchbook for about 9 years now… some years are more fruitful than others, but lately it feels like it’s a more significant part of what I do.


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