Happy Spring, friends! I’m so excited to share my new fabric pattern with you because this whole process of taking paint to pattern and teaching myself how to do it along the way, has been hugely gratifying! The work I’ve been doing with Pink Elephant has given me some practice time too, and pushing me to find new ways of doing things. I’ve done some research on making organic repeats which I feel allows me more control. An organic repeat means that you’re making a repeat pattern by-hand instead of using a function in Photoshop such as Offset, and the process is SO satisfying and methodical and fascinating. Visit illustrator Megan Dunagan’s website to see her instructional video.
Just as I’ve done with the other three patterns, I’ve started off with a 10×10 watercolour painting.
Creating a pattern this way is a bit tricky because you need to get rid of the seams which gives a tiled effect (rather than painting the flowers separately, and arranging them in Photoshop or Illustrator to make everything seamless). But as a painter first and foremost, the pattern isn’t my main objective, but rather to make paintings and find different ways to apply them. I love the idea of having several art pieces branching off from the “mother” art piece i.e. original watercolour painting – art prints, fabric, stationery, etc.
I start out with a drawing which is basically a collage of botanical images under a certain theme. I have a visual in my head of a certain colour combination and a certain “feel” that I’ve been inspired by, and after collecting a bunch of imagery, I draw from them, adding flower by flower and arranging them on the page. Then I take my drawing to my lightbox, and trace it on to my favourite watercolour paper. I use 22×30 sheets of Fabriano Artistico which I rip into 10×10 pieces. I love using sheets as opposed to pads because no matter how much water you use, the paper never warps or buckles and the quality is just a million times better and a real pleasure to paint on. It’s also very forgiving, so with a little but of water or a damp brush, you can rub or work into it, erasing lines or blending even after it’s dry. To a certain extent, of course.
Once I was finished the painting, I scanned it in and designed our wedding invitation set. Because of the different format (rectangle vs square), I cut and pasted pieces of the painting together to make it fit, erasing the background in some parts, and layering the flowers on top of each other. Again, before I begin, I have a real visual in my head of what I want and this is pretty much it, with a few minor revisions. All in all though, completing the invitations took longer than painting the original piece, and I can’t stress enough how finicky and time consuming it is to make a good design. Choosing the right font, font colours, pt. size, and arranging text and making sure everything is centred to a decimal point, is a lot of time spent frowning at the computer screen!
And finally, I created an organic half-drop repeat of the original painting, using Photoshop. I think it’s an improvement on the other patterns, though I still have lots to figure out. Next up, to get my fabric sample in so I can get started on sewing some table napkins!
Thank you so much for following and taking part, friends! The craft shows this Spring season have been a good kick-off to the year. I am always humbled and grateful to everyone that comes out and makes the effort to buy handmade. My next show is with the Prince Edward Woman’s Institute in Picton, Prince Edward County, August 3rd. Stay tuned!