Monday, 23 January 2012

The Cat and the Nasturtiums - Repeating Patterns

My cat didn’t change as much as my dragon did – and here it is as a birthday card for one of my grandsons, ready to post off to him today:




Moving on, this week’s project has been inspired by Zazzle’s launch of Messenger Bags and various matching sleeves. The bag requires a large, seamless area of pattern as the design begins underneath, goes right the way up the back and over the front to include the flap.

For me this presented a particularly exciting challenge because more than twenty years ago, I very much wanted to enrol on a ‘Surface Pattern’ course at our local Art School in Norwich. But sadly, I discovered that I would have to travel quite a distance each day as that particular course was held out at the coast, at Great Yarmouth. That was out of the question for me at that time because of family commitments and I made do with creating repeating patterns to screenprint on fabric at home instead.

Of course, all this was long before computers and photo-editing programs so I planned my designs using squared paper, tracing paper, a huge old photocopier and, for the screenprinting, vast quantities of black thread!

On Friday afternoon I set out to make a repeating pattern the old-fashioned way, using one of my watercolour flowers designs as my starting point.





Instead of the old photocopier I had previously used, I scanned my tracings and printed them out before cutting them into quarters.



and flipping them over to make a space for the upside down design . . .



But I ran into a problem and soon found myself in a terrible muddle of cut-up pieces of design and masking tape and nothing was fitting together as it was intended!

Eventually I realised that the reason that my pattern 'bits' weren't matching up was because my printer was choosing what size to print out the various parts! The difference wasn’t huge but it was enough to make a nonsense of my carefully thought out plan and there was nothing I could do about it!.

Luckily, after several increasingly frustrating hours of trying this and that, I found a way to do the same thing on my computer, by ‘virtually’ cutting up my design and using ‘layers’ to reposition the elements before printing out the whole thing and tracing it, ready to paint. Must admit, I felt a certain sense of victory over my capricious printer!



This may look like a meaningless jumble of shapes - and it isn’t helped by the fact that I rather hurriedly traced over the pencil lines with my wacom tablet when the tracing paper scan came out rather faint for posting online. 

But next week, all will be revealed!



PS If you would like to know  how to make a repeating pattern design without resorting to a computer, click here for  a good, clear explanation - it is more or less the method I've always used and the only reason it didn’t work for me this time was that my printer has a mind of its own!


7 comments:

Betsy Grant said...

I love these beautiful flower cards!

Country Mouse Studio said...

Don't you just love when technology decides what's best for you. I'm going to go check out the design it looks lovely. That card made a great design. I'll bet it will be very popular

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Betsy - I have a love/hate relationship with watercolour. Sometimes it works but more often it doesn't!

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Carole - yes, it was the printer that caused my headaches but the photo-editing program on my laptop that solved the problem :)

Michele said...

Zazzle are introducing new products so fast I can't keep up. Have neglected my Zazzle store for months but still get small regular sales, so I must get back to it. Trouble is I fear I will not recognise the site when I get there! Michele x

Judy Adamson said...

You're not the only one who can't keep up with the new products, Michele! I've made it my priority and I still get caught on the hop! Some of them, such as the water bottles, don't inspire me much though. So that give me a chance to catch up!

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