Here I am in the middle of Week 2 of the ‘Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design’ online course.
And I'm pleased to say that, even though the course, so far, has mostly covered what is, for me, ‘old ground’, I am managing to learn some very useful things from it!
Last week’s theme was ‘Finding Inspiration’ and for me ‘finding inspiration’ has never been a problem - quite the opposite. This week’s theme is ‘Sketchbooks’ and, putting the two together, I have sketchbooks full of inspiration and ideas going right back to my schooldays – ie more than half a century!
What I’m really looking for is the technical knowledge to make these ideas into surface pattern designs without needing to resort to the rather cumbersome, and often inaccurate, tracing paper and scissors method that I’ve been using so far.
And towards the end of last week, I found that a couple of the exercises we were set were really useful and they have already begun to provide me with some answers!
We were asked to take a pattern we liked and break it down into its component parts or motifs. I took a William Morris design of which I’m very fond and was surprised to find how many different motifs it contained! In particular, I hadn’t noticed the little squiggly grey leaves in the background (No.1) and ever since, I've been noticing less obtrusive, background patterns all over the place, where I’d never have noticed them before!
Putting that together with some instructions on how to use Photoshop to ‘layer’ a design and, helped to take that one step further with a YouTube tutorial I hunted down, I was able to use sketches from some photos I’d taken in Week 1 to create this ‘layered’ pattern.
Here's the background 'leaves' layer:
The page of sketches -
And here it is all put together -
I coloured it digitally to save time as I wasn’t at all sure that my experiment would work. So the colours have come out far brighter than I would have liked. (But then I don't know how it looks on anyone else's screen - to me it looks garish!)
When, this week, we were asked to use all sorts of alternative painting tools – such as sticks – to help us ‘loosen up’, I opted for crumpled up newspaper, a piece of old towelling and the rough side of a synthetic sponge to create some paint effects.
These, believe it or not, may well be good, useful material for pattern backgrounds of the future.
In fact I've already used the blue one to create a new version of the Anemone pattern. I also toned the colour down a bit in Photoshop and used it to create a new Messenger Bag on Zazzle –
By the way, I don’t much like Anemones. They don’t have a fragrance and I think they can look a bit mournful, maybe because they flower as summer draws to a close. So I’m really looking forward to moving on to create a pattern from a sketch or photo that I’m really enthusiastic about!