Half way through the first module of ‘The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design’ and I seem to have given the impression that it’s all brilliantly useful.
But while there’s some truth in that, isn’t quite ‘the whole truth’.
There are two strands of the course, running in parallel.
On the one hand there are the topics covered and accompanying creative exercises through daily blog postings. And, on the other hand, the weekly ‘Bonus Technical Workshops’, consisting of instructions for using Photoshop and Illustrator in relation to surface pattern design.
So far the three topics – Inspiration, Sketching and Colour – have seemed to be pitched at the level of someone who hasn’t done much art at all, or possibly a graphic artist who has become stale or lost confidence. Much of what is suggested is very similar to what I've been doing for years and even to suggestions I’ve made in various past blog posts.
That’s the downside.
But on the positive side, it’s good to get to know a great and varied community of artists from all over the world, all sharing a passion for pattern. And, partly because of this, I’ve been able to find something positive to explore and put into practice each week so far.
|A kind artist from Hong Kong suggested I try clingfilm and I'm so glad she did!|
In Week 2. the lesson on organising our sketches, persuaded me to do something I should have done a long time ago – filing all my loose sheets of ideas away in lever arch files, now all classified and neatly labelled for quick access!
In Week 3, I learnt about creating a colour palette from any photo or image online. This is a commercial ‘color picker’ provided free of charge by an international paint company.
you can see my 'books' of colour chips from images I've found on the Internet (including my own!)
The colours have the names of the paints, rather than the pantone names and numbers but I believe we are going to learn to do this in a more professional way, using photoshop, later. But if you want to have fun making your own colour palettes, it's free and all you have to do to get started is drag a 'chip it!' button to your toolbar, in a similiar way to the Pinterest 'Pin it' one.
The Bonus Technical Workshops, on the other hand, are proving highly challenging for those of us who aren’t familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator. So much so that one artist bravely started a thread on Flickr called ‘Help needed for Photoshop’ and this has been invaluable in providing us with the means to help one another overcome our difficulties. One artist, though, has, at least for now, given up trying to fathom these workshops as she has ‘hit a brick wall’ and several have mentioned buying a book about it, which is something I may resort to myself - though YouTube tutorials have also been useful.
|Not my usual style but colouring a line drawing is as far as we've got so far and it may have possibilities for fresh ideas!|
I have persisted – all of Saturday afternoon and early evening and the same on Sunday! – and have found my own way of doing things that didn’t work when I followed the instructions. Now I’m practising these processes daily, hoping they’ll become automatic before we move on to the next workshop!
And if ever I find myself with nothing urgent to do, I can always have fun, adding to my collection of 'Patterns I like' on a Pinterest board . . .