Thursday, 25 October 2012

Watersoluble Crayons - Perfect for Autumn Leaves!

In a few days’ time, here in the UK, we will be putting our clocks back an hour as we come to the end of BST – British Summer Time.

Not that it’s been much of a summer and the little there was of it seemed to give way to autumn very easily and promptly this year! And even the autumn has been wetter than usual, with fewer than usual bright, crisp days to show off the changing colours of the trees in all their glory. The usual ‘carpets of gold’ have been replaced this year with something rather more soggy and mostly less colourful.

But there have been a few of those ‘golden’ October days, though I’ve never happened to be out with my camera on those days.

So one day recently, when I was waiting for some paint to dry on an illustration I’m working on, I suddenly had the idea of getting out my watersoluble crayons and creating some autumn colours for myself.


It really was a case of ‘mucking around’ and only took a few minutes. I’ve had these wonderful crayons for some months now but never had time to really explore their possibilities.  On this occasion, I loved the way I could add water to some parts to make a smooth wash, while leaving other parts in their original, raw, crayon-like state!

After scanning and cleaning up, I used Photoshop to make a 'half-drop' repeat template from them -

- which I then repeated over and over again to make a basic pattern.

By making the white parts transparent, it was easy to try out different background colours. I started with my usual favourite deep blue that I often seem to use in conjunction with orange. But then I became a bit bolder - after all, when you are working digitally, there's no expensive paper or paint to waste!!

Perhaps surprisingly, this one turned out to be one of my favourites -

Next it was time to create some coordinating patterns.
Instead of the summer-y check ginghams I've been making to go with some of my flowery patterns, I felt that a  houndstooth check would be more appropriate; warm and woolly for those days when there was a definite autumnal chill in the air.

And then, by this time firmly in experimental mode, I went on to have great fun with this rather more complex than usual stripe!

And finally, the real fun bit - putting together all the patterns that resulted from that first quick 'scribble' with the watersoluble crayons -

I could have gone on and on - adding a matching polka dot pattern or some conventional stripes - where does one stop?

What has really surprised me is how easily the handpainted and the digital elements work together! I rather doubt whether I'll ever be tempted to create a pattern entirely on the computer. But even with the rather meagre level of digital knowledge I possess, clever computer programs can open doors to pattern developments that would be practically impossible by hand.

Can't help wondering, though, whether William Morris's patterns would have been any different if he'd had a computer!


Loubee said...

Lovely, bold, colourful designs. The leaves look very striking on the darker blue background.
Autumn is a pretty season with a vast array of colours, the only downside is you know winter is around the corner.

Itaya Art said...

So pretty! I couldn't help but think how pretty this design would be on fabric. Have you ever visited You can totally upload your designs to fabric!

I love the lighter aqua background with the striking oranges and reds. :)

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you for your comments, Loubee and Itaya. Glad you like my Autumn Leaves :)

I think winter has suddenly begun here with a drop in temperature from 13+ to 7 overnight last night! So the leaves won't be on the trees much longer.

And thank you for suggesting spoonflower; I am thinking of it as an option but holding off until I learn about all the other options in the second module of the course, starting soon. said...

Love you colors and patterns. You know I have some of those water soluble crayons and I've never used them. One of these days. AS I type I'm enjoying the wind blowing the colorful leaves on the tree behind my deck which looks very much like your beautiful design. :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Crystal - I know just what you mean about having a tempting new art product to work with and never finding the time to try it out! I bought my watersoluble crayons with vouchers that were a Christmas present and so far I've only used them twice!

I hope the wind doesn't get up to a dangerous level and that if it does, you will all stay safe!