One evening a couple of weeks ago, I doodled a design that included some periwinkle flowers from an old tracing I had made back in the 1980s when I was doing a lot of screenprinting.
I had been wanting to make a floral pattern that curved and trailed upwards in a natural-looking way and this seemed to be ideal for the purpose. So I experimented with various lay-outs and decided on a traditional ‘ogee’ shape for the basic unit of my main design. It came together really well at the sketching stage but I had never made an ogee-shaped repeat pattern and was entirely at a loss as to where to start.
|I didn't entirely succeed in getting rid of the distracting white lines|
I tried – and failed - to find an online tutorial. And members of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design group were unable to advise me how to go about this in Photoshop. After trying to work it out logically – but unsuccessfully – several times, and each time re-painting the pattern from scratch, I was tearing my hair out in exasperation! At one point I almost gave up.
And some of the related patterns that I made to complete the collection didn’t work as well as I’d hoped they would. It all pointed to the fact that my knowledge of Photoshop for making repeating patterns was still very shaky. I had discovered a few very helpful and time-saving tips in my attempts to make the ogee-shape repeat properly. So I thought it was likely that I could learn all that I needed to know if only I could give it some sizable chunks of time and my full attention instead of trying to fit in snatches of designing time around my normal work.
|I tried rearranging the flowers more times than I can remember - making a 'tossed' repeat isn't as easy as it looks!|
By the end of the week, I had tried and tested various instructions for making the different kinds of repeats, block repeats, half-drop, brick repeats and I had found a method of making a diamond repeat that could easily be converted to make the ogee repeats easily and accurately - next time!
|This motif is from a sketch I made of the periwinkles in my garden 25 years ago!|
I scoured the Internet and consulted my three books for ways to avoid having to ‘mend the seams’ in the more complex patterns – and discovered that mending the seams is normal practice. I also searched in vain for advice on how to avoid ‘tracking’ and ‘alleyways’ in a ‘tossed’ repeat and concluded that this is something that can probably only be developed through experience.
And here's the funny thing: when I came to make a ‘presentation board’ of my patterns, I noticed that, without being at all aware of what I was doing, I had created a collection that embodied my newly discovered ‘Country and Eastern’ signature style!