My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design

Learning the keys to successful surface design

12 Comments

valentine2015repeatsm
At the end of last year, I had just started ordering my pattern designs in wrapping paper and fabric. It’s totally different, to not only see the pattern printed, but then work with the gift wrap and fabric. As I wrapped presents in my designs and other designs, I became aware of things that I never noticed before. Most importantly that a lot of the designs have some elements that are upside down and some right side up. This way, there is no correct side.

Over the summer, when I ordered fabric in my sandcastles design, I experimented with making it into a pillow. I realized how important the size of the repeat is. If it is too big, and you try to make a small pillow (or wrap a small present), then most of the design gets cut off.

These are things you don’t notice when you are creating on the computer. As I continue to pursue surface design this year, my goal is to not only design patterns, but have them printed as gift wrap or fabric, and (most importantly) create something with them – to be the end user. I think it’s the best way for me to learn how to make successful designs.

Earlier this week I tweaked last year’s Valentine’s Day design and ordered a swatch (see above). Specifically, I changed how the pattern repeated. I’m am excitedly waiting it’s arrival! I am also working on a second Valentine’s Day themed pattern, that has more of a watercolor feel.

Original Repeat:
valentine'sdaypattern

To see the 12 patterns I designed in 2016, click here.

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Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Web and Print Designer living in New York. I blog about painting, illustration, and designing patterns. Inquires are welcome.

12 thoughts on “Learning the keys to successful surface design

  1. I like what you are working on Eileen, it’s fun to hear about the trails and successful results. Your pioneering the medium is helping me decide if I want to pursue surface design, I’m still in the fence. 😄

  2. Eileen, beautiful and inspirational post and I love your thought process!

  3. What an exciting adventure you are having, and so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and beautiful art.

  4. I agree! That’s why often I order the products of some of my ‘designs’, for lack of a better description, that I may not be truly happy with, just to see how they look. If it don’t work, well, I’ll either change it or remove it. I like today’s version of your Valentine’s design. 🙂

  5. Getting a smooth repeat is difficult. We used to have to design for knitting machines with very strict sizes and repeats, and this was before computers, so we had to make copies and paste them together and keep correcting and hanging them on the wall to look at until they looked right…which is always when you don’t notice the repeat! You are doing a great job with it. (K)

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