My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design

Designing Patterns – important things to remember.

16 Comments

monkeysketch
If I knew what I was getting into, maybe I wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about pursuing pattern design. Ha ha. I say this because I am realizing all the aspects that go into designing for fabric, gift wrap, and beyond. My head was spinning a bit this weekend, as all I took it all in.

Things I need to remember:

  1. Select colors from a color guide, don’t rely on the computer screen. As a graphic designer, I should know this, but I get caught up in the screen colors and forget. Then my swatch arrives and I’m surprised by the colors! And I have a fabric swatch of Spoonflower’s color guide! Now, I’m keeping it next to my computer.
  2. What is the repeat? I get caught up in the illustrations, and forget that the way they work together is almost more important than what they are. I’m reading an interesting book called Patternalia, An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns. It’s a quirky book. I’ve already started to look at patterns differently. In the book, they mention pattern effects like “figure-ground reversal – This is where the figure and background are equally sized and therefore easily confused with each other.”
  3. Observe other patterns. I find observing helpful when I’m trying to learn something new. Looking through patterns, determining if I think they are “successful,” and why, is really helping me. Again, it is all about how the elements work together and repeat.
  4. Is simpler better? I definitely overcomplicate things. I need to remember that simple is often better. Some of the successful Spoonflower patterns I looked through, had the simplest elements.

I decided to give the latest Spoonflower contest a try: The Year of the Monkey. I started by doodling in my sketchbook. At first, my monkeys were downright scary – too realistic, too scary. After I simplified them, they got cuter. When I had a few I liked, I started to sketch out how they could work together. I was getting very detailed and complicated, with many elements. When I sat at the computer, and scanned in my favorite illustrations, I made the decision to simplify. The deadline is today after all! 😉

Planning the pattern:
monkeysketch2

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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.

16 thoughts on “Designing Patterns – important things to remember.

  1. Wonderful comments and observations for the pattern making Eileen, good luck with the contest.

  2. I enjoyed seeing your sketchbook, Eileen! Really cute monkeys! Good Luck in the contest! 🙂

  3. Good luck, Eileen! They are very cute!

  4. Love the monkey with the bananas. (K)

  5. Pingback: Bananas for Monkeys | my creative resolution

  6. These monkeys are soo cute! I would totally buy it!

  7. Pingback: Polar Bear, Penguin Christmas pattern | my creative resolution

  8. Love the monkey in the bottom right corner, so cute!
    robert

  9. Pingback: How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop | my creative resolution

  10. Pingback: Designing print patterns – one a month | my creative resolution

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