I’m so excited to announce my collaboration with fungiftwrap.com, a site that allows users to make one-of-a-kind wrapping paper using their own photos. What a special way to wrap a gift!
I enjoy designing and love the challenge of creating a pattern with a place for someone’s special photo. So far two of my designs have been added to the site:
How unique to give a gift with the recipient’s photo on it? Imagine how surprised and delighted they’d be. And the gift wrap at fungiftwrap.com is high quality, beautiful wrapping paper.
Here are two new fabric designs – Purple Royal Crown and Easter Bunnies. Purple Royal Crown was designed using an illustration I created back when Prince William and Kate had their first baby. I was recently inspired to create the pattern after watching The Crown on Netflix. Awesome show! The Easter Bunnies fabric was also created from an illustration in my sketchbook. You can see my growing collection of fabrics in my Spoonflower shop.
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My collection of seascape paintings is growing! Visit shop.eileenmckenna.com to see!
Last year I achieved a personal goal of mine by designing holiday gift wrap. Through Spoonflower I was able to have the designs printed and also made available to anyone else who might be interested in purchasing them. It was really cool to wrap gifts for the kids and family in wrapping paper I designed! Some of my supportive family bought the gift wrap and I saw presents wrapped with them at two family parties!
The gift wrap at Spoonflower isn’t cheap, but the quality of the paper is beautiful! And it’s reusable for wrapping other gifts or for crafts. Spoonflower also prints on fabric (their main business). I wish I sewed so I could make Christmas pillows to decorate the house. Maybe some day.
I’ve been going through the sketchbooks I filled last December for inspiration for a new holiday design. The elves caught my eye! They’ll probably make it into this year’s holiday gift wrap design.
Sunday was so warm, we could almost imagine working in the garden. Which reminds me … I recently uploaded my “Love Gardening” print to Spoonflower. I love the little swatch I ordered! I’ve been pinning ideas for projects I could make with the print. See my Pinterest board here.
Since my sewing skills are nil, I really need to team up with a sewing blogger. It could be a mutually beneficial relationship – I’ll design the prints, and you sew them into something great! Let me know if anyone is interested, or knows someone. 🙂
The “Love Gardening” print is available as fabric, gift wrap, and wallpaper! Click here to check it out.
Last February I designed my second pattern, ever, in the Valentine’s Day theme. As I continued throughout the year, designing more patterns, my style evolved and my techniques changed. I wanted to design another pattern, this year, in the same theme, to see how I would approach it differently. Even though last year’s design was created with hand drawn elements – it was painted digitally.
Last year’s pattern:
Learn more about that process here.
This year I painted, in watercolor, several squares in pinks and reds. I thought it would be interesting to arrange them as tiles. The squares would be uneven and irregular because they were hand painted. Then (separately) I painted several hearts and the word love. In Photoshop, I arranged the watercolor squares, and “knocked” the hearts and words out of the squares, and created a repeating pattern.
The original artwork:
This year’s Valentine’s Day Pattern:
I got extremely enthusiastic about my design and, even though I haven’t purchased a single Valentine’s Day gift, I ordered a roll of gift wrap from Spoonflower.com. I either have to start shopping for things to wrap, or start crafting. Hmmm, I have some ideas!
When I was little I wanted a pet monkey so badly. I told my mom, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep it in the closet when we go out.” As if that was the least of her worries. I doubt monkeys were on the approved pet list in my NYC suburb.
The latest Spoonflower design challenge is “Year of the Monkey.” A couple of weeks back, I played around in my sketchbook, but nothing great emerged. But, I couldn’t get the contest out of my mind. So, with just a couple of days left until the deadline, I started sketching again. See my sketches here and what I’m learning about surface design.
It feels great to follow through and enter the contest. Before I started “My Creative Resolution” in 2014, I was notorious for having an idea and not following through, especially if my first draft wasn’t successful.
If you’d like to check out the other “Year of the Monkey” submissions, or vote for someone you know’s design (wink wink) click here. 🙂
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.
To see the 12 patterns I designed in 2016, click here.
I’m really proud, and happy, that I followed through on my goal to start creating surface designs. I designed the first one in January, and decided to commit to “1 Surface Design a Month.” That goal, and the end of the month deadline, really pushed me to put in the work.
12 Surface Designs
January – Art Supplies
February – Valentine’s Day
March – Gardening
April – Dahlias
May – Sandcastles
June – Echinacea
July – Shells
August – Ice Cream Cones
October – Leaves
November – Nutcrackers
December – Toy Soldiers
I’m always asking you, “What’s your favorite?” And I would love to hear, but I’ll also tell you my favorites.
I really liked when I started using the technique of creating the ink lines and watercolor backgrounds separately and then merging them in Photoshop. I started this with the shell pattern. I think the watercolor really adds a depth that you can’t get with Photoshop brushes. I started this technique with the shells, and continued it with the leaves – which is my favorite design in this style.
My other technique is drawing the elements in my sketchbook and adding color in Photoshop. My favorite design, using this technique, is the Toy Soldiers. They are just so cute!
Will I be continuing with surface design in 2016? Absolutely! As you know, I’ve made the Nutcracker and Toy Soldier patterns available on Spoonflower, where you can have them printed as fabric or gift wrap. It is really interesting to see the designs printed and to think about how it will be used. It makes you think about the design, and what works and doesn’t. It’s a different perspective than just seeing it flat on the computer screen.
In the new year, I’ll be adding a few of the other “12 designs” onto Spoonflower. And I plan to continue designing one new one a month!
I’m so excited to announce that this Nutcracker pattern is available on Spoonflower and can be ordered as fabric or gift wrap! I just received some Nutcracker fabric and I’m excited to make something with it for the holidays!
You all know how passionate I’ve been about surface design this year! I’ve been wanting to take the next step, and see these patterns in action. And make them available to anyone else who is interested in them. I plan on adding some of the past year’s pattern designs to my Spoonflower shop too. If there is a particular one you are interested in, please let me know (links below).
This Nutcracker pattern is my “November” design. I know it’s jumping ahead of Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t help myself! I’ve already uploaded another holiday design and am waiting to see it printed. I’ll share with you, once I have it in my hands!
My surface designs this year:
January – August
September (includes a tutorial on making a repeating pattern)