Here is my pattern design for September. As you may have seen, I’ve been drawing and painting feathers all month, so it’s seemed appropriate to turn them into a pattern. I pieced this pattern together from my sketchbook (see below). I wanted this pattern to be much tighter than ones I’ve designed so far this year. This tighter pattern, required more playing and arranging in Photoshop becauses once I thought the pattern was “set” and I tried repeating it, things would overlap and I’d have to readjust and try repeating it again.
If you know Photoshop and want to try creating a pattern, I’ve included my steps below.
Creating a pattern in Photoshop:
- Scan artwork
- In Photoshop: separate each element of your design into different layers
- Within your artboard, create the area for your “repeat” using guides. (translation: use guides to create a box within your artboard. You can expand the canvas size before this step.)
- Arrange your elements. They can go over the guides.
- On a separate layer outline the guides to make a box.
- Create a group with the box and element layers – call it “original”
- Duplicate the “original” group. Drag to the right so the left edge of the box touches the right guide
- Duplicate the group again. Drag to the left so the right edge of the box touches the left guide
- Select the three groups and duplicate them. Drag the 3 duplicate layers up, so the bottom of the boxes touch the top guide
- Duplicate the three groups again. Drag them down, so the top of the boxes touch the bottom guide
- If any adjustments need to be made – delete all but your “original” group, make the adjustments and repeat steps 7-10
- When you are happy with your repeating pattern, hide all the layers with the box outline.
- Crop to the guides to create your “repeat.”
Below, you can see my boxes. The center box is where I have my guides (which are not visible).
Slight variations on my feather pattern.
No distress in the background.
Distress shows yellow.
Which one do you like best? 🙂
Copyright 2015 Eileen McKenna. All rights reserved.
I didn’t even realize I loved trees until they kept popping up in my paintings and illustrations. Drawing feathers was more of an accident. I was painting a sunflower when the watercolors bled beyond the shape of the sunflower. I moved on to another version, putting this accident to the side. Over the next couple of weeks whenever I looked at this accident, I saw a feather. Eventually I added ink details to turn it into a feather. You can read more about that “happy accident” here.
Since this “accident,” I’ve draw a lot of feathers, especially over the last couple of weeks. Recently I sketched several feathers in my book. I wanted to add a color background to them, so I started over and drew more feathers on watercolor paper.
For two of the paintings I started with the simple outline of feathers, then painted the backgrounds, and a little color to some of the feathers. I added the feather details in ink after. On the third painting, I painted a feather shape with a pink, purple, blue blend and added ink details afterwards.
I have a good feeling my September pattern will end up being feathers! 🙂
Here is the final logo I wrote about 2 weeks ago in Part 1- Adding illustration to a logo design project. This is the logo project where I really put my years of illustration practice to work!
I was really excited about creating something for the city I was born and raised in. They wanted elements of both the City of Long Beach and the Fall Festival (which the logo was for). Who better than someone born and raised there?
I used the boardwalk, which Long Beach is know for, as well as the iconic City Hall building. And I had to include the bay, because after all, Long Beach is part of a barrier island. Our concept is to modify this logo for other events, by switching out the Fall Festival elements, but maintaining the City elements.
If you are interested in seeing more of my design work please visit my website: www.eileenmckenna.com
I’d love to squeeze in one more beach day, but other than that I’m ready for the hot and humid weather to end. I’m looking forward to those crisp Fall days, with blue skies and beautiful foliage all around. I’m excited about new seasonal things to inspire me – leaves, acorns, pumpkins. I’ve already started doodling and collecting them. Maybe it’s too soon, but it’s nice to have new “material” to work from! Are you ready for Fall?
Lately I’ve been using a really smooth gel pen in my sketchbook. I’ll pick a subject and draw it over and over, while watching TV. It’s very relaxing. The doodles usually get better and better as I practice.
As you can see I’m usually watching shows about making desserts! And pretzals are my favorite TV watching snack.
I need to find a similar smooth gel pen that is waterproof – Any recommendations?
I can’t believe it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school. This year we go back before Labor Day, which seems like a crime, especially because we live near the beach. This Summer went so fast and the kids are growing up. 😢
When they were little, by this time in the Summer, I’d be exhausted and wishing for the start of school. Now, two out of three are teenagers, and I realize how precious our time together is! College is just a few years away. 😪
After the debacle of the sunflower. I decided to practice on a scrap piece of paper before starting a painting of an Echinacea flower. This way I would have a plan on how to paint it.
The scrap paper coneflower came out pretty good, so I started my painting. I loved the start of this painting. But when I went back to add some details I felt like I messed it up. Why is it that working quick can look great, but sometimes when you work harder at something (more deliberately), you overwork it, and ruin it?
So here I am with a scrap of paper, that several people love, and an unfinished painting. And I am stuck.
I wrote the above 4 weeks ago! Ironically yesterday’s post was “Forcing myself to finish.” This Echinacea flower project is a great example of me not finishing – I felt I had ruined it, didn’t know how to proceed, so I stopped. Two days ago, I pulled it out, added details in ink, and declared it finished.
No matter how a project comes out it feels great to finish!
One thing I’ve learned about myself as an artist, is that I dive into a project with enthusiasm. I think it’s the Aries in me [read more about that here]. It’s great for starting a project, but for me, a couple of things can get in the way of finishing a project.
- I lose enthusiasm.
- A new project grabs my attention.
- I get worried about ruining a project.
- I’m not sure how to proceed because I haven’t planned things out.
When I started my creative resolution I forced myself to finish a bunch of forgotten projects. I also forced myself to finished most of the new projects I started. And I adapted to work within my personality. Most projects I work on, I finish within a few days – before the enthusiasm fades or I get sidetracked (or I get paralyzed worrying about ruining it or I start to overthink the next steps).
Recently I started this pool painting. I forced myself to paint, what I thought of as the hardest part of the painting – the lane lines – before I left for a short trip. I knew that if I could get that step out of the way and left only the pool water and a few minor details, I’d be much more likely to finish this painting when I got back.
Some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last year and half, have less to do with painting and technique, and more to do with how I work. And how to get things finished.
When I look back on what I was working on last year and compare it to this year – I’m amazed. I feel like I have developed and progressed so much as an artist.
Last year at this time – I was still not using watercolor paper! I just started adding details in ink last August. Now I add ink to many of my paintings. It seems like a lifetime ago.
Projects from last Summer
As I looked back at old posts I realize something else. I was all over the place trying different things, which was great, but I’ve become much more focused. I still try new things but there seems to be more of an overall continuity. A stamp of “me” on my projects. I’m curious – do you see the difference too?
Putting in the time and work is really worth it. I may not realize it everyday, but when I look back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come.