My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Sunflower fabric print for fall

Sunflower fabric print for fallhttps://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/eileenmckenna
I used a favorite sunflower watercolor painting of mine and turned it into a fabric print design. The Watercolor Sunflowers fabric is available for sale on Spoonflower.com. I created the fabric design by scanning my painting and working in Photoshop. In Photoshop I create the “repeat” for the pattern – the small square or rectangle that repeats and lines up perfectly for a seamless design.

I create an artboard larger than my intended repeat size and use guides to mark the repeat. Elements can overlap the guides, but anything that goes over gets cut off. So for a sunflower that gets cut off on the top, the rest of it must exist at the bottom to complete the sunflower. Like this:
How fabric print repeats work | Eileen McKenna #surfacedesign
When I’m finished laying out the elements, I crop the image at the guidelines to create my repeat.
Here is the final repeat:
Watercolor Sunflowers fabric print design by Eileen McKenna

When it is repeated it looks like this:
Watercolor Sunflower Fabric Print Design by Eileen McKenna

For step by step instructions on turning your artwork into a repeating design, read this post:
How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints

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Watercolor: Building up the Layers

finalsunflowersketchbook
When I first started working in watercolor I was intimidated by paintings with highlights and shadows. I thought I couldn’t possibly paint several layers. I hoped I could paint one layer and make it good enough. As I got comfortable with watercolor, I realized it’s all about building up the layers of paint. You start out in the ugly stages and as you add, and add, you [hopefully] turn the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. I liked that you built it up, because mistakes could be covered or fixed. Each brushstroke wasn’t make or break. It’s a process.

This is what I was thinking about when I painted this sunflower this morning. How the ugly stage was awfully ugly! And how each layer of watercolor I added made the painting better. Originally I planned to add ink to the flower when I was done painting. As I got closer to finishing, I liked it the way it was. My daughter agreed.
sunphasebsunphase1
sunphase2sunphase5


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Working with outtakes

sunflowerouttakes
The other day, when I was painting sunflowers, I started several versions before selecting one to work on in more detail. Today I decided to see what I could do with two of these “outtakes.” I used an ink pen and started scribbling away.

The first outtake immediately reminded me of a feather (when the sunflower’s center flowed all over the paper). So I added ink and made it a feather.

Outtake #1:
feather1

The second outtake, looked like a bunch of sunflowers, so I added ink to make it look more finished. Lately I’ve been having fun playing with ink. In the past I shied away – thinking the outline had to be precise and perfect. Now I’m just scratching away, the way I would with a pencil. Is my style coming out?!

Outtake #2:
sunflowers2