Recently in my newsletter, I featured the work of block printer Marta Harvey.(My newsletter is a collection of all the things inspiring me – artists, mediums, places, and more. Sign up here.) As I sat looking at a blank page in my sketchbook I thought about Marta and how she creates a sliver of a mandala and then prints several times, in different directions, to form her mandalas. I decided to draw a circle and divide the circle into halves and quarters and fill the sections with different designs using watercolor. Then I scanned the page in and separated the different designs, and for each design I repeated it to form a circle. My eyes are open to a new way to design fabric prints!
I challenged myself to design one fabric print a month this year. Since June is winding down, it was time to get to it. When I first started designing patterns I would sit with a blank page and start drawing. Since then I’ve changed my approach. Now when I’m designing, I go to my sketchbook and paintings and look for artwork I’ve already created that would work well as a repeating pattern.
I’m in a summer frame of mind, so I selected this painting of goggles. Click here to read the details of the steps I take to create a pattern in Photoshop.
I tried designing a pattern with the goggles before, but didn’t have success. This time, I had a new vision. I isolated the goggles, leaving only a little of the blue background and adjusted the colors to create the goggles in every color of the rainbow. I struggled a bit with how to get the design to repeat perfectly when the goggles were in a diagonal line. Sometimes I make things harder than they need to be. So, I revised the design to be a more organic placement and in doing so made it easier to create the repeat. I added a blue background color. I’m excited for the fabric swatch of this design to arrive!
I enjoy designing fabric prints and love getting an email from Spoonflower that says someone ordered one. I’m excited to design some new fabrics with summer as inspiration. I have a few collaborations in the works, and am looking forward to seeing some of these fabrics put to use. If you sew, please contact me if you are interested in collaborating.
I’ve loved the pool since I was little. I swam on a swim team all year round as soon as I finished lessons, and continued all the way through high school. My mother was from the city and can’t swim well. When the family moved to the beach she decided all her children had to learn to swim. I’ve done the same with my kids. They pursue other things during the school year, but come summer they all swim for the local pool.
This print pattern was created from swimmers and watercolor areas in my sketchbook, combined and overlapped in Photoshop. I’ve lamented before that I can’t sew, but I’m determined to make something with this fabric – maybe a drawstring bag or headband. I’ve been pinning patterns on my Pinterest board. I just need to find a friend who sews!
Interested in making something with this fabric? Order it from Spoonflower. See my other print designs here.
Recently looking through my sketchbook, I found a page of citrus fruits I painted, and thought it was a great start to a print design. I scanned the page, and played around with the elements in Photoshop, to come up with the above repeating pattern design. I’m loving the bright yellow, orange, and green colors!
My Canson sketchbook is especially great for working in watercolor and ink because of the thick weight pages. And I love that the pages are bright white.
Here is the repeat:
Want to purchase this pattern, or see my other patterns, as fabric, gift wrap or wallpaper? Visit my Spoonflower shop here.
I’m on a mission this year to design a pattern a month! See my past designs here.
Want to learn how to create repeating patterns in Photoshop? Read this post.
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Nothing completes a day at the beach like a treat from the ice cream truck! I created this fabric print using illustrations from my sketchbook. Want to create a pattern from your illustrations? Follow the instructions below.
How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop
Scan your artwork (or draw your elements in Photoshop)
Create a new file in Photoshop that is the size of your intended repeat size.
Create a layer that is a solid color (will not be visible in the design – just for positioning. Mine is white.)
Double the size of the file (for example repeat is 3 x 4, make file size 6 x 8)
Use guides to Mark the repeat area (solid area)
Import the scanned artwork into your file
Separate the elements of your artwork into different layers
Size the elements and arrange them mostly within this rectangle (the guides) – elements can go over the guidelines.
Create a background color that is the entire file size – keep it out of all the groups we will be making (it needs to be positioned below all the other layers)
When you are happy with the arrangement create a group with all the layers – except the background color
Copy the group 2x, place one group to the left of the guide and one to the right using the color layer as a guide for positioning
Create a group of the three groups – the original, the right and the left, make a copy
Place the copy above the original group (above the guide)
Create another copy and place it below.
Turn off the color layer in each group that was for placement only
Do you like the arrangement of all the elements now that the elements are repeating? (If elements go over the guidelines in your design, this is where you will see if things accidentally overlap, or are too close to one another.) If yes go to step 18. If no go to step 17.
If not, delete all the groups except the original, adjust the position of the elements, and repeat the steps of copying the group and placing left and right and then making a group from the 3 groups and copying to place above and below.
To save the final repeat, first go IMAGE, CANVAS SIZE and enter the original repeat size.
Test your repeat – open the repeat, change background to layer, increase canvas size by double. Copy repeat layer and place to the right, left, above, below. Do the elements line up properly? If so yes…
Upload the final repeat file, and order a test fabric swatch. I use Spoonflower.com.
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At this point, you’ve probably put away your Christmas decorations. I apologize for being out of season, but I’ve designed a pattern with some of my Christmas countdown artwork, and am excited to share it.
In 2015 I designed a pattern a month. It was a very motivating challenge, so I’m doing it again in 2017. This Polar Bear, Penguin, Christmas pattern is my first design of the year. And I’m currently working on a design with my watercolor nutcrackers. Interested in pattern design? I’ve written a few helpful posts you may want to check out:
In 2016 I designed a handful of patterns, mostly using watercolors and hand drawn elements. I’m especially fond of the ink daisies overlaying the watercolor background. I plan on using this technique again.
I think the most successful patterns were created after the fact – when I didn’t set out to design a pattern. I created the artwork, and then said, “I like that, I think I’ll use it in a pattern.” Time to look through my sketchbooks and paintings! Many of my designs are available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap.
The other day a swatch of my Christmas Elves pattern arrived. It’s so exciting to see my designs off the sketchbook page, off the computer screen, and printed. And even more exciting…last week someone ordered my gardening fabric. I wish I could see what they make with it! I’m so proud of my growing collection.