My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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A Creative Collaboration {A Drawstring Bag}

Free Sewing Pattern for a Delux Drawstring Bag with Pockets. Swimmer pattern, Perfect for the pool!
Since starting to design fabric prints, I’ve lamented that I can’t sew. A few months ago I decided to look for someone who can. The first person I found when I googled “sewing blog” was Mary Sigler-Earle of thedailysew.com. Mary was the second person I reached out to. I gave her the link to all the fabrics that I’ve designed and simply stated,

“I’d like to offer you free fabric, from one of my own fabric designs. My motivation? Seeing them turned into something beautiful! I can’t sew at all, but love designing fabric prints! And a mention on your blog would be awesome! I’d in turn post on my blog.”

I was thrilled when Mary said yes. She didn’t hesitate in picking the “Swimming Laps” design, but as she writes in her post she did hesitate in deciding on a sewing project, eventually picking a drawstring bag because of something I wrote in a post. You can download the drawstring bag pattern here.

It’s amazing when you meet the nicest people – all from a google search! Mary put a lot of work into designing and sewing the bag, and creating the pattern and thorough instructions with photos to go with it! My younger son said to me, “Do you get the bag?” I told him no, it wasn’t about getting the bag, but seeing it turned into something. But guess what? Mary wrote that she wanted to send me the bag.

Of course I was thrilled, look how cute it is! I wrote to Mary and said that I really got the better end of this collaboration! She put so much time into it. How could I ever thank her? How about some more fabric?

Download the FREE drawstring bag pattern here.
Order my fabrics on Spoonflower here.

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A Painting from Start to Finish

Watercolor Swim Race by Eileen McKenna.

On your mark, get set, go! First, I painted the swimmers, lane lines, etc.

Step 1 Painting swimmers

Then I added the water.

Step 2 painting swimmers

Then more water, especially around the swimmers.

Step 3 painting swimmers

Lastly, details to the line lines and white gouache for splash around the swimmers, and I reached the finish line. 😉


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Painting swimmers

Swim meet warm ups. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

A few years ago I did the painting below. Since then I’ve thought of painting another version of it. Yesterday, I finally did.

Swimming Laps watercolor painting

As I started, I decided to tape off the edges with thick painter’s tape, to create a white border. First I painting the swimmers, so I could add blue (water) over parts of them.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

When they were dry I painted the water. I had marked where the swimming lanes would be and tried to keep the blue in these areas lighter.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

I painted the swimming lines next using a flat brush and red paint and white gouache.

Swimming Laps. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

I added more blue to darken the water in spots and added white gouache around the swimmers for splash.


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A swimming pattern…perhaps

Swimmers in my sketchbook. An idea for a pattern design.

My goal this year is to design a pattern a month. So as the month starts to wind down, I’m thinking about swimmers.

Last month I created an ice cream truck pattern from illustrations in my sketchbook. It’s available for purchase on Spoonflower here.

Ice cream truck print pattern / fabric

Ice Cream truck treats fabric print on a pillow

In January I designed a penguin polar bear pattern. Available here.

polar bear penguin Christmas pattern with Christmas trees, wreaths, and mistletoe

See all my designs in my Spoonflower shop.

Want to learn how to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop? Read:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.