Indigo Botanicals

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been about two months since I’ve written anything! The past few months have been pretty crazy actually and have simply flown by – most days I have no idea what week it is, whether I’m working tomorrow or sometimes where I am. But, through all that, I have actually managed to do a bit of creating in between the crazy!

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At the museum I work in, there has been a live Natural Dyeing project where people from all over the world have sent in skeins of yarn dyed using all kinds of plants, bark, roots, seeds, etc. Some of the results are truly spectacular and I have really enjoyed watching it grow. Have a look at their Instagram to see what incredible colours have been created!

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This exhibition really inspired me to try working with just Indigo as a starting point. I love blue and white – I wear a hella lot of navy and dark blues, so indigo had a natural pull for me. This also seemed like a really good way for me to experiment with using more wet, tangible mediums in my pattern design, as often I take my sketches straight to the computer for final artwork and colouring. I am really enjoying the process of using watercolour and inks to create motifs, and though it’s certainly far from perfect, I feel like this collection is definitely helping me expand my style and give me more confidence in using different media to design!

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Hope you enjoy the results so far!

Zoë xoxo

Paintly Patterns

Whew I’m glad February is over – although it went quickly this month felt like a slog. Getting sick with a horrible flu, super gloomy weather, work feeling like a grind…but I am determined that March is going to be full of bright and better things! Having spring flowers popping up all over the place is definitely helping my mood as well 🙂

So what have I been doing? Well I learnt to knit! So far I’ve completed one slightly wonky scarf and I’m halfway through creating some slightly wonkier fingerless gloves! Let the craft revolution commence!!

More importantly though, I’ve been thinking about how I can incorporate some more illustrative style into my pattern work. I really like drawing by hand, and although that’s how all of my patterns start, I feel like a lot of that unique, hand drawn style is lost once I put it into Illustrator. Not that there’s anything wrong with the patterns I’ve created, I still like them, but it would be nice to have a more painterly feel to my creations. So I challenged myself to create a complete pattern purely from hand-inked and/or watercoloured drawings alone.

I started with this pen drawing of bunches of hydrangeas using my navy Muji pen…

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I didn’t really have a clear direction of what I was going to do, I was kind of just trying things and seeing what happened. I decided to wash over the drawing with water and see if the pen would bleed a bit, adding some tone. TOTALLY WORKED!

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The lines stayed really clearly defined, but the water allowed just enough pigment to flow over the drawing and I was able to create some really nice highlights and shadows. WIN! Totally going and buying some more Muji pens next time I get the chance!

I then scanned my hydrangea doodles into Photoshop and started to play. Usually patterns are way easier to create in Illustrator as each motif is simpler to manipulate and move around inside a pattern block. However, I wanted to use my original line work and use some transperancy in order to build up my pattern, so Photoshop was my best option. For added texture and colour I also scanned in a watercolour wash of hydreagea-inspired colour which I could layer underneath some of the line-drawings.

And so…Voila!

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The finished pattern! I’m pretty pleased – it’s possibly not my most refined piece ever, but for a first experiment in Photoshop-created, hand-drawn-only, pattern creation, it’s not at all bad 😀

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Christmas Paper cuts

Life has been pretty full leading up to Christmas. I took part in the Brighton Etsy Made Local Christmas Market, which was a fantastic experience! As a last minute ploy to decorate my stand I started making little paper cut decorations. I hadn’t really done any papercutting since I made an anniversary present for my aunt and uncle, mainly because it takes soooooo loooooooooong. But I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be a create Christmas project.

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They turned out so beautiful, I HAD TO CONTINUE!! They were actually one of the most commented things on my stand. Suddenly all my various Secret Santas were getting paper cut decorations for their gifts.

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I see lots of paper cutting in my future. And possibly a die-cut machine, so that my hand doesn’t hurt so much.

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Artist Crush: Andrea Lauren

I first came across this amazing lady on Spoonflower, falling in love with her geometric, animal inspired patterns.

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Andrea Lauren’s Llama print

But what I love most are her intricate linocut prints! They’re simply gorgeous, I love the way she layers colours, and she gives a great insight into her process through her Instagram pictures.

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Andrea Lauren print

Isn’t that gorgeous?! It certainly makes me want to try my own hand at linocut, though I think it will take me quite some time before I can create something this detailed!

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Andrea Lauren print

Check out more of her work at http://www.inkprintrepeat.com/

Fun with Brush Pens

I have wireless again!!! The last few internet-less weeks have felt looooong – but I guess it did give me time to focus on other things (well other than stealing internet from the pub over the road…) – like drawing! I’ve had this Japanese brushpen for a little while now and haven’t really used it much, so I thought I’d try it out with a bit of doodle – I like the illustrated list thing.

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FUN!! So fun. This may be my new favourite way to draw things now. The lines just have so much character, everything kinda looks like it’s dancing!

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Yum breakfast! I coloured my vegetable design and made it into a pattern…

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…but to be honest I think it looks just as fun in black and white.

What do you think? Any suggestions as to what I should draw next? Any thoughts appreciated!

Pattern Summer School

All creative people find themselves sometimes just drawing a blank. I can spend hours staring at my computer trying to think of something to draw or make and nothing happens. So as a prompt for my pattern productivity I signed up to do the Make it in Design Summer School to make myself sit down and create something – even if it turns  out badly. They’ve been really useful so far: I find that, for me, creativity needs some sort of restrictions to really give some brilliant results – if the options are limitless I just find myself becoming paralysed because I don’t know where to start!

The Summer School works by setting creative briefs with a theme to design a pattern to. First briefs are in and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Beginner: French Riviera/Nautical theme

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Ok so I cheated a bit with this one: I took a pattern that I had already created and just played around with the elements and a new colour scheme to fit with the French Riviera theme. I added the diagonal stripes too which took a lot of tweaking to get right, but overall I’m pretty happy with the result.

2. Intermediate: Meadow theme

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A field of wildflowers is encapsulated in this colourful pattern

I found this one way easier as florals seems to be my go-to for pattern creating, and I had a lot of photos and sketches of wildflowers to draw upon. I could see this pattern making a pretty gorgeous dress or looking nice on some home textiles.

3. Advanced: Pop Art

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Ok so this one was way harder! I do really like pop art and that bold cartoony style that’s becoming really popular in acrylic jewellery (think Tatty Devine or Designosaur). However, artistically, it is really not my thing at all. In the inspiration pictures pineapples popped up a lot, so I ended up doing a pineapple based thing. I’m not super jazzed with it – some of the simpler ones I created later I liked much more – but at least now I know that my pop art skills might be something for me to work on!

Hope you enjoyed my new patterns! Let me know what you think below! 🙂

 

Vintage crafting with Perler beads

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One day during my regular Amazon browsing for random art supplies and crafty things I came across something magical. Something from my childhood that I had completely forgotten about until that moment. I found a bucket of perler beads. You know perler beads, the colourful little plastic bits that you make into a design and iron over to magically make a melted plastic picture? I LOVED doing this when I was little, I could make little melty flowers and hearts and stars for hours and hours. The actual finished product was not the point – I mean how many coasters and fridge magnets do you really need? – but the act of painstakingly placing each colourful bead onto a spiky tray and watching with joy as Mum transformed it into something solid was just the best – and somehow amazingly satisfying!

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The urge to relive the glee of that childhood past time was so strong that I found myself adding it to my virtual basket and going to the checkout before I even knew what was happening, and oh what fun I have had! What colourful coasters I have been able to create (though seriously if anyone knows of anything else I can make with perler beads please tell me!)

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My set was party themed so I got a rainbow selection of colours and trays shaped like cupcakes, so naturally I had to make a few. Like a kid I happily spent a whole afternoon trawling through thousands of colourful beads to make citrus slices and cupcakes to my heart’s content. I think they’d make a fun little handmade gift for friends, or maybe to stick as a removable design on a thank-you card. All round an excellent (and actually rather cheap) way to fill a rainy day!

 

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I’d love to see some of your amazing perler bead creations! Post a pic below and share your creativity!

Artist crush: Jessica Hische

It’s a long time since I did my first artist crush post about Erik Marinovich, but I really enjoy sharing my artistic inspirations/icons and talking about how awesome they are!!

If you love hand lettered anything haven’t heard of Jessica Hische, then this blog post is for you because she has amazing typography skills! Her work has been published on pretty much everything, from book covers to art prints to product labels. She did a beautiful typography collection of hardback classics for Penguin Books and is responsible for the MailChimp logo too. Take a look at some of her work below…

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And she has a fantastic class on Skillshare about designing stand-out drop cap lettering, inspired by the Penguin Books project, where she talks about her process and design journey, in all her nerdy glory!

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Amen sister!  Her website is pretty awesome (if you click on the heart on the top right corner you can change the setting to different modes, including teenage girl – complete with flashing stars and unicorns! Check it out here!)

Do you have a favourite designer that you want to share? Tell us all about them in the comments below!