Pattern Applications

During my design process, I always keep in mind the potential applications of a pattern. It never ceases to fascinate me how an adjustment in scale or palette can completely transform a design. As an example, I’ll use this simple pattern, which I developed from a black and white lino print.

On a larger scale, using colourful palettes, this pattern would be perfect for bold and eye-catching cushion covers. On a smaller scale, with a sunrise-inspired palette, it would make a bright and cheerful mug – ideal for your morning caffeine boost. On a much smaller scale, with a subtle sage colour scheme, it adds understated depth and texture to a notebook cover.

Lino Printed Rings

These next patterns were inspired by the recent discovery of my dusty old Spirograph set. Vector graphics are a fun way to recreate these types of geometric shapes, minus the slipping plastic cogs. Here is how they would look applied to fabrics, books, phone cases and travel mugs.

Spiro Geometric Patterns

I love experimenting with gritty, grungy textures. To create this pattern I dragged coated foil boards along rough concrete and scanned the resulting damage. It was time-consuming selecting and arranging the best dings and scrapes, but the results were worth the effort. It would look great as gym wear, a grungy hoodie, a skateboard deck or a phone case.

Seamless Grunge

Here’s something perfect for your favourite space cadet, large or small. It’s a fun, space-themed vector pattern featuring planets and starbursts with a retro twist. It would be ideal for wrapping paper, sleepy-time fabrics and phone cases.

Space Cadets

There’s something deceptively engaging about designing striped patterns. So simple, yet so many variations in width, spacing, palette and medium. For this design, I transformed painted watercolour stripes into a versatile seamless pattern. Here it is visualised on a fun summer dress, a tote bag, a bath towel and product packaging.

Watercolour Seamless Stripes

The next pattern began as a set of gouache painted circles and rings which I vectorised and arranged into two versions. One is an irregular, slightly overlapping design, and the second is a more structured polka dot pattern. Here they are, in a variety of scales and palettes, visualised on cushion covers, mugs and clothing designs.

Gouache Brush Mark Circles

This faux-knitted vector pattern is ideal to make fun products for your favourite knitting fans. Currently, I’ve made two versions – a tight knit stitch and a looser version. These look great with both monochrome palettes and brighter colour combinations. Here you can see a variety of applications from simple, subtle pillows, a fun tote bag, novelty baby suits, bright phone cases, themed mugs and cushion covers.

Novelty Knitted Pattern

I love how a good pattern can add character, individuality and fun to everyday utility items. Here’s a variety of my patterns applied to phone cases and travel mugs.

Phone Cases and Coffee Mugs

Pattern Process

To create the elements that make up my patterns, I use a wide range of techniques. Pencil sketching, doodling, painting, printing, markers, pastels, scraping, scattering, splattering, photography and scanning. My most satisfying designs usually begin with some kind of organic, artistic process. Here are a number of examples.

A Return to Patterns

My work has focused heavily on abstract textures for a while now, but it’s like time for a long-overdue return to making surface patterns. I wish I had photographs of my early pattern doodles. There were hundreds of them over the years, but I can’t remember where they went. I do, fortunately, have piles of my later experiments, produced in the last decade or so.

Pencil and Biro Doodles
Ink and Pencil Doodles

I’ve doodled during long journeys. I’ve doodled in cafes. I’ve doodled between call centre calls and while TEFL pupils completed their work. One of the few times I didn’t doodle was when I was a graphic designer – which is partly why I’m not anymore.

More Doodles

So many years and so many doodles, yet I never explored their full potential. I did consider training as a tattoo artist, but I’m not sure I could make needles and blood my friends.

Even More Doodles

It feels good to do something that I love, and comes naturally to me. I seem somehow wired to see patterns everywhere I look. Bring on more patterns.

Urban Grunge Vector Textures

I love finding interesting textures in my surroundings, so I sometimes go hunting with my camera. In my town, I’ve found an abundance of grungy urban decay. Peeling paint, cracking walls, rusting metal, water and weather damage, pitted stone, lichen, gritty gravel and concrete – it’s amazing what’s out there if you look closely enough.

I made fifty urban grunge textures into black and white vector images traced from high-contrast photographs. These are for sale through my adobe stock portfolio.

The following thumbnails give an overview of the range of images I created.

Here are close-up detailed views of a selection of the textures.

The textures are perfect for simulating the effects of age, wear and decay in your photos and graphics.

They are also perfect for use as grungy abstract backgrounds in your graphic design projects such as stationery and flyers.

You could also add some hardcore grit and grunge to your text and images.

Save yourself hours of walking, photography and processing and let my textures bring the grungy urban world into your digital reality.

Powder Vector Textures

Can you guess what happens if you take a large sheet of paper, a packet of hot-pink Holi powder, a camera and a furry four-legged ‘supervisor’?

Things quickly get messy as I start chucking powder around, and fortunately, my cat loses interest.

But the mess is worth it as the results get interesting.

I gradually added powder, starting with a light sprinkle, and progressing to a heavy, textured layer of almost full paper coverage. I took photographs throughout the experiment and the end result is twenty-seven black and white powder vector textures which are for sale on Adobe Stock.

The following thumbnails show the full range of images.

Here are close-up detailed views of a selection of the textures.

The textures are great for adding irregular, organic texture effects to flat colour graphics and illustrations.

You could experiment with layering, changing blending modes or using colour and gradient fills to produce complex and colourful backgrounds.

Create eye-catching abstract backgrounds for use on product packaging.

I hope my few examples give you a taste of the creative possibilities offered by these unusual textures. They’re easy to use and ready to go, with no mess and zero powdery clean up required.

Scratch and Scrape Textures

In my ongoing hunt for unique texture possibilities, I decided to experiment with some scratchboard, or scraperboard as it’s known in the UK. It’s a heavy foil-coated cardboard with a scratchable matt-black top layer and is generally used to craft intricate and laborious metallic engravings.

Alternatively, you can drop it and scrape it (and your knees) around on the floor and up the walls, attack it with sandpaper and maybe even a fork. This enjoyably experimental destruction created an unusual variety of ‘scratch and scrape’ abstract textures.

I then digitised the boards to create a set of forty black and white ‘scratch & scrape’ vector textures. These are available to buy from Adobe Stock.

The following thumbnails show the full variety of textures.

The following are close-up details of a few of the images.

These textures are perfect for adding scratchy damage effects to your design or illustration.

They also make it easy to create strikingly grungy abstract backgrounds.

Create unusual and unique abstract images by combining, colourising, filling and blending.

I had a lot of fun creating this texture pack and the final results were definitely worth the effort.

Lino Printed Textures

I love the unpredictability of printmaking using lino sheets. Simple variations in ink density, applied pressure, and paper texture provide a wonderful variety of results. This is a small sample of the many sheets I printed to produce some versatile faux-printed textures. These can be purchased on Adobe Stock.

Photo of printed lino sheets

After scanning the printed sheets, I did minimal retouching to preserve the authentic ‘physical’ texture. Finally, I converted the scanned images to a series of forty-eight black and white vector files.

The textures range from dark and intense to light and subtle and are printed on a mixture of bristol board, cartridge and watercolour papers. The following thumbnails demonstrate the full range.

The following images show close-up details of a selection of the textures.

These lino printed texture files have a variety of potential creative uses. They are a perfect way to quickly create faux-printed effects in your illustrations or graphic designs.

They are also great for creating grungy distressed effects in your graphics or photographs.

The textures also make great abstract backgrounds.

Easily bring organic, physical textures into your digital work while saving yourself the time, mess and inconvenience of printmaking. Open an array of creative possibilities with these print-themed vector textures.

Digital Collage Experiments

I’ve been drawing, painting, tearing and scanning a variety of textures to make digital collages.

Preparation materials for digital collage experiments - Quirky Mundo
Preparation Materials for Digital Collage

I spent a long time retouching scanned torn paper, then I layered and arranged them into colourful collage backgrounds like this.

Magenta torn paper striped collage - Quirky Mundo
Magenta Torn-Paper Striped Collage

I’m looking forward to experimenting with some more varied colour combinations now I’ve thoroughly explored the monochrome palette options. These will be for sale within my stock image offerings.