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.
Arty Background Textures
I’ve been using a variety of media to produce my background textures. I love the effect I can get from high resolution scanned pencil lines. I produced two simple striped textures, one in pencil, and one inverted to look like chalk lines on a blackboard. These are for sale in my image collection on Shutterstock.
Hand-Drawn to Vector
I’ve been going through some more of my older hand-drawn patterns and making vector versions of them. It is pretty time consuming but I really like the results.
I love the pattern making tools in the latest version of adobe Illustrator, they are an efficient way to create complicated and accurate pattern repeats. I’m having a hell of a time getting the pattern tiles not to explode when the file is saved in a legacy version though. Stock agencies like Shutterstock want the file saved as an Illustrator 10 eps so it’s a problem I need to solve. I have some ideas on how to do that which will keep me busy.
I think this one will be good as a fabric pattern too so it will eventually end up on my Spoonflower collection too.
Oodles of Doodles
One of the fun things about going down the stock image route is that I can get out all my old illustration experiments. I’ve always had problems settling on one creative style so there are a few of them. Here’s a pattern I made from a loose doodle style made with watercolour and fine liners. I like the light-hearted brightness of this one.
One thing I’ve struggled with in recent years is the fact that I like working in different media and styles. I draw, paint, doodle, scan, retouch and vector away to my heart’s content but that doesn’t create a consistent style. Is this a problem I wonder?
I sometimes go fully old-school with acrylic paint on canvas.
It was always been drummed into me is that it’s OK to have a versatility of styles as a graphic designer but not such a good idea as an illustrator. I’m considering stepping back from the process of finding a ‘signature’ style and allowing the natural variety back into my work. A lovely friend has suggest that becoming a stock illustrator / designer may be a way to accommodate this idea. The more I think about it, the more I like it.
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