Pattern Process

I use a range of techniques to create the elements that make up my patterns. Pencil sketches, doodles, painting, printing, markers, pastels, scraping, scattering, splattering, and photographing or scanning objects. I find that the most satisfying designs start with some kind of organic, artistic process.

Here’s a selection of examples.

A return to patterns

My work has focused heavily on abstract textures for some time now but it feels like time for a long-overdue return to making seamless patterns. I wish I had photographs of my early pattern doodles done as a kid. There were hundreds of them but I can’t remember what became of them. I do, however, have piles of doodles from the last 10 or so years.

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doodles1
Old black and white doodles

I’ve doodled during long journeys, I’ve doodled in cafes, I’ve doodled between calls in call centres and while pupils completed exercises when I was a TEFL teacher. About the only time I didn’t doodle was when I was a graphic designer – which is partly why I’m not any more 🙂

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More doodles

So many years and so many doodles yet I never really did anything with any of them. I considered training as a tattoo artist but I’m not sure I could make needles and blood my friends.

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Even more doodles

Many wise proverbs speak of doing something you love and that comes naturally to you. Check and check. Bring on the patterns.

Urban grunge vector textures

I love finding interesting textures in the world around me and sometimes walk around my town with a camera. I’ve found an abundance of grungy urban decay such as 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 detail views of a small selection of the textures.

The textures are perfect for simulating the effects of age, wear and decay on 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 grunge textures bring the grungy urban outside 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 my cat fortunately loses interest.

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

I gradually added powder, starting with a light sprinkle, 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 detail 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 cleanup required.

Lino printed textures

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

Photo of printed lino sheets

After scanning the printed sheets I kept any tidying and retouching to a minimum 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 wide 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 new creative possibilities with these print-themed vector textures.

Digital collage experiments

I’ve been drawing, painting, tearing and scanning a variety of textures to experiment doing some digital collage.

Preparation materials for digital collage experiments - Quirky Mundo
Preparation materials for digital collage experiments – Quirky Mundo

I spent quite a long time retouching the scan of the torn paper strips and now I’m layering and arranging them into colourful collage textures like this:

Magenta torn paper striped collage - Quirky Mundo
Magenta torn paper striped collage – Quirky Mundo

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

 

Arty background textures

I’ve been trying to use a variety of media to produce my background textures. I love the effect I can get if I scan pencil lines at very high resolutions. 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.

Background texture featuring horizontal pencil lines - Quirky Mundo
Background texture featuring horizontal pencil lines – Quirky Mundo

Background texture featuring horizontal faux chalk lines - Quirky Mundo
Background texture featuring horizontal faux chalk lines – Quirky Mundo

Printable craft papers

I opened an etsy shop to sell my patterns as printable craft papers. It’s a surprisingly time consuming process but I figure once each listing is up there it’s done and can be used as many times as I want in the future. Here’s an example:

Printable craft papers full set preview - Quirky Mundo
Printable craft papers full set preview – Quirky Mundo

Concentric Polka printable papers first 4 colours - Quirky Mundo
Concentric Polka printable papers first 4 colours – Quirky Mundo

Concentric Polka printable papers second 4 colours - Quirky Mundo
Concentric Polka printable papers second 4 colours – Quirky Mundo

Concentric Polka printable papers third 4 colours - Quirky Mundo
Concentric Polka printable papers third 4 colours – Quirky Mundo

I’ve had no sales so far but then I’ve done zero promotion. I’m looking into setting up the usual suspect social media stuff for Quirky Mundo to see if I can drive some more traffic to my selling sites.

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. Here’s an example:

Hand drawn to vector versions of a lime and blue floral pattern
Hand drawn to vector versions of a lime and blue floral pattern

I love the pattern making tools in the latest version of adobe Illustrator, they make it fun to get complicated and interesting 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.