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

Hand drawn to vector

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

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.

Oodles of doodles

Doodle pattern using watercolour and fine liner

One of the fun things about deciding to go try going down the stock image route is that I can get out all the old illustration experiments I did and then discarded on my previous attempts to make a signature style. One of the problems I’ve always had is settling on one way of doing creative stuff. Now I don’t need to.

Here’s a pattern I made from a loose doodle style using watercolour and fine liners. I like the light hearted brightness of this one.

Doodle pattern using watercolour and fine liner
Doodle pattern using watercolour and fine liner

This is now for sale as a stock seamless pattern and as fabric on Spoonflower , fingers crossed other folks like it too.

 

Separating styles?

Doughnut still life painting - acrylic on canvas

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.

 

Doughnut still life painting - acrylic on canvas
Doughnut still life painting – acrylic on canvas
Doughnut still life - mixed media gouache and pastel
Doughnut still life – mixed media gouache and pastel

One thing that has 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. Hmmm…

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Pinky bluey patterny

Of all the patterns I’ve drawn recently I think this one is my favourite. It’s hand-drawn and was composed as I went – no photoshop involved other than to clean up the scan. I also learned an important lesson about keeping my scanner dust-free as it took absolutely ages to clean up. I’m now the proud owner of some cleaning wipes for exactly that purpose.

rad_pinkblue

Lots of circles

I remember way back when I was doing a BTEC in Graphic design I did a project that needed a design for a Windsor and Newton Gouache box. I painstakingly painted a complicated circles pattern using said gouache. 27 years later and I’m back to drawing circles.

circles1blog

I was so happy with the result of that project that it was the turning point that convinced me that the graphic design option was going to work out. Which it did, for many years, until it didn’t any more. In hindsight I think it was actually the circle pattern that I was happy with, more than the graphic design elements that surrounded it.

Hindsight it a wonderful thing and all that… 😉

My happy place

I’m fortunate enough to have a small room set aside to work on my creative projects. Many a happy hour is spent tucked away in there with my mountains of markers, paints, pencils etc. My cat often comes to curl up on the windowsill to the left of my desk and keeps me company until she gets bored and decides I need a break. Then she’ll start stealing pens or munching on my kneecaps to make me pay attention to her. It’s more charming than it sounds.

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The beginning

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 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 🙂

doodles2
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. And so here I am…

It’s all for the love of pattern, colour and style.