Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gingham Style

My computer can barely handle this illustrator file. There are too many shapes. It took me way too long to add a simple gingham texture to my half-drop print.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I started over on my pattern project in illustrator, and now I can create repeats just fine! Here's the first one:

Here's another:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Getting schooled

Most of my pattern work lately has involved the Skillshare class I am taking. I am learning so much about how to use Adobe Illustrator and what a great tool it is for creating surface pattern designs.

I'm trying a tiling exercise tonight, but the pattern swatch I made is not clipping at the edge of the artboard like I intended, so you see double loaves, cheese, and artichokes. Hopefully I'll get some feedback from the class on how to make it right.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Henna 2

Patterns for hands and feet

I used a trick I learned online, drawing the outline with watercolor pencil before filling in the details.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Tonight's post is another Skillshare update. Tonight I learned about vectorizing drawings in Adobe Illustrator. I used the live tracing tool to retain my original color images.  First is the low-fidelity option:

low fidelity picnic drawing

It's a bit too cartoony. Now I brave the hard-to-edit but very sharp hifi option:

high fidelity picnic drawing

I did some minor retouches, especially in case my final image does not have a white background. I made the background layer bright pink and corrected any places in the shapes that had bright pink shining through. The images in blogger show up with a black background, which helps me see I need to tidy up my shapes a bit. The blur over the outline really doesn't work against anything but white.

I'll try to make time this weekend to actually turn this into a pattern!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pattern merch!

I've recently turned my patterns into cool stuff lately, thanks to all the wonderful printing capabilities around the internet. Aside from Spoonflower, here are some other items sporting my patterns:

First, I made myself some tiny business cards to promote my blog:

business cards promoting 365 days of pattern blog

I also ordered some stickers!

stickers promoting 365 days of pattern blog

more 365 days of pattern stickers

After switching jobs, I got a new work laptop, so I designed my own case on caseable.

laptop case featuring my earth pattern

opposite side of case featuring water / waves pattern

Mona loves it!

my cat sitting on my pattern laptop case

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Featured Artist: Mindy from ByMindy

Today’s featured artist is Mindy, a fabric pattern designer and children’s clothing designer. She runs her own Etsy Shop and Spoonflower store. Be sure to visit her website and like her on Facebook!

I discovered Mindy’s amazing patterns at this year’s Austin Renegade Craft Fair. This pattern of dangling crystals really captured my imagination. It’s so magical and has a wonderful color scheme. Today she shares her design process with us.

spoonflower crystals fabric design

A: What’s your background? When did you really get into art? Do you have formal training, or are you self-taught?

M: I was a painting major at the University of Kansas. I really truly love that medium; however it's expensive, and I found that I didn't have the drive to compete. Although I often fantasize about painting again. Maybe someday. I can't remember a time when art wasn't a huge part of my life. I've always loved it and done it in some form. When I was little I would watch Bob Ross and then make my Mom get out my watercolors. I would be so excited to try to create what he had and talk about the happy little clouds and trees. I love coloring books. I probably buy a new one every year. It's how I relax.

A: What (or who) are your inspirations?

M: I have a weird fascination with pods, they are a big inspiration. I try to draw from visuals that I see around me, symbols, shapes, colors.

A: How did you get started designing patterns?

M: I think my earliest memory of designing patterns was an elementary school project where we created our own tessellations. It was a really fun project and I remember after we were done I went home and made a ton more. I get a little obsessive about things. I am a perfectionist and will do something over and over until I am satisfied (which is never). As far as fabric designing is concerned, I just started. I created my first collection earlier this year. I'm very proud of it and excited to do more. I aspire to create a collection for every season each year, but that is a ways off. I work a full time job & run my own company (byMindy) on the side, so free time (free enough to fully delve into the creative new idea part of my brain) is difficult to find. I designed my current collection on an unofficial snow day; we had 12 inches and I couldn't get my car out, called in to work and designed away.

A: I notice you turn your beautiful patterns into a lot of cute baby goods like booties and bibs. Tell me about what inspired you to take your work in this direction.

M: Actually, sewing the baby shoes and bibs inspired me to design fabric. I still love to collect fabric from other designers (it's one of my favorite things to do, and I do it often and have a large collection), but I felt like there were choices that were missing that should be available. So I design them.

A: How does your medium influence your work?

M: I make baby shoes with the fabric that I design. I think that it really only influences my designs in two major ways: 1. nothing offensive, 2. scale (I try to ensure that the scale of my patterns will work with the size of my products.)

A Can you please describe your work process?

M: I decide on my color palette first. Then I gather up the inspiring images that I have collected. I sit on the floor in my living room with my laptop on the coffee table and my wacom tab next to it and I go.

A: What are your essential tools?

M: Laptop, Wacom Tablet, Photoshop Elements

A: Thanks for sharing!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Learning Illustrator: Cat colony

I'm still taking this Skillshare class where I'm learning why people pay an arm and a leg for Adobe Illustrator. This tool is really powerful and makes creating imagery a breeze. Look what I cooked up tonight:

cat pattern 365patterns

This one goes out to all the shelter cats, and to all the wonderful people who adopt a pet in need. <3

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Melt Disney World

Today's prompt was to use ice, and document the piece as it melts. I arranged ice cubes on a baking pan, and then used a time lapse app to record the pattern melting. It's interesting how the cubes turn as they melt. At first the frames were 5 seconds apart, but at the end, I set it to 20 seconds. I had never used this app before and didn't want too large of a file, but it worked out in the end.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Drawing blind

Today's challenge was to draw without looking at the page. This is especially hard because wild blind strokes on the iPad often lead to exiting paper53 and starting random apps. To compromise I only covered my eyes while drawing strokes, with quick peeks between strokes. This exercise gives me a good idea on how much I rely on sight for spacial layouts and balance.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spoonflower proofs are in!

I got something exciting in the mail this week: my fabric proofs from Spoonflower! It's interesting to see how the digital design translates into cloth. Some of the colors are less saturated in real life, like the sea green waves. 

For this reason I also purchased the full color map. The smaller color guide is a great intro, but you'll soon find it doesn't give enough flexibility. The map shows every printable color and will be an essential tool for me.

Back to the designs. I think the clouds is the strongest: good crisp lines and contrasting colors.

This black one is a little weaker. Notice the tiny white edges here: I'll need to recolor this one to remove that. So the black one is not for sale at this point.

The only other pattern that I don't think is ready yet is the green on blue waves. It just doesn't pop. I'm going to try a brighter green on that one.

The rest of the patterns are all for sale in my shop:
visit my spoonflower shop

I'm also continuing to work through this Skillshare course on repeating patterns. It's well worth the $20 (Use my link for the discounted price). I'm learning all sorts of things about Illustrator, and I like that it's self paced. Best of all, it connects me with other artists, so it's great to see other's creativity and get feedback on my project.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Moving day

Today my company moved into a new office. This meant a lot of IKEA setup. I'm totally drained, but in a spare moment I snapped this photo of a pile of allen wrenches. It might make for a cool pattern.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Skillshare Progress

Tonight I worked on the first part of the Skillshare class on Repeating Patterns in Adobe Illustrator. The goal of the class is to design a pattern to enter in Spoonflower's upcoming Picnic themed contest.

The first part of the project helped me come up with a concept. I've chosen "Gourmet Getaway" because if I have a picnic, I'm going to splurge on fine food.

Here are a few sketches:

Here's my class project, which I will update as I progress.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Skillshare class on patterns

Today I signed up for an online class for creating repeating patterns in Adobe Illustrator. It's only $20 with the new student discount, and you can do it at your own pace.

Reign Repeats: Create perfect repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator

The class involves creating a pattern for Spoonflower's picnic themed fabric design contest.

I also got a free 30 day trial of Illustrator from Adobe's website. I've heard lots of great things about this tool, but it is really expensive: $599 for the CS6 version. The newest version is actually a cloud-based subscription service for $19 per month. I dislike the system of subscribing to software instead of owning it, but Adobe holds the best stuff around, so I suppose they will get away with this.

Anyhow, I'm excited to learn from other artists!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Spotted: Around Boston (Saturday's Patterns)

I spent the weekend in Boston and photographed different patterns I found around town. First, here are some cool patterns from the Museum of Science. First is big cats:

This is coral, which has a neat organic structure:

I like the series of spots on this urchin:

Here is a Lepidodendron fossil, a prehistoric plant with scaly bark.

Here are some beautiful tiles from the T (subway):

I found some socks at the mall:

Lovely men's ties from Thomas Pink:

A Moroccan inspired pattern from kate spade new york.

Here's the beautiful wallpaper in the dressing room at the kate spade new york boutique on Newbury Street.

This cute giraffe pattern is from a tie by Salvatore Ferragamo.


This seahorse pattern is from J. Crew