I actually am juggling a few job related things (that I sadly cannot share) so I thought I'd share a personal project I'll be working on as time becomes available. I have always been attracted to surface and pattern design. Even when I was little, I believe I was unconciously drawn to print and pattern because I really enjoyed looking at lovely packaging, stationery and greeting cards. I used to hoard my favorite cards I received on birthdays and holidays in a box. I still do keep our kids cards now.
This personal project I'm creating is a surface design collection. I've taken a few Skillshare classes (list below) to help me learn and understand what it takes to get into surface design.
Okay, so I understand there are tons of designs that feature adorable woodland creatures so it might seem counterintuitive to create another, but I wanted to. I like creating things that I personally like, think is cute and would purchase on items. I also felt that this would be a good opportunity to test the waters and use this project as a learning experience.
Forest Friends Floral - Process Story
First I picked a topic/theme for my collection which is "woodland floral". Then I started sketching out ideas. Initially I just drew random things that fit the theme in my sketchbook.
After sketching out tons of elements, I started tracing them in Illustrator (top left and right images).
After tracing out a lot of elements I started realizing I had no idea what I was going to do with them. They didn't seem to fit together and I was just at a loss of how to start organizing and composing them in patterns. Back to the sketchbook! I decided to plan out my pattern designs, what elements to use and their possible placement in a design (photo collage above, bottom two images). I'm not sure if others work this way but I found I was more confident and focused when I went back into Illustrator with my designs.
I still used the previously traced elements (I had worked them into my planned sketches) along with new elements. I still had to massage and move around the elements to get a layout I liked but I found I felt better about the process working this way.
I learned in Elizabeth Olwen's Skillshare class, Pattern Design II: A Creative Look at a Full Pattern Collection, that in addition to the patterns, it's also good to have a few coordinating spot illustrations.
I got a little carried away with this cute little guy so he will probably sell as a print in one of my shops in the future! I love how much mileage I'm getting out of my traced elements. It's an investment, a great deal of time and prepwork and execution up front but I can reuse them later in a lot of pieces.
Here is another friend that will end up as a spot or fully illustrated print soon:
In case you are interested in learning more about pattern and surface design please check out these Skillshare classes. Not only did I learn a lot about surface design, I did gain a few new tips and tricks in Illustrator (which is often hard to come by after 10+ years of experience using the program)!
List of Resources
Great for beginners:
- Pattern Design I: Creating Inspiring Repeats
- Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator | Create Patterns
- Learn to Draw Digitally II : Flower Arrangements