Wow such a lot has happened since I last updated the blog. If you wondered whether I’d left the country or perhaps decided to take a rest, you’d be wrong. These past few months (almost half the year in fact) I’ve been busy teaching myself surface design and pattern design. It’s been a long old process and at times I’ve wondered if I’d ever get it at all. With a computer full of images, drawings and paintings waiting to be digitized and ideas coming out of my ears, I made a few steps towards fulfilling an ambition to see my designs on actual products. With my background in papercrafts naturally I’m gravitating towards prints, cards, journal covers and wrapping papers but of course there’s nothing stopping me from seeing my prints on fabrics, wallpaper or mugs. Just about anything is possible so I’ve learned.
After taking many workshops and courses over the past few months to learn properly how to create patterns in Illustrator, I enrolled into Summer School with Make It In Design. It turned out this was just the push I needed to put all my theory into practice. We were given real briefs from trend experts and encouraged to source our own inspiration, come up with images and designs then try them out on mock up’s.
My first few patterns were a bit dodgy until I found my feet but once I started to think like a pattern designer it became much easier. I’m beyond thrilled with myself. I joined their intermediate track as I didn’t think I had the skills to go advanced but I’ve definitely surprised myself with what I’ve achieved. I think Summer School has really given me the push I needed to take all of the theory I’ve learned over the past few months and put it into practice. I’m not sure if it’s all totally cohesive to be a collection but I like it.
Most of these designs started out as hand drawn sketches, painted, or in the case of the doily’s gel printed and I love it. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve learned a lot for sure.
If someone was to ask me what my style of painting was, I’d be a bit stumped to be honest. I tend to flit about a lot but I do become a little bit obsessive when it comes to trying new things.
For example, I like to draw and paint from nature as near to realistic as possible and love to add the smallest details. Pen and ink, watercolour pencils and paints all add their bit to create something which I think looks fairly decent. However, this takes time and I don’t always have that much time to create. Right now I’m diving deeper into surface design and my goal is to paint first, scan then work on my designs on the computer with the aim of printing them onto cards for example. These detailed paintings don’t lend themselves that well to surface design anyway so I need to come up with something which does!
By contrast to the super detailed sketches I love abstract painting and design and admire the artists who effortlessly produce abstract floral designs in minutes. Recently I’ve been busy practicing loosening up my paintings and I love it. It’s nowhere near perfect yet but I’ve become a bit obsessed by this style. To some people it might look sloppy and a bit of a cop out compared to the detailed drawings I’ve done in the past but believe me it’s far harder than it looks to stop it from looking a bit cartoony.
These need quite a bit of work but that’s just what I intend to do. So it’s back to the desk and on with the practice.
Since opening my shop in Etsy I’ve been going through the stock to decide what to actually put on the shelves.
When it comes to the greetings cards I’ve decided to mostly stick to original designs which means a lot of the images on the card fronts are my own designs. If any of them are made using a stamp or die cut from another company then I’ll put that in the description. Eventually the only cards I’ll be creating will be designs from hand drawn images by me. The three below are stamps and stencils designed and made by me in my studio.
There’s something very satisfying in seeing my own designs on a card, like a little piece of artwork.
You can find these and many other card designs on Etsy here by following this link.
I never really consider January to be the start of my year. I think maybe this could be partly because the Christmas decorations are still up at the beginning of the month and we’re still wading through the cheese, chocolate and other naughty but tasty treats left over. January in the garden is a bit of a nothing month on the whole. If I get a dry-ish day I’ll get out and cut down or tidy up but the garden is mostly devoid of any colour or beauty. February however is when the garden is starting to wake up, nature is coming to life, the inspiration is flowing and Spring isn’t too far away. Yesterday 2nd February was liichtmessdag here, also known as Candlemas. Small children go door to door with lanterns bringing in the light and singing their song in return for sweets.
On my afternoon dog walk I can see one of my favourite little late winter flowers, the snowdrop. I’m very lucky indeed to live in a village with a beautiful castle with a well loved garden. The snowdrop display under the trees is one of my favourite sites to visit.
I’ve photographed them often but I don’t think I’ve ever sketched them let alone painted them. Since one of my goals for this year is to paint more I decided I’d better right this wrong.
I was given some Winsor & Newton paint tubes for Christmas so I’ve been itching to try them out. I usually use paint pans so tubes are new to me. The colours in this particular set are beautiful and vibrant. Mixing them is a dream. I don’t know why I’ve been so reluctant to use tubes in the past. They’re so easy to use.
I look forward to the shift in the season with all the inspiration which comes with it.