Last summer one of my patterns was included in the Make It In Design Look Book of surface patterns published by MOYO magazine. This important publication is reviewed by thousands of Art directors and manufacturers from around the globe, so it was a great honor to have one of my designs included. Hope I can do it again this year!
Because this year’s challenge really took me outside my comfort zone, I thought I’d show you from beginning to end how I thought through the process and how it all came together.
My group’s design challenge was to create an organic pattern with an appearance of decay and degeneration. The end result would have elements of camouflage or animal print. This is an important fashion trend. However, It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. I was baffled by the whole thing! This girl is used to drawing actual images like trees and plants and animals. Oh well, that’s why it’s called a challenge.
My first step was to take an inspiration trip to Nordstom Rack to take photo examples of this trend in fabric design.
Here’s a few samples of what I found. (Can you imagine the sales people wondering why I was cruising the isles snapping photos with my camera phone?)
If you know my style, this certainly isn’t it. But we were charged with injecting our own styles into it. Wow . . . I was totally stumped. Nothing came to mind. I had no idea where to begin.
I decided to start experimenting with all kind of stuff, just taking a stab in the dark. That’s how design happens – you just consider everything a possibility. I took this textured blue painting I created awhile back for a handmade journal, scanned it and worked with it in Photoshop until I had an interesting look. I even made a Photoshop brush out of it.
background made with layers
But that wasn’t enough. So I started drawing and drawing and drawing. Below are the raw vectors I drew in InkPad and completed in Adobe Illustrator. They were inspired by photos of lichen attached to rotting old trees, and some frayed fabric that looked interesting. Kind of crude, aren’t they? Which ones will I use in the final design? Keep reading to find out.
After selecting a few of the drawings I began coloring them, then began experimenting with various Photoshop and Illustrator filters and special effects. I can’t describe how much fun this is and how much time I spent doing it! I was captivated with each possible outcome. Here’s how a few of the drawings above turned out:
Next I had to try to put it all together. But how? Everything was disjointed. So I made some of my own interesting brushes in Illustrator. Making brushes is so much fun and very necessary when trying to do original designs. Thousands of free brushes are available on the internet but everybody uses them. That’s why they become cliches. Original work requires original elements from beginning to end.
I chose a neutral color palette for a Fall/Winter collection, as if the pattern would end up on fabric. I named the colors Blizzard, Espresso, Chinchilla and Bark because names help tell the story of the design.
OK, ready to see how it all came together? You can help me decide if this meets the design challenge well enough to turn in as my final piece in this category. Thanks for sticking with me for this long long, blog post. Hope you enjoyed the process. I’d love to hear what you think so feel free to leave a comment below or on Facebook.
I kind of visualize this on a trendy jacket or on leggings. I have a feeling this is going to become some pillow fabric, a laptop sleeve, or leggings at my Society6 store, some time after the Summer School challenge ends.