Monday, 24 June 2013

My Design Process: Quincy Lampshades

I mentioned about 3 week ago about one of my designs (Windswept) being chosen by Ruth McAllister of Quincy Lampshades for her new Quincy Kepler collection.  Very exciting!

She recently asked what the thought process behind my design was, it isn't a terribly exciting process but this design came about a little differently to some of my other designs so I thought I would share it with you all.

I was trying out some new ways of drawing, doing unusual techniques such as drawing with my eyes closed, drawing without taking the pencil off the paper, drawing completely to scale.  Just to get some different sketches and see if this style suited me.  The motifs for the Windswept design came from dissecting a photograph I had taken of a plant.  I only drew very small sections or parts of the plant that I was drawn to.  It didn't have to be the whole leaf or petal, I would only draw parts of it.  Below you can see the photograph I worked from and below that some of my drawings.

I then put these motifs into Illustrator and played about a bit until I ended up with the motif from my Windswept design.

My initial thought was it looks like the seeds from a dandelion and when the wind blows them off they scatter through the air.  Which was why I chose a tossed layout.

No huge revelations or a big back story but it is often a good idea to try out some different ways of drawing to try out a different style every now and then.  Loosen up if you tend to draw fairly structured and neat, or try and neaten up if you are more of a freer drawer.  You never know when you may come across a style you enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

12 ways to get past a creative block!

We all get to a point every now and then where our creative juices just dry up.  It may be that you can’t get a pattern to look right, it may be your bored of a particular theme or it could be you just can’t find a theme that excites you and makes you want to create.  I know I tend to panic a bit when this happens as I feel as if I won’t get anything done!  First of all, DON’T panic, it happens to all of us and you are not alone.

Secondly, get a cuppa tea and a biscuit/cake, sit down and just have a mini break.  I've laid out a few ideas for you to try to bring back the excitement you usually feel when designing.

12 ways to get past a creative block!

  1. Grab your camera and go for a walk – There are patterns in everything you look at, try and look at things with a different perspective.  Is there a teeny tiny pattern hidden in the leaves or the flower petals, in bricks of houses or the stones on the path.  This may seem a bit of an abstract idea but I find little shapes will spark off ideas.  How about peoples garden gates, walls or fences or even the benches in the park.  When you start to look a bit closer at objects there are patterns in everything, especially in nature.  Capture these on your camera and bring them back so you can sketch from them.

  1. Google Images – I love to draw and design floral patterns, so one of the things I do is Google a list of flower names, or plant names.  You could Google meadow flowers, country flowers, exotic flowers, or Google any type of theme and you will have plenty of photos to work from.  You don’t have to do this for just flowers; you could search for anything, for example, beach items, kitchen utensils or types of make up.  Any theme you want, just search for a list and there may be things you never would have thought of.

  1. Brainstorm – Get a big piece of paper and write your theme or just ‘Ideas’ in the middle.  Next write down absolutely everything you can think of, look around the house and things you could draw (furniture, dresses, bowls, plates, books, film themes), write any thoughts and feelings that link to these items or themes.  Expand as much as you can on everything you write down so you have a huge amount of themes you can go to if you ever get stuck.  There will usually be an object or word that will jump out and I think ‘Oh yes I feel like drawing that…’ You could even start a list in a Word Document that you can look back at if you feel stuck.

  1. Hop about different Blogs – There are tons of design blogs out there, don’t limit yourself to just these though, there are Lifestyle blogs, beauty blogs and fashion blogs to name a few.  These will all give you an insight into different types of design and may give you new ideas or new directions to take.  You can find some of my favourite blogs in the right hand side bar of my blog =) Please share your favourites!

  1. Do something fun – Have you ever made a bucket list? If not, make one, you don’t have to put only your big dreams on there (but do make sure they are included!), put your little dreams on too.  Did you want to try out a new sport, or a new club? Zumba? Kickboxing? Swimming? Well sign yourself up to something new, get out of the house and go and do it.  Flower arranging? Sewing? Upholstery? Golf? Cooking? Photography? Writing? I’d love to hear your top 10 on your bucket list! Post it below in the comments =)

  1. Look around your house for patterns or ideas – Patterns are literally everywhere you look, why not dissect the pattern on your clothes or bags?  You may come up with new motifs you can make into an original pattern.  Look at the flowers and only draw a part of them, the stem, the shape of one of the petals, draw things from different angles or from up above.  There are patterns on picture frames, handles on your chest of drawers, patterns on book covers; they are literally everywhere so keep your eyes peeled!

  1. Have a chat with some friends – If you’re stuck on a theme or want some new ideas, why not talk to someone else.  See what their point of view is, I often go and talk to my mum and she has a different way of seeing the world, I even ask my 8 year old brother what he thinks as he has a completely different perspective and gives me a good insight into ideas for children’s designs.

  1. Go window shopping – They have loads of pretty products on sale so see what is already in the market, is there a theme you hadn’t thought of?  What about having a look around an antiques fair, a charity shop or even a carboot?  There are loads of items, have a root around in the boxes and see if there are some unusual objects that give you any new ideas.

  1. Go for a drive – How about just thinking about it for a while, go for a nice peaceful drive, put some of your favourite music on and have a brainstorm on the move.

  1. Pinterest – There is an abundance of inspiration on Pinterest, if you haven’t got it then sign up! Start repining some of the things that you love, make your own boards up, one for Patterns, Illustrations, Typography, Invitations or Children’s Designs.  You can also make up boards (moodboards) for certain themes to collect all of your ideas in one place.

  1. Try a new market – You never know you might love designing for it.  If you’re a floral designer mostly why not try geometrics and vice versa.  You may have a new direction because of having a different background.  Why not try designing for children, or men if you design for women mostly.  Try designing a different type of product, you need to adapt your style if you are used to designing for stationary and you want to try wallpaper or bedding.  Research into some of these markets and how they differ from one another.  You could try designing for party or wedding invitations even.  There are tons of different markets and products, mix it up a little.

  1. Finally, as a last resort, Shout out about it – Shout out to your followers on Twitter and Facebook or on your blog about your predicament.  As I said, you are not alone! All designers get these creative blocks every now and then, someone else may have just what you need.  So just ask for help =)

I hope these little ideas help you out if you're ever in this situation, let me know how you go about getting around your creative blocks and what you do to inspire yourself again!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Pin Hop June 2013 is here!!!

Welcome! The PinHop is finally here!

This PinHop suggestion came about when we did a blog hop back in January, but with over 50 designers taking part it was more of a marathon hop as you had loads of blog posts to read.  Yes they were sprinkled with gorgeous designs and patterns we had all made but those further down the blog hop didn't get as many people admiring there beautiful works of art.

The PinHop is a wonderful way to put the attention completely on the designs, you can easily flick down our combined Pinterest page (click here!) and see our main designs all together.  You can then click on those individual patterns to be transported to each designers blog where we have all prepared a mini post and where you can view the whole collection we have each put together.  The designs will be added throughout the day because we are from all over the world, so we'll be pinning at different times of day, so keep going back to see everyones!

So grab a cup of tea, sit back and relax =) don't forget to leave some comments on the designers blogs, help them by repinning and sharing their work! And most of all, enjoy!

Don't forget to check out Shalece Elynne's fantastic work too!

I chose the Midnight Garden theme and here is my collection:

Midnight Magnolias

Evening Blooms


Twilight Florets

I have also prepared some mock ups for you to see these patterns on some products.  My lovely fashion friend Sammie Loines was kind enough to let me use some of her fashion drawings to showcase my designs so a huge thank you to her!

Here are her Pinterest and Twitter links - Look her up!

As soon as I made them I thought they would go perfectly on clothing so take a look below!

I have also done a bed spread set, which I love! Wish I could have it on my bed =)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

An abundance of pretty patterns coming up on Saturday

Alrighty, a little more information about whats happening this weekend.  Myself and a big group of other designers have decided to put on a wonderful little event for you all, that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.  We did a bloghop back in January and it was a huge success but with a lot of designers taking part it can become a bit tedious to get through all of the blog posts! I know it took me about 2 hours to read through the whole bloghop (with many cups of tea to keep me going!).

The Pin hop idea was suggested to make the whole experience more enjoyable, so you aren't having to read through 100+ blog posts to see all of the beautiful patterns.  Instead you can see them all on one board via Pinterest (if you don't know what Pinterest is then your missing out, it is a fantastic platform to build your own boards full of inspirations and ideas)

Those at the end of a bloghop would sometimes get missed out altogether, so this is a brilliant way of preventing that from happening, it means all of the designers can get their designs seen.  The Pinhop will go live on Saturday the 15th of June, where you can look at all of our designs on one page, I will post this link and advertise the bloghop on the day!  You can click on any of the designs on the Pinterest board and these will direct you to each designers blog where you can see their full mini collection and find out a little bit about each of them.

We were asked to design to one of Patternbank's Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 themes.  These are:
  • Historical Adornment - Rococo Style, Baroque Imagery, Decorative Work, Ornate Golds and Coppers
  • Urban Metropolis - Urban Landscape, Collage Mix, Graffiti, Mapping, Contour Lines
  • Optical Day - Bauhaus, Optical Mixes, Grid-like Pattern, Chevron and Striped
  • Midnight Garden - Oversized Flowerheads, Glowing Hues, Overlapping Areas, Intense colour on dark backgrounds
The ideas were flowing out of me for each of the themes but one appealed straight away! Here is a sneak peek of one of my designs, can you guess which theme I've chosen?

Keep your eyes peeled on Saturday or follow my Facebook page to be reminded about this!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Rebecca Stoner

This week I have Rebecca Stoner as my designer showcase!  Rebecca has a lovely hand drawn style which is both dainty and intricately designed.  Rebecca is also a Yorkshire based designer, like myself, and is from the beautiful city of York.  She set up her business in 2005 after she graduated and has been designing patterns for a number of different products aswell as working on commissions for a wide range of clients.

Last year she had some of her designs licensed by an American fabric company aswell as seeing her products on the high street and even being featured on television!  Sounds like a very exciting year but she has more to tell us, at the beginning of the year she launched an online shop with Society6 where her designs are available on phone cases, cushions and laptop skins and she is also working on a commission with York Hospital for arcitectural glass and laser cut steel wall panels.

I asked Rebecca a couple of questions to find out a bit more about why she wanted to become a designer, what inspires her and how she describes her style.

What made you want to become a designer and what is it you like about patterns?

Before going to University I worked in offices doing accounts and admin work and hated it!  I've always been creative and just knew I had to do something different.  I went travelling and on my return I enrolled on an Art and Design degree.  It was there that I discovered the wonderful world of surface pattern and I decided to specialise in Textile and Surface Pattern Design.  I then went on to complete an MSc in CAD for Textile Designers.  I love patterns and I'm just naturally drawn to anything with pattern on it.  I couldn't believe you could have a career in creating patterns! (Me either!!!)

How would you describe your style and what is your favourite medium to work in?

My degree focused on screen printing as well as digital printing and I think this has influenced my style quite a lot.  I try to incorporate hand printed textures and shapes in my design work as much as possible as I prefer this to just flat colour.  More recently I've also enjoyed hand drawing patterns and developing them further on the computer.  I also feel my travels have heavily influences a lot of my work and the trends and colours that I'm drawn to.

Whats inspires you and where do you find your inspiration?

As well as researching upcoming trends I find inspiration in many different places and environments and I'm always on the lookout for what will inspire my next design.  I love walking with my dog and find that's a good time for me to think new ideas over.  I'm drawn to retro and mid-century design and I'm also influenced by ethnic patterns and colours which probably stems from my travels.  I've just joined Pinterest and find I can lose hours (not great for business!) soaking up the amazing inspirational images that you can find on there. (I know exactly what you mean, as I'm sure a great many other designers do too!)

Below I have showcased some of Rebecca's designs and products but you can find more of work here via these links!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Wonderful News!

I have been sitting on this news for two weeks now, although it feels much much longer!  The fabulous Ruth McAllister of Quincy Lampshades put out a designer call a little while ago to send her designs that she would use for a new collection of lampshades.  I don't usually go in for these types of things but the colour palette was beautiful and the brief was pretty interesting to do.  Then two weeks ago I got an email saying my design had been chosen as one of the final 11 designs!

I was out with some friends at the time and it was such a fantastic thing to see sitting in my Inbox, below you can see my design (Windswept) that Ruth chose.  And here you can see the other 7 designs Ruth has picked, the final 3 will be decided via a vote, follow this link to help finish off the beautiful collection.

I can't wait to see them printed and made up!

A close up of the motifs

Saturday, 1 June 2013

I'm back!!! With another amazing opportunity!

This week I have another fantastic opportunity for all of you creative’s out there, another of my fabulous surface pattern friends is also running an exciting course!  This time it is all about Typography.  I've never really given typography much thought, but actually when you start to think about it, it is everywhere!  This course will be all about type and how to use different styles effectively. 

The course will run live for 3 weeks starting the 14th of June but all videos, discussions and resources will be available constantly after the finish of the course, this way you can go at your own pace!

Here is a snippet of what you will learn in this 3 week course :

  • How to use typography effectively for communication
  • How different typefaces can give off different messages
  • How famous brands use typography to enhance their brands
  • How to create your own typefaces – Digitally and hand drawn!
  • A little about the history and anatomy of typography

You will then take these new-found skills and create a typographic illustration of your favourite quote or lyric, perfect to frame and put on your wall!

Faye Brown, the mastermind behind this lovely little course will be giving lecture videos, slideshows and there will be downloadable resources for students to work their way through.  There will also be plenty of opportunities for feedback so you can build on what you have produced!

You do not need to have Illustrator or Photoshop for this course, but there are aspects of it where you will be given tutorials of how to produce type in these programs.  Don’t fret though; you can get a 30 day trial of both of these software from the Adobe website here.  Just make sure you download them just before the course!

Now for the good part, If you sign up via this link and this is your first Skillshare course then you can get the course for only $10 (£7ish) but if you have already done a Skillshare course then you can still get 25% off by entering the code PPFRIEND when you sign up! So you get it for only $15 (£10ish).

This course goes hand in hand with Majo BV’s repeating patterns Skillshare course, so if you are interested in learning how to make repeating patterns then you can find out more here. 

There is even a 30% discount code when you sign up for either one of these courses for the other course! You can find this code in the Classroom – Announcements section of either course.  So sign up for one and get 30% off the other!