Thursday, June 19, 2008

A pattern come to life

Something happy came out of last week's IF illustration -- this pattern! Here's a small detail above.

I'm working hard on product art collections. The problem with starting my illustration work so late in the day is that, by bed time, I'm just starting to make headway! That accounts for my late nights -- I don't like to stop working when I'm in the zone.

I got a lot accomplished tonight. I'm proud of myself. Considering how tired I was and how I just felt like going to bed instead of working, I really got a lot done. I designed napkins and coasters as well, and it seems like everything 'came together' really well at the last minute! :)

Designing patterns is really an art and a science. There is SO many things involved, from technical, aesthetic and design standpoints. I think a pattern is successful when all three marry well. Of course, there is so much more to it than that.

I've been drawing patterns in my sketchbooks for as long as I've been drawing, but actually creating a repeat, creating something consistently interesting, sparkly, inspired, in a square, without having it be too overwhelming and leaving room for your eyes to "breathe" (I call that 'eye room', which sounds archaic but if the shoe fits...) is something different. All of this and to have it be something that encourages people to buy it. Something irresistible, charming - something you have to have! Just thinking about all this is dazzling. I've got my thinking cap on!

I don't know that it is absolutely necessary for an artist to even know exactly how to make a 'correct' repeat - the manufacturers' in-house designers probably do that, and each manufacturer probably has their own way of doing things -- but I want to know how, because it's important to know how things work so I can bring my work to a higher level for the specific purpose. Not to mention, I'm just plain curious!! I like to learn this kind of stuff. If it pertains to the work, I wanna know. If it is extremely technical and daunting to me, I at least want to understand the general rules a bit better. It all seems a bit shrouded in mystery. But, yes I've been studying.

I've never found a book about the art of creating patterns and repeats. I've seen many books featuring this type of work, but never have I seen a book that gives practical information on actually creating repeats and patterns, and for different markets -- never found the type of book which I'd find really hands-on useful. If you know of any books like this, please do share it in the comments!


Lisa M Griffin said...

Love your fruity drinks! What a perfect design for summer. Nice job.

Lori said...

Kathy, I've also been trying to research pattern making. I found this really interesting tutorial link through elizabeth dulemba's blog. I thought i would pass it on to you. If the link doesn't work, just go to and search for pattern tutorial. It will take you right there. :-) Lori McDonough

Alina Chau said...


Anonymous said...

this print is fabulous!! you may want to check surface or textile design, i did that for 15 years! as a freelancer for a print studio, you don't need a perfect repeat, because you don't know what the end use will be. between home, apparel and party goods, the size of the rollers is different for each (i.e. apparel is 25.25" so the print must divide into that)...sometimes clients like to see a tech. repeat, but they think when they send it overseas, that they'll know what to do with still has to fit into that roller!

Kathy Weller said...

Thanks guys!!

Lori- your resources have been VERY helpful -- the article by Julia on D*S is really, really helpful. Thank you oh so much.

Andi -- thanks for that info -- wow it is a whole other world -- interesting stuff -- I'd love to learn all about those rollers. Thanks again.

Thanks so much for your nice comment!! I think it would be good for table top stuff -- coasters, napkins, maybe even an apron. All the better to stay neat while mixing up those frothy frozen Margaritas. :)

Alina -
Thanks for chiming in!! So great to see you here!! :) Thank you for coming by!! :)

Kate said...

Kathy, I loved this illo for IF, and it is even better as a pattern! So much fun! It screams "SUMMERRR!".