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A Critical Look at my Pattern Boards

I decided that since some time has passed now since I finished my patterns, I would like to go back over them with fresh eyes and try and see any problems with them. I remember in Consultancy, I would create the pattern board, show it to Helen, and she would make comments to improve it, and this process continued which I think was a massive help for me understand exactly what I had to do to improve my work and meet criteria.

So with scale and colour in mind, I went back over my pattern boards, I know some things I already wanted to change, such as changing the placement on each pattern board to a different one, so I was able to show more diversity in my collection. I also considered this with my blenders, I have blenders using dots for every little collection but only showing that on the one board with a range of colourways allows room on the other collection boards for a different style of simple blender, the dormouse for example using squiggles from the mushrooms, the hedgehog using small sycamore leaves etc.

The Hedgehog Collection Board

So as shown here, I decided I was happy with the hero design and the half drop style hedgehog secondary, although I think I need to reposition it, and with this one I need to put the top corner placement of the hedgehog on this board instead of the header placement, as the header placement will be displayed on the squirrel board instead.

I was happy with two of the middle secondaries, I have been using these throughout the mockups I have started creating too, the bottom one however does seem a step down, but not quite a blender, I might discuss leaving this in but adding another secondary design as I think they all represent leaves, instead of the berries and other things.

I think the blenders, the top one is very unique within the collection but I think there is too much pink in the backgrounds here so I think reversing the pink and the green in the top blender will help that. I think the last blender may need to be a little bit of a smaller scale to it, so I think this will be useful to make it look more like a blender too.

Red Squirrel Collection

The next one is the red squirrel collection, I said again here I was happy with the hero design but the placement design needed to be changed to the header placement design and actually change it to a yellow and blue design, to differ it more from the hedgehog patterns, I was happy with the secondaries as they differ in scale and colour, I was just unsure whether it matter that they were all tossed, maybe the middle and bottom one could have been the same pattern just coloured different and slightly scaled up, so maybe I could look into a different secondary design for this one here, as I do not like the blue and yellow one anyway.

The blenders I said I was happy with the dots, I have colourways for this one that covers the whole collection too. The top two I said could use a smaller scale I think, and the third one down I think maybe needs less colours, or to switch to a blender I created using the nuts designs.

Dormouse Collection

The dormouse collection was the first I created, and the mushrooms were made first out of all of the patterns. The placement design is right here but I discussed earlier that I need to alter the size of the dots a little. I am happy with the hero again but the secondary designs do all contain mushrooms, although I do like the variety of background colours. I do have a nice berry design that I could use instead I think, so maybe use that as a pink background, and then the bottom secondary just with a green background instead.

My notes for the blenders were to try a slightly smaller scale for the three of them as I think it would be more effective.

Hare Collection

The placement design is the corner one here and I think this is quite effective and interesting, I am happy with the hero design, but the secondaries I think the top one could be altered to a different background colour and a slightly smaller scale to show a few more of the hares within it. I think I am happy with the other two and one of the blenders, however I think a smaller scale on the mushroom will show it as a more textured appearance. The middle one was originally green leaves, and I just think it looked a little too much like a cannabis leaf at a quick glance, so I changed the colour of this, but I just do not think it goes very well with the collection as a whole. I thought about a tossed design but then it could just look more like the secondary, so maybe trying blue leaves on a white background or something on a smaller scale.

So the next step will be to make these changes, and I think then I would be in a good place to put them together and see how they all look as a collection, and maybe ask around for some opinions on further improvements.


Wildlife Camera: Success Finally

I have been consisting putting this wildlife camera out around the garden since the start of lockdown, so around 4 months now I think? I have been changing around locations, positions, height of the camera, looking across the grass, looking down the paths, going inside sheds and little hedgehog houses ive built around the garden, and there was no activity that I wanted for so long. I would get cats, mice, squirrels, birds, which was amusing to see and quite interesting sometimes about what was in the garden that I did not really know about. Last week I started putting dog biscuits out in a hedgehog house, and even though I would not get any videos, the food would be gone and the bowls pushed around, so I checked the camera and the battery was so low that the night vision had stopped working.

I replaced the batteries over the weekend and put it back into the hedgehog house with some more food last night.

I was so thrilled to find the hedgehog last night eating away on some biscuits, proving I have been able to encourage them in the garden and can continue to provide it with food and water now and see if I can keep him and any more. I notice that the biscuits seem a little big for him and he struggled to keep it in his mouth, so I could look at crushing them a little, although I do not want to make it too easy for the mice to eat all of it, as they did seem to finish it off between 1 and 2 after the hedgehog had been in twice, the hedgehog then returned at around 4:11 and you can see it sniffing around and looking for food, whether this is the same one or different I am not sure. I can continue now to see if the hedgehog coming in and out looks different, and maybe trace where it comes from using the camera outside of the house too.

More Mock Ups

I was excited to see my designs on a larger range of things after doing a few that I found online, I collected what I needed, notebooks, a mug and coaster, some more stationery, even a phone case, and I managed to create some simple mock up images from these by setting up a little white light area. I think these kind of images show the patterns very well against a white background and I think this is probably how I would show them on a product listing too.

I first had a go at some notebooks here, which was great because it has given me a chance to put different patterns together and see how they work together. I also had a pen and pencil in some images that I think look good with a little blender design to go onto them. The advantage of doing my own mockups means that I can arrange them right, I can open the notebook or anything else and get the best images that I need. So I did open a notebook and put a blender on the inside cover and a light blue page with a placement design sat in the corner which I think looks cute.

I next tried some images using a mug and coaster, a pen holder and some notebook together which I think looks quite good together. They all work as good giftware items which is exactly what I want my collection to be. I think overall the mockups are great and have made me think more about what I want to ensure my patterns do, this includes scale, colourways, and I think I can look into editing designs now to make them exactly what I want them to be.

Wraptious Giftware Contest

I am constantly on the lookout for contests to do, I enjoy it as well as getting more of my work out there and seeing what patterns etc are successful. The Wraptious contest is designing for cushions and art prints, two products that I would actually love to create using my own designs, so this was a perfect chance to do just that, using five designs that I am quite proud of.

The designs are shown on the site by displaying them on mockups on the framed prints and cushions. I decided to include the hedgehog hero design, I think it is very effective with its bright colour and half dropped design. The red squirrel placement is cute and I think works well on a cushion and an art print, I also used a secondary from the red squirrel collection with the bright foliage, and then I looked at my contest designs, the ice lollies and British owl designs I think look great on products, I havent seen them on products due to just doing them for flat patterns so this was great to see.

The contest is judged on votes via facebook likes and shares, an update if anything happens.

Spoonflower Contest – Sports and Leisure

When I saw the name of this contest, I thought it was one that I might have to skip, as I do not like sports and I could not think of anything beyond different balls or rigid sporting equipment. Then I thought of swimming, which is kind of a sport and also leisurely as a lot of people do it for fun and exercise. The leisure part I think is important, it could be anything from walking a dog to doing yoga, leisure time covers a range of things.

I developed from swimming and thought of snorkelling under the water, where you could interact more with sealife and animals, so I decided to go with this, as it gave me a chance to think about a variety of underwater animals too.

I drew up some girls exploring underwater and used this to show the idea of someone doing the activity, I liked doing this as I do not do a huge amount of people and this gave me a chance to practice, by hiding the faces with their big goggles too, it was great. I surrounded them with sealife, and I think this gives it an interesting and busy look to it. I entered the large bottom one here into the contest.

I created a lot of coordinating designs to go along with this, which I will work on more and repeat to give a better idea of scale.

I created quite a large collection from this and I think I could probably still do more, I played with all the different motifs, experimenting with colourways and scale a lot throughout.

Proworks Bottle Contest

I saw this opportunity on Instagram originally and its been on my list a while, because there is a £500 licensing opportunity and the chance to see my designs on these bottles would be interesting. I thought a few of the tropical designs I was working on for the contest due yesterday would work, so I had a go at putting these onto a mockup.

I think the bright colour schemes work well and I am happy with how they turned out, I might look into doing a few more of these if I have a look through some other contests I have done previously.

Spoonflower Contest – Tropical Surrealism

A tropical challenge seemed interesting because its something I have not had a go at yet, like a twist on my natural woodland designs. I thought about the idea of surrealistic and how I could make forms of animals or other things out of leaves, but I thought more about the concept and I think to be visually appealing it had to be something different. So I thought about the more surreal part being the colouring in the leaves and making some bold decisions.

I chose a parrot to represent the tropical aspect as I think of it as a very ‘rainforest’ kind of creature with a very bright and interesting colour palette by itself, which the patterns reflect as I took those colours over to the leaves, foliage and feathers around it. I also prepared some tropical fruit motifs too but decided to leave them out of the first pattern I did, but I made some other co-ordinating patterns for this anyway.

I wanted the parrots to be the focus of the designs, so I think spreading them out like this worked well, and pulling the colours out of the parrots for the feathers and leaves make it look more flowing, although I think adding that purple kind of leaf into it was quite effective to give it a little bit of difference.

I wanted to try and make these co ordinating designs as bright as I could, really experimenting with the colours and patterns. I also enjoyed working on the linear designs using the feathers and the one with the palm leaves too. I think these all work quite nicely and I tried these last few without dots too and I do think they look a little plain but could work as a blender.

I mentioned that I had created some tropical fruit motifs too, I used these to create some pattern designs that I think lot a little different from the main collection but I think do look quite nice. I used pineapples, coconuts, starfruit and papayas I think, I actually did not know what a papaya or starfruit looked like before my research for this little challenge.

Ohh Deer Contest

I discovered this contest on Instagram after following the last one that Ohh Deer threw, this time they were looking for packaging designs for these boxes that they send out. It had to be a black and white design and I immediately went to leaf skeletons, I had finished drawing one and it was incredibly intricate, so I did a few more and then put this design as a mock up on the box.

I think this design worked well on the box, although I wish I had done some smaller leaves as if I was to minimise these too much they would distort too much, but overall I am quite happy with this design.

I also decided to try converting one of my graduate collection’s into a more monotone pattern which I think turned out quite nice on the box too.

I think this one is effective but I am not sure if it meets the design for being black and white as it does have shades in it. I think if I get more time before the end of the month I will try more of these, but so far I am happy with the design of these.

Placement Designs

I experimented with placements a lot throughout my pattern making, at first I just planned on creating a standard middle placement of each animal to have in the collection, however I thought about broadening my collection and maybe for each animal’s mini-collection, I could have a different placement type.

I had tried some corner placements and headers too which I think worked out well, I also tried some opaque placements and line drawings, but these did use the same motif as the original middle placement so I did not think these were that different and did not have as much function as the others could.

Obviously the dots differ in size here so I think I need to make sure these are more of a similar size, but I do actually quite like the larger ones, I think the dormouse was kind of hard to stop doing them when they were that small. I actually think the squirrel ones are a good size, so I will standardise these before I put them into the lookbook, I think I would probably choose the dormouse collection to represent this one because it was the first one done, and I think the dormouse is the cutest one here.

These top corner designs were interesting to do and I think fit the corner idea that I was going for quite well, I love how they represent the colour schemes of each one as well and I think the busyness reflects in the rest of the collection which I think works out well. I think the best out out of these is the hedgehog, so I think the hedgehog collection would represent this placement design quite well on the kind of final pattern boards. I think the corner placements are good too because they can be easily flipped to work on the other top corner as well.

I thought the bottom corners were effective too and could go well with the top corners on the right sized product. I think these would look great on papers and letters as well. I think the hare here was the starting point for this as I though the shape of the hare motif worked perfectly to fit the corner design I wanted. I had a lot of positions from each of the animals so it was something I was able to do to make a design fit with each of the placements that I wanted.

Finally the header design was created, I tried this first without symmetry, and this time with it, and I think the idea of it being symmetrical works well. Again I think these could work well for papers and covers, but could fit something that is this shape very nicely, such as a long desk calendar or something that is long and short as I think most things are square or taller. I think the red squirrel is the best one to represent this because I do like the movement in that design in particular.

Overall I am happy with the placements I have come up with, and will continue to experiment with any other ideas that I have, but for now I think these have worked really well and I am pleased with the outcomes of continuing to push myself and experiment with these.

Spoonflower Contest – Day at the Lake

The Day at the Lake contest made me think of cabins, boats and fishing particularly, although a day at the lake for me would probably be walking, photography, spending time with friends, just because I do not know how to fish.

I decided on the theme of fish because I thought I could do quite bright and vibrant with the colour choices and interesting shapes with the actual fish.

Hero Design

The hero design came out quite bright with all the fish swimming in a couple of different directions. I like this, but I think the contrast of the colours make it look more child-like, nothing wrong with that but its not generally the market that I aim for, so I guess I should keep this in mind in the future when I am playing with the brighter colours.

I tried some designs that used a single colour for the fish in the foreground then a contrasting colour for the background. I actually think that some of the darker colours worked well with this but I found the purple and blue combination to be particularly harmonising.

I tried the designs using the blue and purple combination, then tried them with a range of blue, purple and yellow backgrounds for this. I think this is interesting and I actually ended up submitting the blue one for the contest. I think I always think I need to enter the hero design I do for the actual challenge but all these designs do still follow the theme so I think sometimes a slightly simpler design may be the one to go for.

Finally a few blenders here with the bubbles, I think these are quite cute and work well, although again I think the contrast of the yellow turns it into more a child-like design again.