Monthly Archives: August 2014

Brief #3 MIID Summer School — Jewels

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The third and final brief of the Make It In Design Summer School was centered around Jewels. I immediately began day dreaming about tiaras and other sparkly things and spent hours browsing Pinterest and Google images. But my first sketches went nowhere. As did my second set. And because I was leaving on vacation in just a few days I felt a lot of stress, and didn’t sleep well the night after the assignment was given (Monday). The next day I was groggy enough to sit down for a few minute nap in my favorite chair (a green Lay-Z-Boy with massage and heat, my back loves it). After just 5 minutes I woke up knowing exactly what I was going to do for my pattern — isn’t it funny how the brain works? A few years previously I’d discovered Twinkling H20s, a glittery watercolor paint in a wonderful range of colors — and the set I have is jewel tones. After creating a set of shapes in Adobe Illustrator I printed them out and began to paint.

painted gem shapes on paper

Painting in the jewel shapes for my pattern

Once the shapes were painted I cut them out and then arranged them into shapes and scanned them.

watercolor gem shapes arranged into flower shape

Individual gem shapes arranged into a flower and then scanned

I also created some strands of “pearls” for the background in AI, and then took both the “pearls” and the gem flowers into Photoshop.

swirls made in Adobe Illustrator

Swirls of pearls for the background on the surface design pattern

Once I had all the elements in Photoshop I arranged them and rearranged them until I created a seamless pattern, which I then submitted to the class gallery.

Flower gems as a seamless pattern

Flower Gems repeat pattern

Once the pattern was submitted I decided to apply it to my mockup to see how it would look, and was quite pleased with the result.

repeat pattern on mockup

Flower Gems repeat pattern on product mockup

I’m quite pleased with my design for the third and final brief, and feel the class really improved my skills as well as forced me to learn some pattern-specific aspects of both Photoshop and Illustrator.

 

 

Make It In Design Brief #2 — Tribal Theme Pattern Design

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The second brief for the Make It In Design summer school program revolved around Tribal patterns. Having never designed anything tribal, I went looking at my childhood in South Dakota and Alaska for inspiration and found lots of beautiful artwork, including some inspiration from things I own.

"Eskimo" doll from late 1960s

Native American doll made from Seal Fur, a present from my mom when I was in grade school in Alaska.

As lovely as the memories were, those styles, colors, and patterns didn’t feel like the right direction for this assignment, so I went back to the brief and centered my exploration on the triangles and lines mentioned in the bullet points.

sketch book with pens and coffee

Sketches of various triangles and other shapes

The not-quite-triangles with the squiggles and some wavy lines ended up being the base for my submitted pattern. The colors are both bright and subtle, and the pattern is a seamless repeat (which I have to say is one of the biggest challenges I’ve overcome in Adobe Illustrator).

tribal pattern for class

The submitted pattern

I’m quite happy with the way the pattern turned out and like how elements of it can be used both large and small.

mockup showing pattern on pillows and aprons

Mockup of “Tribal Notions” pattern on products

Make It In Design Summer School

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I’m one of the many folks obsessing over the Make It In Design summer school program this summer — so much so that I haven’t blogged anything about it yet. It’s a six week course, with a brief delivered to participants every other week and that assignment due the week after, for a total of three assignments. The Facebook group is a very big part of the course, with participants from all three levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) posting rough sketches, how-to and style questions, and finished designs.

sketch of pattern design

sketch for Brief #1 of MIID summer school

I’ve never tried my hand at surface pattern design before, so it’s been a huge learning curve. I have really, really enjoyed the challenge, even when I was feeling like banging my head against the nearest wall. I was pleased to finish brief #1 before the deadline and uploaded my pattern to the website gallery.

pattern design

Pattern as submitted to MIID Summer School

I felt I’d met the requirements, but wasn’t actually satisfied with what I’d designed. For one thing, it wasn’t a repeat pattern. For another, the colors were bright and tropical, but I could see the weren’t the type of colors that someone would buy in the form of a pillow or a kitchen towel (typical media for patterns).

I decided to leave the pattern as uploaded and be ready to move on to the next class…and then I ended up taking a class from Creative Live on Surface Pattern Design during the week between when I turned my pattern in and when the next assignment was given, and my mind got blown. (Well, further blown, actually, since it was already pretty close to explosion levels thanks to the amazing patterns I was seeing in the MIID Facebook group.) That class taught me how to make a repeat pattern, and how to apply it as an Adobe Illustrator pattern to a vector mockup of a product. So much for doing things like house cleaning or paying bills…I felt that I needed to take my sunny tropical idea of a pattern from true beginner to something a little more sophisticated. So I did.

repeat pattern in two color variations

My tropical pattern from Brief #1 turned into a softer repeat pattern.

I’m very happy with how my revised tropical pattern turned out, and really excited about everything I managed to learn in a two-week period. Making repeat patterns is quite addictive, and I’m sure that I’ll continue to make patterns long after the MIID Summer School 2014 has ended.