HOW TO DESIGN A PATTERN, RECOVERIE STYLE October 13, 2015 14:17

 

Guys, guys, you're never going to believe it but I finally got my brain together and started drawing good sh*t again!  I'm a little (read WAAY) behind for "Fall/Winter", but since The Recoverie likes to fly by the seat of it's pants sometimes I think I'm still gonna go with it and finally put it together.  YAY.

I spent the last 3 hours working at my computer on Illustrator and now I'm fried, but I got a great start.  When I teach my printmaking classes a common question I receive is, "what is your design process?".  The truth is, it really depends on the direction of the wind that day (like any true artist), but in general, I have 2 main methods in which I create my patterns.  Below you'll find a step by step breakdown of my process.

Half the time I'm doodling it's on paper.  The other half I'm in Illustrator.  If you're an artist and you've only learned Photoshop and are procrastinating on learning Illustrator for fear of learning a new program, get your head out of the sand and get your butt to your computer!!  

It's easy to learn because it's part of the Creative Suite and the commands and tools will be familiar to you.  Also it's freaking awesome and you have WAY more artistic freedom.  If it took me 3 TIMES to learn Photoshop (while failing a class on the way) and still can crush both programs now, then you can definitely do it!

Ok, so 80% of the time, this is how I work:

First I start drawing.  On paper.  I draw and draw and crumble it up, then draw for a few more days and tell myself I'm a terrible artist until FINALLY I like something.  This could be a single shape, or a combination of shapes.  Or maybe all that doodling eventually just led me to realize that I was really into geometric prints at the moment and now I have a theme to work off of.  But probly it just made me hungry..

So from there I'll keep drawing, or if I'm sick of drawing with a pencil/marker/pen/whatever is closest to me, I'll take a PHOTO of my doodle with my phone (it doesn't need to be amazing, just straight) and then SEND THAT PHOTO TO MY EMAIL.  #technology....(you can also scan it into your computer old skool style).

 

Next, I will go into my email and download the photo.  I'll open Illustrator and PLACE the photo into the art board that I will usually size anywhere from a square 4"x4" to 8"x8".  (Note:  this doesn't realllllly matter as it's a vector program and you can scale your image later without stretching pixels, but sometimes if you have a specific stroke thickness it can get messed up when you resize it.)

 

 

The image is now on your art board.  Here, I may enlarge the photo a bit even though it will pixelate it, just to make it easier to see.  I can also zoom in.  This photo will serve as a guide for me to essentially TRACE the shape of the doodle with the pen tool.  Or the pencil tool if you're adventurous.

 

 

I didn't trace this image exactly, things have moved around, but like I said, it's just a starting point!  After that, it's just a matter of adding to that initial design and seeing what works.  Sometimes I'll work on it in Illustrator for a few hours and I'll have 20 variations of it and hate them all.  That's when I'll call it a day and come back for a fresh look tomorrow.   

 

 

 

Finally, the design will get color, a repeat, scaled, and printed for future use.  I leave the color til the VERY END!  Why, you ask?  I used to pick a color story before I was done creating my pattern.  I found this really exciting (at first), but in the end it was really overwhelming and distracting because the options are limitless and I'd never get back to finishing my design!  

 

 

See what I mean with the color??

So first I make sure the shapes and overall feel of the design is kick-ass, THEN I move onto color once I'm confident I won't adjust things.  Color can alter everything about a pattern and it's repeat, so always make sure to save it, then sleep on it, then make sure you still like it the next day.

That is the gist of how I work!  The second method is pretty much the same, except that I won't even pick up a pencil.  I'll complete the entire design from start to finish in Illustrator.  This is a personal preference, but I prefer the paper to digital design system better because I find that my designs are a lot more interesting when I'm working on paper.  

 Happy designing!