Find Your Voice in Surface Pattern Design - How to Use Pinterest to Inspire Your Next Design | DK Ryland | Skillshare

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Find Your Voice in Surface Pattern Design - How to Use Pinterest to Inspire Your Next Design

teacher avatar DK Ryland, Illustrator, Surface Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Build Your Pinterest Pattern Board

    • 3. Analyzing and Observing Your Board

    • 4. Picking and Analyzing your Inspiring Pattern

    • 5. Final Analysis

    • 6. Your Class Project

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About This Class

Hi! I'm Danielle Kinley Ryland, a surface pattern designer and owner of Tiger Tale Designs. In my previous course, we talked about how to gain inspiration from your own life, and in the process how to create a Surface Pattern Idea Book.

In this course, we are going to talk all about how to gain inspiration from other surface pattern designs. The key word here is inspiration. We are not going to copy anything. We are going to break down other designs and decide what it is about them that we are attracted to, and explore how to utilize those things in order to find our own creative voice.

We all know in order to get better at anything, we need to be practicing, and a lot! So in order to get better at surface design we need to be sketching daily, exploring new techniques on a regular basis, and I think anyone can do that. One of the hardest part about developing as a surface designer is drawing things in a way where someone can look at it and know that it's yours, and the other difficult part is knowing what to draw and gaining inspiration.

In this class we are going to do a creative exercise using Pinterest in order to further develop your style and voice as a designer. This class is meant for designers who already know how to technically put together a repeat but are looking for inspiration to create their next hero pattern. 

My inspirational pattern by next:

Music: Springish by Gillicuddy

Meet Your Teacher

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DK Ryland

Illustrator, Surface Designer


Hi! I'm DK Ryland and I am an illustrator and surface pattern designer who specializes in stylized, charming, and quirky pieces inspired by nature and animals. I work with a wide range of techniques and programs to create fresh and vibrant illustrations and am constantly exploring new techniques. I love showing people what I learn along the way and am so glad you are here! 

Check out my Website to see more of what I do and I would love to be Instagram friends! 

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Daniel Kinley Ryland, a service pattern designer and the owner of Tiger Tail Designs. In my previous course, we talked about how to gain inspiration from your own life and in the process, how to create a surface powder, an idea book. In this course, we're going to talk all about how to gain inspiration from other surface pattern designs. The key word here is inspiration. We're not going to copy anything. We're going to break down other designs and decide what it is about them, that we're attracted Teoh and explore how we can utilize those things to find our own creative voice. We all know in order to get better at anything, we need to be practicing a lot. So in order to get better service design, we need to be sketching on a regular basis. We need to be exploring new techniques on a regular basis, and I think anybody can do that. I think the hardest part about developing as a surface designer is drying things in a way where someone can look at it and know that it's yours and developing your creative voice. And I think the other heart part is knowing what to drop and gaining inspiration. So in this class, we're going to explore those things, develop a little bit more on who you are as a designer, and, uh, hopefully it'll be really helpful for those who need a little bit of inspiration. So go ahead and grab your pencil, your sketchbook or your service pattern idea book and open up your Pinterest account and let's get started. 2. Build Your Pinterest Pattern Board: so we're going to start our first portion of the course in Pinterest. Pinterest can be a really, really good tool for inspiration. It can also be a time suck. It just kind of depends on how you utilize it. So the whole idea behind this course is finding inspiration and utilizing that to best inspire our own patterns in our own designs. So if you have a Pinterest account, go ahead and open that up now. And if you don't go ahead and go to Pinterest dot com and sign up. And once you're in to your account, go ahead and go over to this icon on the right hand side and click on my profile and what will come up is your information. And as you scroll down, you'll see pings boards and tried. Go ahead and click on boards and you'll see, um, my Pinterest account and you'll see uh, all my boards that I have, which mostly have to do with art and design. And, um, we're going to create a new board, and we're gonna create a pattern board, and you can call it whatever you want minds called prints and patterns. So I'm gonna click on that so you can kind of see what mine looks like. And as I mentioned before, I specialized in kids patterns. So my whole board is going to be more geared towards kids. I like a little bit more modern kids patterns, and so some of these patterns are possible as adult patterns as well. But you could also probably see them on kids clothing or kids products or blankets and things like that. So I'm going to scroll through my prints and patterns board so you can kind of see the types of patterns that I'm drawn to, and some of them are very different from each other, and some of them are very similar. But, um, as soon as something just kind of catches my eye on Pinterest, I don't I think too much about it. I just posted into the board, and I can analyze it later, and I can do something with it later. But I just really want to get a collection of patterns that I just for whatever reason, I'm really, really drawn Teoh. Now that I've briefly shown you my pattern board, your assignment is to create a pattern board on Pinterest with at least 20 different patterns that you're just really drawn Teoh. And we want at least 20 patterns so that we have enough that we can really compare and contrast and have something that we can sink our teeth into and see some commonalities and some common themes, and you have enough to choose from to really make this project worthwhile. So go ahead now and, uh, get that board set up and start adding patterns and a good place to start if you're not really sure, is to go in the search bar and put in surface pattern design. And some generic patterns are gonna are gonna pop up some that maybe you really like in some. Maybe that you really don't. But go ahead and scroll down and find something that you like or that you're just initially drawn Teoh and click on it and whether that's a pattern that you want to save to your board or not, once you click on that and you scroll down from there, more patterns like that are going to show up. So it's likely that you're gonna find something that you really like. And as you keep clicking on these patterns, more and more are gonna show up that you're probably gonna be drawn on to. And it's just gonna kind of snowball. So go ahead and have fun with that. Make sure you get at least 20. Don't think about common themes too much. Don't think, Don't overthink it just kind of put things in that you just really like. 3. Analyzing and Observing Your Board: Now that you have your Pinterest board with at least 20 patterns, you're gonna look at those patterns and just look for commonality, common themes, things that kind of pop up, over and over again and just write out 10 observations about your patterns and about the pins that you chose as I scroll through my pattern board. One of the biggest observations I have is that the majority of my patterns have animals and not make sense, because my own company is pretty much all about animals. So that makes sense and some other observations if it if they don't have animals, they somehow involved nature or organic elements. Um, a lot of these patterns have texture. I really like textured patterns. There are a lot of vintage colors. There's also a lot of bright colors, too. There are a lot of water color patterns, especially the ones that air florals. There's a lot of black and white and monochrome. I really like that clean, classic monochrome look. There are patterns within patterns. I think that they're very visually interesting and once again that can kind of be labeled under texture. Another big observation is that most of these patterns are really, really whimsical. There's nothing that's too serious, but they all just kind of have this little bit of fun or kind of magic to them. I also like patterns that have a cultural element to them, whether that's skin navy in whether that's tribal, I like that graphic addition to the animal patterns. I also really like patterns that utilize pen in ink. I think it's a really nice, clean, classic look. Once again, um, and I think that when it's mixed with water color, it even becomes that much more visually interesting. So now that I have this list of 10 observations about the patterns in my pattern board, I'm gonna go ahead and think of a overarching theme that applies to the majority of these patterns and kind of give the collection in a name. And I think I'll name it modern animal kid's prints and it doesn't have to be anything to creative. That's something that really kind of tells you what this collection is about. So now I want you to go ahead and look at your 20 patterns, list those 10 observations about your patterns and then come up with that overarching name that really kind of describes this collection for you 4. Picking and Analyzing your Inspiring Pattern: Now that you have your 20 patterns, your list of observations about those patterns and you've named your collection, you're gonna pick one pattern that really speaks to you that you really, really like, for whatever reason to use to inspire your own pattern. Now, keep in mind, the idea is not to copy this pattern. The idea is to use elements of this pattern that you find inspirational and that you find really interesting and put it into your own style. So to show you what I mean, I'm gonna scroll around and kind of just see what pattern speaks to me a little bit. And I'm really drawn to this one right here. It kind of has a little bit of everything that I really like, and it's very similar to the style that I put out, and I think I want to use it to inspire my next pattern. So now that I have my pattern picked, the one that I'm going to use, I'm gonna go ahead and write down 10 observations about this pattern, and it can be literal observations like it has animals, and it can also be feelings that it invokes. It can be really anything that comes to mind so that you can find 10 things that you can write down about this pattern. So I'm gonna go ahead and do mine four years that you have the example. And the first observation is that it has animals, so we're gonna write that down. The next observation I have is that it's a limited color palette, and I like monochrome, and that just kind of fits. My aesthetic is well, so I'm gonna go ahead and put down limited color palette, and then it uses about three colors. My third observation about this pattern is that it has a lot of graphic lines and shapes, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. My fourth observation is that there are elements of the natural and their elements of the unnatural right. There's this random car driving right through and with the road, and everything else seems to be kind of natural. The animals, the plants, even though they have a graphic feel to them and my fifth observation eyes that it's pretty modern rate. The graphic nous of it makes it look very modern. My six observation is more about like a feeling that a books, but this is a very happy pattern, so I'm just gonna write down that it's happy and my seventh is a descriptor. It's also very cute. So it's a cute pattern and write that down. Eight Observation have is that it's really fun, really just does not take itself seriously. My ninth observation is that it's random, and that's one of things I really love about kids patterns is that they can be really random, that you can have this random car driving through, and you can have a tiger with a crocodile and turtle, even though maybe they're not in the same ecosystems. And my temp observation is that this is actually a pretty masculine pattern. The graphic nous of it, the color choice of it makes me think that it's made for a boy. I think it's pretty gender neutral, but it it may be borders more on the boys side, and that's interesting for me to pick, because most of my patterns, even though their gender neutral tend to be a little bit more feminine. So, um, I like that I pick something a little bit outside of my norm, So now I have my 10 observations and descriptors about this pattern, and hopefully you have your 10 observations and descriptors about your pattern. And what we're gonna do with those is just break those down a little bit further. So this 1st 1 that the pattern has animals. I'm gonna break it down into three animals that I would really like to draw and really like to see in my patterns, and it might not use them all, or I might use them all I might add to them. But I'm just gonna put three in that. I just would like to draw your see kind of pop up in tow. My designs. So I've been meaning to draw, and I've been wanting to draw camels and tigers, and I'm gonna put your ass in there because I just love drafts. So those are my three and three colors that I'm gonna use, and I'm gonna all also use analogous colors. So we're we're gonna go with red, orange and yellow, though, instead of the blue, green and yellow. Now, that's not a decision that I have to stay with, but it gives me a jumping off point so I can just not get caught up in color and I can just design. And then I can go back and change that later if I want Teoh. But that's what I'll start with, um, lines and graphic shapes. There's nothing really to add to that. We just want to make sure that ends up in the final pattern. Natural and unnatural elements. We don't know what those are gonna be yet. It's gonna be modern. Um, happy. Okay, so three things that make me happy would be, uh, my family coffee and let's go with sleeping it. And then we go to cute and three things that come to mind with cute are kittens, puppies and what else is cute? Quiet, style, skewed and fun. What comes to my mouth? Fun? Um, parties, sports and dancing and these air gonna be different for everyone. And that's fine. And it can just be something really random. It doesn't have to end up in your final pattern, but just whatever kind of comes to mind this fine and then the last two random in masculine . There's not a lot to add to that, but we're just gonna want to make sure as we're building our pattern. We kind of look back at it. We say, OK, do we have some random elements in there? Is it a more masculine feel? And we can just check back in with that. So now go ahead and break down your 10 elements kind of like I did. And let's just see what you come up with and see if it sparks anything or inspires anything for your next batter. 5. Final Analysis: So in the final portion of this course, you're going to take those 10 observations you made about that one inspirational pattern, and you're going to know you's those two sketch out some elements that you're gonna use in your new pattern. So go ahead and close out Pinterest close out that pattern that you used for inspiration. So you don't get tempted to copy any of those elements and you go directly off of the sheet that you wrote down. So any inspiration that comes up, just start sketching in your service pattern idea book or in your sketchbook, and see how you can kind of turn that into other elements and how you can look back that those 10 things and just keep creating elements that you're gonna use for your pattern. And don't be afraid to just go overboard because you don't have to use everything in that final pattern. At this point, you should have your motifs drawn up and any elements that you want to use in your pattern drawn up. And, um, you should be pretty much ready Teoh import into your computer and either draw with your tablet or image trays. Or however you prefer to make your patterns. So we're not gonna This isn't a tutorial on how to make patterns. There's already a 1,000,000 amazing ones on school share. So I'm just gonna go through with you what I came up with and how I put mine together. And then we can do a comparison contrast on, um, what the original, inspiring pattern looks like and what this final pattern looks like. So these were my main animal motifs, and I went with a giraffe in the tiger and I mixed the camel because it doesn't quite go with this furry animals. And he used a crocodile instead. And the mama animals or the daddy animals either way, um, happened to be illustrations that already had from a coloring book that I recently published. So I thought I have used those and add some babies in, and I was inspired from our exercise in when we broke it down, I said, um, that what makes me happy is my family. And so that made me think to draw little babies, to go with the mama's. So that's where my inspiration came from on this one. So I also kept the color palette of orange and red and yellow. And, um, I've got my organic elements, and then I've also have my graphic element as well. So this is what I ended up with. And, um, I have my 10 um, observations of the inspiration pattern. And I mean, he have that on the side as I build my pattern so I can refer back to that as I go, and I'll quickly speed through Ah, the process as to how it be this pattern. So you can kind of see how it came about and see the end product. And, um, I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with is well s . So we're gonna do our final analysis of our finished pattern and compare that against our 10 observations of our original inspirational pattern. And so for me, my 1st 1 was animals and used the tigers and drafts and switched out the camels for crocodiles. Uh, because crocodile seemed to make a little bit more sense in the safari pattern on, I think they all work well together. And then the limited color palette, the red, orange, yellow I stuck with that, and then lines and shapes all these little motifs that I have in yellow, um, kind of give a tribal feel and they definitely have that graphic quality and the natural unnatural. I definitely have natural in the trees and the really kind of plant. Ah, little bit less on the unnatural other than the tribal motifs and modern, I think it does look modern. It's not super babyish, but it's not. You don't look at it and think, Oh wow, that's so modern either. So I don't know that I really hit the hit the nail on the head on that one, and that's okay. And then, um, with a happy thing. My chose to stick with family and put the babies with the mamas or with the daddies and left out the coffee and the sleeping in. And if I would have gone with coffee and sleeping in, it would have been a totally different pattern, right draft, drinking coffee or but just sleeping animals. And then number seven. I pretty much ignored kittens, puppies and quiet Don't really seem to go or mixing with with this pattern, and that's okay. You don't have to use, um, every single one of the observations that you have from the original pattern and then fun I didn't really use either. And I think if I would have, I could have had some really fun patterns, right? Uh, tiger with party hats and, you know, crocodiles playing baseball or whatever, and that would been a whole different feel and Superfund to So there's the possibilities are pretty endless and then random. I don't think it's it's very random. My sketches to begin with were a little bit random, but everything kind of came together and and seems to go together pretty well. And then the last one this'll pattern being masculine. I don't think that it's exceptionally masculine. Eso I messed with a couple different color ways and I ended up with this one, and I think I really like how it kind of changes the feel to be, um, from something that I saw maybe on a little girls, dressed to something that I could now see on a little boy's pajamas. Um, and either way, I think it's they're both kind of gender neutral, but that's just what I see in my mind when I see the pattern. So the last thing I'm going to show you is this final comparison of my ending pattern and the original pattern. And you can see some similarities the pen in ink, the limited color palette. But you don't look at them and think that one was inspired by the other or even think they really have anything to do with each other. And so the goal here is to really use something that you like and that you identify with and end up with something that is completely yours. 6. Your Class Project: So just a quick recap. Your final project is to upload a screenshot of your inspirational pattern that you found on Pinterest that is now on your new Pinterest board. Your 10 observations about that pattern, your sketches that were inspired by that pattern and then finally, your new and final pattern. I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone's final patterns turnout. I can't wait to see your final artwork. Please let me know if you have any questions and I'll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible. And I hope you enjoyed the course and thank you so much for joining me on this journey.