wings & tails

wings & tails - student project

Hi! I'm Bärbel Dressler, a pattern designer and illustration artist from Sweden. I live with my husband and two children just south of Stockholm in Sweden. I run a small design business called Bear Bell Productions and behind the name Bear Bell (a play with how you pronounce my name in English) I design patterns for all kinds of surfaces, materials and products. Right now you can see a few of my patterns on clogs and sandals here in Sweden. I also teach here on Skillshare - illustration, markers & pattern design. If you want to you can check out my profile & classes here.

I've been a fan of Bonnie's classes for quite a while now and she has taught me a lot about composing patterns and collections. So when she launched this class I was jumping with joy and started making patterns using my watercolor paintings right away. So now I thought it was about time to post a project here with one of them.

For this pattern I didn't really use a moodboard while planning. I hade a very clear image in my head of how I wanted the pattern to look like. The key words were "curves" and "directions" made up with birds wings and tails. So I made the moodboard just for this project to show you (and me) a notion of the vision I had. I also wanted to make a pattern that would work as a wallpaper, a sort of a vintage look, inspired by Asian patterns with branches and flowers.
The color stories are the two above: red & blue and orange & green. And they are a part of a pattern collection I'm working on (the color swatches are just a selection of the spectre I used). For this pattern I added the earth tones in the middle.

First I sketched the rough shapes of the birds with pencil and then painted them with a water color wash. The branches & blossoms I just added really quickly, but they turned out pretty cool so I ended up using the first version.

I scanned, vectorized and recolored every motif and then for the birds and "leaves" I added some rough black outlines with the blob brush tool to add some detail. 

I also needed some variation for the branches so I made a few copies and chopped it up, rearranging into new motifs.

And here is the finished pattern in two color ways (no names for them yet):

You can see more of my patterns & illustrations here:

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Pattern designer & history nerd