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Melissa Lee Shaw

allow yourself to fail before you succeed



Pattern Design Workshop: Create 3 Focal Point Prints in 3 Weeks

Hello! My name is Melissa and I'm an artist based in Sacramento, California. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it's all I've ever really wanted to do, so choosing my major in college wasn't too difficult for me. I graduated with a BA in Studio Art and a focus in the Electronic Arts in 2013, and while I very much value my time there, I felt like I still had a lot to learn, so here I am. Since taking this class, I've fallen in love with surface pattern design! I'm super excited to create 3 showstopper prints, so I can build my collections and, thus, my portfolio!  

I've been thinking about what I want my prints to be themed after since I signed up for the workshop a few weeks ago. I knew I wanted to do a forrest-themed one with some fantasty elements, but as for the other two, I kept vacillating between a few different ideas. After searching through Pinterest for inspiration, I've finally come to a decision. 

3 Themes: Fantasy Forrest, Under The Sea, and Succulent Garden

I made inspiration boards on Pinterest:

10+ descriptive words (plus some pattern name ideas) for each pattern...

Forrest Fancy (I'm pretty sure that's going to be the collection name): enchanting, whimsical, trees, fanciful, mushrooms, magical, peaceful, curiosity, fairies, greenery, frolicking, flora, and fauna. (Mushroom Palace, A Flight of Fairies.)

Under The Sea: playful, colorful, symbiosis, serene, jellyfish, whales, tranquility, flow, coral reef, community, schools of fish, seashells, reflections, bubbles, effervescent, and sparkling. (Are You Jelly?, A Whale of a Time.) (I like puns and idioms, could you tell?)

Succulent Garden: enduring, calming, succulent, spiny, clustered, sunny, abundance, cacti, aridity, thriving, rainwater, relaxing, flourishing, and greenhouse. 


I pretty much knew immediately that I wanted to make a repeating fossil pattern, and though I'm pretty happy with the result, it isn't really what I originally had in mind. Isn't that almost always the case? ;)

Anyhoo, here's the mood board I created for it, which includes some pictures I've taken, as well as some I found from searching Google:




I mostly traced my sketches with the blob brush tool, but I also used live trace on a few sketches and the words. I'm kind of in love with the live trace tool now, not gonna lie. 

Here's the original pattern I created, but I thought it looked a little too haphazard, so I eventually rearranged it:


After a lot of time and clustering of motifs, this is what I came up with:


I'm still not quite sure how well it works, but it was a lot of fun to make!

I spent soooooo much time with the Recolor Artwork tool, haha. Here are the three color variations I thought looked the best:


I've enjoyed this class immensley, thank you, Bonnie!


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