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

Hi everyone,

I'm Anna and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland with my husband, our 6 year old daughter and our very large and lazy greyhound!  Before my daughter was born I worked as a stationery designer but I stopped doing that to be a full time mum until she went to school.  I'm now trying to get back in to doing something creative and I get the impression that surface pattern design is just about the most perfect career that anyone could have!  I'm just starting out so I need a lot more practice, but hopefully it may lead me somewhere one day...

I'm very excited to be taking this workshop as I have taken a couple of pattern design classes on Skillshare and also another workshop and have become totally obsessed with creating patterns!  Now that I am more comfortable with the technical side of pattern design I really want to start pushing myself to create something more challenging than I have been, so this is the perfect opportunity.

My main influence in all of my creative work, both writing and design, is nature.  Ever since I worked as a professional dog walker last year and moved house to live opposite a forest, I have spent a lot of time outdoors and am competely in awe of everything out there.  So the patterns I plan to create follow this theme.

My first pattern will be centred around the wildlife that visits my garden.  I spent days and days a couple of months ago looking out at the birds and squirrels and imagining little scenarios where the blue tits were ninjas (the way they bob and dart about with their little black ninja masked faces makes them look like ninjas!) and were trying to stop the squirrels stealing all of the food over the winter!  The blackbirds looked more sensible so I imagined they might be after both the squirrels and the ninja blue tits and, of course, the robins had to be the blue tit ninjas' side kicks!  I sketched and painted the blue tits but never did anything with them, so I would like to turn them into a pattern.  Here is my inspiration board:

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My second pattern will focus on insects because I think insects are fascinating but they get a bit forgotten! During my research I noticed that lots of insects have very interesting patterns and shapes so I am planning to use these to create something a bit geometric.  I'm not sure how it'll turn out but hopefully it'll be fun and quite busy.  My inspiration board is here:

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And finally, my last pattern will be about surfing because I have been wanting to create a surfing pattern for a while now and not got round to it.  I had originally planned to create something quite graphic but all of the images I really liked when making my inspiration board were very dreamy and calm, with lots of pastel and muted colours, so it took a turn of direction!  We'll see what I end up with - it could still go either way!  Here is my inspiration board:

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I have been doing a bit of experimenting with pen, pencil and watercolours.  I have found through taking other pattern classes that the method that works best for me is to trace my images in Illustrator using the mouse as I don't have a tablet. It seems to work fine and I find it a bit more flexible than live trace (although I do also use live trace sometimes as well or instead) so I will trace over some of these images or just start from scratch with the mouse.

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I'm a bit behind as I'm doing things a slightly different way and working on one pattern at a time (my brain needs to focus on one thing before moving on to the next!) and this pattern has been driving me nuts!  It's been really, really difficult to get it right but I feel like it's moving in the right direction now.  So here are my digitised sketches:

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and here is my focal point pattern that I have created with them:

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Thank you so much, Bonnie, for answering my question in the AMA regarding what to do if your style is quite minimal.  I feel very encouraged by your answer.  In this case I decided to fill in some of the space with a background pattern, as you can see.  I think that might be quite a good approach for me as I quite like layers.  Hopefully this is colourful and busy enough.

Anyway, now I'm going to move on to my insect pattern and see where I end up!  I will return to the ninja birds and squirrels at a later date for a bit of tweaking!

Here are my digitised and coloured insect sketches for my next pattern:

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And below is my insect pattern.  Having said that I have a very minimal style, I seem to have gone completely the opposite way in this workshop! 

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Phew, I've been busy this afternoon!  I'm seeing insects now so I'm going to go off and make dinner and not think about them for the rest of the evening!

And now for my digitised and coloured surfing sketches:

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And finally for now, my sufring pattern:

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I've spent lots of time this weekend trying to put together some co-ordinates for my focal point patterns (I'm still working on my logo, hence the lack of identification!  I don't want to reveal it until I've decided for absolute certainty!):

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They need some work but I'm pleased with how they're beginning to come together.  I feel like my signature style is becoming clearer by the pattern!  I also want to write a little story for each collection but unfortunately I'm not sure I'll get time while the workshop is still running.

It has been a really big challenge to put together three whole collections in three weeks but a lot of fun!  Thank you so much Bonnie for your inspiring videos and live AMA and to all the other students who have given me encouraging comments and made excellent suggestions about how to improve my work.

I can't wait to get started on my next collection now, I have so many ideas bursting to get out onto the screen/ paper/ fabric!

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